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The Blog Plagiarism post has resulted in a wide ranging conversation – and well, now I can point to two that make a lot of sense and bring up different issues. Mike over at Techdirt thinks me flipping out is a pointless. Its a battle one cannot win perhaps? He says since services like Bloglines and other aggregators make money off the content I publish, the other sites well, they should do that too.
I think he has a good point, and I wondered about that when looking at Squidoo, which in the words of John Battelle, “is either brilliant, or an AdSense honeypot scheme, or both.” I admit, it makes me shudder! In the case of say Yahoo RSS, Google RSS reader or Bloglines, the difference is that readers are making a choice, and deciding well, they want my feed. In the process, the middle men are making money, but its good, because I get readers. In straight up scraping, I get nothing out of it. To this Mike adds,
So, the complaints that these sites are “taking money” from the original sites is probably bogus as well. They’re not taking money away because no one’s reading those sites.
The big question however, and I wanted to save this thought for a later day, but what the hell…. why is in this wide open new media landscape, everyone is using “the content creator” as the lowest possible denominator. I mean scrapers aside, what does the content creator get out of it? If everyone makes money, except the guy at the bottom….. well.
Anyway I think the problem of splogs and scraping can be fixed if Google steps’ up to the plate. As one of my readers commented, its not in their best interest, at least in the short term. Paul Kedrosky writes:
Why would Google act, you know, evil? Because eyeballs are eyeballs and traffic is traffic. Until someone really shouts and makes a lot of noise, forcing either Google or its advertisers to sit up and notice, what’s the incentive for Google to shrink the size of its Adsense network — or even admit this is going on?
They don’t have to, but they should. Because if they don’t then the stand to devalue the currency that makes them the “clear and present danger to Microsoft.” Andy Abramson thinks that if Google gets tough, it will be like killing the body that provides the nutrition (AdSense) and the head will automatically shrivel.