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Auto Generated Blog Content

Discussion in 'General Internet Marketing' started by Teli, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. Teli

    Teli Affiliate affiliate

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    There was a fleeting discussion here recently about using software to create blog content automatically and I wanted to make a formal discussion out of it to educate others who may be going down the same road.

    Auto generated blog content is not a solution to anything and could actually land you in legal trouble.

    Well, let me back up a second: Some of the software available that allows you to aggregate RSS feeds and scrape content onto your blog can be useful to your business when used under the proper circumstances (and I'll get to those in a minute).

    What tends to happen when people see "build hundreds of pages of blog content instantly, get rich tomorrow, and retire the day after", they get all excited and sprint to the nearest "buy now" button. If you're one of those people, I urge you to stop and think about it. There is no such thing as a quick fix. There is no replacement for your brain. There is no software that can magically create coherent 100% unique content for you.

    Those software packs that you see advertised do one of two things: scrape RSS feeds from other blogs or import content from another source such as an article directory. And there's nothing unique about that.

    In some cases, you could actually end up in trouble. Not too long ago, a blogger scraped the content off my website without my permission and after submitting my complaint, Google had the content removed ASAP. Now, I'm just a little fish in a big ocean, so imagine if the content was stolen from a major player (and by "major", I mean 10 mile deep pockets) -- could you fathom the legal trouble you'd be in?

    Now, before you start getting the wrong idea and think that I hate aggregation software or import tools, it's actually the opposite. In fact, I've created a couple myself because they do serve a useful purpose, and that's as a tool to help you build a legitimate resource.

    For instance, you could use the RSS aggregation software to compile a resource in a single location or, if you have a blog network, make the content from each of your blogs more visible. A great example of an aggregation site is Linda's Affiliate Marketing Buzz. This is an aggregation blog done right. She obtained permission, she uses excerpts, and she brings a large number of resources together in one place which helps the community at large.

    Before you buy into the hype of these kinds of software, please understand why you're getting it in the first place. If it's just to create a bunch of splogs, you'd be better off not doing it. Splogs have a short lifespan and you'll be left back at square one (sometimes -1 depending on how much money lost in the process). Above all else, you should use these tools to help you build legitimate communities or websites that will add value for your readers. Plain and simple.

    ~ Teli
     
  2. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Thanks Teli. Great article and the points you make are right-on.

    Thanks for mentioning The BUZZ.
    When I saw this subject I rushed over to say...
    "Well isnt it alright under some circumstances to synd other blogs???
    Is what I'm doing at the BUZZ OK?"

    Whew!

    I think once again - like with almost everything else Internet Marketing the key is:
    Will this content be a benefit to your visitors??? If you are truly doing it to help your visitors, not just for traffic, then I think it's OK - IF you ask permission to pull feeds, only use snippets and link to the source.

    Example - if you had a site about arthritis and added a newsfeed of headlines in the sidebar about arthritis - because it would benefit your users I think that would be OK. But a pure auto-generated blog about arthritis would just be a splog.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2007
  3. Teli

    Teli Affiliate affiliate

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    You're absolutely right, Linda. :)

    ~ Teli
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2007
  4. TheCaymanHost

    TheCaymanHost Affiliate affiliate

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    Thanks Teli, a good post.

    I should start by saying that I'm a huge fan of Really Simple Syndication. I think raising awareness of this aspect of the subject on here is a good move. I've recently been discussing RSS scraping on my blog and trying to give people an idea about acceptable and responsible practices.

    Linda kindly lets me syndicate content from these forums and the 5Star blog and it seems pretty popular with my visitors even if there aren't exactly thousands of them :) (Initially I was a bit embarrassed to have discovered I was unwittingly firing off trackbacks/refbacks/pingbacks to these forums but fortunately my apologies were taken in good faith and I fixed the problem from my end).

    I will own up to having promoted "automated" blogging software in the past, but, like Teli, have also tried to emphasize "this is not a substitute for your own original content" and should be used as a time saving tool to enhance/compliment your own efforts. Misuse, as you say, will get you nowhere other than to be labelled a "splogger".

    I know sites that scrape my feeds and I don't have a problem with it - it brings me links, visitors and subscribers. None of them have ever asked permission to do it but I've checked out the places where I see my feed being used and so far haven't seen it abused. Perhaps if I saw blatant plagiarism with no links back to me or my site I would take issue with the site owner.
    To be honest I'm glad of the publicity ;) Both sites in question are young and struggling in a very overcrowded sector.

    To anyone who is thinking of scraping, the rules are simple enough. If clear permission isn't given, ask first, even if permission is directly implied it's still good manners to talk to the owner of the feed. If the site has a clear copyright statement or forbids syndication, don't do it, end of story. Some organizations will go after you for theft of intellectual property rights etc. and you don't want to find yourself in that kind of hot water.

    If you steal and think you'll never get caught, think again. I know for a fact that a number of high profile bloggers for example, set traps for the unauthorized scraping brigade. You can be sure plenty of others have ways to detect and combat it too.

    Mo
     

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