Thursday, July 15, 2010

How do content scrapers WITHOUT advertisements gain?

There are a number of sites that incorporate content from other sites. I quote from other sites all the time, and has quoted from me to provide content for its "Intel" channel. Now when I quote from others, and when quotes from others, a link to the original source article is provided for those who want to read the original piece.

But some sites move from "fair use" to uses that appear to have more questionable fairness.

LocalSpur seems to be on the borderline here. Yes, its repost does link to my original post. But it's hard to find my original post with all of the ads that are surrounding it.

But that's tame compared to, which reposted my content way down at the bottom of a page.

But that's tame compared to, whose repost does provide a link to my original content - after displaying a full screen ad first.

But that's lame compared to sites that lift your content without attribution. I couldn't find any good examples at the moment, but they're out there.

In most cases, those types of sites take someone's content, pass it off as their own, and surround it with a bunch of ads. In essence, those people are definitely making money off of the original writer.

But I'm mystified by people who appropriate content and DON'T surround the content with ads or redirect you to other places.

I was performing my usual ego search, and I ran across a mention of myself at a post on a WordPress blog called TechAdopter. More importantly, however, this post included every tweet that Louis Gray had tweeted during a particular day.

Now if you're going to rip off someone, it makes more sense to rip off Louis than it does to rip off me. However, there was the off-chance that Louis himself may have set up this blog for some reason, so I checked:

Louis, was created by you, or is the blog just lifting your content?

The response:

Lifting. That's not me.

So I'm not sure who created this blog. But more importantly, I'm not sure what the person gained from it. The About page for the blog provides this information:

This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many pages like this one or sub-pages as you like and manage all of your content inside of WordPress.

The blog has no ads, no redirects, nothing. So as for why the blog was created, I can only come up with a few possibilities:

Perhaps the blog was created by LoudTwitter. Every one of the posts includes the statement "Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter." There's a possibility that LoudTwitter itself created the blog as a way to draw attention to LoudTwitter's capabilities. Then again, probably not, since the TOS page contains the statement:

Loudtwitter is shutting down.

Perhaps the blog was created as a test. People create tests all the time, so maybe someone was trying out LoudTwitter (before its announced shutdown) and figured that Gray's tweet content was a good way to test it.

Or perhaps the blog is an evil scientific experiment that has sucked me in, and since I've posted about it, it's sucked you in also. Now we just have to wait for our zombie brains to receive the command from The Overlords in Brussels to start promo...wait a minute, I have a sudden urge to link to
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