There’s a minor contretemps going on at scienceblogs — a few of our Original Content Providers are a bit peeved at certain abysmally uncreative sites that think they can get rich by collecting rss feeds and putting them on a site with google ads, while adding no original content of their own. I don’t mind the rss parasites trying that at all — if it’s in my syndication, it’s out there and you can jiggle it around however you want — but it’s such a stupid, mindless strategy. Who’s going to regularly read a site that just repackages other people’s work, when the originals are easily and freely available? And if they stumble across something I wrote on another site, as long as it has a link back here, I really don’t care; it just means they’re doing some half-assed, clumsy advertising for me, for free.
So I’m not joining in the complaints. However, I do think this great comment from a Technorati rep at Bora’s is an optimal way to handle it.
Thanks for bringing that to our attention, ny articles won’t be getting indexed by us. We try to index only original sources and to avoid aggregator/planet sites; we definitely don’t want mechanical feedscrape-and-adsense sites.
-Ian (from Technorati)
A parasitic clone-dump really represents minor damage, in the form of inefficiency, on the internet — it’s nice to see that it’s also seen that way by at least one of the network aggregating services, and that they are going to detour around it.
Now for the philosophical dilemma: are Technorati and Google also mechanical scrapers of the original content on the web? Should we be irritated that Google keeps copies of our web pages on its servers?