in Opinion

Stealing page views is like stealing water from the sea

Valeria Maltoni posted an interesting blog today and she prefers that people do not copy her content I only copy some quotes. You can read her complete article on her site.

In the past few months, many (Posterous blogs) have clipped entire posts off my blog and reposted them to their Posterous account, then tweeted that. Folks, make no mistake, that is the equivalent to scraping. It’s content theft. I don’t care if you think it’s not. It doesn’t change the facts.

I have to agree, yes it is content theft if the author doesn’t allow sharing. However it also a fact of life and a great way to build reputation. Or as Michael Arrington puts it:

For our part, we throw a party when someone “steals” our content and links back to us. High fives all around the office. At least there’s some small nod in our direction. And the aggregators like TechMeme can figure out who broke the news. Page views are lost, but reputation is gained.

(…)

My advice to readers is just this – get ready for it, because you’ll be reading McDonalds five times a day in the near future. My advice to content creators is more subtle. Figure out an even more disruptive way to win, or die. Or just give up on making money doing what you do. If you write for passion, not dollars, you’ll still have fun. Even if everything you write is immediately ripped off without attribution, and the search engines don’t give you the attention they used to. You may have to continue your hobby in the evening and get a real job, of course. But everyone has to face reality sometimes.

Forget fair and unfair, right and wrong. This is simply happening. The disruptors are getting disrupted, and everyone has to adapt to it or face the consequences. Hand crafted content is dead. Long live fast food content, it’s here to stay.

And I agree with Arrington on this part: you can gain reputation by getting copied. If you get attribution: great, reputation is gained and people will directly know it is ‘your’ content. If you get no attribution, well tough luck, but people will figure out that you wrote it anyway, via for example TechMeme as Arrington mentions.

Being copied is a fact of life

It is just a fact of life that people are copying others to get attention, to provide attention to others, or to try to get famous with other people’s content. You shouldn’t care. The reason I write is that I would like other people to read my thoughts, not to lock up my posts in safe where nobody can read it. Eventually if your articles are good enough you will get copied and if you are lucky you will get some credits for the content. If not: well tough luck, more people read your content although they don’t know you wrote it.

It happens, as it already did thousands of year ago when story tellers copied each other’s stories. If people copy your content there is the option that you will gain reputation and if you don’t gain in reputation and you don’t get any credits for it, well nothing lost, it are just bytes on another page of the Web. Nothing to really worry about it just requires a change in business model (as usual).