More Blog Tips: That’s All We Need
It’s all about the content … apparently. Right? That’s what we hear all the time isn’t it. But I would like to qualify that statement by adding we should be writing original content for our blogs.
You might snide there is no such thing as original content on the internet and the cynic in me might agree with you .. or is there?
A reader once wrote to me:
“You know, the more (I) read your comments on your blog and around the place, the more I’m left feeling like you’re getting really annoyed with the blog world and bloggers.”
Well .. maybe so, but please let me explain.
I admit at times I can get a little ticked-off reading the so-called ‘blog tips’ that are running rampant out there. After all, I was the first “blog tips” blogger so I feel that I’ve earned the right to speak on this topic.
For example, posts like this one that the reader had pointed me to: “27 Tips for Building a Kick-Ass Blog“. (I removed the link from the Performancing blog because the article is no longer available).
Sounds like great stuff eh? Eye candy for the struggling blogger. Who could not resist clicking on the link?
But wait a minute! Haven’t I heard all this before? It sounds a lot like stuff that I or others have written ages ago.
It was in fact just recycled content that he had scraped and put into a list.
That’s why I don’t like Lists:
So I responded to the reader by saying I believe the title should have read: “How to Plagiarize What Other Bloggers Have Written into One Kickass Post that others will Digg“.
Do you notice the tongue in my cheek? I hope so.
BORING! Yawn. Not that I’m picking on the author in this case, because admittedly he did a good job summarizing the content.
BUT that’s the point!
How many times do we need to keep reading the same old crap over and over, and over … again? My time is important and so is yours, and we don’t need to be link-baited into re-reading recycled content.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, copyright infringement is copying someone else’s work (intellectual property) word-for-word. But that’s not what I’m discussing here.
Insidious plagiarists will copy our work and rearrange the words a little to disguise it (the legal term is “pass it off“) as their own work. (Kinda like what some of us did on our College term papers until the Professor found us out).
Of course it’s perfectly acceptable (unless stated otherwise) to copy someone else’s work so long as we make a link back to the original source. That’s the web’s version of a bibliography, but the plagiarists that I’m talking about here don’t.
They want to grab all the credit for themselves.
Believe it or not, it’s not just the faceless sploggers who are doing this either.
There are a lot of so-called a-listers who are doing the same thing (paraphrasing other people’s work) … especially the aggressive marketers who game Google to horde the pagerank (and subsequent traffic) to themselves.
If you’ve been around the block as long as I have you can easily Google this stuff from around the globe in seconds. In fact that is exactly what these plagiarizers are doing.
It’s intellectual theft because even if the words haven’t been copied verbatim, the crux (or idea) of the content is still the same no matter which way you look at it.
Just imagine the furor in the scientific community if someone built a theory based on Einstein’s work and didn’t even mention him? It should be no different in the blogging community.
The fact is lists like the above have little or no new content, and it’s not only just the “blog tipsters” who are guilty of this. With Social Media being all the rage it has inbred a slew of new media
hypesters tipsters doing the same thing. There’s really nothing new under the sun.
The same old content just keeps being recycled by these wannabe upstarts who are link-baiting gullible noobs into their fold and passing it off as their own work without linking or referencing the original authors who they stole the content from in the first place.
Articles like these are designed for one purpose — to game Google for a high position in the SERPS and to attract readers like flies on poop (an appropriate metaphor don’t you think).
They obviously couldn’t care less where they steal their content from or referencing their sources. They justify their actions using fancy marketing terms, copywriting shtick and hyperbole .. all in the name of making money.
When it comes to making money ethics fly out the window. Bloggers like these are of the same ilk who hire ghost writers for their college term papers or who conveniently forgot to include a bibliography.
No doubt they cheated their way to a degree and ported their high standards over to the internet.
Copycats like these take advantage of the fact that there are thousands of gullible noobs starting out every day who don’t know any better.
They’re just a content recyclers and repackagers. They remind me of those guys who sneak in the middle of the night to raid your dumpster and sell it to the 2nd-hand store. But in this case it’s our archives that are being raided.
They have little moral standards or compunction to raiding someone else’s intellectual property and passing it off as their own. What makes this crime worse is some of these alleged authors fully admit to recycling content and even recommend it in their posts!
Worst of all, their mentors encourage it! High profile probloggers are at the top of the list. In fact they made a name for themselves by pushing this claptrap.
With cleverly disguised rhetoric like:
- “Duplicating other people’s success”;
- “Remixing Old Content”;
- “Speaking in a different voice”;
- “Bouncing Off” someone else’s work;
- Etc., etc…
Grandiose language hiding an ominous message.
Give me a break! A rose by any other name would smell ass sweet … but it’s still “ass” (yes I know it is misspelled and you get the point .. I hope).
I would like to see them try their lame excuses with their College Professors. I don’t think it would fly no more than it should on the web.
If that isn’t a recipe for plagiarism then I don’t know what is. They even go so far as to recommend “duplicating” and “remixing” your own “success”.
So not only should we be raiding other blogger’s archives but we should do it to ourselves as well.
Time and again I’ve read them saying we should all be doing this. Because that’s what it’s all about.
I suppose I could do the same but I believe my readers expect more from me. I know that I do.
So am I the only one who really cares about blog ethics? Sometimes I feel like the lone voice crying in the wilderness, although lately I’m feeling more optimistic after reading a few other bloggers who are picking up the banner.
But they are few and far between.
What makes this all the more insidious is they are making money off our intellectual property!
I fully expect the make-money cliques to not care. No doubt they will continue on their merry way and blacklist me like they always have. But what about the rest of you? Are you not just as fed up as I am with ethics taking a backseat to the almighty dollar?
I have to believe that some of you really do care. That I’m not the only one who is tired of being link-bated to read the same old recycled garbage. That you are just as fed up as I am with the content thieves hogging the bandwidth and page rank.
I have to believe that.
It’s no wonder journalists sneer at us. They have to conduct themselves according to a code of ethics, but the so-called “probloggers” will tell you that it’s just about getting traffic and making a buck.
I don’t think so.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not that naive to believe plagiarism will disappear. Even just recently several newcomers have shown up, fresh full of plagiarized content who are beating me in Google for my niche.
But I’ve decided if I can’t beat ‘em ethically, then I won’t try at all.
There will always be scoundrels out there who will take the shortcut to riches and “success” at our expense. They know who they are (they read this blog religiously) and so should you.
But it is my hope the offending a-listers will stop encouraging their readers to cheat for more newsfeed subscribers and traffic to make money.
Show us a good example and tell your readers that making money takes a backseat to ethics. Please!
(And the cow jumped over the moon. Yes, I know it’s wishful thinking but one can always hope.)
The bottom line for me is making money is great but it shouldn’t be at the expense of our character. Or am I just preaching to the wind? (Or am I just full of it).
You tell me!
P.s.: When I started writing this post 2 years ago I had to put it on the back-burner because I was too depressed to finish it. Apparently not much has changed since then.