Sounds like an oxymoron? Before you conclude that I am endorsing auto-blogging, please read further.
I have never been an auto-blogger nor do I like all those evil terminologies that come with the same viz. scraping, spinning, replacing and rewriting. However, after experimenting with the WPRobot plugin (for writing reviews here that is), I tend to believe that there’s something that you can always do ethically with autoblogging while the majority of what people do with it is actually nothing short of crime.
Let’s see how one can use auto-blogging in an ethical way and what type of sources to use.
Before considering what’s good, let’s talk about the bad and unethical side. Autoblogging is all about ‘source consumption’. i.e. The minimum requirement for autoblogging is that you should have a consumable source in the first place. Now, if you are using someone’s creative idea as it is (with or without credits) is WRONG! If you decide not to give credits or further spin the content it’s even worse. So all those who do Blog RSS scraping, Thou shall go to hell!
Now, if someone is manually rewriting others’ content, he should still go to hell because regardless of whether he’s using a tool or not, he’s still stealing content. In fact, this is what many bloggers are doing these days.
How can you use a part of others’ content in an ethical way?
Assume that you are writing a fresh post and would like to mention a solution that’s invented by someone. Instead of projecting it as yours, you may give a reference to that solution with credit links (even better if it’s a citation). Even in this case, the credited portion should form a very small part of your content and not the whole idea. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many content providers – especially bloggers.
Now, can you reuse certain content as it is? The answer is ‘Yes’ and let’ see the following scenarios:
- You have niche website with some good content and you would like to provide a Yahoo! Answers stream relevant to your audience
- You would like to setup an online store with data feeds from your favorite affiliate network (e.g. Shareasale, CJ etc)
- You would like include relevant Youtube clips (that is not yours) to set the context to your blog posts
- For your review sites, you want to add more value with a product comparison study through Amazon feed
All the above are the exact scenarios where auto blogging is the right fit. And none of them violate the ToS of Youtube, Yahoo or your Affiliate network – rather they would like to see more such consumption whereas Google may not be all that happy about the same.
In short, feed scraping, article spinning and direct content stealing still suck while part of the ‘relevant’ additions with due credits mentioned will be Win-Win!
What do you think?