The Value of Information

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 716619

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Value of Information

  • John Sinclair

    Mr or Mrs. 500

    Points: 518

    Well Steve I'm going to put my neck out a bit here and say sites like SoftLogger are not *all* bad. I checked out that site, they say on the top right of the page that "SoftLogger aggregates RSS feeds", each post clearly states the original author and URL, and links back to the author's site.

    They are provding a useful service, aggregating many interesting blogs onto the one site, with what looks like some well categorised sections and topics, and with a decent search across everything.

    I do know what you mean though, I've seen some websites that scrape content off other sites and then claim ownership. Yes SoftLogger *is* using the content from other authors, probably without their express permission, but I don't know if any of those authors would particuarly mind - they aren't losing anything except bandwidth charges by someone effectively mirroring their blog postings. They are being VERY clear as to where the blog postings originated from.

    If it was your blog they were scraping posts from, and you requested they stop and they didn't, then they would definitely be in the wrong.

  • Hugo Kornelis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 64645

    John Sinclair (10/3/2007)


    I don't know if any of those authors would particuarly mind - they aren't losing anything except bandwidth charges by someone effectively mirroring their blog postings.

    Hi John,

    Suppose you run a blog, add one or two non-intrusive ads on the top and right side, and then work your *** off to get people to find your blogs, hoping that the ad income will be enough to cover for the cost of hosting. In that case, I'm pretty sure you would mind seeing your content reproduced in full at some other, ad-ridden side so that people won't go to your site.

    As one of the bloggers on SQLBlog.com, I don't see any revenue from the ads, nor do I have to pay even a single penny for hosting, bandwith, licensing and other costs, so that argument doesn't apply to me personally. However, I do watch the counters that indicate how many people have read (or at least displayed - there's only so much that can be registered on the Internet 🙂 ) my articles. This gives me an indication of what my readers do and do not appreciate, plus it gives me a great sense of achievement to see the number of my readers go up over time.

    I just checked to see the SoftLogger to see if they replicated my content as well. I saw nothing on the first 10 pages, then I decided to stop checking further since each page I review adds to their ad income. I don't think they found my posts interesting enough to replicate - frankly, I'm not sure if I should be glad or disgruntled ;).

    Anyway, if I ever see a site replicating my posts in full, I'll make sure to tell them to stop violating my copyrights.


    Hugo Kornelis, SQL Server/Data Platform MVP (2006-2016)
    Visit my SQL Server blog: https://sqlserverfast.com/blog/
    SQL Server Execution Plan Reference: https://sqlserverfast.com/epr/

  • John Sinclair

    Mr or Mrs. 500

    Points: 518

    Hi Hugo,

    I guess it all depends on the purpose of your blog. If you are trying to generate money from adwords on your blog then you won't be happy with them scraping your content, and stealing your visitors. If you have adwords on your blog purely to help cover costs of bandwidth etc, then it probably doesn't bother you- What you write still gets out, and they are saving you some of the bandwidth costs.

    I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt, until they start mirroring peoples blogs against their wishes.

  • Hugo Kornelis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 64645

    Hi John,

    I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, then. For even because I don't generate any money from my blog, by ads or in any other way, I still do not want to see my articles replicated entirely anywhere else.

    (Posting a teaser and a link to the full article, as Steve does in his weekly overview, is of course great - keep up the good work, Steve!!)


    Hugo Kornelis, SQL Server/Data Platform MVP (2006-2016)
    Visit my SQL Server blog: https://sqlserverfast.com/blog/
    SQL Server Execution Plan Reference: https://sqlserverfast.com/epr/

  • Andy Leonard

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 9925

    Like Hugo, I post at SQLBlog. My blog posts are scraped off SQLBlog without my permission as well. Most of the material I post there is posted on one of my growing list of personal / technical blogs. SQLBlog and I have this arrangement and I think it works well for both of us.

    I personally don't approve of folks scraping content regardless of why they do it. If it's good content and you're "just trying to help out", I think you should link to it and not copy it - especially if you don't have the author's permission.

    What do those little c's in the circle mean at the bottom of the page anyway? Maybe it's an abbreviation for "class action"...

    :{> Andy

    Andy Leonard, Chief Data Engineer, Enterprise Data & Analytics

  • Steve Sanderson

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 172

    What do you think about RSS feed readers then?

    I regularly read content from about 25 different bloggers / sites using Google Reader. I get to see the content in full, and with no ads. I don't have to visit the sites on which the content is originally published.

    That's the point of RSS, right?

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 716619

    Actually the point of RSS is to get you a bit of the content so you can determine if you're interested. If so, you should click through the links. Authors provide the entire content when they are ok with you reading it in that form. That's different than someone publishing it.

    There are lots of authors, even the MSDN guys, who have their links measured. They can get bonused on traffic, which they're missing from someone like Softlogger.

    Your RSS reader, even Google reader, still hits the RSS feed of the author. If you go to someone like Softlogger, you're not allowing the author feedback or the chance to earn money.

    Softlogger has received some cease and desist from authors I contacted and they have not done so in 72 hours.

    None of the 6 or 7 authors I contacted approved of the taking the entire content. All were OK with the front page aggregating the content and using a snippet, just not the followup page with the entire content listed.

  • Steve Sanderson

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 172

    Oh, sorry, I assumed that SoftLogger worked by consuming RSS feeds as well, in which case it would only get the part of the content that was supposed to be pushed as RSS. If it actually screen-scrapes pages directly from websites then it's an entirely different thing.

    As it happens, of the 25 feeds I subscribe to in Google Reader, every single one includes the full text of their articles. That's one of my criteria for subscribing to a feed. I, and many others, have better things to do than chasing snippets of content all over the web.

    Some of the most popular ones, like Jeff Attwood's "Coding Horror", include small text-only advertisements in each entry which I'm entirely happy to see. He has to earn from his work!

    The whole issue of partial vs. full content feeds is often debated heatedly, e.g. see this example.

  • Hugo Kornelis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 64645

    Steve (10/3/2007)


    What do you think about RSS feed readers then?

    I regularly read content from about 25 different bloggers / sites using Google Reader. I get to see the content in full, and with no ads. I don't have to visit the sites on which the content is originally published.

    That's the point of RSS, right?

    Hi Steve,

    Like I said before, I don't care about ad income. All ad income from my blog goes to the owners of SQLBlog.com, as do all the bills to keep the site running. I don't even know if the RSS feed of SQLBlog.com gives you the entire article or just a teaser - I have never looked into it, as I don't really care how or where people write my stuff, just that they read it ;).

    I do care about knowing how many people read my stuff. If you get my content through your RSS feed, it adds one to the "AggViews" column on my overview. If you watch it on your screen, it adds one to the "Views" column. Either way, I know that I have gained yet another reader. If my content is ever republished without my permission, people get to read it and I'll never know about it.

    It gets even worse if these republishing sites allow comments. If you see an article, add a comment, then never see a reply by the author, it will rub off on that author's credibility. That is yet another reason why I do NOT want any other site to republish my stuff.


    Hugo Kornelis, SQL Server/Data Platform MVP (2006-2016)
    Visit my SQL Server blog: https://sqlserverfast.com/blog/
    SQL Server Execution Plan Reference: https://sqlserverfast.com/epr/

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 716619

    Great point, Hugo, and I agree. You do want to know about reads.

    I hadn't thought about comments, but that's a great point as well.

  • Steve Sanderson

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 172

    Hugo, I completely agree. If republishing content means pretending to be the author, accepting feedback etc., that's really out of order. However, I don't have a problem with sites cleverly aggregating RSS feeds and building facilities on top of that.

    Hugo Kornelis (10/3/2007)


    If you get my content through your RSS feed, it adds one to the "AggViews" column on my overview.

    Hmm, it depends - if they request the feed directly then yes, but aggregators like Google Reader and Feedburner will only make one request for all their users, so you might have a lot more readers than you know about. Google explains more

  • K. Brian Kelley

    SSC Guru

    Points: 114465

    Blog readers are a separate animal entirely. In a lot of cases I'll be reading something in my blog reader and if I find it interesting that I want to share, I'm going to go to the original link, copy that, and send that around. Those I'm sharing with, hit the original content as well. Providing an RSS feed is like providing free samples at the grocery store: it's the cost of doing business in this space. Since I'm hosted at SQL Server Central, I don't get any revenue, but the idea is still the same whether the original poster is making revenue (or depending on bonuses) or not.

    When you put a third party who is scraping the contents (whether through a full RSS feed or by grabbing directly from the web page), when someone wants to share, they link back to the third party, not the original source. If they use an RSS feed, they are only going to consume it once, meaning you get multiplexing going on... which goes back to the site hits that have been discussed previously. So any way you look at it, when a third party is publishing the whole post like that, it does harm. At the very least, it does begin to separate the content from the original author (think about how search engines work).

    K. Brian Kelley
    @kbriankelley

  • Malcolm Daughtree

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2373

    Hey Bloggers all, I would like to offer MHO. These sites, unless I miss my guess is all about exposure. Yours. Comments are read and the community as a whole passes comment. I wouldn't know of these sites if it wasn't for people like Steve, the riotious Phil Phactor and other authors of renown. These blogs and sites alike have saved my *** numerious times. I will NEVER know all about SQL Server, there is too much and I still need to provide a service to my employers, who by the way has benifitted greatly by the comments and content herein. I'm not sure who said it but paraphrased "I don't know everything... but give me five minutes and I'll find someone who does..." (Henry Ford I think). There will always be those who prosper from the honest toil of others and claim it as their own and they sometimes come to grief. And my last comment is, that if you don't what people to use it then don't publish it on a free and open forum, someone will read it :D. Personally I've had songs and code 'Stolen' and know what that feels like when it was presented as an anothers work, but they couldn't replicate or expand or fault find it as they didn't understand it. So , I felt vindicated:cool:

    Lastly

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE continue to post stuff here

    (help me Obi-Wan... you're my only hope !!... you all know from where...)

    and if my one line of code saves an hour of angst then use it.

    CodeOn 😛

  • K. Brian Kelley

    SSC Guru

    Points: 114465

    Malcolm Daughtree (10/3/2007)


    And my last comment is, that if you don't what people to use it then don't publish it on a free and open forum, someone will read it :D.

    Well, there is a difference here. If what I blog about is useful to others, I hope they make use of it (if it's not, I hope they point out what a numbskull I am so I can get better). However, members of the community making use of what I've written is different from someone scavenging what I write and offer it effectively as their own. The first is an example of a self-supporting community. The second is flat-out deceitful, potentially theft.

    K. Brian Kelley
    @kbriankelley

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