Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Splog War (or should that be truce?)

A bit of fun banter in the SA blogosphere got going recently when blogger Peasontoast found that her blog posts were appearing unattributed on the blog aggregator GrantAvenue. The site does provide a link through to her site. Peas ranted here and sent the site owner an email politely asking for the feed to be removed.

I understand that the site owner duly obliged and all is patched up. His detailed and thorough response is here at mediacozw.

The response however seems to assume that the primary motivation of bloggers is to gain readers and make money. I would dispute this. If I spent my time idling away only for the handful of readers of I have (as amazing and wonderful as you are) it would be time poorly spent. And as for making money the google adsense ads you see on this site were an exercise in futility from day 1 ( I haven't been bothered with updating my template to remove them). I have accumulated about 36 US cents so far. They will pay me out when I hit $100!

I do agree that bloggers would like more readers and would love to make money. But it not the primary motivating factor. Peas for instance has no monetization effort at all on her site, despite her large readership (she should speak to someone savvy about making some money off her site to fund her booze bills.)

I just like the opportunity to express some of the diverse thoughts that cross my confused brain. The fact that I do this in a forum that allows others to torture themselves on my utterings is great but I write because I enjoy it. It's an opportunity to leverage off their comments and insight into my thinking. One commentator on my site provided me the telephone number of a fantastic tour guide in Mumbai who I plan to use this weekend. It's about creating a little community of like minded souls in which I can be the centre of and control. Yes it's incestuous - we post reciprocal comments on each other's sites and scratch each other's backs and console and counsel as we see fit. But we choose and we're in control. We can opt out whenever we want.

So I agree then with this argument from the Lemur (also read his other 8 posts on the matter) against aggregators which argues that ... "It is about the lost opportunity to engage in dialogue. You cannot comment from a news reader, aggregator, social links page, you have to come here. This is where engagement and dialogue takes place. That is at the end of the day, what it is all about.The internet is the one place where it is easier to ask permission that ask forgiveness. "

I think there is a win-win situation and mediacozw in fact does allude to it. Most blog hosting domains (like blogger) have some sort of Atom or RSS feed option on their sites.

One can elect to provide a full feed, a partial feed or none at all. Find out how here.

I think the win-win situation comes in if you allow a partial feed only which will only feed the first 255 letters of each post. That is approximately the length of the opening paragraph of this post. So if you want readers who are interested in your posts, make the introduction juicy so that they will follow the link to your site and join your community. If you really wish your blog to remain closer to home then elect the no-feed option.

The downside is that if folk want to take your feed into a personal aggregrator like netvibes (great tool by the way) then they will be limited to your intro only.

So to conclude, from a bloggers perspective I don't think splogs are necessarily a bad thing as long as we're aware of them and are educated with the tools to be able to control our site feeds (which is partially why I wrote this post).


Peas on Toast said...

Hi Wit!

I like your thougths here dollface. Funny enough, Tony from GrantAvenue said something along the lines of being like a Technorati or Bloglines website. I agreed, with the RSS feed and all that, however, these sites also make mention of the actual blog (ie: my blog and it's address.) He agreed, and I said if I put his stuff up on MY site I'd credit him for it. I'm still in a murky state of mind when it comes to the splog thing. Because I think a lot of copywrite laws are infringed through splogs. But again - this is the Internet with dealign with here, boundaries and laws are going to be crossed I guess.

ATW said...

Exactly, boundaries and laws are going to get crossed and often we may be comfortable with that. Its when we're not comfortable that we need to react, politely first, angrily later.

Peas, I was being partially serious on you monetizing your site. You do get enough hits to make a bit of cash, which would at least go toward a new handbag..

Or you could retrieve your archive {it's still there if you really look for it!) & publish a blook* of the whole lot like Tertia did.

*blook : noun = a book by a blogger.

Read about blooks here and here.

Third World Ant said...

An interesting suggestion for Peas... but i don't think she'd ever muster the effort to put out a book/blook!

Still, owuld make for a great read and probably hit local bestseller lists a la Spud!

ATW said...

Come on Peas. You've got 2 sales of your blook already. That'd probably get you on the Exlusive Books top 10.

Or is the only paper print bit of Peas that we will see be tales of "Gourmet Food at the local Fruit & Veg"? ;-)

VallyP said...

I'm reeling...splogs, blooks, RSS feeds?...Must confess to just being a simple blogger who has very little clue (a bit like Pooh) of the technology behind it. Had to chuckle about the fortune you are not making on your blog Wit!

I think the infringement of copyright issue is something we all have to be a bit relaxed about as regards the internet, as we more or less forego such rights by going public on this amazing domain, but yes, there have to be limits and there has to be give and take.

I love blogging because it allows me to take a peek into other people's worlds, and you can read some terrifically interesting observations and ideas...your blog being a case in point. Currently, my blog contacts include bloggers in Canada, Finland, Australia, Germany, SA (of course), Spain and the UK & US. Where else could I make contact with such an international community of interesting souls. In July, I even had the pleasure of meeting a blog buddy when she came to Europe from Canada for her summer holidays. Prior to March this year, I'd never heard of her, and before I knew it, whe was spending the night on my barge. That's communication at its best.

ATW said...

Most of us are simple bloggers Val. It's only curiousity that drives me to find out what's behind all this jargon but I'm no technical expert at all. There just seem to be a whole lot of folk who've spotted gaps in the way that google etc pays their advertisors and are using whatever way they can to make money. Mostly it's harmless - it's just worth being aware of so we can preserve what we do enjoy about blogging.

VallyP said...

Indeed it is, and I more aware, that is. By the way, it's a whole new vocabulary too, isn't it? Blook takes the prize! Just imagine saying quite seriously that you are writing a blook...not possible ;-)

Peas on Toast said...

Wit and Ant - hmmm, a blook. I like the sound of that actually. Perhaps I should look into it...