Your blog could be showing up on another site without you even knowing it.
Consider ChronicNews. They pick up an RSS feed and run the content on their site. They appear to have no original content, but are nothing more than aggregators.
That, in and of itself, is not a problem as far as I’m concerned, provided they give credit and a link to the blogger who wrote the post. The problematic bit is that they don’t inform the writers – and owners – of the blog posts they’re showing on their site of what they’re doing. They don’t ask permission. They just post. Added to that, they appear to have no content of their own – it’s all feeds from other people’s blogs.
So how does an author find out about their content on ChronicNews? Who says they do?
A bit of random luck, if it happens at all. Perhaps in a Google search or a friend who happens to see it.
ChronicNews has an opt-out policy, but is that enough?
Not as far as I’m concerned. An opt-out policy doesn’t work because the person who’s material is being stolen only finds out that the material is being stolen by chance, not by design.
A better way to approach this would be an opt-in policy.
If they find a blog they want on their site, then approach the blog owner and ask. What a novel approach. Ask for permission. Don’t assume, don’t steal. Ask.
Now the question is… Why would someone choose to opt-out?
Here’s the thing about bloggers. They want you to come to their site. They want you to read through the rest of their site, and they want you to come back. They want the traffic.
Putting my blog up on someone else’s site steals that traffic. They’re robbing me of potential visitors.
Not all bloggers will see it that way, but you know what? It should be up to us to decide. It should not – under any circumstances whatsoever – be my responsibility – or the responsibility of any other blogger – to track down sites that may be stealing my traffic.
There may also be circumstances under which I’ll want to have my blog feed showing up on someone else’s site. But again, that’s something that should be up to the individual blogger to decide on a case-by-case basis.
For the record, if any of you are thinking of stealing my content, you better ask first. This is official notice that I’m opting out unless I specify otherwise.
How do the rest of you feel about this?