We find that most of our publishers struggle to keep their website properties up to date. It is not that hard to string a few words together keep online presence fresh, but we understand that life is increasingly too short and there’s never enough time. We already need extra time to update our facebook status, check so and so’s relationship status, catch up with the latest episode of whatever on iPlayer and so many other things that your free website is the last thing on your mind. We understand. And lack of freshness is just fine and dandy, so long as your mission critical project timeline doesn’t rely on it and hey, your immense following on twitter isn’t really paying attention as they forgot what they were thinking 30 seconds ago. Phew!
But this is not strictly a tirade at our shortening attention spans, which are being progressively eroded by modern technology, though we would support efforts to deepen rather than skim. This is a plea to those who seem to have too much time on their hands. Yes they exist! True enough they are in a minority, but we have them here and there even in our locality. These people have a habit of doing 2 things, which are frowned upon.
The first is reblogging.
Reblogging (or, in Twitter parlance, retweeting) is the mechanism … which allows users to repost the content of another user’s post with an indication that the content of the repost is … from another user.
Beware if you indulge in brazen or uncritical copying of someone else’s article, copy pasting it as your own. Beware of rogue formatting which messes up the professional look of your website or shouts “I am a technophobe and proud of it”. Beware of copyright infringement. It is against our terms. Just like nicking images for your website, stealing content is a no no, though you can use short quotes, like we have above, using dots to omit words or [square brackets to add a clarifying word]. We could not fight a test case in court for copyright infringement nor would we. Avoid getting nasty emails from the owner insinuating you are a thief, it can be quite distressing.
But take a moment or 2 and ask your self a few rhetorical questions and answer them in your blog or website. You might be surprised that have something original to say? We love original content on ourlocality, we are not a reblogging platform. Then your worst crime then might be that someone accuses you of being ‘derivative’ or ‘unoriginal’ in your use/critique of other’s content. And, it probably takes the same amount of time to fix the all the formatting errors you just copied as does to to write a few original words of your own.
Second is duplicate content.
Duplicate content … refers to substantive blocks of content … that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.
Non-malicious duplicate content could include: quotes in discussion forums; shopping products appearing in multiple categories; printer-only versions of web pages.
Oh heck, so what is malicious duplicate content? Content deliberately duplicated to manipulate search engine rankings and win more traffic. You may ask is that really such a bad thing (to want more traffic)? Well yes. Such practices can also result in a poor user experience, especially if your visitor sees substantially similar stuff repeated within a set of search results or family of related websites. Remember our advice of not using more than 2 categories to organise your articles? There’s other reasons for not duplicating content on ourlocality:
- your news is already syndicated to news.ourlocality.org automatically
- we spin out all your news snippets to facebook
- we spin a headline to twitter too
- we provide you with RSS tools and facebook and twitter tools to do this yourself
Ourlocality policy is that we do not approve of multiple repeat posts on different websites as they appear to search engines as if you are indulging in SPAM (it would be deleterious for all our users if ourlocality were to be labelled this way by search engines), confuses people searching google if the same stuff appears in different places, and it pollutes our newsfeed with repetition, which as you know is much worse an offence than deviation or repetition (in fact it is the equivalent of communicating with a sawn off shotgun).
Plus every time you publish a new story it creates clutter on ourlocality servers, which we have to pay for.
Moral. Publish twice and you will definitely be damned! We always delete repeat posts from news feeds, facebook and twitter when we spot them – no questions asked.
Parodying Google’s advice “Don’t do it!”