Monday, March 06, 2006

What makes a blog?

Hey guys. One of the most popular new automotive blogs (I won’t mention the name or link) runs posts with no links to their referring article. Meaning they post about a news story they read on another site, like Automotive News, yet run no link to the actual article. They do reference the publication by name but do not link to it.

Does this make a blog? Is this legal? I always thought the thing that made you a blog was that link so readers could see for themselves if your own post/opinion was worthy to read.

Obviously thousands of people that read this site don’t care. But I’m wondering if the publications being poached care? At Autoblog we had to have the link for blog and legal reasons. What do you guys think? Isn’t that link essential?

BTW an argument has been made to us that MPH does not link to other sites in our stories. That is because ALL of our posts are original content. That is different than a blog. We pay for wire services (which include the Detroit Free Press and Chicago tribune) and photo services as well as our own content from the magazine. And when we do reference something from another site we do indeed include a link.

Discuss.

14 Comments:

Blogger Big Ford Fan said...

Dave, your question has been answered on this site several times. What you are describing is a Splog, just like Brian from RaceDriven.com and I have pointed out in the past.

A Blog, is someone's opinion on other's writing or even original content. In a proper blog, there are referals, links and hat tips.

If this site that you don't name is stealing, don't you have an obligation to react? I was sucessful in getting two Splogs to stop harvesting from my site.

Would you identify this site privately? Please email directly if you would. I'd like to see what this site is. Is it Ost or Autmobilist? New Splogs pop up everyday. Brian and I have asked for input from other bloggers in the past with little or no reaction. What prompts this latest question?

7:58 AM  
Blogger carscomblogger said...

No I'm talking about a new blog that is seriously competing with jalopnik and autoblog.

They do write original posts but all the ideas for said posts come from other places. Yet they dont' always link to those original articles or sources even if they may attribute them in the post. without those links they can generate traffic and revenue for themselves by adding the posts while not sharing. This is sketchier to me than the splogs that always have a link.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Big Ford Fan said...

Well Dave, how can you prove the source of their information if the posts are original? I mean isn't it possible that they have PR feeds or some other source of information? I have Google RSS reader, as well as Google Alerts, where I'm able to access Ford Press releases, maybe not as quick as others, but it's out there. From what I've read on copyright recently, ideas and information aren't covered, just your original content. So for example, if I read about the new Ford Ranger from Thailand over at Jalopnik or MPH, and then I write about the fact that Ford released the vehicle, but don't credit either, I'm not really in violation of copyright law, unless I've actually ripped their text. I've broken courtesy protocols, but not the law. Or am I still not grasping what you're saying. Just out of curiousity, could you email the name of this blog?

12:22 PM  
Blogger carscomblogger said...

well for the spy stuff we have no idea where their photos come from. one recent post had a scan from a magazine and the site watermarked it saying it was "exclusive".

As for the PR stuff obviously that is fair game and no one can claim it as their own. we certainly don't. That doesn't mean there isn't a benefit to the way mph does it or the way Jalopnik does it. And one of us always gets to it first sooo...

I'm mainly pissed that the site says "MPH ran spy photos today" but then links to a forum or other site that is hosting the photos (not legally).

or says "MPH says the Ford Ranger is dead in the US" yet provides no link. And they do this for the automotive news, free press and others. They do link from time to time for some sources but it is not every time. they do link to their own previous stories in every post though. We offer "related links" but because they are on interior pages they do not effect the google rank in the same way.

BTW the site's name rhymes with "hairbrain screws"

12:39 PM  
Blogger the garage guy said...

i agree with joe, in that the intellectual property thing isn't going to help you much.

as a new blogger who reads a lot about the growth of blogs & ways to increase readership, i personally don't "get" the benefit of making posts without crediting their source. the more honest i am, the more likely i will receive links back. when i receive links back, i receive new traffic.

it doesn't make any sense to me to post without the credit link, so i don't really get what the big deal is. in the long run, they are just hurting themselves by limiting their readership.

5:46 PM  
Blogger carscomblogger said...

Unfortunately because many mainstream readers are so new to blogs it doesn't seem to bother them in this case. This site's traffic is going through the roof while the places it gets its news from do not receive proper reciprocals. I don't think all their new readers understand nor it seems do they care so the operator seems to see himself validated for not linking.

This isn't someone writing a lone opinion piece in their newspaper about a story in the news. This is a site that is building traffic through massive posts (even if they put in the time which is pretty amazing, it is a thorough site that seems on top of everything) and multiple re-linking(links to their own previous posts) on their homepages. Both major no nos in the blog world.

I just think it is a slippery slope with this new form of "blogging." It certainly takes the whole community out of it.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Big Ford Fan said...

Dave, now I know who you're talking about. I've seen them, but won't link to them directly. At first I thought it was a Splog, then it was obvious that original content was being generated. I've noticed quite a few personal bloggers using them as a refference and linking to them. They seemed to come out of nowhere, and in a big way.

This site you speak of must have editors or some sort of staff. Have you tried to contact them?

And one question, you say that linking to past articles on your own blog is a no no. Does that just apply to big "pro" blogs? Or are smaller "private" blogs like mine supposed to follow that guideline? I mean, someone should publish a code of ethics and guidelines for operation or something. I've been blogging for 10-11 months, and I still am not sure if I'm getting it right.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Racedriven said...

Hi everyone, oh brother, would everyone just "stop" with the go arounds. I can understand keeping this private, but if you will not publish the name and url, could one of you please email me the name and url and I will monitor the site for a couple of days and get back to you. How can we have a discussion on a site, if we don't have all of the facts including name/url.

One thing: I don't mean to be rud, but its true.

See Yeah!

7:34 AM  
Blogger Big Ford Fan said...

Brian, it's L E F T L A N E N E W S OK?
easy to find, just google it or go to many of your regular blogs, most people link to it. I don't, but believe a couple of guys here do. And I know they're not a SPLOG. On a side note, I checked out that OstAuto and it looked like someone hacked them, all sorts of goofy stuff pops up.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Racedriven said...

oh boy, as in leftlanenews, I visit them a couple times a day and have linked to a couple of there articles. But like I said, I will monitor it for a couple of days and get back to you. I personally have never seen anything wrong with there site before, thanks for the info.

11:41 AM  
Blogger carscomblogger said...

I've noticed in the past few weeks they've gotten better about linking but note they ran the Ford Reflex story we syndicated (we pay for wire syndication) with a "must register" link to the original. I know they're freezing us out on purpose like Autoblog does but that's just silly. I mean we all look at each other to stay on our toes in case we missed some big news but that's not the case here.

Regardless check the Newsweek post they have. No link to the newsweek story. Someone like that could get very pissed.

2:34 PM  
Blogger carscomblogger said...

BFF,
No you can link to a past article you've written if it ties into the current post as a background thing. That's totally normal. But there have been instances where this site does it 4 or 5 times in a 3 sentence post. This directly impacts your google rank.

When they first launched we talked and I brought up my concerns with what he was doing and was basically told to mind my own business.

Yes they are doing quite well with traffic. I think they've even topped Jalopnik. Don't get me wrong, the guy must work his ass off to just do the legwork for that many posts a day. It ain't easy. trust me. But I just think there are some questionable things there. And I don't think they have a really great "voice." Probably because of the focus on volume (which Jason Calacanis always preached). If they just fixed the "link" issue and still never linked to me I'd be totally OK with this site.

Funny, since I've left Autoblog (and especially since Walter and Randall have left Autoblog) I enjoy reading Jalopnik more than any other big blog and Spinelli and I get along quite well. Weird how things work out.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Big Ford Fan said...

Randall H left AutoBlog!? Oh sh*t, I liked him, he was one guy who would reach out to little guys like me and treat us like equals. I loved his page NextGenAuto, really felt bad when he let that go, to head over to AutoBlog. I don't know him personally, just like I know you guys on here. Do you know if he's gone on to do more work like that?

You know, I want to go on record here as saying that the bloggers that have been best to me since I started have been Randall, TheAutoProphet, Brian from RaceDriven,Bob S from CarsCarsCars! and Dave from MPH. I respect all the people who blog, but only a few have actually communicated with me directly and helped out with questions. Some of the more recent contacts that have been very friendly are JD from AutoEratic, Art from NLP and Mark Tapscott.

This page, Dave's idea, has realy helped support the idea of a community of bloggers. If you speak to Randall, find out if he's writing about cars, I always enjoyed his stuff. I also enjoy Jalopnik, but those guys are a little Punk Rock for me, guess I'm getting old.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Racer said...

Stealing of images is illegal too as it happens with carscoop (I give the site name under my own responsability).
Yesterday they had a post where some images from seriouswheels were used without any kind of credit (with carscoop watermarks!!). Even worst, photos were on Lamborghini from a press release...and is not the first time I see that in carscoop.

7:41 PM  

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