Maddox on link-baiting

If you run a high traffic site you get emails from people wanting you to promote their stuff.  If it’s something relevant that I support, I’ll plug it in a heartbeat.  However, most of it is stuff from link-baiting sites looking to generate ad revenue.  Maddox has written a great post about it in which he points the finger at one of the greatest offenders.

I mentioned Huffington Post earlier in the email as a “content-aggregator.” Although some modicum of the articles on their site is original content, Huffington Post is by far the most nefarious content aggregator because they wrap all their stolen content with superfluous “commentary” which qualifies their content theft as “fair use.” For example, there’s an article on the site titled “7 Things Women Really Want From Sex.” The actual article is content entirely taken from “FITNESS Magazine” and “Yahoo! Shine.” These articles are little more than wrappers for other people’s content. And it’s completely legal, because they have just enough commentary to make it seem like an article about an article.

It’s kind of ironic that this post contains no real original material and that I’m just aggregating Maddox’s post about aggregating.  Ah well, it’s a good message.  Glad I’m not one of the contributors to this problem.

Update and pics from #AACon15. MST3K cast members were at my talk.
PERSONAL: Sorry to disappoint you, Julian.
PERSONAL: Happy birthday, Hitch.
You guys are wonderful.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Andrew B.

    Hey, thanks for the link to Maddox’s update. He updates so rarely, so I don’t check that often.

  • Cafeeine

    Wow, Maddox. It seems like I haven’t read his site for at least half a decade.

  • Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

    lol, given the re-re-resurgence of sexism/feminism/etc discussion currently going on here at FTB…JT links Maddox.

  • Kevin

    I’m a little skeptical about the claim that putting comment wrappers around someone else’s content entitles you to the free use of that content.

    Doesn’t the DMCA have something to say about what constitutes ‘fair use’?

    For example, I know that you’re not allowed to use more than a short sample of anyone’s performance (30-second clips) without paying royalties.

    I’m not saying that you’re wrong, or that this isn’t what’s being done. I’m just saying that I’m not sure that the authors don’t have some sort of legal redress, if they wanted to pursue.

    Looks like a class-action lawsuit to me.

    Disclaimer: I’m a writer who gets paid to write. So, the theft of my writing is something I take pretty seriously.

    • Armored Scrum Object

      I’m a little skeptical about the claim that putting comment wrappers around someone else’s content entitles you to the free use of that content.

      Generally, it doesn’t. This tactic is frequently used as an attempt to invoke fair use, but only a judge can really say whether a specific use does or doesn’t count. That said, quoting an entire work in a for-profit context is kind of stacking the deck against a finding of fair use.

      Doesn’t the DMCA have something to say about what constitutes ‘fair use’?

      Not directly. In fact, the only time it even mentions fair use is to say that it has no effect on fair use (which is technically true, but disingenuous). Fair use is defined (for suitably fuzzy values of “defined”) in Title 17, Chapter 107.

  • Zengaze

    Didnt understand that at all,

    I’m constantly getting emails, and calls from seo types looking for me to pay them oodles of cash for doing nothing, what annoys me about the calls is they are shrewd enough to get by what should be my screen (my staff) I guess they baffle them with enough pseudo science that they think they have to kick the call up to me, don’t know if seo relates to this, but they are a plague on my time.

    Anyway, the Important thing is star wars tats rock!

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