The Easy Way To Syndicate Other Peoples Content, but…

I just noticed a very respectable blogger, Robin Hamman looking for solutions to refeed syndicated content.

You can easily achieve what you want with Google Reader, as it is possible to share tags.

The following is IMHO (in my honest opinion) and IANAL (I am not a lawyer)

It would be advisable you choose your content extremely carefully based on the copyright of the fed items.
Only use sources you can trust to own 100% rights to the material they publish. If they are using licensed content, either articles or images, refeeding content might be a copyright issue.

If you do offer republished feeds, you need to decide to use full content or only excerpts. Just because a feed is provided in full for a reader, might not mean the owner of the content supports the use of the full feed content for another website.

I have read even Google pay companies for syndicated content. Why shouldn’t you have to respect copyright as well?

Should your refeed be indexed by the search engines? You don’t want it to be regarded as a splog.

If you intend to undertake refeeding, I would also suggest you should do it from a feed reader that is not your primary reader. There are lots of services that provide RSS feeds of personal data, and it might cause problems if you refed content you didn’t want to, or even worse, information you were privy to, but was not public knowledge.

Be very careful if you decide to monetise the site where the content is eventually published, as even a link through to your primary domain could be looked on as commercial.

When I first discussed the problem with sharing content with Google Reader, it was pretty much ignored.

My second post on this subject did receive some more attention, notably Robert Scoble, and I would like to thank him for at least opening up some discussion on the subject.

I have been accused of being “RSS Police”, when in fact I am looking for some controls to be introduced to determine the way content can be shared, that would actually make the arguement for RSS Syndication stronger, not weaker.

Now I have mentioned Mike Filsaime’s Death of Internet Marketing Report. I used an affiliate link, why throw money away if someone is willing to pay you to send them traffic for a free report? I did very clearly disclose it was an affiliate link, and the amount I expected to earn from my recommendation wouldn’t even cover the cost of writing a single paragraph about it.

So here is another link to the report, this time it is straight to the primary domain. I make no money from this link, and I can only track it through Google Analytics. (If you click it in an RSS reader, I will never know)

The Death of Internet Marketing

Here is a link I make one buck from. It also gives me an indication that at least people click on the link.

From that data I know that 14 people clicked my original link, and only one person was smart enough to sign up and possibly read a report that could change the way they look on copyright and RSS feeds.

That is SAD!

I spent probably more than an hour writing my original recommendation to read the report, those 14 people obviously hadn’t read it, but only 1 person was willing to give their email address.

I am spending much more than an hour again to encourage you to download it. I don’t have a massive readership, and some might have already read the report (I really hope so).

I am spending this time to help those 13 people who clicked through last time, but for some reason didn’t trust my recommendation.

My reason for promoting the ebook was nothing really to do with making one buck, or the cyclic nature of marketing. I have experienced that for years in the computer games industry, and even Mike’s “Skulls concept” is very similar to a developer/publisher relationship for games development.

Mike might release the report in the future in a way that doesn’t require an email address. Then again, releasing reports into “the wild” without some method of following up and making corrections might be looked on as irresponsible. Actually he has made some changes since the initial release (mainly typographic), the report is up to version 1.4 now.

Don’t forget to also read the Paypal Report, it is a good read.

The Ideal Way to Deliver Such Content

RSS is a way to deliver content that a user chooses to subscribe to. There is no way to spam your RSS Reader.

However publishers of content need some way to suggest content shouldn’t be shared, or possibly prevent it being shared. After all, some content you are expected to pay for.

RSS Authentication is sufficient to protect the original source of content. We just now need a way for the copyright of content to be respected.

I can’t think of any business that promoted an easy way to share email with your friends.

Once RSS can be labelled as private, then innovators will be encouraged to offer a feed-burner like service for subscribing to private content, either by RSS, or a gateway to email.

Readers of the content would have enhanced privacy, with the option to unsubscribe at any time, and even with email delivery, the provider of the content wouldn’t need personal information unless payment was required.

The Danger in a Growing Trend

Can you afford to defend yourself against a DMCA claim? Some services might be able to claim “safe harbour”. I am not sure that would apply for individuals.

Please refer to previous articles with possible solutions for sharing RSS via reblogging, and also suggestions on how feeds could be protected in some way. Make sure you read the comments as well.

I hope the time I have invested in writing this post proves worthwhile, mainly for those 13 people who are scared to give their email address to someone.

p.s. the email subscription to this blog is with Feedburner, and totally private. All I receive is vague open rate statistics, and not access to your email address.

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