The controversy grows over autoblogging. People have valid reasons to be against it every bit as much as others have valid reasons to be for it. The fact of the matter is that autoblogging is at the very heart of what the internet is all about in the first place.
It’s just that some autoblogging practices are manipulative and not in tune with the best interests of the internet community. For instance, some autoblogs extract content from sources all across the internet and just happen to leave out critical information like giving credit to the author. If there’s one thing in particular that annoys a writer like me, it’s when someone uses my material without my permission and passes it off as their own work. I don’t mind sharing my information. Just make sure to let people know who originally wrote it.
What I find equally annoying is the autoblog that only posts a small portion of the content it promises. If I do a search and find something I want to read, I would like to read it there at the link produced by the search. I don’t want to have to chase an article down to yet another site, simply because I was given an excerpt and told to follow a link to read more about it. This can get tedious if each source I am going through is participating in the same practice. I have literally had to chase down an article through five sources. By then, I forgot what I was originally trying to find and gave up altogether.
So, there are some autoblogging practices that go against an invisible ethical barrier that the internet community as a whole has looked down upon from day one. Yet, autoblogging is not itself evil. Autoblogers have options, but autoblogging offers a very valuable purpose to the internet.
When I write an article and publish it on one of my sites, I’d like to reach as wide of an audience as I can. But, my sites might only provide me with a limited reach. I would love to extend my reach as far as it can go.
So, I syndicate my articles so that anyone who wants to use my material can publish it on their websites, in their ezines, in their newsletters and everywhere else they can find them useful. If they have a thousand readers, I’ve just increased my reach. If I get syndicated a handful of times, my reach multiplies and readers I may never have the opportunity to reach are reading my work.
Syndication is like magic to me and I love that kind of magic. My work multiplies across the internet and quite frankly, I don’t care if some autoblogger is pulling my articles in with an automatic plugin that allows him to walk away from his computer while it does the work for him. My article is being distributed. It’s reaching more readers. I don’t care if it’s automated as long as it’s working.
Equally true is what I do sometimes with blogs of my own. I don’t always have time to populate them with my own articles. Sometimes, pulling content in with a plugin that automates the process is invaluable to me. Certain websites I have put together stay populated with fresh content. Writers I host on my sites reach readers they may never have had the opportunity to reach. Everyone’s happy. No one is the victim.
The only way this system can work is if we allow our content to be syndicated. That is, we are giving others permission to use our content. The only condition is that they leave the byline intact. They must give us credit for our work. I don’t have a problem with others sharing my work and they certainly don’t have a problem with me sharing theirs.
The internet was originally created to accomplish that very purpose. Its main purpose is to share information. Of course, we’ve added other uses. We’ve added the ability to build online businesses. We’ve added entertainment and we’ve added a way to stay connected with friends and family who might be thousands of miles away. But, the main purpose of the internet is still in full force. We are sharing information. Autoblogging offers many of us a way to do just that! It’s just automatic and if done right, completely hands free.