Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Beware BlogBurst

I received this email from the editors of Medgadget.com, regarding the situation that exists with BlogBurst, which is apparently a rather shady organization. If you are a member of BlogBurst, you will definitely want to read this. If you are considering joining BlogBurst (or any blog listing service), you should be aware of a few things before you do so;

Dear Bloggers,

We, the editors of Medgadget.com have noticed a trend that may negatively affect the blogosphere, and felt we should address it to you.

Recently, an operation called BlogBurst (blogburst.com) of the Pluck Corporation began syndicating blog content on newspaper pages. The method currently used is to copy the entire blog post, and insert it into a fresh online newspaper page, making it look like newspaper’s content. Moreover, they directly link to the images displayed in the post (hotlinking), eating up the blogger’s bandwidth to satisfy newspaper readership, all while providing little in return. There are links to the original blog, but the reader has no incentive to visit since the entire post, and other handpicked posts from various blogs, are readily available. That is the basics.

You can read more on this here at our blog.

Yours,

The Editors of Medgadget.com

Comments

  1. #1 Dendroica
    May 5, 2006

    It’s not exactly plagiarism, but it is certainly unethical. The image situation is the worst and may create additional copyright problems in cases where permission was needed for the blog to use the image. I wonder what kind of traffic bloggers receive in return for providing content. I think I prefer the Post/Technorati system of providing links back to blogs that link to Post articles when it comes to adding blog content to newspaper sites.

  2. #2 Daniel Collins
    May 5, 2006
  3. #3 Daniel Collins
    May 5, 2006
  4. #4 Orac
    May 5, 2006

    Far more egregious is BlogBurst’s contract allows gives it rights to all of your content, forever (as long as Pluck creates a “derivative work” – which is defined so broadly as to mean almost anything). It also gives Pluck the right to sub-license your work at will to anyone.

    BlogBurst is a predatory company that is taking advantage of the naivete of bloggers.

  5. #5 coturnix
    May 5, 2006

    Apparently there is no way on their website to search which blogs are in there. I have no idea if my blog(s) is on their roll or not. I do not remember joining, but it is conceivable that I did it long time ago and forgot about it. They may have looked and sounded differently a year or two ago. I occasionally get e-mail from them (very rarely, no more than once a month, perhaps less), which I delete without reading, but the fact that I get them worries me.

  6. #6 Razib Ahmed
    May 5, 2006

    I have 3 blogs listed in Blogburst and so far, I do not have any complain against them. Until now, I am happy with the way things are going. Being listed in BlogBurst has become a good addition to my reputation as a blogger.

  7. #7 Tabor
    May 6, 2006

    Copyright on the Internet. Boy are the lawyers going to get rich on this issue!

  8. #8 pablo
    May 8, 2006

    In recent weeks, Wayne Hughes over at Niches (Sparkleberry Springs) has had an extensive rant about one of the rebloggers that have been taking his work. He’s come up with a devilish solution.

  9. #9 Adam Weinroth
    May 8, 2006

    Just to clarify a couple of bits of info that may have been omitted or misunderstood:

    1. BlogBurst is only a couple months old; we have been bringing on new features consistently since day one. Very soon we will be proxy-hosting inline images for bloggers, so that the exposure we bring your posts does not incur undue bandwidth.

    2. In our contributor agreement, we do “sub license”; this is necessary so that we can actually distribute your blog brand and content to our partner publishers to provide bloggers with the visibility they seek. The fact that we transmit full blog content to publishers is one of the key concepts that we promote.

    3. Most members of the BlogBurst team are very active experienced bloggers. We also have a blogger board of advisors who are deeply engaged with our product team to advance the service in a way that reflects the interests of the blogging community. Additionally we’ve had literally hundreds of conversations with bloggers from all over the world to get feedback and input into the process. The current product and forward plans are based heavily on that feedback and input. In general, we realize that the benefits of syndication have to be delivered to publishers AND bloggers in order for the system to work.

    4. BlogBurst is a 100% opt-in network. We do not use your blog content in any fashion unless (1) you specifically apply to be a member of our network, (2) you enroll exactly the blogs you wish to have participate and (3) you agree to the terms of our contributor agreement for each blog you enroll in the system.

    5. BlogBurst is not evil or insidious or predatory or anything of the sort. Please come on down to Austin to visit us – we’d love the opportunity to have you out for some BBQ and Tex-Mex!

    Thanks,
    Adam Weinroth
    Director of Product Management
    Pluck/BlogBurst

  10. #10 Dr.O
    May 8, 2006

    Adam:

    What about hotlinking images? Is this rapacious practice also in the contributor’s agreement?

    Do you really think it is not predatory to use other people’s works–full, unmodified–to profiteer? You don’t produce anything, after all, but the syndication.

    P.S. What a shame: now you are offering BBQ in return!

  11. #11 Dr.O
    May 8, 2006

    Razib Ahmed:

    I don’t think you have respect for what you do.

  12. #12 Gary Farber
    May 15, 2006

    I have a post on the BlogBurst contract, based on many years of experience with publishing contracts, here, if you’re interested.

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