Derek Powazek’s article “It’s 2008. I can’t believe we haven’t figured this out.” spoke loudly to me. I’m tired of content scrapers. I’ve had articles stolen, simply because they covered popular subjects I’m still offering full text in my feed, but for Derek, that’s no longer an option. The problem with splogs and spam in general is that as long as there are people stupid enough to click on links on their site on it their emails, they empower their creators more and more.

This has got to stop. Just because someone offers an RSS/Atom feed, doesn’t mean others have the right to repurpose that content any way they see fit. It’s one thing for someone to read a feed through Google Reader or some other feedreader, it’s another to take syndicated feeds, repurpose them and monetize off of content THEY DIDN’T CREATE.

There is a plugin called AntiLeech available for WordPress that ought to help curb some of the theft from occuring. Maybe it’ll help, but it won’t eliminate the problem.

NewsGator Frees RSS Readers

For a couple of years, I’ve happily used NewsGator FeedDemon as my RSS reader. I use it to read through a hundred or so feeds that I am subscribed to. (The integration of NewsGator Online with the desktop application is one of my favorite features.) I’ve used Bloglines, Google Reader, and several other web-based RSS readers, and none worked as well as FeedDemon.

Anyways, onto the good news: FeedDemon is now free. As are a few of NewsGator’s other products: NewsGator Inbox for Microsoft Outlook, NewsGator Go! for mobile, NetNewsWire for Mac.

View the press release here.

Changes to RSS Feed

I’ve made a change to the RSS feed on my site that should reduce some of the noise you get from my site in your feed reader. Rather than bore you with Asides, Quotes of the Day and Thoughts of the Day, I’m now excluding them from my regular feed. If, for some reason you’d like to keep receiving this sort of stuff along with regular entries, I’ve set up an alternate feed for your enjoyment. Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause you. I’m instituting this change for your benefit, not mine!

RSS Fair Use?

If you publish an RSS feed, does it give others the right to repurpose your content as they see fit?

I have been noticing frequent trackbacks from a couple of sites when I’ve tagged articles with a keyword of “adsense”. On the surface, this isn’t a big deal. When I checked the sites out, however, I realized they were nothing more than Content Scraping Spam Blogs. I sent a note asking for one particular site to stop scraping my content and the guy had the audacity to send this to me:

“Dude, I am not scraping your content, I’m linking to your site with a small quote. Most people are happy to have free links to their site. If you don’t want anyone else to link to your site then why are you syndicating it with a feed?  See

Take down your feed or at least put a notice that no one else can use it.”

What are your thoughts on this? If I have a publicly available feed, does it give others the right to re-syndicate that content without the author’s permission?

Google Reader Revisited

Google has released some pretty impressive products in the past couple of years: Gmail, Google News, Google Desktop, Google Earth, etc. Sadly, Google Reader doesn’t fall into that category.

I know it’s still in the Labs… but Google Reader is a big disappointment. Adding feeds to your subscriptions is a bit of a hassle (unless you search for them). I spent at least half an hour trying to add to RSS feeds. The way Reader is setup you have to Preview the feeds first, then subscribe to them. (I know I want to read what’s on em, I don’t want to preview it!) The system was way too slow. It was way to heavy on the AJAX (if you’re going to use it, make it be there for a reason!)

The idea behind Google Reader is sound, but this first iteration really stinks. I’ll give it a few months to “grow up” and then maybe, just maybe, I might give it a try once more.