On Automatic Content and Article Generation

Have you ever seen your blog article or other content show up on some oddball site somewhere that’s aggressively marketing? On a popular site feed?

Does either feel better than the other and why?

Your content on oddball marketing sites:

How do thousands, maybe millions of online marketers literally throw up fully functional websites everyday, sometimes a fistful per day–those blog-style sites that are instantly populated with quality posts all closely related to the site’s main product or service? (I’m struggling to  write my own content on my first site and I’ve not got half the content that these folks manage to get their hands on, and within hours).

Today the New York Times has jumped into the copyright ring with a new discussion on content and excerpting. Writers and journalists have always excerpted, usually a few lines, properly cited and used to help support an argument–online these cited sources and authors get nice backlinks. As far as formal copyright laws go, this practice has been upheld as legitimate, but the Internet, especially where aggressive advertising is used, has added a heavy dose of suspicion to the practice. news machines

Era of Automatic Content Generation and Content Scraping

When it comes to content generation and re-generation the Internet is a rogue Wild West frontier and  full of slick sleight of hand–automatic article generators, automatic content generators, content scrapers, RSS feeds, javascript feeds…. Good news is: This rigorous business of skimming the targeted content proves one thing: Content remains THE critical component in any blog or website. Befor eyou can generate cash-flow you better have copy. Unfortunately many website owners adn marketers will net content any way they can.

But is the error in calling it “content,” instead of someone else’s original work?

The fact that you can siphon copy from one site to another effortlessly–via automatic scrapers, RSS plugins and more–must mean it’s an okay practice, right?

I’m not going to proselytize about it–I think the controversy over the practice is part of the growing up of the Internet, it’s part of the evolution, the righting of a half-kilter ship. Do I really think it’s legal to suck other people’s blog posts or webpage content into your own flog (fake blog), splog, or other site for purposes of creating income? I think it’s lazy. I think it’s part of the marketing game in some circles, I wish the time and energy put into creating original web copy and content was a bit more respected since we can surely conclude that without it no one would make any money at all.

Your content on popular and respectable sites:

If you think the content re-generation practice is limited to smarmy marketers, the NYTimes article actually brings into question the practice of pulling in closely related news feeds to appeal to readers. Popular sites like Huffington Post do just this. So we’re talking about similar practices but in two completely different online “classes.”

How easy is it to find articles and content for free? Simple as dropping in a WordPress plugin to an affiliate blog and targeting the market’s niche with keywords. That’s the popular way to “create” content. From the Caffeinated WP Autoblog site (very funny): “One of the biggest drawbacks to traditional blogging is the time required to create new content whether you write your own or re-write someone else’s…..” The gist of this product intro is: why not use this auto generator loaded with your niche keywords to poach content from the web?

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