Definitely I support Robin,and I also think it's a business to do fulltime job to build RSS feeds for others' web site.
I do have a blog call "3rd Party Feeds" to collect and publish such kind of feeds,I call it "Third Party Feeds".
I think many web1.0 site owners would not embrace the RSS technology, for worrying about loss of traffic and pageview.They're,to some extent,the barrier to a newer,more promising internet.
Sure web sites' traffic maybe suffer from RSS feeds.But it's a trend,and RSS will bring a new,more promising internet.So, if more people are doing jobs like Robin,this future internet will come to us more quickly.Maybe you call it web2.0.
Also sure traffic decline of a web sites would result in a collapse of current business model most web sites are adopting nowadays(more traffic,more adverts).But better model will come when the old one collapses,I believe .
Can I Publish Your Content In RSS?
ConferencingNews.com publisher John Rourke has written me to manifest his dismay caused by my having announced the creation of a free RSS newsfeed for the aggregated news headlines published on ConferencingNews.com home page.
In a public comment to my post informing readers about the availability of these new RSS feeds (I have created one also for RSS-less ConferZone.com), the publisher of ConferencingNews.com, John Rourke writes:
"Robin, I'm both honored and dismayed that you've chosen to take our content and use it in an RSS feed.
Honored because it's evident that the conferencing news headline content we aggregrate for the benefit of the industry is perceived as valuable;
dismayed because you didn't even bother to get permission to do that."
He goes on to say:
"The main point here, of course, is that Conferencing News would not provide the valuable information we deliver if we weren't remunerated for our efforts, which includes the development and daily operation of our content-aggregation system.
We, and our advertisers who make our content distribution possible, do not benefit from your unilateral decision to take our hand-picked headlines and distribute them via RSS, as none or our advertising shows up with your RSS feed.
Remember, Robin, we are an aggregator of headline news content, not an originator.
Lastly, in the vein of good manners in cyberspace, please engage in a dialogue with us and get permission before you go off and re-distribute our content that we've worked hard to create and distribute.
For now we'll keep your RSS working, but if we don't see many new site visitors at ConferencingNews.com because you've siphoned viewers off to see non-sponsored headline news pages, we'll turn the feed off.
Continued success with Kolabora. We enjoyed reading it, and it's good to see you too enjoy the support of advertisers on your website.
publisher - CN"
I apologize, if I broke some legal rule or etiquette I wasn't aware of. I thought presents and useful surprises didn't need official announcements, but I guess we see business and our roles within it in two diametrically opposite ways.
I am here trying to provide an optional extra service to readers, old and new of ConferencingNews.com, without getting paid for it or taking direct commercial advantage of this in any way. I have actually invested a little money to make this possible.
What are you here for?
Which is your competence and purpose in this industry:
a) to aggregate and hand-select vauable and credible industry news
b) taking readers hostage of your site, by using frames, not providing links in your email updates and selling our eyeballs to your big ad spenders?
John, I will be honest, as I try to be all the time: My natural intention was one of doing a favour to the readers of your news which I do consider my friends too.
This way, if they want, they can receive the ConferencingNews headlines you have selected for them inside their RSS newsreader or aggregator.
You can still add some contextual ads, affiliate links and sponsorship to such an RSS feed and expand your ability to monetize the value you are creating without forcing your readers to come daily to your site. I am in fact surprised to see you not wanting to take advantage of all these extra options that may allow you to further augment your profit-making efforts.
Mr Rourke, readers drive the marketplace you are in, and I think it will prove hard for you to keep on forcing ads on people while you simply put together headlines we can all access ad-free any day by simply creating a Google email alert set for the word "web conferencing".
But let me be more precise about this and please allow me to take your kind reply for a little point-by-point clarification:
"Robin, ...you've chosen to take our content..."
Point 1. Mr Rourke, let's play out this exchange with fair play. The selection and order of the headlines you publish maybe yours, but not the actual content of those headlines or the pages which you frame, lock and link to.
Point 2. Also, I am not doing anything that anyone else can do as well: creating an RSS feed out of a site, or tracking its updates through a news monitoring service like WatchThatPage.com is a kid's game, and in most cases you don't have to pay anything to do so.
Point 3. So, are you saying that you would have preferred me not to promote the existence of this useful, optional access to your news publicly, because you are afraid that this is going to decrease the page views to your site? (if people can read the news on their RSS feed, they don't need to go to ConferencingNews.com home page, that is right. They can just click-through the items they are interested in, altogether avoiding the banner-rich ConferencingNews.com home page. This is clearly not what ConferencingNews.com wants you to do, as even in their own daily email updates, they make very sure you have no links to click-through for each headline, and you can only click to a link leading back to their home page. You are basically captive of ConferencingNews advertising interests.) If this is so, then may I ask in what business are you in? Are you really a true and credible clearinghouse for the web conferencing industry news or are you captivating users in whichever industry you decide to attack, feeding them content aggregated elsewhere, forcing exposure to multiple ads without allowing surfing out of your site when clicking a clearly labeled external source link?
Point 4. If you are in the web conferencing industry reporting business, where are the other sources?
I do agree that if, on the other hand, you are trying to sell advertising space while leveraging the great flow of web conferencing PR releases and prepackaged marketing news stories, you are doing a hell of a great job of this.
"Honored because it's evident that the conferencing news headline content we aggregrate for the benefit of the industry is perceived as valuable;"
"...dismayed because you didn't even bother to get permission to do that."
Point 5. Mr Rourke, let me acknowledge your right complaint about my missed permission request. I must thank you publicly for having been so generous to implicitly grant me such right in your public reply and for not having turned off the RSS feed I have created for your readers (by the way, how would you do that? Just curious.)
Point 6. On the other hand let me ask you: I have been wondering why you never have asked permission to exclude any and all of Kolabora.com hundreds of web conferencing news posts from your industry aggregation news ticker?
Is it because we don't carry enough PR-talk stuff?
Or because you are only paying lip-service to those who can pay PR agencies and marketing fluff?
Please let us know.
"This, after we just recently interviewed you on Conferencing News and got you new exposure to our readers."
Point 7. You must be kidding. I thought ConferencingNews.com did interviews to people that it thought were of relevant to its readers. I didn't come asking to be covered.
Are you saying that I am now morally indebted to ConferencingNews.com because you guys finally did a Good interview?
You seem too easily to forget that it was Robin Good that first, and without asking anything in exchange, covered your resource and even published an extensive interview with your former Chief Editor Bonnie Belvedere.
"The main point here, of course, is that Conferencing News would not provide the valuable information we deliver if we weren't remunerated for our efforts, which includes the development and daily operation of our content-aggregation system."
Point 8. Just to make things a bit clear, otherwise people may really think you are running a business that requires complex technology or human resources to be maintained.
To create a clone of your site news headlines system it takes about two hours time. There is no need for maintenance and the manual selection job (not really necessary to get the type of headlines you are offering to your readers) is at most 30 minutes a day. If that is not your experience we can show you how this can be made so inexpensive and effective in very little time.
"We, and our advertisers who make our content distribution possible, do not benefit from your unilateral decision to take our hand-picked headlines and distribute them via RSS, as none or our advertising shows up with your RSS feed."
Point 9. So are they hand-picked or are they automatically aggregated?
Point 10. You seem not to appreciate the fact that I have no special control over RSS, and as I have done, so can everybody else do the same without making a big fuss about it. Wouldn't you?
"...distribute them via RSS"
Point 11. I am not distributing anything as RSS is built on the very opposite concept of traditional mass distribution. I have only made an extra option available to your readers.
It is up to them to your readers whether they prefer to read your headlines by having to come to your site or by simply reading them inside My Yahoo or Bloglines.
Point 12. One other great opportunity you may want to pass over is the fact that with your RSS feed you could now add visibility and exposure throughout the blogosphere for the content you are aggregating. By submitting, like I have done for you at Bloglines, the CN RSS feed to the major RSS search engines and directories, people searching through RSS-based content will be able to find and access your content headlines.
Point 13. Also, please reflect more on your unfounded fears. If people read your news headlines through the feed that have I created for you, and if they trust the news sources that you are using and redistributing, they will positively click through those news items that have interest to them.
Unfortunately you will be not be able to track these new visitors clicking from their newsreaders, unless they do so from a Web-based aggregator like the ones mentioned above.
"Remember, Robin, we are an aggregator of headline news content, not an originator."
Point 14. On the other hand remember this: my name is Robin Good and I am here see things played out right.
I honour credibility, transparency, good content, smart and intelligent ways to monetize good services and to help others become your allies, not your prisoners.
If you are here getting rich quick by throwing ads and frames or by forcing us to see news the way you think we should, I am here to give you a hard time.
Point 15. Kolabora.com supports companies that have people, technology and prices that speak by themselves. They are so good that they don't need to intrude on my reading research with banner ads and pop-ups.
The readers of Kolabora.com are people both in the industry and outside that want to see better tools being created, and more understanding of how this can be achieved for the benefit of all.
Point 16. I am here because I don't want advertisers throwing more ads down our throat and cluttering pages with stuff I may not be interested in.
"Lastly, in the vein of good manners in cyberspace, please engage in a dialogue with us and get permission before you go off and re-distribute our content that we've worked hard to create and distribute."
Point 17. The conversation is here and I have been inviting you from the very beginning to become part of it, instead of being just a relayer.
"For now we'll keep your RSS working, but if we don't see many new site visitors at ConferencingNews.com because you've siphoned viewers off to see non-sponsored headline news pages, we'll turn the feed off."
Point 18. You don't own it.
And you can't turn it off.
Point 19. You can just say as politely as you have been so far, that you prefer your readers NOT to have an option to how they get their headlines from you and that you want to ENFORCE in any way you can that they visit INDECENTLY FRAMED (YOU CALL IT SPONSORED) content that you do not even own, or have paid for.
You prohibit your readers from freely accessing the very own sources that have created that content, excluding from your framing bar any option to turn it off.
Say that openly and I can turn that RSS feed off for you in a split second. But be honest and upfront about this at least.
Point 20. It was my humble understanding that framing other people's content for whatever reason was not something ethically acceptable, especially when you are monetizing that very content in one way or another.
I am sure you have full license agreements in place with all of those content providers and I am pretty sure that they are all very happy to see ConferencingNews.com framing their content for the noble purpose of tracking and keeping visitors on YOUR site.
Point 21. For me and a growing number of people who don't invest in these technologies as stocks, but who spend large amounts of time to use them, study them and learn more about them, this is increasingly perceived as cheating.
Point 22. You may want to take the time to re-evaluate what is really the best way to monetize content on your site while being fair and generous to your loyal readers.
"Continued success with Kolabora. We enjoyed reading it, and it's good to see you too enjoy the support of advertisers on your website. Regards, John Rourke publisher - CN"
Point 23. Thank you. By the way, we are looking to do away with traditional advertisers as such.
The new online publishing trends clearly indicate that people are not only tired with banners and flashing promotions everywhere, but they doubt the credibility of the many companies pushing that communication model.
Point 24. Thanks for having given me this opportunity to state things as I see them, and please feel free to respond publicly to them in this space (or anywhere else you prefer).
Point 25. Finally, you may want to look into some of the legal issues I have made available here below and give us some clear explanation (as I don't see on your site) of how you have arranged permissions and rights to both aggregate and then frame external content on your site.
This could be of great value to other online publishers who may want to better understand how can they themselves capitalize on your content publishing approach.
"Internet Legal Issues: Framing
© Copyright 1999 Lloyd L. Rich
A technique frequently used on the World Wide Web is "framing".
The frames may contain either highlighted URL addresses of other Web pages that are intended to be "selected" by the framing page user or other pages within the same Web site.
Through hyperlinking frames enable a user to simultaneously view different Web site locations within a framed area on a single computer screen and without losing the user's connection to the framing page site.
Furthermore, the URL address contained in the user's browser continues to display only the address of the framing page.
A Web site owner should be aware that their are a number of legal issues raised by framing and including frames on your Web site and that many of these legal issues have still not been resolved.
These legal issues could include copyright and trademark infringement, unfair competition, commercial misappropriation, breach of contract, tortious interference, fraud, defamation, right of privacy and right of publicity.
Legal Issues Involved with Framing
The use of framing technology was a central issue in the Washington Post v. TotalNews case that was settled a few years ago whereby several prominent news organizations, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and CNN brought a lawsuit against the Web-based news gathering site TotalNews.
TotalNews was using frame technology and hyperlinking to display the news organizations' information on the TotalNews Web site and was surrounding the frames with its own advertising.
The news organizations asserted the following claims against TotalNews:
The news organizations claimed that the TotalNews site "unfairly misappropriated valuable commercial property" by "[taking] the entire commercial value of the news reported at each site and literally selling it to others for TotalNews' own profit."
Federal trademark infringement and dilution.
The news organizations under both federal and state laws claimed that the TotalNews site "dilute[d] and detract[ed] from the distinctiveness of [the news organizations'] famous trademarks." They also alleged that the TotalNews site was "likely to cause confusion and mistake and to deceive customers as to the source or origin of the content and advertising depicted at [TotalNews'] Web site."
The news organizations claimed that the TotalNews site violated "several . . . exclusive rights . . . belonging to the [news organizations] as owners of the copyrights in their respective content and Web sites, ... ."
There are a many ways by which framing could constitute copyright infringement of a linked site's copyrightable material.
The reproduction right may be infringed when a linked page is locally cached for the purpose of framing without the copyright owner's permission.
The adaptation right could be infringed if the framed work is an unauthorized derivative work of the linked page.
The public distribution, display and performance rights could also be infringed because the linking site in an unauthorized manner has altered the distribution, display or performance of the linked site's content by framing that content.
TotalNews may have been most at risk with regard to potential copyright infringement liability for its creation of a derivative work that distorted and altered the way in which users viewed the news organizations' content in the following manner:
(1) The TotalNews frame did not display the entire news organizations' computer screen as would have been the case if that screen had been accessed directly and not through the TotalNews Web page by the user,
(2) the TotalNews frame surrounded the news organizations' content with TotalNews' own advertising and logo and
(3) the Total News URL and not the news organizations was retained in the browser address field when the news organizations content was displayed on the TotalNews page.
Violation of advertising laws; deceptive practices; and unfair competition.
The news organizations claimed that the TotalNews 's site was "likely to cause and [had] caused consumers mistakenly to believe that ... [TotalNews had] an affiliation with [the news organizations], or [was] sponsored or approved of by [the news organizations], or [was] otherwise associated with or [had] obtained permission from [the news organizations]."
The TotalNews lawsuit was settled and the terms of the settlement provided, among other things, that TotalNews would stop framing the news organizations' Web sites, and that TotalNews would only link to the news organizations' sites with permission.
Mr Rourke, would you be so kind to explain and clarify publicly how your framing strategy at ConferencingNews.com is substantially unrelated to the one described above?
Could you kindly take the list of above listed alleged claims and explain how you are not performing most of the same legal breaches that Total News was prosecuted for?
In all cases here is some official legal advice:
GUIDELINES FOR FRAMING
... if you intend to use framing technology on your Web site you should evaluate its use and you may want to take the following precautions.
- Do not frame a linked page within your Web sites advertising.
- Obtain permission to frame the content from another Web site on your Web site.
- Be careful about using your URL in the address portion of the browser if the content that is being displayed is from another Web site.
For more details and professional consulting advice please see this excellent article from where the above content has been excerpted:
Internet Legal Issues: Framing
© Copyright 1999 Lloyd L. Rich
"However, framing has different legal consequences from mere linking.
Framing can constitute unfair competition or trademark infringement, because you are "passing off" material from another site as your own, implying an association between companies that does not actually exist, and gaining additional traffic for your site (from people who want to see the "framed" content).
[and maybe even increasing your site's revenues, for instance if you have advertisers who pay on the basis of the number of times their advertisement is viewed.] ."
Source: Legal Issues Relating To Publishing In New Media March 1999
Chapter III. Legal Problems of Domain Names
Section C. Linking, Framing, and Caching
by Dana Shilling, JD, ©1999, by American Business Press.
Where do you stand?
Definitely I support Robin,and I also think it's a business to do fulltime job to build RSS feeds for others' web site.
Wired magazine has a good article on how advertising is making it's way into RSS streams.
This will bring in more arguments in the debate. Will creating a "advert" free version of a RSS stream be legal?
When will the first RSS add filters appear?
I believe that David Thomas is correct and Doug has missed the point. If a blogger, blogrolls a link to another site or to another blog has he stolen that blog's content? On the other hand, framers do steal content.
It seems to me that unless Rourke has received permission from all those websites which he frames, that he is the only content stealer in this situation. Good's feed only directs people to the content.
To expand on Thomas' point concerning google. In my weekly web-based newsletter, I frequently first learn of an article's existence from a blogger or from news.google.com or elsewhere - but unless the intermediate source contains valuable content - my newsletter links only to the original source material. (Examples of exceptions would be a summary of highly technical content for general consumption or quality commentary on the source material such as what is frequently posted by Robin Good.)
Now, my question to Rourke and Doug is this: Have I stolen content from the blogger or the news search engine because I bypassed an intermediate linker?
I don't think so.
Newsmaster: Driven By Success
I'm with you Robin. I'm all for RSS feeds. I love them. I can keep up with so many more sites that way.
And if Conferencing News isn't producing any original content, their moment in the spotlight may be passing. But that's not your fault. In fact, they are getting plenty of publicity from this little spat.
I do use RSS feeds in order not to check the front page of sites I like as often. But, if I see something I'm interested in, I visit. More often. Much more often. Much, much more often. so, for me at least, RSS feeds bring me to sites that I like, rather than keeping me away.
I use my RSS reader software more than bookmarks these days. I've begun to create my own feeds for sites that don't have them (but haven't published them). So get used to it. People will create feeds if you don't provide them. You can't control the user so much any more. Sounds like ConferencingNews.com needs to revisit their strategy if they want to stay ahead of the game.
Content? I thought all RSS was just LINKS TO content...and not content itself? If I place links to ANY website...I'm not stealing content, just placing a link.
Also, does Mr Rourke consider Google as stealing his content? When any search engine sweeps a site, it takes links AND part of the written content! Now, do I hear any grumbles about THAT kind of distribution?
It ALL boils down to what's considered 'content'...links TO the content, is NOT content.
Believe me, RSS is here to stay.
I agree that Rourke failed to extend a common courtesy when he didn't email you privately, but posted publicly, regarding his beef with the RSS feed you created.
That said, I think that he is in the right on this issue.
You made the point:
Point 8. Just to make things a bit clear...
To create a clone of your site news headlines system it takes about two hours time.
Then why not create a clone of his site?
If he has spent two hours, or two months, creating the site it is still *his* site. To do with as *he* pleases.
It is obvious that he is trying to make some money off the advertising. Offering his content elsewhere for free, if not "unethical", is somehwat rude. *He* has taken the initiative to get the site up and running, you haven't.
Now, if you want to take the initiative to create a similar site which serves the same purpose, more power to you.