Ok, I’m pissed. Or maybe I’m actually not. We’ll see where I am by the end of this post.

But I started out pissed. I was just perusing my web stats as I am sometimes wont to do and I discovered a new referring site called Poker reBlog. As I’m always curious to see who has linked to me, I hopped on over to check it out and discovered a meta-blog that was listing posts from all the usual suspects in the poker blogging world. It provides a short blurb and then a link to read the post at the corresponding site. I was little iffy that this person was running a site driven by other people’s content (without even asking) but then I noticed that they were also advertising. Not only that, they were taking offers for additional advertising. At this I got really pissed off and immediately started this post.

Now, in the few minutes it took me to write this post, I’m a little less certain that it’s clearcut wrong. Certainly many sites (such as Slashdot) make their living referring to stories posted at other sources. And many of them have paid advertisements. I know Iggy doesn’t publish an RSS feed because he fears his content being reused in this way. But the site is up front about it reusing others’ blog posts and only provides a small introductory paragraph and a link to the originating site, even if the RSS feed provides the full story. So people using the service will still be driven to the appropriate blogs, who can choose to use that traffic to endeavor to profit themselves.

My first reaction was to send an angry email asking for all references to my site be removed and follow it with an angry post here pointing out this site. On closer examination, I can see that the sitemaster actually points out some of the higher quality posts from across the poker blogging community and tries to categorize them appropriately. It’s not just an RSS parser that rips other people’s content off the web trying to make a quick buck. There is an actual service – that some people may even find valuable – being offered. And if it nets me a few additional readers visiting the site, I’m not going to complain

However, I am curious to see what other people think of it. Or if anyone has been using it for their poker fix.

13 Responses to “Pissed”

  1. AlCantHang says:

    I had the exact same reaction as you. Initially I was pretty steamed but backed off a bit when I realized the link was back to my site. Makes you wonder what sites we don’t know about. The only reason this site was found was because it had a valid link / referral back to the real blog.

  2. tp says:

    Actually, that’s a very good point. If he hadn’t linked back here, I’d never have heard about it. Might have to start putting together some google searches from some of my more unique posts.

  3. Poker Reblog says:

    TP, as the “sole proprietor” of the site in question, I appreciate your more measured view on my site. Allow me to clear up a few misconceptions about my little experiment.

    I started it because the concept of reblogging is interesting to me, mostly because the reblogger essentially acts as a filter. Right now I monitor about 100 poker blogs. If you trust my judgement, theres no reason for you to have to read all 100 of those blogs. You may still want to read Pauly and Iggy and AlCantHang, but do you really want to read every entry of “My exploits through the world of low limit poker” [no offense]? Probably not. We do this normally in our “real lives” – and it allows us to consume a great deal of relevant information. My point is, I think my silly little site can be of some help not only to the newbie, but to those involved in the community as well.

    As to your ponderings above, the website itself is an afterthought: a way to be found in Google. The way I envision people reading it is via RSS in their newsreader of choice, and if you do read it that way, you’ll see in that format there are no links to anything but the original sites. There is no reason to ever come back to Poker reBlog a second time. As to the ads: it costs me an insignificant amount of money, and a medium amount of time to run the site. If I can make back a few bucks, thats great. Are they successful? Of course not.

    And Al, if that was you I had a rather heated email exchange with a couple weeks ago, I hope we can both avoid the hard feelings in the future.


  4. tp says:

    Once I realized that there was a service being offered (blog filtering) instead of just straight feed ripping from various poker blogs, my ire faded pretty quickly. And it didn’t take long to recognize that while their were ads, it was not a huge money-making endeavour. The lack of any of the ubiquitous party/empire banners you see on any of the glut of “poker sites” popping up all over the place should have tipped me off right away.

    Your point that your site is best used as an aggregate RSS feed is a very good one. In that case, you aren’t even getting the hits. So, your work is a boon to the poker blogger community, if anything. So, all I can say is, keep up the good work.

  5. hdouble says:

    Well, there is the issue of putting an ad link directly above the individual posts. I don’t particularly like seeing this:

    Fighting through the grind
    The Cards Speak: Poker Blog (HDouble)
    0 CommentsJun 4, 2004: 09:54 PM
    AD: Pacific Poker: Where the Fishes are.

    I think the reBlog idea is good, but it would have been nice if the site owner would have at least asked permission to rePost, or give something back to the people providing the content that makes up his site. After all, every referral he gets is one less that the blogger community gets. I believe that reBlog does provide a service, but a service far less valuable than those who create the original content.

    It’s a good idea, but it makes me feel a bit violated when people use my original thoughts to make a buck.

  6. iggy says:

    my humble two cents.

    al, you have no idea how many sites are out there ripping us off. it’s ridiculous.

    d, the reblogger – that was me flaming you in email. and even though it seems silly now (i apologize for the harsh words) i still stand by my original point that you are attempting to earn money off the VERY hard work of others. if you are really interested in helping the poker blog community, why don’t you just start your own blog and run all the ads your little heart desires? i consider what you do to be THEFT, at least regarding my own blog. others can and do think differently. if you had emailed and asked permission, i prolly woulda said, sure, go ahead, link me up. but you didn’t.

    hell, i like the idea of a meta-blog. something that ‘suited trash’ started and stopped. at least there you are actually writing and contributing instead of just using other people’s writings to support your own agenda.

    this being said, i respect the fact that you are explaining yourself, unlike many other site owners out there that i ultimately have to call and cajole. at this point, i don’t care anymore. there’s too many thieves out there to fight on my own.

  7. Poker Reblog says:

    some notes on the comments:

    “I believe that reBlog does provide a service, but a service far less valuable than those who create the original content.”

    I’m thinking of using this a tagline, if you’ll permit. It sums up how I feel almost exactly.

    iggy: I am not a thief and am starting to get pretty pissed at your attempts to brand me as such. Its not only rude, its wrong.

  8. iggy says:

    i should have clarified that yes, it’s nice that you actually provide links back to the sites you are stealing from. the real scammers don’t do that.

    but you are *both* doing the same thing from a seo perspective – using other people’s content to gain traffic, and hopefully, reap monetary rewards.

    david, we’ve been down this road before. as i’ve said previously, it’s not as if you are an altruistic web hippy, doing all of us poker bloggers a favor by linking to our sites.

    i’ll bet you don’t even play poker. that’s why you won’t start your own poker blog? please just admit that you are an seo guy – looking to make a few bucks utilizing others hard work.

    what is the difference between you and your keyword laden domain name (which has nothing to do with your site’s actual content) and from black hat seo’s who use blogbomb and steal our content? i’m curious…..

  9. iggy says:

    addendum: here is my definition of stealing:

    To take (the property of another) without permission.

    Per my blog used in your site, surrounded by ads, that’s exactly how I feel. You never asked permission and took. Is your definition of stealing perhaps different than mine?

    I really don’t care, to be honest. So don’t get your panties worked into a bunch. I’m sure you rationalized your behavior a long time ago. Just don’t pretend you are doing us all a favor.

  10. Felicia says:

    I’m with Hank in the fact that the real thing that bugs me is the ad link. It almost “looks” like you you have to PAY (click the ad), in order to read the content. That gives the impression that not only is our stuff being stolen, but then a casual reader is required to pay, in order to read our stories. Bad, bad impression. Leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

  11. Poker Prof says:

    Well, I’ve noticed this site also, and basically I don’t think it’s harmful, though I could be wrong. “D” (David?) pointed out hat he monitors 100 blogs, if this is true then that is a bit of work in and of itself, heck some days I don’t make it all the way through my blogroll and it’s only about 25 blogs, but this “work” is not enough to garner attention/readers from the existing channels to market. This site has almost no page rank/search engine placement at this time, no one links to it, so this site won’t usurp actual blogger sites in search engines. In fact the only mention I ever see is when a blogger notes a hit from it and posts. Now if every poker blogger in the community links to the reblog this could pose a “problem” in that the re-blog could receive higher search engine placement then the cited blogs; thus, hording the communities traffic. However, this is very unlikely to happen for a couple of reasons, one I doubt too many people will permalink to a meta-feed when they can peralink to the bloggers doing the work instead. Two, every blogger I know gives props and pimpage when they run across cool content, so the “good” posts that “D” is working to find are already getting passed around by bloggers who “re-blog” these posts AND provide original content. So this site is a non-entity to the search engines and will likely stay that way. So, in order to promote poker re-blog it will likely have to be promoted outside the existing community, which would mean new readers for the blogs, which would be good. In terms of ‘stealing’ readership or revenue…. Sashdot always comes to mind on the page were you can Download the the Slashcode with the question “What if I set up a clone of Slashdot with this code?” Slashdot answer: “Go For It”. So if “D” wants to post my content in this manner and keeps within the CC license heh, “Go for It”.

    I really hope it works and gets us bloggers a new hoard of readers :D

    And besides, by not linking to the site the blogging community can effectively shun it. And if it’s get too anooying it can always be blocked a la .htaccess or server vars.

    Cheers and cool topic :)

  12. Poker Reblog says:

    Iggy – I’ve tried very hard to keep a civil tone while dealing with you, and I would be most appreciative if you could do the same with me. If you’d like this to degenerate into a flame war, i’m sure we could make that happen, but what would the use of that be? For those interested, I’m not an SEO guy and I do play a bit of poker at the $25 no limit tables at Party – shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to play with you, which should be good for your bankroll.

    As to the merits of your argument, I would suspect you also have a bit of an issue with google, and hope you have sent them a strongly worded letter. After all, they link to your blog [#1 search result for “poker blog”], providing a short excerpt, often with ads right next to it [and yes, I know there are no ads running as of this writing]. While I’m being a bit facetious, my point is that linking to content and providing ads to recoup costs isn’t something I thought up, and isn’t the pariah of the web. I don’t come close to breaking any copyright laws. And, I actually read the things you all write [although, I seriously wish sometimes I hadn’t]. That this argument also ignores my point that the site is meant to be read via RSS, is barely worth mentioning.

    That being said, If you’d prefer I not read what you have to say, it will be my pleasure to remove you from my list [iggy – you’re already not there]. If you’d like to do the same thing I do [reblog], I can set you up the software [a heavily customized versions of Eyebeam R+D’s creation], or you can download it yourself from them. If you’d like to see the uses of reBlogging in other fields, check out http://www.informationdesign.org/ and http://www.eyebeam.org/reblog/.

    –d [and yes, it’s David]

  13. Tyler says:

    This issue has been examined before. It was decided that linking to someone elses content is not copywrite infringment, because you are reporting the existence and location of information. That would be like saying Google is making money off the hard work of others by linking to their sites.

    I can understand the initial reaction, however, I’ve had a story of my own ripped off and seen it appear on site after site. Which is wierd, because it was a terrible story. If you’re interested in how horrible the story is, search for Angels and Provick on Google, first result. The fact that it’s still on 2 different sites (neither of which is the site I originally submitted it to) blows my mind.