This blog is not a high-traffic website. Nevertheless, there are some interesting sites that pop up in my referrer logs every now and then (and the fact that this site isn't high-traffic allows me to explore many of these interesting referrers).
One such referrer is a site called Stuff On Demand. But unlike other blogs, this blog simply posts the entire content of my RSS feed and other RSS feeds. No original content of its own. To the casual observer, it would seem that Stuff On Demand is the original author of the content on their website, although it must be said that the website does provide a citation.
Stuff On Demand isn't the only site on the web doing this. Far from it. My blog alone, tiny as it is, has popped up on at least two other such websites. I imagine the effect is magnified for other bigger blogs.
Now, let me ask: is what they are doing wrong? Or conversely, is what they are doing desirable? Is there any way in which to stop people from doing this? Or can one encourage this somehow? Is there a happy mean?
I think the answers depend on who you are and what you hope to achieve by putting content out there. I know some bloggers dislike this kind of syndication.
For the case of my own blog, my objectives are simple -- learn from others, get some exposure, think and write better, and use the blog as an extension of my memory. Directly monetising my content or trying to corrall users into my website is of little importance. So I don't mind the fact that my blog is being reproduced on websites elsewhere, even if it seems to the casual reader that a particular piece of content belongs to someone else's site and not mine.
Apart from the fact that I don't care about monetising what I write, only about building my reputation, there's one other reason I am indifferent to this kind of syndication: websites that automatically post other people's blogs on their own websites usually use RSS to grab content. In my particular case, I have limited my RSS feed to only show a small excerpt of each blog post. Of course, this doesn't stop someone from copy-pasting my blog posts onto his site, but that would be horribly inefficient and not really scalable.
But there's another reason I would encourage people to go ahead and copy-paste my blog onto their websites (as long as authorship is properly attributed; see here), and this reason is a matter of principle: many people much smarter than I believe that the music industry for one is foolish to try and shut down P2P. I have made some smart-alec remarks of my own which aren't particularly flattering to the record companies. Now having taken that stand, it would be hypocritical and intellectually dishonest of me not to apply the same lesson to my own content. After all, syndication is analogous to P2P distribution and content is content, never mind whether it is in the form of music or blog postings. So syndication is just another way for me to reach an audience.
And even if I felt comfortable being hypocritical, that still doesn't address the point that I myself preach -- that P2P can be beneficial to content authors. If I wanted to be hypocritical that would be fine. But if I wanted to give myself a raw deal by not taking advantage of the very phenomenon that I advocate to others, that would be pure foolishness.
So, Mr Stuff On Demand Administrator and others, I hope you continue to consider my blog worthy of mention on your site. Except that I wish sites like yours would increase the visibility you give to the original post authors and make it clear that the content is not authored by you.