5 Reasons Why Autoblogging Sucks

Recently, I read an article promoting five of the “best” autoblogging plugins for WordPress. I normally don’t write response type posts, but I just felt that I had to chime in and offer my two cents on this one!

For those who don’t know what autoblogging is, it’s basically exactly what it sounds like – having the content on your blog generated automatically. This may sound like an incredible and liberating innovation to the uninitiated. After all, this blogging thing is a tough gig. Who wouldn’t want to free up a few extra hours by minimizing the time you spend preparing your content?

Don’t be deceived, though. Autoblogging sucks. It sucks for the blogger. It sucks for the reader. It most certainly sucks for people whose work is being ripped off. Basically, you should simply avoid it altogether. Here are 5 good reasons why.

It’s Stealing

If you’re wondering how a WordPress plugin can possibly generate content automatically, it’s really pretty simple – it doesn’t. At least, it doesn’t generate unique content. The plugin basically goes out, crawls through a collection of predetermined RSS feeds, grabs the content and posts it your blog. Sometimes it may add a link back to the source, but other times the work goes completely uncited, making it appear as though the content is entirely unique!

No matter how you cut it, this is content theft and completely inappropriate.

I’ve been victimized by this very thing before, with my articles here on SpyreStudios, articles on other major blogs, and even content from my own Echo Enduring Blog. I work very hard coming up with unique and interesting articles that I think readers will enjoy. I put a lot of thought into the content and word choice, and spend time seeking out supporting images or creating screenshots for tutorials.

I am also very particular about the sites that I write for. I love being an author here on SpyreStudios because I know it’s a great site, with a high commitment to quality and a strong dedication to its contributors. The same is also true of the other sites that I write for.

So, it is particularly angering and frustrating to find my articles stolen and republished without permission on poorly implemented, sub-quality sites. In many ways I feel like it cheapens my work.

Now, there is an argument that because I provide a full RSS feed, I am basically sanctioning my articles for republication. That’s just not true. The content is still mine (or Spyre’s, in this case), and permission is still required to reproduce it, and neither I nor Jon nor any of the other blogs I write for have expressed any level of permission for reproducing our content.

Just because someone leaves their car on to run into the store, doesn’t mean they are giving you an invitation to get in and drive away. That’s still stealing, and so is autoblogging!

It’s Not Blogging

Despite the name, autoblogging is not really blogging at all. Running a blog is about producing content for your readers. That content may be articles, photographs, videos, audio, art or something else entirely. The point, however, is that it’s yours – or at least something that has been produced on your behalf.

Autoblogging doesn’t involve producing anything. It’s a simple regurgitation of content that has already been published and, given the prevalence of this great evil, which has probably also been published in a dozen other places too!

How then can it possibly be called real blogging?

Then there’s the issue of community. One of the greatest things to have emerged out of the blog revolution is the emphasis on interaction. Almost every blog has some degree of functionality to facilitate posting comments, thus fostering discussion between the author and their readers. It is (at least partially) this dialogue that helps to build real value for a site. Visitors are more likely to become returning readers when they feel that their voices can be heard, and that they are a part of the site’s community.

Autoblogging doesn’t offer any of this. Even if the site does have a comments section, it is usually completely empty, or else has one or two meaningless comments that accomplish nothing at all.

It’s Still Stealing

I can’t put enough emphasis on the fact that autoblogging is a form of theft, but it goes even beyond just content theft. More often than not, articles are literally stolen and posted “as is”, with all of the original URLs are left in place. This means that every time one of these articles is viewed, all of the images are being downloaded from the original site.

Altogether, this results in another form of stealing – bandwidth theft. When an autoblogged article hotlinks all of the its images, it’s left up to the original source to actually serve these images up, eating up precious bandwidth!

If one article proves particularly popular and gets stolen by multiple sites and contains a lot of large images (perhaps a tutorial with many screenshots), this could certainly put a significant strain on the original server, possibly even resulting in increased operating costs for the owner.

Even if you’re not autoblogging, you should avoid hot linking. Unless you have explicit permission, it’s just not nice to eat up other people’s bandwidth to display images (or worse, video) on your own site.

It’s All About Money

One of the primary reasons that people implement autoblogging is to keep “fresh” content on their site, usually for the purposes of SEO. Of course, the content isn’t fresh at all, but the idea is to try to achieve some of the benefits of SEO to bring more people to the site through search results. And, of course, there is only one reason that these site owners want any visitors at all:

To make money.

That’s it. They may try to do this by selling advertising space, though even that might be a bit dubious. What legitimate advertiser would really want to advertise on a site built entirely on stolen content? They may also try to make money through various affiliate programs, using banner ads to link to well known sites and taking a commission of anything that is actually sold.

Regardless of how it’s done, the fact remains that the whole purpose of the site is just to build money, and that’s ultimately pretty transparent. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a bit of extra money off of your blog. There isn’t even anything wrong with starting a site with the specific purpose of making money – it just has to be paired with a legitimate effort to provide unique and meaningful content.

Otherwise, the site won’t be that different from the guy selling stolen jewlery or electronics out of the trunk of this car, and that’s extremely sketchy.

It’s a Small World

The internet is certainly a big place, but probably not as big as you might think. There may be millions and millions of users out there, but there are also these things that you may have heard of. They are called niches, and are especially common in the blogging world. A niche is essentially a pocket of like-minded people who share an interest in a common subject. Design is one large niche. Web design is a more specific sub niche, and CSS is still more specific.

The more focused a niche is, the smaller the community surrounding it, which means that a lot of the same people are reading, writing, commenting on and discussing the same blogs. People remember what they’ve read too, which means that any articles harvested from RSS feeds through autoblogging will very likely be recognized by readers.

I know that I’ve found and identified articles from sites other than my own being reproduced through autoblogging. Even though they’re not my articles, I still get annoyed because I actively read and support many of the original source sites. In some cases, I even know and communicate with their owners, so it’s almost like witnessing a friend being robbed!

Setting my own feelings aside (as much as possible in such a discussion), it’s a safe bet to assume that stolen articles will be recognized eventually, which does nothing but harm a site’s online reputation.

Acceptable Automatically Generated Content?

As I mentioned at the beginning, I can certainly see the initial appeal of automatically generated content being posted on your blog. I just have a real problem with this practice when the content is being ripped off of other sites.

That being said, I can envision one form of autoblogging that I would find more acceptable. That would be any sort of application that would automatically collect and publish a roundup of your own activity on the internet over a period of time.

One example might be a plugin that could look at all of your tweets from the last week and, using some combination of API and analytics, build a post featuring the best 20. You could also integrate your bookmarks on Delicious, your Stumbles or Diggs. The point is that the only acceptable form of autoblogging (at least in my view), would be that which collects a posts your own content and activity!

Of course, if this kind of content is the only thing that is being posted, then I would still be somewhat hardpressed to call such a site a blog, since there’s still very little community or interactivity involved.

Conclusion

I’m not sure if this article will really accomplish anything, since most of the people running autoblogging sites probably couldn’t care less about the ethical implications that I’ve tried to raise. This one simple article is certainly not enough to stop them. Ironically, though, I would say that there’s a very good chance that this article itself will get picked up and autoblogged somewhere.

Just goes to show you how ridiculous the whole thing is.

I suppose that if I had one hope for this article, though, it would be to function as a warning to anyone who is just starting to blog, or at least thinking about it. As attractive as the whole concept of autoblogging might be, it’s just not worth it. If you have any ethical conviction for content or bandwidth theft, or if you are hoping to build a community around you’re website, just stay away from autoblogging completely.

Besides, even if you are looking to make a bit of money, you’ll be much better served in the long run if you just bear down, dig deep and start producing really awesome content for your readers. This is the one tried and true way to build a blog or online magazine that will have meaning and substance and the ability to endure.

Your Thoughts

I think my opinion on this whole autoblogging thing is pretty clear by now, so now it’s time for you to chime in. What are your thoughts? Do you think I am overreacting here? Do you think that there is a legitimate use for autoblogging? Please share your thoughts!

Comments

  1. says

    As you said, autoblogging sucks because it’s not even blogging at all.

    Luckily I find most of these sites die fairly quickly, at least the ones I catch stealing my content. Even if they don’t die, the “blogs” are completely void of readers. But maybe I just haven’t seen any “successful” autoblogging sites, if they do exist.

  2. Jean says

    Whoa… I didn’t even know there was such a thing as “autoblogging”.

    Boggles the mind.

  3. says

    Autoblogging is just a thing of lazy people who cannot write their own content and they just love to steal content from other blogs.

    I hate autoblogs.

  4. says

    More often than not this is going to hurt the theft rather than help them, and their PR will most likely suffer for not having original content. If you want to be successful you have to work hard at it even if that means creating your own content!

  5. says

    Hmmm…

    I can easily agree with you, because I found some of my posts also completely ‘scrapped’/auto-copy-pasted.

    A form of autoblogging I don’t have problems with and which I’m currently working on is a RSS Feed aggregator.

    5 Reasons why I think that kind of autoblogging don’t have to suck:
    -All sources are linked back properly,
    -The more the site succeeds, the more visitors they get,
    -It’s a form of compliment: kudos to your content,
    -All credits are giving to the proper owner,
    -Only the feed (what has been published externally) is used (after some layout-cleansing).

    I’m initially building it for myself to stay up-to-date with a niche (Turkish soccer) news and I need the keep my audience (of a niche forum) up to date to also.
    The beta results are here: http://gunlukfutbol.com

    And a more generic/less niche one is coming up also.

  6. says

    thanks Matt, as we all knows – the information is the key. autobloggers are almost like spammers, i think it trendy now and will die next few month.

  7. Tyson Junkers says

    I have to agree with Tschai

    Autoblogging isn’t stealing as it in no way claims to be your own. In fact a proper autoblogging plug in will finish off the article with “Read more on : XXXX” where XXXX is the original website. Now I do agree with you that its not blogging as it isn’t but if you read an article on another page and are very very excited about it, why would you spend the time rewritting what was already said??

    Also if this is stealing, then isn’t twitter completely stealing as half the tweets online are links to sites those twitter…ers didn’t write?

    So for me i guess it would be how they use the autoblogging… if its ignoring the original site then yeah its stealing, if it isn’t i’m ok with it…

  8. says

    I think this article will accomplish a lot, especially since it seems to be getting retweeted. I hadn’t heard of auto-blogging before. Other people may have heard of it, but never considered the theft and copyright infringement aspects. Next week I will be blogging about this subject, advising my clients to STAY AWAY FROM AUTOBLOGGING. Some of them persist in thinking of social networking and blogging as “systems” they have to “game.” This is one system you can’t game without compromising your ethics.

  9. says

    I never heard of autoblogging before actually but I’m definitely against it. I’ve seen plenty of times actually where bloggers would simply copy and paste content from other blogs, just out of laziness. Took one guy I know a long time to realize how bad this was and one way I got him to stop is by posting the original URL in the comments explaining that he did not write the article.

  10. says

    Hey guys! Thanks for all the the awesome comments. Glad to see that my article is opening so many eyes to the fact that autoblogging even exists.

    @Tschai – I really don’t have a problem with an RSS aggregator, which is different from a blog, and in my mind should work more like a news site.

    @Tyson – Giving credit is better than nothing, but I still maintain that it’s stealing. It would analogous to me going out and reprinting the entire Harry Potter series, repackaging it all, with just a footnote at the end saying “Original work by J.K. Rawlings”. If another blogger is excited about something I write and want to link to the article, that’s wonderful! Just explain why you like the post and maybe quote a few passages. Don’t just rip the whole thing and repost it without my permission.

    As for Twitter, it’s a whole different kind of beast. There’s nothing wrong with linking to other people’s articles, as long as you are not trying to claim them as your own – which is not something I see happening on Twitter very much anyhow.

    Keep the comments coming folks! :)

  11. says

    Autoblogging is just laziness. Just as bad are the bloggers who take articles and rewrite them sentence by sentence in their own words so it looks just a bit different to the content of someone else’s site. Hell, I have read several blogging books that tell people to do just that!

    Blogging is about people telling other people about their favourite topic. That it in a nutshell. If it isn’t your favourite topic, why do you have a blog on it?

    I rant on occasion on my blog and even more so on twitter, and I see people reposting my content, to the point where I am tempted to write a few articles on autoblogging naming the sites that are doing it to me… I wonder if they would notice their own site getting flamed by me ON their site? ;-)

    It isn’t hard to write a few blog posts and set them up to publish in the coming weeks so you have a steady flow of posts for just one days work. I do it when I have too many things to write about on one day.

  12. says

    I have a small blog, where i write some article/tutorials every year. 2 or three, no more. The most posts that y have, are reminders to my, interesting posts that i have to read but i dont have time, or that kind of stuff.

    I write a very small excerpt about every post i need to read, and i allways put the link back to the author.

    And yes, i’m with you in every point you have made.

  13. says

    I didn’t even know this kind of thing existed though thinking about it it does seem very simple to do and i can’t believe that some commentators on here seem to be standing up for it. I haven’t noticed it on any of the sites that i read but is there some sort of programe for a mac that can block access to certain sites and you could release a list of sites that do this? I don’t want to find out that one of the sites that I read steals all their content.

    Oh and how is re-tweeting a link to a site or article anything like stealing all their content and selling your own advertising.

  14. says

    I don´t agree at all. Look at news.google for example, it´s the same thing. Would you say that Google “steals” content? I would call it stealing, if someone doesn´t give credits to the source. Needless to say that an aggregated site even produces more traffic to the original source e.g. more visitors, readers, whatever. ;-)

  15. says

    As a matter of fact, blogging need not be about finding original content all the time but can be more about providing information and resources that will be helpful to the readers. Autobloging should be banned

  16. says

    Most of the autobloggers come from spam sites that use the content for their adwords links. While frustrating, I don’t think any of these sites have real readers and if they do, they’re normally pretty quick to spot the scammers.

  17. says

    Totally agree with you Matt, Definitely you’re not overreacting here. This type of thing wouldn’t be call blogging. Mostly this type thing happens to make money.

    Thanks,
    Mahijeet

  18. says

    I agree that stealing someone’s articles is just plain wrong, but, my little side project http://www.snowflix.com does something quite similar, but gathers video feeds from a select list of publicly available youtube/vimeo channels… I’m pretty sure there are some exceptions, but the actual auto-blogging tool can be quite useful – plus, I’ve had many comments saying that snowflix is a great resource!

  19. says

    I recently redesigned a site for a client that asked me to implement an auto blogging function :::

    The difference however is that he first gets the full permission of the “original” blogger ::: An automated “Author” pages is then created when the post’s are drawn (RSS) ::: I think in this setup it’s all legit :::
    See for yourself : http://www.africafreak.com/

    Cheers
    Michael

  20. says

    About the stealing part. It’s only stealing when content comes from fully copyrighted sources, but you can easily find websites that enable you to take their content and republish it on your blog. So it’s not always stealing if it’s done the right way.

    About the “it’s not blogging” part. Well that’s a difficult one. Because what is blogging? Who’s the oracle there to decide what blogging is and what it’s not? I think that you don’t really have to be the author of the content to call yourself a blogger, and if you can find a great source of free content (that will benefit your readers) then go ahead and publish it.

    What I mean here is that autoblogging is not always a bad thing. What it really does is it gives the audience more places to read the content that interests them. … and of course like everything else – only if it’s done the right way.

  21. says

    Matt, I didn’t know it was called “autoblogging” till I read your article, but I was already aware of the practice. I’ve posted some of my photos on Flickr and other “photo sharing” sites (which happen offer an RSS feed.) Lately, I’ve found my photos turning up on all sorts of web sites that never contacted me for proper permission, and certainly never offered to pay me for using my photos.

    The most annoying cases are those sites which are clearly commercial sites, intent on making a profit. They’re using my images to enhance their site, and enhance their profits, without paying a single cent to me or any other photographers they take images from. Sites like these should either be paying properly for the use of other people’s images, or they should create their own images.

    As far as I know, autoblogging of copyrighted material that is done without the explicit permission of the copyright owner is copyright infringement, and it’s a crime.

  22. says

    I found this quite interesting, and enlightening to say the least.

    To date (to my knowledge anyway) I haven’t come across any auto-blogging; however I wonder if I have always got news from the source, – perhaps not!

  23. says

    I agree with everything.

    A nice safety measure for content theft via RSS would be a special function that will parse the content before sending it via RSS, adding an h2 tag with a text like “this article’s original source is at http://etc visit the original and help kill content theft” , thus feedburner or whatever service you choose to send your feed by, will have that h2 tag after the title and before the content or wherever you choose to place it in every article shown.

    I’m sure the readers will understand that it’s only a precaution for content theft. And when an asshole (pardon the language) will steal and auto post your content from RSS it will have that h2 tag with the text there. Done this a while back for a client.

    I’m currently researching a mean to only let some robots / applications (like GoogleReader or FeedDaemon) read the feed, thus eliminating any chance for any other scripts to read the feed. Unfortunately i can only do this only if i serve the rss feed directly and not use a service like FeedBurner, although FeedBurner should implement a mean to prevent content theft. Also i don’t have enough time to research this right now, but maybe in the near future i will.

  24. says

    yup i completely with you, most people i knew doing autoblogging just for money, they want fast money, and they will loose their money fast to. And it is bad for them cause they never learn how is blogging actually

  25. says

    Wow! I had no idea they even had plugins for stealing. So not only are they lazy to come up with their own stuff, but they’re also lazy to steal people’s content. What’s next? auto-reading plugins? so if people are to lazy to read a blog, it gets read automatically?

    Blogging is a social art man! and it’s also democratic

    Thanks for sharing such a brilliant post

  26. says

    Thanks Matt for this article in response to my article “Best Autoblogging WordPress Plugins”. The purpose of that post was to inform people about plugins which they can use. Now its all up to them how they use it (positively or negatively).

    I don’t agree with you on “linking is stealing”. If this is true than you are saying all successful sites like “Mashable”, “Alltop” are stealing the content. Even you are applying this to yourself (as I can see you are using so many images which are linked to other websites :))

    I hope my points are clear.

  27. says

    Hey all. I just want to clear something up here. I am not saying that linking is stealing. The web is built on links, and if someone finds my content and wants to link to it from their own blog post, by all means go ahead. What I am talking about is literal content ripoffs – where someone takes an article that I’ve written and simply re-posts the entire thing.

    For example, here is a post that links very nicely to several of my articles:

    http://lanegreta.com/blog/wordpress/?p=5411

    While, here is a post that actually steals my content (not to mention the complete design from Naldz Graphics!!!):

    http://bit.ly/YOPlG

    The difference is clear. The first one actually appreciated my articles, and created a post to draw his own readers attention to them. The second just grabbed my RSS feed, stole the article and re-posted it! Even if they had left a link at the bottom (which the didn’t) – this kind of thing still strikes me as very uncool.

    Given all of this, I don’t think that legitimate sites like Mashable fall anywhere into this discussion. It’s about stealing content, not about creating legitimate links.

  28. says

    Yep I totaly agree, a blog should have thought out content, not auto gererated. Browsers will not come back to a site that is generic.

  29. says

    I was totally unaware of Autoblogging but having read this article and done a little research on the subject, I whole heartedly agree with you on this point. I’ve had a few illustrations stolen (even saw one of my tshirt designs printed on a style of shirt not available from my outlet) so I can empathise with you over ripped content (not exactly the same, I’ll agree, but the principle is the same)

    The one thing the internet doesn’t need its more recycled content,

  30. says

    Wow, as a developer of autoblogging software, I SHOULD say I disagree with you but the fact is that there is a lot of garbage out there built with (mostly pirated copies) of our software. Even worse, some autobloggers are now autoblogging other autbloggers.

    However, there still are plenty of legit uses for autoblogging, so you really can’t say it’s all bad. We have thousands of customers who build really cool and quite useful sites. Many big companies use our software to monitor media mentions, build portal sites, aggregating classified ads with ebay listings, etc.

    For example, the other day I was bugged with the misinformation about net neutrality so I spent about 30 minutes to set up a site called bugging.us. It basically brings blog posts, videos, and news together into one site. I was very careful with my keyword selection to get only those types of articles I wanted. The result is a site that is not only useful to me, but in a few days already has traffic and subscribers to the feed.

    So yeah you could say the content isn’t original but at least all the content I was interested in is now in one place in a convenient blog format, plus all the original authors get deep links from a site packed with relevant keywords–and that is SEO gold!

  31. says

    So now what’s the conclusion finally if we were to make a poll?

    Is it good,bad or ugly? Is it legit? Can get sued some fine day? Can get Rich one day?

  32. Donorsi says

    I wonder how many of those complaining that using their feeds is a crime even know what RSS stands for and why it was invented. Terms Really Simple Syndication ring any bells for you? Do you know what “Syndication” means?! RSS is not created just to allow readers easier access to content, via feed readers, it was to easily spread content over the net.

    Btw, have you ever thought that Technorati is stealing your content because it posts your feeds content?! Why don’t you sue Google for scraping your website and posting content from it? Is all they do basically.

    Is pretty simple actually, if you don’t want your rss feeds syndicated, stop using it. Is easy to disable rss from wordpress

  33. says

    Overall, I find this to be a very interesting topic of discussion. The comments alone demonstrate that. I’ve tried an autoblogging plugin on my site once just to see what all the hype was about and was overall disappointed in the results.

    In the beginning of AutoBlogged’s response, they mentioned some really good points to justify autoblogging, given the intention is not to make money, but that commented completely did a 180 and blatantly pointed out one of your reasons for disliking autoblogging: the money and SEO.

    While money is nice and so is a nice search ranking, that shouldn’t be the sole goal of the blog. If it is, then one is really missing out on building a great relationship with a community of readers. My site doesn’t get a lot of traffic, but I know I have people that frequent the site to read or view what I have to post.

    One thing I did really like, though, about the autoblogging plugin I used was its ability to find some really awesome content! Rather than publishing it to my own site, I would typically find the source site, read it there, and bookmark the page. I just felt that flat out copying and pasting (via automation) didn’t seem right for the blog I have, while it may to others who have different purposes for their content.

    There is some automation that I still personally apply, as mentioned in your post, is the use of Del.icio.us and having my bookmarks tweeted at certain intervals. In defense of such act, many of my follows do find the content to be very useful and the links are from the site where I read the article. Also, I post all of the links to my blog so that people who may have missed some of the resources I shared can go back and look through the list and visit the blog posts they find interesting. I find this to be very beneficial to those that writing compelling content and a job well done!

    I also admit that I still post the videos that I have found on some of the topics I like. The difference is, I actually watch the videos and try to write up a little something about them and cite the source. I appreciate a person’s ability to deliver rich content and sometimes a little syndication (in this case, embedding YouTube/Vimeo videos) can be helpful in terms of giving credit where it is due.

    Thank you for writing this article. The internal thoughts I initially had while using autoblogging tools was expressed in this post.

  34. says

    Hmm, very interesting, thanks for enlightening me, I have only just heard about the concept and from what I heard, it sounded like a good way to create a much needed income. However, your comments have clarified some serious ethical issues that I was not aware of, and I will certainly stay clear of auto blogging. Thanks.

  35. ryanMoultrup says

    I can only agree with you if the autoblogger does not give credit back to the original author. Otherwise it is not theft. If you have a public RSS feed and people syndicate your content using the RSS feed you have no room to complain. That is what the RSS feed is for…syndicating content. This post reminds me of all the people whining about Facebook privacy. If you don’t want your phone number made public don’t post it on the Internet. If you don’t want your content syndicated don’t use RSS. It’s as simple as that. That is besides the fact that syndicated content ( not stolen content ie. copy and pasted content with no link back ) only helps your site

  36. Chris says

    I agree with the folks above saying it’s a lazy man’s way to make money online but I think that if the autoblogging plugin or whatever they use is a good one, there’s chances one could make easy money with only spending for domain/hosting and some time to set up WordPress.

    Truth is I’ve seen a bunch of sites using autoblogging plugins that were pure crap, some of them didn’t even had a link to the original content which is unacceptable. I believe most of them aren’t making anything worth mentioning.

    I’ve also seen quite a few sites that looked pretty good and, judging by their Alexa rank, they do have traffic, therefore sales. It all sums up to how you use autoblogging I think, if you do your homework pick the best keywords (that are searched for but there’s a lack in promotion), one could make a great income off of it.

    I’m not a lazy man and I do have my own written blogs, actually quite a few, but I was lately thinking about setting some autoblogging sites see how’s it working. Most of the successful blogs I saw were using Multipress Lite so I think I’m going to use it on this project. At first glance, looks like it takes its content from Yahoo Answers, Flikr and some article directories so it should be good to use. It also creates a link to the original content so there shouldn’t be any issues with people getting angry for their content being used elsewhere.

    I’ll let you know how it works out if I have the time to get it started.

  37. says

    Most autobloggers take shortcuts and don’t learn how to autoblog ethically. Their “hope to make money today” auto blogs just end up clogging the Internet with irrelevant content and often not linking back to the content’s author or website. Their blogs are poorly laid out and generally unprofessional with poor advertising structure.

    It takes months/years to learn to master a profession. Autoblogging is a business and done correctly can benefit both the autoblogger and the owners of articles/RSS and a mutual business venture can be very fruitful.

    Unfortunately the majority of new autobloggers don’t have a business brain or the desire to learn how to run and manage a business and end up with spammy looking blogs annoying the rest of us.

    Autoblogging should be treated as a business venture. If not don’t do it as shortcuts to make a few dollars never works.

  38. says

    Let’s say I write s song and register my copyright in that song. You, as a musician then desire to put that song on your CD. If you don’t pay the royalties due me as the copyright owner of the content, you’ve violated the U.S. opyright Act. Punitive damages can be tens of thousands of dollars for EACH violation. There are international treaties in effect to give the content owner some power to enforce their rights oversees. Content is content, whether music or written word or unique smoke signals. I’ve never registered smoke signals for any clients with the US Copyright office, but it would be theoretically possible with some instructive drawings. You get the point. People with large authority sites and blogs with many readers should seriously consider registering their blogs, and all content therein, with the US Copyright office. Registration gives you the right to sue and the right to so called statutory damages which could choke a trojan horse. You don’t need a lawyer and the whole thing might cost you $35 to $45 bucks. Autoblogging is no different than if I recorded a Beatles song, got airplay on the radio, received my money on the recording deal when my recording broadcast on the radio and paid nothing to Lennon Estate / McCartney for songwriter royalties due. I’de get my %$# sued off.

  39. Maureen says

    Thanks Matt! I am a freelance write, it takes me at least an hour to come up with a 500 word content. I have loads of clients because my work is a hundred percent unique – seriously, can a stupid software take the place of a human writer? I don’t think so!

    Me thinks auto blogging is TOTAL Crap!

  40. says

    I think autoblogging really harms the original content by making a duplicate of it. You are harming your self, and your value is $0.01 if your are autobloggging. Beside this, you are also harming million dollar worth author of original content, that’s truly unfair.

  41. says

    May I dare to differ from you a little. The main aim of autoblogging is not to steal from other people but rather gather as much related information to a topic/keyword on one site. It’s about sharing information, not stealing.

    One prerequisite though: Always give credit if you are not the creator of the information.

  42. says

    I have never used the auto-blogging options, I didn’t even know they existed. However I can’t help but to wonder if there is any value to this option at all if used a different way. I don’t know how this program works or what abilities it possesses but I wonder if it can collect data for a website that displays statistics of some sort. I think if this were the case maybe it would be ethical to use. Just a thought…. Does anyone have a comment to add to this line of thinking?

  43. says

    I could not agree more Matt.

    I read a thread about autoblogging on reddit earlier and was inspired to write about how much I hate it. Then did some research and was happy to find so many people staying away from it as well…

    Thanks for the post.
    Matt

  44. says

    I have to agree. You need to provide quality content to do anything, and you should never steal content from another.

    But if blogs need fresh content to maintain their search engine rankings, wouldn’t it be just easier to take the RSS feed of say, Ezine Articles, and put it in the footer or sidebar of your website?

    That way you’re not stealing content. You’re providing a link to the feed, so if the visitor wants to click on it, he can. Plus, if the RSS is from a blog that updates daily, you get fresh content…in the form of a link to a site that’s got fresh content.

    A Twitter feed might work even better.

  45. says

    This is a very interesting article. These points though are very true. One should be creative and come up with their own material. Blogging is suppost to create user interest, not bore and steal others materials.

  46. says

    I’ve just heard of autoblogging very recently and it I admit it did have that initial appeal to it. Who wouldn’t want to have a blog filled with great content and not lift a finger? But your point is totally on the spot, and it would be quite ironic if one of the posts that gets autoblogged would be this one. :) Thanks for the words of wisdom!

  47. says

    I agree that it sucks. Just like article spinning, all it does is fill up the internet with tons of automatically generated (or stolen) crap. It’s spam, pure and simple.

    Now… As you say, there are some acceptable cases of automatic aggregation. For example, a site that pulls all news from a certain topic (let’s say, video games – MMORPGs) and displays them as short extracts, with a link back to the original site. This way you can visit the aggregation site and see what the whole web is talking about your favorite MMORPG.

    However, that’s not what autoblogging does! The way I saw, latest autoblogging plugins can take your *entire* post automatically, strip it of all links and re-post the content as if it belongs to you.

  48. traveler says

    Lawyers tend to skew things toward their own opinion and try to find a law that fits that opinion – such as in this case. Let’s look at it from another approach. The Beatles record a song and send it to the radio stations in hopes of getting air time. The radio station plays the song. A bar owner happens to have a radio on while he profits from the sale of drinks from people who frequents his bar because he tunes the radio in. Will you sue? Who knows, lawyers tend to be “hungry”. Will you win? Absolutely not.

  49. John says

    The issue at hand has not been researched very well. Thousands of reputable sites, most notably Google News, rely on rss feeds to syndicate news and articles every day. The fact is, 99% of auto blogged content contains backlinks to the original source which, in our time, is equivalent to a citation. While I agree auto blogging is all about money, do you think Google works for charity?

  50. says

    As stated by John… the topic is not well researched. A lot of folks jump on the bandwagon about the ethics (or lack thereof) of autoblogging. The fact is there are ethical ways to create automated blogs. For one, the owner can retain the source link of the imported content, giving credit to the original author. If autoblogging is stealing, what is your take on the thousands of article directories that permit their submitted articles to be shared? I’ve written a detailed response (guide) to a similar post. It is free to download, no optin needed. You can grab a copy of Autoblogging: Myths, Misconceptions & Misunderstanding at my blog, while they last.

  51. says

    Yes, Auto Blogging is about making money, but what percentage of Blogs on the Internet are not about making money? 5-10% maybe? Those numbers might even be a little high. There are 2 types of Auto Bloggers out there. There are the Spammers and the Blog Builders. The Spammers scrape content and build sites with ZERO care about how they are built or how the content looks or where the content came from. The Blog Builders consolidate content from across the web and organize it on their Blogs in such a way that it provides value to the visitor as a Resource for the information they have been looking for. There are plenty of News Aggregation sites which have almost 95% duplicate content and they are run through services like Gannet, the AP, and other big news syndicates, yet no one says anything about these sites.

    I teach a course on Auto Blogging, but I call what I teach, Blogging on Autopilot. Why? Because I teach my Members to build Value Added Blogs and to use a mix of Unique and “Resourced” content to make their sites a valuable asset for visitors. There are a lot of opinions on this matter, but even the biggest and most productive blogs on the web like Mashable.com and Problogger are all about making money. So don’t fool yourself or try take the high road by saying auto blogging is all about the money. It is all about money…Everywhere. It is all about the road taken to get there.

    I for one, value the web and do not want to see junk sites on it and Google is cracking down on this as well, but my sites are still heavily ranked and heavily visited. Why? Because no one can tell they are Auto Blogs and I guess that is the whole point right?

    Mike Johnson
    Auto Blog Blueprint 3.0

  52. Christopher Cornell says

    Here is my two cents worth on the subject.
    Data is Data and information is free to be shared. If you post articles on sites like Ezine etc you automatically allow the reproduction of it and give up ownership or intellectual property. That said I agree that you should not repost other peoples work if they have copyrighted it or expressly forbade it’s reuse in such a manner.
    Personally, my one pet peeve when it comes to my own articles, is when someone takes it from a directory then respins it into some unreadable and non-sensical gibberish, posts it on their own “content farm” of a site whilst still using my name as the Author. Why do that if you can just repost the whole article in it’s entirety? They obviously know enough to try to create “original” content to empress the search engines but not enough to realise the ethics envolved in building trust with your site visitors.
    Ultimately I think using “Autoblogging” techniques is valid and acceptable if you can look at your site and honestly say that it adds value to a subject or a worthwhile experience to your visitor.

  53. says

    I’m not defending autoblogging, but if the autoblogger posts your title/description of your post and if the reader wants to read the whole article he goes on to your site, isn’t that just giving you more visits than you normally would of gotten?

  54. says

    I am all for autoblogging I use it more to fill in the gaps when you can not post all the time. I monitor what goes out there and make the content readable by reviewing it so it is not junk content. Some people have chosen to be lazy about a great tool that really can help everyone out if they know how to use it they are the ones that should not be using it.
    Lisa

  55. says

    I allow my material to be syndicated so that it can reach a wider audience than I alone could reach. I also use material from other writers who feel the same as I do and they allow me to do so as long as I give them credit for their material. Stealing someone’s material is how you become the scum of the internet universe. But in the method in which I earlier prescribed, autoblogging hits at the essence of what the internet is all about. Wasn’t it designed to share information? Share mine. I’ll share yours. Together, we will reach the world.

    Note: I said it here first folks. Any use of this comment without my express written consent is strictly prohibited…lol.

  56. Marcus White says

    No, you’re not overreacting. In fact, I came here to check into autoblogging. Now that I have read your site, I see the the other side of the coin.

  57. Anthony says

    I will love the day when the evolution of the internet will give bloggers a monetary compensantion everytime someone links his article to theirs, without stealing content. Disneyland you might say? I hope not.

  58. says

    hi,
    I agree with you but i have to say one more thing too,in everyniche or category or even some times in bussiness there will be duplicate content,many things are illegal or copied from other sites in this internet.So this is one way of stealing content thats it,we see a lot of pirated warez those also come as stealing
    Some work hard to prove themselves and some copy to make living he he he

    have a nice day

  59. says

    Obviously by my website name I am not opposed to autoblogging or the creation of autoblogs. In my opinion there is a good use for these types of plugins since all of our lives are increasingly busier we need help and through automation we have found it.

    Now that is not to say that your entire site should be filled with useless content that can not be read because it doesn’t make sense. You can totally tell an autoblogs site right away, from the moment you have to reread your sentence because it doesn’t make any sense.

    What I have chosen to say about autobloging is that you should have about 80% or more original content and the remaining from an autobloging plugin. You only need 1-2 posts a day if that since you are posting original. The most important part is reviewing your content to ensure that it offers value to your readers. You can make more money with 1 quality partially autobloged site then you can with 50 sites that are 100%.

    At the end of the day Content is KING and if you want to make money then you need to offer something to the readers.

    Check out my site and look there are some really fantastic plugins that can help you improve your site. http://www.myautoblogging.com

    Lisa

  60. Chocolatefly says

    Syndicating news from other sites automatically to support a community interest is a viable method as long as proper link backs are provided. Like it or not by providing open RSS you are asking sites to share the information. You can easily host private RSS feeds available to only approved publishers. Not doing so makes you your own worst problem and somewhat lazy. Autoblogging is a great feature and like many tools can be used with good or bad intention. Automating news on blogs has nothing to do with theft.

  61. alan dodd says

    hi guys,

    i read this blog post as i am a sort of newbie to blogging.

    i have been developing web sites since the nineties but along the way, got caught up in other stuff, and my web design skills fell by the wayside.

    i have developed a few, well not blogs, but sites, using wordpress, example giantcats.com.

    i will be honest – the idea of autoblogging would be very appealing to me. i have a lot of sites that need developing. i simply do not have time to blog every day, even if i did know enough about the subjects.

    then i read this article and was shocked! i never knew this was how autoblogging worked.

    is there not a way to autoblog using blog content that is fair? is rss a better way to go? how does that work? cheers, thanks for the gr8 post.

  62. Derek says

    Hello,

    I am very glad I found this article. I am trying to start a online magazine (like we need more! lol) and was considering using some sort of WordPress plugin, but as I studied to be a journalist I had issues with the whole idea from the get go.

    I am happy to hear that folks don’t take offense if an article is written by me and a link to your information is added.

    Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts….

  63. says

    Pasting and copying content without asking permission and then changing the links is stealing. But people who don’t want to end up in autoblogs shouldn’t congtribute to article directories and remove RSS from on their sites. RSS stands for “Really Simple SYNDICATION” for a reason.

  64. says

    http://www.dealsthatsavemoney is a blog about how to stretch the family budget. I never knew much about coupons,
    free offers or other ways people are just trying to help themselves and their families to get by in this difficult
    economy. It was beyond me to know enough about how to get this kind of a blog up and running. I have
    watched it take on a life of its own with people helping each other about the things they have found out,
    whether it is baby stuff or diapers or an offer to make possible a family night out at a restaurant they would
    otherwise not be able to go to. Every article or post acknowledges the author or source that it came from.
    If all of this source material links back to help that individual, wherein lies the problem? Am I missing something?

  65. says

    Thanks for this great, original article! We can’t forget, also, that the texts of these generated posts are really hard to read because they end up being very poor English or even worse (missing important words, etc.). I don’t think ANY script could perfect the outcome. The worst part, almost, is that I really am now seeing articles I suspect to be auto blog posts at the top of Google. It is quite disheartening! We need more people like you in the good fight!

  66. says

    you raised some good points here , especially one opting for auto-blogging actually going to steel. And this something true blogger should have to consider before going any further.

  67. BmoreFerris says

    Thanks. A friend of mine tried to get me to help them on this. Now its my turn to try and stop them.

Trackbacks

  1. 5 Reasons Why Autoblogging Sucks…

    Don’t be deceived. Autoblogging sucks. It sucks for the blogger. It sucks for the reader. It most certainly sucks for people whose work is being ripped off….

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