How Dare You Make My Content More Accessible!

from the missing-the-big-picture dept

There are a few interesting arguments going on in the blog world lately, and while not all of them are directly related, there's a common theme. Services that are trying to make certain websites more accessible are getting slammed by bloggers who are accusing these services of "stealing" content or (my personal favorite) leading to the "loss of potential revenue." What it all comes down to is (oh no, not this again) money and control. It may sound familiar to those of you who have been following the mess that is the entertainment industry, but now that some bloggers are looking to make money, the same disease is happening there. Here are two quick examples. A service called Skweezer is trying to make websites easier to view on mobile devices by "skweezing" out extraneous content on the fly. Here's Skweezed Techdirt, for example. For mobile users, this is pretty cool. They can see the sites they visit without the slow downloads. Of course, sometimes this means without the ads, as well -- and that's got some bloggers screaming away. In another example, a legal blogger has demanded that web-based RSS aggregator Bloglines remove his RSS feeds from their service, because Bloglines is expected, at some point, to put targeted ads into the service. Both of these are cases of myopic decisions that are likely to do more harm than good. The reason these offerings exist is that they help more people access the content in question. If people are using them, that means the sites in questions are lacking a feature their users want. These new services have come to the rescue -- but, like with the music industry, the content owners simply freak out, rather than (a) being happy that someone has done the hard work for them or (b) offering a similar service themselves. The response, of course, is that it's not just about these services making content easier to access, but the fact that they're also adding their own ads -- leading to the inevitable charge of "profiting off the content of others." Of course, that's wrong. They're not profiting off the content of others (if they're profiting at all). They're profiting off of the ability to provide a useful service that makes your content more valuable to the end users. Why aren't these same people freaking out that Google indexes their site, makes it findable and (gasp! oh no!) puts text ads along the results page? If you hadn't figured it out by now, the name of the game is providing what your customers or readers want or they'll just go elsewhere. If a site won't let me view the content in the best way for me, then why should I bother visiting it at all? In the meantime, we're happy to get as many visitors as we can here at Techdirt, so if you prefer to read us via Skweezer or Bloglines or some other service that makes it easier, please, go right ahead. Thanks to the folks at Skweezer, Bloglines and others for making our content more accessible to people in formats they'd prefer.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    jeremiah, 18 Jan 2005 @ 11:33am

    Re: yer kiddin' me, right!??

    "Just because I didn't come up with the service, why should I stop someone else from doin so?"


    You should stop them because their "service" cannot possible exist without your creative energies. The loop, so to speak, does not feed back.

    ...unless what you're telling me is that a possibility of more readers is the currency you value more than regular money.

    Techdirt probably doesn't make the best example, as (IMHO) it functions more as a metafilter, so your "creative" work is kind of a non issue- you pretty much link to stuff with a bit of commentary.

    Comparing it to say, myself, who's creative work represents hundreds to thousands of man hours, the net impact is different. If someone were scraping mp3's off indie musician sites and compiling them on an advertising-supported site (assuming it's also profitable), that would probably represent a greater potential economic injury.

    I still don't understand your "if they thunk it up they might as well exploit it" philosophy. Just because someone can doesn't mean they should.

    /Oppenheimer

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.