Let me kick this of by saying that I'm a big fan of The Verge
, which has quickly become a top tech site for many. I don't always agree with what's written there (I don't always agree with what's written anywhere!), but it tends to regularly produce high quality work. The Verge is at its best with its long form pieces that combine well-written narrative with great design and layout. A recent example of this was with its excellent history of the American arcade
. That story got passed around a bunch -- I know I had it sent to me at least half a dozen times. It's a wonderful story if you haven't read it.
It was then interesting to see The Verge's Editor-in-Chief, Joshua Topolsky, take to Twitter to demand that Huffington Post remove
a snippet and link to that story.
You can see the Huffington Post version here
. I'm having a very hard time figuring out what Topolsky is complaining about. The HuffPo piece quotes the first paragraph and the first paragraph only and then has a prominent link to the full story at The Verge.
The original Verge article is 47 paragraphs long -- plus amazing graphics, design and video. So... I'm sort of at a loss as to how anyone might think that the HuffPo snippet and link takes away from the original. HuffPo's Bianca Bosker shot back
something along those lines, noting that it was just a short snippet and drove traffic to The Verge:
In response Topolsky explained more that his problem with it was that it hurt The Verge's SEO (search engine optimization) on such stories.
But I'm at a complete loss as to how that's "egregious" on the part of the Huffington Post. It would appear that this is solely an issue with the way Google's ranking system works. I've long thought that this was a weakness of Google. We've had many sites that scrape our content in its entirety -- and, as we've noted countless times -- we're absolutely fine with that. But I am often surprised at how often we see other sources listed above ours in Google. But that's always struck us as a problem with Google (and with how Google views us), rather than anything worth pinning the blame on the sites that copied our content.
In the meantime, though, having discovered in the past just how much traffic a link from HuffPo can drive, we'd like to offer up Techdirt as a site that HuffPo can freely link to whenever they want. We won't complain to them. Though, if Google ranks them higher in search, we might complain to Google...