Here’s a funny (to me, anyway) story.
About a year ago I changed all my blogs’ RSS feeds from “full content” to “excerpt only” posts.
Why? Simply because all my blogs, but primarily my writing blog, were being scraped by dozens of sites, so that others could make money for free from my content. Being more than slightly miffed, I cut back the feeds to excerpts-only. The stealing still went on, of course, but to a lesser extent.
One day shortly afterward, I found a post on writer’s blog headed: Blogs I won’t read anymore because they won’t publish a complete feed. The post was self-righteous in the extreme, and the writer mentioned my blog as one she wouldn’t be reading again.
I could only assume that this blogging writer hadn’t been scraped, or she would have realized why people stop publishing complete feeds. I sympathize, I truly do, and I’d love nothing better than to publish full feeds, but not if it means that I’ll make it too easy for people to steal my stuff.
I remembered that incident when I read Merlin Mann’s Free as in “Me“. Merlin’s post is long, but if you write for the Web, it will resonate with you, because people make all kinds of assumptions about WHY you do something or other. In essence, they’re trying to read your mind.
If you’re busily making money on the Web, Merlin offers these words to live by Free as in “Me” | 43 Folders:
“Nobody but me is allowed to decide why I make things. And — if and when I choose to give away the things that I make — nobody but me is allowed to define how or where I’ll do it. I am independent.”
Merlin’s post talks about All Things Digital, a Wall Street Journal property which is publishing excerpts from others’ blog posts.
As freelance writers, and developers of online properties, we need to guard our freelance domains, not in a mean-spirited way, but because we’re creators, and we have the right to determine where our creations are shown.
[tags]freelance writing, online writing, writing for the Web, make money writing[/tags]
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