RSS Tools for Abuse

February 18, 2006

Topics: Blogging.

I was scanning through the statistics for this site this morning and ran across a term which I not only didn’t think appeared in the site but which I couldn’t even identify: RSStatic. Being the curious writer I am, I promptly launched Google and performed the obvious search.

And know, although I still don’t know why the term brought in this site, I am quite aware of RSStatic. RSStatic is an RSS aggregator which " will allow you to constantly add content to your site without having to be a writer". This is a perfect example of a product which may have valuable, legitimate use for some sites, such as a news aggregator, but is definitely an easy candidate for use in scraper sites.

A scraper site is an search engine spam technique which culls writing from other sites in order to increase its content quality and searchability. These sites are not necessarily guilty of copyright violations, but they are using your work to bring traffic to their sites.

How is this different from publishing "free-for-use" articles? There are hundreds of article directories out there practically begging you to publish their works! Well, that’s the difference right there. Article directories have given permission for their articles to be used and have established guidelines for use.

A tool like RSStatic provides the ability to build your website without any effort and without asking permission of the feed author. If you read through the marketing copy on the RSStatic site, it has the strong scent of black hat SEO. I can’t help but be a critic of any technique which advertises that you can increase the value of your website without doing any work.

Please feel free to comment if you think I’m missing the point.

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