Autoblogging is one of the big trends in the blogosphere. It is hard to be a blogger and not see something that is telling you about the “easiest way to make money with blogs and take the pressure off blogging”. At first, I was intrigued. I love blogging. I love writing, I love composing the critical analyses of my topics. Blogging is good for my writing skills, valuable for my readers and also helpful to me by ensuring that I stay abreast of developments in my industry. But I won’t lie, sometimes writing another post can be hard. Sometimes the idea of content appearing on your site sounds like a dream. Maybe autoblogging would give me a vacation from my blog?
I started thinking about it, and red flags went up everywhere. Then I read a great post by Spyrestudios about why they think autoblogging sucks, that addressed all of my little red flags!
Here are the issues:
1. Control of your content
If you are autoblogging you do not have control over your content. Content is posted on your site, and you do not get prior approval. How do you know it is valuable? well written? relevant for your audience?
It may be topic oriented, but that does not mean it is good. I write on social media and business. There are a lot of blogs out there that cover these topics, but that does not mean that I find most of it relevant for my blog.
A number of autoblogging programs do allow you to remove a post before it goes live, in case you don’t like the content.
A lot of times autoblogging is flat out content theft. Most autoblogging systems are not pulling content from sites that have given permission. In fact, most people do not even realize that their content has been reused until they stumble upon it.
Some argue that publishing an RSS feed gives people the right to republish. This is not actually the case. When you post original content on your site, you automatically have a copyright. People do not have the right to republish without your consent. Read Copyright: Stop Stealing My Content! for more information on blogging and copyrights.
3. The lie of original content
Often autoblogging takes content and posts it on your site without giving credit or trackback links to the original author. The content is being passed off as being original, written by you. So now we have plagiarism thrown into the mix.
4. Good for Traffic?
The biggest argument in support of autoblogging is traffic. If your content has been reposted you are creating an additional site from which to drive traffic to your site. This would be true if autoblogging linked back to you. A lot of autoblogging does not link back, so not only are they using your content without permission but you don’t even receive the benefit of improved SEO or increased traffic to your site.
5. My Blog was published where?
If an autoblogger has republished your content, the likelihood is that you are unaware. However, if you have managed to find out, you might be horrified to see where it was published. Since they did not get approval before republishing, they certainly did not make sure that the site where they republished your content is in alignment with your branding. What if your content is being used on a site that is sexist, racist, pornographic? If you discover this, you can ask for it to be removed, but that is about it. Currently, there is very little prevention.
6. Aggregators v. Autobloggers
Many sites will aggregate content. One of my favorites is Social Media Today. They take content from around the web and post it on their site. However, they link back to the original articles. They link to a profile they create for you, that you can edit and add all your links and information to. They notify you by email about posting your content. Plus, if you want it removed you just have to ask them and they will remove it.
This is the type of content aggregation that does boost SEO, traffic and is generally good for your blogging reputation.
7. Using other people’s RSS?
A form of autoblogging is using someone’s RSS feed on your site. This means that you are streaming someone elses content on your site. However, the big difference is the link to the original post. The content obviously came from someone. Generally you cannot even stream a blog post in its entirety. When you share someone’s RSS you are sharing a clip of their blog post and if the reader wants to access the whole thing, they click on the post link and it takes them to the original post.
This is a good tool for sharing valuable content with your readers.
8. Just plain lazy
If a blog is autoblogging, I tend to think they are just plain lazy. If I am reading someone’s blogsite, I am interested because of the topic, the writing, their perspective. I don’t want to read the same thing that has been publishing on multiple other blogs. One of the biggest things I also wonder about with sites that autoblog is how active they really are in their own site as a whole.
If you want to blog, write your own posts! You can have multiple writers, a writing staff, whatever works for you. But make your content your own.
If you want to aggregate content as a resource for your readers, that is also fine, as long as it is clear that you are sharing other people’s writing. Get the appropriate permissions and link back to the original content.
The point of a blog is to provide information and resources for your readers and establish authority in your area. It gives you a medium for expressing your thoughts and expertise on a subject or offer insider insight to your topics. Can autoblogging do this? Well, kind of.
I generally feel that autoblogging is a bad idea. If you cannot write enough for your blog then access other writers. Get guest bloggers. Use freelancers. Adjust your posting schedule to better suit your writing abilities.
As a blogger, I would not want to use another person’s content without their permission. After all, I do not like people using mine without my knowledge. We work hard to write good content, and deserve to receive recognition. I have no problems with aggregating content, as it is just sharing content from another source. As long as it is linked and credited, it can be a great way to share resources with your readers and drive traffic.
Autoblogs can provide content, but that is where it stops. So if you are considering it, take a look at what you want to accomplish with your blog and see if autoblogging would really enhance your business and blogging strategy.