What is your policy on giving credit to sites who pointed you to a link that you post about?
Do you for instance write use a ‘found via (insert blog who pointed you to the post you’ve written about here)’ byline or tag on your blog? (see last post for an example of what I mean).
I do this where ever possible but have noticed recently that fewer and fewer bloggers seem to credit where they get their information from. I think this is just plain bad manners and that its actually a missed opportunity also.
It is a missed opportunity because in linking to the source you found the information from you actually build your reputation and reputation with the person you’re linking to. I know that if someone gives me such a hat tip that I file it away in my mind for future reference. Its like a little deposit of goodwill goes into the bank and down the track I’m more likely to take an interest in their blog, link back or even do them a favor down the track.
I also believe that in including your source you improve your SEO of the post – providing relevant outbound links is something many believe that Search Engines value in working out how relevant your page is. In not doing so you limit your chances of a good page ranking.
In NOT acknowledging your sources you actually run the risk of doing the opposite. I know a number of sites who use my blogs as sources of information – they constantly link to the articles I link to, in the same order that I link to them, a few hours after I do, with very similar comments and reflections. Whilst imitation may be the greatest form of flattery it isn’t good blogging practice without acknowledgment of who is doing the hard work for you. In doing so its not just bad manners, but if you get caught it doesn’t do your reputation much good. Instead of putting a deposit of goodwill into the bank account you’re actually making a withdrawal in this case and run the risk of being ostracized by and even exposed for your actions.
Of course we all inadvertently fail to acknowledge a source from time to time – sometimes I have so many windows open at once that its hard to track back the line of how I found an article – but when it happens systematically and on a regular basis I think its pretty poor form.
I also acknowledge that with the advent of News Aggregators and tools like Google News Alerts that a lot of blogs in the same field come up with the same content – but sometimes the patterns of posting make it pretty obvious that some copying is going on.
What do you think? Do you hat tip your sources? Should you always? What do you do when you suspect other bloggers are riding on your coat tails?