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Meme13 – Thoughts of a Featured Blogger

Meme13There’s been considerable talk today of a new site by the name of Meme13 which has been developed to work against the ‘Tech Meme Echo-Chamber’ among tech blogs. Meme13′s developer, Rogers Cadenhead, announced it here today.

ProBlogger is included in the list of 13 blogs that Rogers is starting off with and as a result I’ve been asked many times today what I think about it.

While it’s always nice to be included in these types of lists a few thoughts do come to mind:

1. Admirable Idea - I do admire any service that attempts to dig deeper into the blogosphere and discover ‘up-and-coming bloggers who are still working in the sweet spot that lies between obscure and insufferable’ (Rogers words).

2. Whose Echo-Chamber? – While flattered, I’m not convinced that republishing and highlighting ProBlogger’s content is exactly helping to defeat any sort of echo-chamber. While I don’t appear a whole lot on Techmeme I’m sure there are plenty more deserving up-and-coming blogs that could do with some attention. Ironically today I had emails from a few bloggers complaining to me that they find me mentioned too regularly on other people’s blogs. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about that – but I guess my point is that while there might be a Tech-Meme echo chamber there’s also plenty of other ones in different niches.

3. ‘Scraping’ – While the stated goal of Meme13 does seem admirable I do worry a little that while it might be aiming to help ‘up-and-coming’ blogs find their voice that the method that is being used could end up harming them. The problem as I see it is that the site is highlighting posts that it’s tracking by scraping republishing the full posts from those blogs. Actually that’s not completely true – as I look over the front page of Meme13 I see 11 ProBlogger posts on it, 7 of which are republished in their entirety.

What is republished is obviously taken from my RSS feed as it includes all the feed flare information from my Feedburner feed (including a copyright notice ironically). It also includes images which are still hosted on my own server/domain.

4. Duplicate Content? – OK – so there’s debate among bloggers about the republishing of the full feeds of others. Some argue against it from an ethical point and others from a Search Engine Optimization point of view. I’m probably more concerned about it from an SEO point of view in that this will look like duplicate content in the eyes of Google. I’m not so worried about it for me as I think I probably have enough Google ranking for Google to rank me as the original source but what if Meme13 starts tracking an ‘up-and-coming’ blogger with less ranking and starts seeing the republished content as the primary one.

This might sound a little far fetched but early on in my blogging here at ProBlogger I allowed some of my posts to be republished on WebProNews. After a couple of months I found that WPN outranked me for my own content in Google – some of my posts didn’t even appear in Google at all and the feedback I got from SEO types was that it was because Google was saw WPN as the primary source of the content and ProBlogger’s actual posts were seen as the duplicates.

5. Does it Help Featured Blogs Grow Traffic? - Lastly, if Rogers truly wants to highlight new voices and eliminate the echo-chamber why not do everything he can to actually send all the traffic that he can to those blog’s he’s highlighting? In my mind at least it would make sense to do this not by republishing their full posts but actually highlighting the posts with titles and/or short excerpts and then encouraging readers to go and interact with the up-and-coming blogger at their own blog. I’m not sure how long ProBlogger’s been featured on M13 but despite all the attention they are getting in the blogosphere today I’m yet to see a person visit my blog from Meme13 in my metrics package – but why would anyone visit when they can get most of my posts fully on that site?

What do you think?

More discussion on Meme13 at – DeepJiveInterests, ReadWriteWeb, BlogHerald, Winextra, Mathew Ingram, SheGeeks, TechDirt and The Last Podcast.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. boostranks says:

    planets ( http://planetplanet.org ) are popular in the FOSS scene, they rank well, and they help the blogs that belong to them rank well.

    I have pages ranked pr3 with maybe one or two links from mailing list archives, and a planet or two.

  2. Sandy Naidu says:

    Just the title and short excerpt is much better that the entire post – Also layout of a page plays an important role in drawing the reader’s interest. Meme13′s layout is so simple and plain – by posting the full post there is a disservice to the blogger…

  3. I must say this isn’t good from my point of view. Publishing a bloggers ENTIRE feed? No thanks even if you do get credit for it, its like a chain reaction if your popular in the blogging industry soon every blog in your category will have a post from you I agree with sandy a small excerpt just a little teaser is a appropraite but not the entire thing.

    - Luis Gross

  4. Gerard says:

    And they criticised AllTop? No offense, but this is pure blog bait, and I don’t see too many new bloggers in the mix at Meme13. This one gets a big yawn from me.

    Anybody that knows how to work a feed reader can subscribe to these feeds. Why use Meme13?

  5. I do not see the value.

    About two years ago a I sent a very acidic email to Tailrank and got into it a bit with Kevin Burton (founder) and I can say the discussion contained some terms not best discussed publicly but it all came down to a fundamental disagreement between him and I.

    Tailrank had republished my entire RSS feed and I saw absolutely no traffic (maybe one or two after a 24hour cycle – MAYBE). I was very upset. I have moved on, and obviously so has Kevin but I am sure that was neither the first or last email Kevin faced on the issue back then.

    Darren I have spoken out once against something you said long ago and you dropped by and responded respectfully, and I so I see you as the patient type. But the web is filled with Good Intentions so throw the baby out with the bathwater and send a cease-and-desist letter to Meme13.

    You will not see traffic (except for comments like this but I am already aware of you) from them and they will make money off your back.

    All I have to say is they better not publish our content.

    That being said and this is getting long, if he published excerpts or first paragraphs then I am 100% behind the idea, but ‘good intentions’ are not enough for me anymore.

    Cheers
    Roger
    Editor of TechWinter

  6. boostranks says:

    Looks like they are using planet. Posts stick around for a week, or so, depending on how it’s configured. Then disappear for good.

    Planets are meant to bring together a community, but they should be opt in.

    It’s funny, a few weeks ago I asked a dozen or so bloggers if they wanted to join an SEO planet. I didn’t many responses, and none positive, so I dropped it. Now this…makes me wonder were they got the idea from.

  7. These are interesting points. Any service that uncovers new bloggers or information sources which are providing primary research and original thinking has to be good thing.

    I find that many smaller blogs, in their effort to get recognised, come up with really great content, but struggle to get exposure, whereas some of the A list blogs (of which ProBlogger is not one!) have become complacent and lazy with their post content.

    It will be interesting to see if this service, or similiar services, actually make the effort to find new blogs, or they end up following the same old names as everyone else.

  8. Note: My last post was ambiguous! To clarify – ProBlgger IS an A list blog, but is not getting lazy and complacent with the quality of its posts. The content is excellent! :-)

  9. Ryan McLean says:

    Your posts always seem to interest me

  10. Thinkjayant says:

    Darren, i agree with your opinion about the SEO impact of publishing full feeds. As you mentioned having duplicate content will affect a site’s Google ranking.

    This will also affect A list blog like problogger.net but think about upcoming blogs. My guess is, they would suffer more. And as you rightly mentioned, they are at a greater risk of ranking down on google SERPs.

  11. Verbal statements of warm fuzzy intentions can mask a blatant ripoff. This is similar to what a garden site did to my blog, as well as many others, awhile back. All they were really doing was selling ads and stealing other people’s content to do it.

    This one you are dealing with has all the earmarks of a similar blatant ripoff with a smiling face on it. Send them the cease and desist! If you do not defend your copyrighted material, who is going to?

  12. Blogthority says:

    I think it is ridiculous for them (or anyone for that matter) to completely reprint someone’s feed. And why ProBlogger? Are they really trying to “help” you or are they just leeching off your success?

  13. As the creator of Meme13, I’m mindful of concerns about scraping and hurting the SEO of featured blogs.

    Meme13 does not keep content around. A site’s featured for around two weeks and never appears again. Feed data is not archived. I think that reduces potential SEO issues.

    ProBlogger features heavily on Meme13 today because your site was just discovered on the Techmeme Leaderboard April 14 (which means it hasn’t appeared there since I began monitoring Feb. 4). Your site will drop off around May 1.

    The idea I’m pursuing here is to make it as easy as possible to sample and subscribe to new blogs. If the Meme13 feed …

    http://www.meme13.com/atom.xml

    … contains exactly what you’d see in the site’s feed, and there’s a “subscribe” button on each entry to your feed, it’s a n easy way to sample sites. I think the “rolling reader” format has potential as a way to present new sites to people who might like them.

  14. Despite what Roger says above, I have to say I’m skeptical myself. Although I share the concerns of the people above about duplicate content etc, I wonder if anyone will actually use this service? I mean, how do new blogs get found anyway? Most people stumble upon them, like the person or what they’re saying, so they come back. Are they really going to use a service to highlight new blogs? I guess time will reveal all (as it always does).

    - Dave

  15. Sounds like a lazy way to get content if you ask me.

  16. I think that too many people are way too caught up in the blogging world.

    Most people do not read or care about blogs. So anything that can be done to get somebody’s blog on a computer screen and read can’t be all that bad.

    Stop with the tunnel vision and open up to the possiblities.

    Live From Las Vegas
    The Masked Millionaire

  17. Robert Gisel says:

    You’re right Darrel, they should not reprint the full content but should reference the blog and send the traffic to the source feed.

    Done the way they are doing it is blatant copyright violation. It also draws their activity from the real works of others and it usurpsintentionally or by default, the creative works of others. It is a sort of, for the sake of better wording, a vampire activity.

    Theoretically I should want to go along with it for the professed reason it could help my new blogs get exposure. That it can misassign source where the real deal is viewed as the impostor – that should be nipped in the bud real fast.

  18. kristarella says:

    I think it’s an interesting idea that has been poorly executed. The posts are attributed to their authors, which is more than some blogs do. The permalinks go to the authors’ blogs, which is good. However, there’s nothing on the page that suggests to me that I should subscribe to the origin blogs rather than just subscribing to Meme13. Even the little description in the sidebar says,

    The newest sites and sources to roll through the Techmeme Leaderboard, packaged together in sample size.

    Great! I can get the same info by subscribing to one feed, instead of 9… not the right message to send.

    Also, how is this helping up-and-coming bloggers? I think you left that category a long time ago.

  19. Reginald says:

    I think that your point is both logical and justifiable. Considering your experience and the consequence of being considered the alternate source in Google due to duplication, new bloggers should consider this fact before jumping feet first into these type of services.

  20. “Great! I can get the same info by subscribing to one feed, instead of 9… not the right message to send.”

    Only for two weeks. Once ProBlogger drops off Meme13 in around 12 days, it doesn’t come back. People who see his blog on Meme13 and want to keep reading it have to subscribe to his feed.

  21. kristarella says:

    Only for two weeks. Once ProBlogger drops off Meme13 in around 12 days, it doesn’t come back. People who see his blog on Meme13 and want to keep reading it have to subscribe to his feed.

    That’s true. I just wonder, if the content that Meme 13 promotes is of fairly similar quality and topic, people might not go to the effort of subscribing to a bunch of different blogs. I could be wrong – actually I’d like to be wrong.

    I also wonder if I’m being a hypocrite since I’m subscribed to Daring Fireball (mainly because it was already subscribed when I installed NetNewsWire), which I think has its own posts and other peoples. The ones from others aren’t full feeds though…

    I would like to know how this project works out! Rogers or Darren, a future post on following up whether Meme13 succeeded in a) bringing articles to a wider audience and b) directing subscriptions to the original blogs might be in order!

  22. dethspud says:

    Just discovered yer blog via meme13.

    Speaking as a neo-luddite ie non techie blogga you kids is sure touchy.

    Most people tend to go with wot they know in blogworld (or think they know anyways) techtalkers go with that, same with furries, photo phreaks, or any other decribable sub grouping of humanity. Looking outside of one’s narrow self interests is difficult for some. The idea that someone might actually break out of their regular pattern and go fer random in blogworld is actually a good one, methinks.

    Is Rogers a lazy scraper merely looking fer coin or is he someone who actually sees an increased sterility to the techtalkers circles who wants to shake it up a bit?

    Spud’s vote is fer the latter interpretation but y’all are free to dispute it or ignore it or wotever.

    That’s the beauty of the place.

    Be Well.

  23. Reginald says:

    As I continue to digest the debate taking place in the post, I do find the authors point rather thought provoking.

    On one hand, we have the concept that sites, such as Meme 13, have the objective of assisting the ailing blogger in a failing yet productive stage. Then, there’s the other hand which says that the positive effects of these same good Samaritans may turn out to be misinterpreted as the original data of the good Samaritans.

    What would an individual who aspires to play it safe decide?