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Is AutoBlog Good or Bad?

For those that don’t yet know much about the subject, autoblogging is where you take the RSS feeds off a site or blog, or even several sites or blogs, and use them to automatically update your blog. Once set up, they more or less run themselves, allowing you to be free to concentrate on promoting them, or other business ventures. Autoblogging has its share of fans and opponents. Some people argue that it is morally wrong to base a blog entirely on duplicate content. Some say the search engines will ban sites like this, and that autoblogs provide no value anyway so nobody will be interested. Other’s can’t see a problem. Is it really so wrong to autoblog, and don’t they provide at least some value?

wordpress autoblog

There are as you may suspect potential legal problems with autoblogging. Just ripping off other blogs content may meet some legal opposition. You must make sure that the particular blog allows syndication of their content, and under what terms. For instance Google will allow Google news to be syndicated as long as it is for use on non commercial blogs. If in any doubt you can simply contact the site or blog owner and ask. Most article directories actually encourage the use of their content. And because many are neatly arranged into various categories, you can usually find a feed specific to a particular category.

Some people also argue that autoblogs are worthless as they simply clutter the web up with repeated content. Whilst I would agree that fresh and unique content is preferable, this does not mean that a well set up autoblog does not have some value. If you can get together a good collection of sources of information on a given niche, and bring them to a new audience that finds the information helpful, then is it really all that bad?

The search engines don’t seem to mind duplicate content either. I remember Matt Cutts from Google commenting that Google does not penalise a site for duplicate content, unless it was a useless and incoherent collection of content simply randomly scattered. Matt commented that a site can gather duplicate content and not receive a penalty, as long as the collection has value. He gave an example of a site that merely embedded YouTube videos, but collected related videos that were of a high quality and relevant to a particular niche. The site was useful he argued, because it had filtered the content, rather than just randomly scattered it, and therefore it was perfectly legitimate to run without penalty. This makes sense when you consider that some of the largest and most successful article directories contain almost exclusively duplicate content without any penalties from the search engines.

You could liken duplicate content on autoblogs to a cable channel that buys already broadcasted programmes, rather than makes its own programmes or buys fresh content. Whilst it is very noble showing fresh new content, can’t a channel like this have at least some value, and not be a morally questionable endeavour? You may have seen some of the programmes before, or you may have missed them, but if they are quality programmes, then aren’t you are going to receive at least some value from watching some of them? The channel may have enabled you to watch a quality programme that you missed first time around, and it may manage to introduce the programme to a new audience.

If done correctly, autoblogs can add value to the internet, and can help you in your quest for online success. An autoblog can be used to help support your existing site just like a traditional blog. This is particularly useful for those that don’t have the writing skills or the time to update a more traditional blog. You can even use them as an enterprise in their own right. Since they are low maintenance, there is nothing stopping you from setting up many tens or even hundreds of these over time. If you stay legal and choose your content wisely, then it isn’t harming anybody, and could actually help spread useful content to new people.

Author:- If you would like a free guide on how to set up an autoblog, then please visit Jon’s site to learn how to set up a wordpress autoblog

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Curtis

    May 19, 2010, 7:18 pm

    I don’t think autoblogging passes the smell test.

    You said, “You could liken duplicate content on autoblogs to a cable channel that buys already broadcasted programmes, rather than makes its own programmes or buys fresh content.”

    I think you make a good point here in that the cable channel paid for the content. Autoblogging sounds like a quick way to get content without genuine input from the blogger without any work (not necessarily paying in $$ but not even time and effort if used).

    I’m new to blogging thought so what do I know? 🙂

    Reply
  • Keller Hawthorne

    May 19, 2010, 9:09 pm

    I am 100% AGAINST autoblogging. I’ve had my content ripped off many times without my permission and with no credit linking back to my blog. It’s theft unless done with permission.

    Duplicate content doesn’t actually get penalized by search engines, but it does penalize the original author. What if the blog that copies the article gets to the number one position in Google for the article’s keyword phrase? Shouldn’t the original author claim that spot? That’s the duplicate content penalty I see.

    If an autoblog is really trying to add value to the Internet by collecting informative blog posts on a specific subject and presenting them to readers, why couldn’t they only show the intro to each post and then link to the original post? That would offer value to the reader and ensure the original author is credited.

    It’s infuriating spending hours on a blog post and finding it copied and duplicated somewhere else. The original author deserves credit.

    Reply
  • Jon Rhodes

    May 19, 2010, 9:55 pm

    Just because you are new to blogging doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to your opinion Curtis. You’re right to differentiate my example on the point that a cable channel will pay for the content, but I was trying to illustrate this. That content that has been distributed elseware does have value if it is professionally presented, and complies with the terms of distribution. In TV the terms will usually include a payment, whereas in blogging they will usually not. Both, I believe, still have a place and provide some value.

    All blogs, including autoblogs, cannot make money unless they provide value to a number of people. If the autoblog is legal, well set up, with quality content, and well promoted to spread this content to a large number of people, then the owner rightly deserves a decent pay for the value he is providing IMHO!

    Reply
  • Shekhar Sahu

    May 20, 2010, 3:36 am

    Autoblog should be valid only if you don’t put ads on it and you dont’ put your content too.(gaing traffic for your blog from others keyword)

    It’s also painful when I see autobloggers gaining higher up on serp, for the same querry than my blog.

    Reply
  • Jon Rhodes

    May 20, 2010, 5:41 am

    Hi Keller, autoblogging if done right is not about ripping off peoples content without permission. Just like standard blogging is not either. A persons content can be ripped off on both an autoblog or a standard blog – ripping off content is certainly not just in the domain of autoblogging. It is not a good startegy for either types in the long run. There are many sites where the owner actively encourages the use of their content, such as article directories, which can be used.

    Shekhar, if you want to see your blog above autoblogs, then you have to promote your blog more, and use the advantages that a manual blog offers. You can really build a following using the personal touch, getting people to like you and you style, and get traffic that way.

    Why shouldn’t a person put adverts or their own content on their autoblog Shekhar? If the person has took the trouble to make an effective autoblog, market it, and adhere to all the terms for the content, then why not?

    Reply
  • abhi

    May 20, 2010, 3:59 pm

    It is bad. You are copying some other work.

    Reply
  • Jon Rhodes

    May 20, 2010, 7:50 pm

    Yes, but with permission. I only currently have 1 autoblog, and it is a collection of RSS feeds from my other sites and blogs. I am actively encouraging people to autoblog my content as I want help spreading it across the web. If people make money in the process, then I’m fine with that. What’s wrong with sharing? They help distribute my content, and get paid as a reward.

    Reply
    • renggap

      July 28, 2010, 5:17 pm

      @Jon Rhodes :

      the autobloggers just need to give a credit to the original author.. that’s what i agreed with Keller.. autobloggers who strip other post and not give credit to the author, just like a lazy man with tiny brain.. i’m 100% against it too..

      Reply
  • Dana @ Blogging Tips Blog

    May 21, 2010, 9:14 am

    Auto blog is bad because it do not have personal touch as blog is about personal touch in my opinion.

    Reply
  • Chand

    May 21, 2010, 9:28 am

    Dana@ I agree with you, i have seen a lot of auto blogs that are not well designed.

    Reply
  • Mike Roosa

    May 25, 2010, 7:00 pm

    I have always been against auto blogging, but I’m actually starting to see where it’s beneficial and I think authors should use it to their advantage. I would never build an autoblog myself or post other content on my site, but if another site picks up your article and posts it on there site, it gains you an extra backlink into your blog assuming they keep the resource box. This really is a good thing for your site because we know how the search engines value backlinks.

    Reply
  • Steve Spencer

    May 26, 2010, 10:20 pm

    Autoblogging has it’s places where it provides value. I would actually use my own blog as an example of this. I started doing Judo some years ago, and found that people were always asking me how it compares to Karate, or Jiu Jitsu, or whatever. There was no one spot that folks could really go to in order to learn about all of the styles and what is offered in them locally. I started a blog, and found some of the best blogs for each style locally. With their permission, I then started to consolidate all of this on the one site. Now people can come to one place to read about lots of various martial arts. I also post original content on the site as well. Not only is this valuable to the readers, but it also benefits the martial arts schools by getting them more traffic to their content than they would have otherwise had. Additionally, as my site has become more reputable by Google, my links to them give them more Google juice as well. Everyone wins. Authors, readers, everyone. Where is the downside to this?

    Reply
  • Stephen

    November 25, 2010, 3:55 pm

    Autoblogging has a place in the blogosphere, if done correctly and with permission. I am totally against blogs that copy entire articles and post them on their own domain without any link back or attribution to the original source. This even happens to articles distributed through article directories that stipulate the author bio box must remain intact if the article is published elsewhere – guess what, if often isn’t.

    I think autoblogging snippets from RSS feeds is good, and beneficial for the blog owner as it could generate more links and more traffic. And I wouldn’t mind the owner of the “RSS hub” making some money as long as I get some traffic.

    Reply

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