You may remember that a while ago I posted about SocialRank and its site London’s Daily Voices that was featuring my blog in its top ten. If you don’t remember the posts, you will find them here and here.
Since then, I have continued to keep an eye on SocialRank with a view to working out 1. what exactly it is and 2. whether what it is doing is good for bloggers and blogging. I have to confess that, with my limited knowledge, I haven’t made much progress.
Let me just remind you what the issues are. Blogging has become a very big phenomenon and, naturally, there are people trying to profit from this explosion in many ways. Personally, I don’t mind this as long as the people doing it don’t exploit blogs unfairly or, worse, cause them actual harm.
Among the parasitic organizations that have appeared to feed on blogs are the so-called scrapers. Put simply, what these do is take your content and post it on their own site with a link back to your blog. If people click on this link, it obviously generates traffic for the scraper, enhancing its ranking and making it attractive to advertisers. In other words, it is making money off your back and giving you nothing in return.
My blog has already attracted the attentions of scrapers, as I expect yours has. When SocialRank first appeared on the scene, emailing me to say that I was in the top ten of London blogs, something I found (and still find) hard to believe, and inviting me to display their logo on my blog, I suspected that this was just another scraper, despite the unusual degree of human contact.
Was I right to think that? To be honest, I am still not sure. I am aware that SocialRank is creating a huge number of sites, all serving as a base for adsense and regularly displaying content (the title and first three lines of a post) from blogs that it picks out. If you are unhappy with this, you can take your blog off their list, they say, by sending them an email.
SocialRank claim that their system is good for bloggers and blog readers as it sorts quality blogs from the general morass because, so they insist, their software somehow detects quality, a claim I find hard to swallow.
This morning I chanced upon an interesting site called Bloggingtips whose author posted an article entitled Social Rank – The new breed of blog scraping on October 3rd 2007. I naturally read this with interest and found that the comments had develped into a dialogue between the author, other bloggers and representatives of SocialRank. I thought readers might be interested in it and have therefore posted links to it.
I am not yet going to emit a judgement on SocialRank because, frankly, I don’t know what to think. Like any blogger, I welcome constructive attention but oppose exploitation. It will take me a little longer to decide into which category SocialRank falls.