Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

This blog has moved to:

Get this widget!
Visit the Widget Gallery

If you'd like to get an update when we post new content, please click here to subscribe via RSS or to subscribe by e-mail.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Black-Hat Sploggers Leave a Bad Taste

The other day, I got invited to help promote an Internet marketing report. Sicne I never endorse anyting I haven’t seen, I asked for a copy–and boy, was I appalled.

The model these folks were pushing was to steal content, intersperse enough meaningless blather so Google doesn’t think it’s a duplicate page, and build traffic/ad revenues.


I let it simmer for a couple of days, until I could response with enough politeness to get read, and until I could find a way to talk to the part of these people that wants to be better (with a tip of the hat to my friend Bob Burg, who taught me how to do that), and then responded this morning, thusly:

“Let me know what you think, good or bad. I appreciate your opinion.”

OK, you asked. I read it over the weekend.

I’m sure you have good intentions, but frankly, I find your business model unethical. It is one very small step above splogging; the only difference is you’re adding meaningless content around someone else’s words instead of just presenting someone else’s hard work.

It devalues the Internet as a useful information medium; I’d hate to see search results be as useless as e-mail, but if people follow your model, they contribute to poor search results.

And then there’s the matter of making a buck on other people’s hard-earned intellectual property without compensating them in any way, or even asking permission, and doing so in a way that most definitely violates the Fair Use provisions of the copyright law.

I think with the intelligence and understanding of the Internet that underlies your black hat approach, you could come up with a business model that would be just as profitable and a whole lot more palatable. Come talk to me when you’ve done so.


Post a Comment

<< Home