There’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?