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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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Aggregation or aggravation?

May 27th, 2011 · 9 Comments · Blogs, Media

A couple of days ago, I was doing a quick Google search to see whether any mainstream media had picked up my story on Senator Clayton Hee’s misleading financial disclosures. The answer, at that time, was “no.”

But I was interested in one listing, where the headline from my blog was found on something called fwix.com.

FWIX

Click on the link, and you see my original entry in a frame on the fwix.com site.

So is this stealing my content or just expanding its reach?

I was unfamiliar with fwix. Here’s how they describe themselves.

Founded in October 2008 by Darian Shirazi, Fwix was originally designed to filter news and information on the Internet by local area. Since then, the team at Fwix has built technology to geotag the Web and find the best local information on news sites, blogs, and social media sites.

I’m trying to decide what to think about this. Maybe other bloggers out there can help me.

The problem is that blog ranks are now dependent on a lot of factors I don’t fully understand or track. But Fwix doesn’t appear to provide a direct link to my site. Instead, it’s through an intermediate link that, as I look at it, will credit their site with each click rather than giving the credit to the original source.

If that’s the way it works, I feel like I’m being ripped off.

But I don’t know that I understand the system enough to feel safe making that kind of judgement.

Help! If you have a clearer understanding of how all this works, please leave a comment!

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9 Comments so far ↓

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  • Blaine

    It doesn’t look that bad to me. While they do snag your headline, they only have a couple of non-intrusive locally-targeted ads on the right. There are a bunch of local headlines below. When you click the “Read Story” link, it removes the frame and their header and sends the reader to your site. Yes, they get credit from somebody for a click, but you get a site visitor. *shrug*

  • Bobby Lambrix

    Aloha Ian,

    I like the post title. Yes, aggregation is aggravating at times, though it does seem to have benefits for popular bloggers, like those who work with HuffPo or the Daily Beast.

    In this case, I also was directed to your site with the ‘Read Story’ link, and it was framed by fwix. The url still held their prefix. So I’m not sure you’ll get the click until the reader actively delets the fwix frame, and going directly to your site.

    Fwix operates on an algorithm as far as I’ve gathered. Like Blaine said, you might not get the initial click stats, but you will get a site visit, which may lead to improving stats. In the link below (if you haven’t already seen it) Fwix offers a sort of ‘integration package’ which may or may not be a deal with the devil, but can be interesting to explore.

    “For smaller sites, engagement and additional ad revenue are probably the most valuable benefits of integrating with Fwix. We offer ad click revenue to blogs that add our widgets, which is called AdWire, to their site. Additionally, bloggers and smaller news sites have seen value in getting return visitors who are looking for a mixture of original content and syndicated local content.” – WSJ
    http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/04/19/qa-aggregation-and-the-future-of-local-news/

    Also, for more on aggregation and algorithms, Eli Pariser (of MoveOn.org) just wrote a book about how these things work in greater detail than I can provide. Here’s a link to a short piece he wrote the other day that may pique your interest on his work: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/05/seven_things_human_editors_do.html?referral=00563&cm_mmc=email-_-newsletter-_-daily_alert-_-alert_date&amp&amp&amp

    Lastly in a recent report, the Columbia Journalism Review has more info on the issues of aggregation. This section won’t solve the fwix problem directly, but might provide more help & references for dealing with similar beasts.
    http://www.cjr.org/the_business_of_digital_journalism/chapter_six_aggregation.php?page=all

    Hope this helps,
    Bobby

  • stagnant

    you can check your google analytics account to see if you’re getting the traffic referral from that site.

  • cwd

    Although I am not stupid nor ignorant about most things, I don’t know what you all are talking about.

    Unfortunately, I am not in a financial position to move into the second decade of the 21st century so I will not be able to expand my knowledge base anytime soon.

    Please explain in language that even folks like me with serious technological deficits can understand what it is you’re talking about.

    Mahalo.

  • Ken Stokes

    Looks like you’re “user gen” to FWIX. As a “local content” aggregator, they only favor or pay when they have to…
    http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/04/the-newsonomics-of-content-arbitrage/

  • MynahBlog

    They did credit you…totally legit IMHO.

  • damon

    Same site has been taking my stuff as well.

    What is more disturbing to me, is this Texas site pretending to be a “Local Hawaii” and attempting to profit off it.

    http://www.808surfworld.com/ and it’s sister site http://www.supworldreport.com/ (found by Karin Stanton) (Current front page isn’t grabbing my stuff… but as I look at their archives… it appears that nearly 50% of the content is pulled from my site.

  • line of flight

    this is not like publishing a phone book using the phone company’s phone book. it is a variation of US and international copyright which is why they may have moved towards recharacterizing their aggregating as “geotagging”

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