A well-intentioned republishing of a magazine content on Facebook got me thinking this morning on why it may be difficult for online publishers to earn returns on their investments.
Many usually ask me why they are not making the money they were told they can make from publishing especially websites and blogs. One of the possible major reasons is that most of the content of online publications are copy and paste.
Virtually everybody is publishing the same thing from the same sources. Like the criticisms of printed newspapers, many online platforms have become read one, read all.
Some are doing their best to be different, but others think that to be an online publisher, is just get a domain name and start copying press statements and contents of established publications.
Some don’t even have the patience to rewrite what they copy from other sites. They copy the mistakes and errors and can’t proof read.
Unfortunately for those who invest in getting original and premium content by hiring staff and paying various costs, their investment does not earn them the desired returns due to what people do to their content.
Like the case mentioned in the beginning of this piece, with the complete reproduction of a must-read interview from the magazine, there is no need to click to the website. What this means is that the web edition of the magazine is denied traffic that could earn it good rating for advertising.
Unauthorized reproduction of websites content happens a lot and the implication is that the the original publisher is the loser.
For reposting on social media, the best practice is that a paragraph or two with a link to the original source should be shared. Interested persons should click to the parent website and read.
Clicking on the social media icons on the page of the content can also ensure that links to the stories are shared with only the headlines.
For other interested websites, permission should be obtained for extensive reproduction of exclusive content from another sites. At best a few paragraphs should be rewritten and links provided to the original source for a story of general interest.
It is wrong to republish extensive content and add ‘culled from’ . Why should someone be spending so much on getting content and others are culling without paying for it or getting permission.
Some websites are profiting from other website’s content. It is wrong. It is an infringement on their copyright and stealing of their intellectual property.
There are sites that aggregate other websites links. Its okay to do so, but only one of two paragraphs should be included.
Online publishing is a business that requires some investments to make it worthwhile and nothing should be done deliberately or inadvertently to deny the publishers what they should earn in return.
If online publishing is to be an option for many journalists, indiscriminate reuse of content must be discouraged. Ability to generate original content must be an advantage for those who can.