Monday, May 22, 2006

It’s a holiday weekend here in Canada.  While the coffee was making I started thinking about the whole FeedPass abuse theme I wondered about yesterday.  And then it clicked how easy it would be to cut the author of a blog out of the revenue stream on FeedPass.  Here’s what I did:

  1. I used my Feedburner account to create a new feed for TechCrunch.  Here’s the chicklet: 
  2. I used Feedpass to wrap that feed in advertising.  You can see it here:
  3. Then, I used FeedBurner’s Title/Description Burner feature to insert the FeedPass claim code. FeedPass accepted the modified header as real, and allowed me to claim TechCrunch.

By doing this, I get the 1/3 of Google revenues that FeedPass reserves for the creator of the feed, PLUS the 1/3 that FeedPass reserves for the owner of the feed.  Sorry Mike.  I guess I cut you out of the loop…

Having had the time to think through this issue over night, I’ve come to the conclusion that there really isn’t a legitimate reason for FeedPass to offer this feature.  Syndication of blog content should be done with the author’s consent, which I don’t believe would be unreasonably withheld in most cases.  Certainly, I’ve allowed my content to be commercially syndicated by a variety of different groups.  But commercial syndication of all my content (even just excerpts) without my consent crosses a line, in my mind.

Randy asked yesterday how this was different from Google, which of course, does exactly that — it commercially syndicates all of my content.  It does so, however, with my consent.  I could add a robots file, and they would honour that.  Opting out of FeedPass requires me to send email to Jim Woolley.  If FeedPass can automate claiming a blog, then they ought to also automate an opt-out.  Moreover, they ought to do a better job of ensuring that only the owner of a blog can claim the feed.

And in the meantime, sorry Mike… I am keeping all of the click revenue from your excellent work for myself!!!

UPDATE:  Jim from Feedpass tells me that they have disabled the FeedBurner link, and removed the advertising until they can figure out how to resolve these issues.  Kudos for being so responsive.

UPDATE:  Jim has now re-enabled all the features.  His reasoning?  Others do this already.  To me, this is sweeping the whole issue under the carpet.

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