Calacanis wants Organized Blackmail of Ad Networks over Scrapers

20 comments
Source Title:
Calacanis Wants Publishers To Blackmail Google
Story Text:

Blackmail is a strong word, but it's what it boils down to whether well intentioned (as it is) or not. Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc (engadget etc) wants major publishers to hassle Google et al over scraper sites ripping off content and wrapping it in Adsense etc....

Follow the money and freeze the assets—Elliot Ness style. You carry a badge, you carry a gun… and don’t go bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Imagine your the CEO of one of these ad networks and an email comes to your desk with 20 of your top publishers saying “We support X publisher in their effort to protect their content from the following website which is stealing content.” When you’re an ad network your main cost of doing business is signing up publishers, and your publisher relationships are all you’ve got.

Comments

Sure thing......

..and I want him to take off the fastclick ads which have that damn crazy frog on it!

muppet

I suppose he can define commercial use? If I have ANY ads on my page does that make it commercial?

RSS is just what it claims to be, really simple syndication. If you have a problem with your feed being syndicated, then dont....syndicate the mutha.

Going back to the Elliot Ness bit about bringing a knife to a gunfight, Connery got wasted very shortly after uttering those words.

goose and gander

I wonder how the studio feels about the use of the picture from the Untouchables posted on the very page where he rants about the abuse of his materials.

These people are living in never-never land. They made the Netcraft front page because their servers kept on croaking recently. Prior to that, they had refused to pony up a retainer for 2K to fix the problem while they were loosing 1K+ a day in ad revenues. This was after the announcement of financing from Mark Cuban.

No, i dont think so.

No, i dont think so. Engadget for example is all original work as far as i can see, it's not the original source of the story in 99% of the cases, but attribution is given and the write up is unique...

I never said blacklist...

Whoa.... I never said black list.

These folks are violating the TOS of the 3rd party advertising services and they are violating the TOS of the publishers.

When you signup for a service like Google Adsense, Tribal fusion, GMAIL, HOTMAIL, BLOGGER, etc. you agree to certain terms and you give away some of your rights for using those services. For example, GMAIL or HOTMAIL or BLOGGER offer their services AT WILL. They can take your GMAIL account away, just like a restaurant can refuse service at any given time.

My point about 20 folks getting together was advice to the publisher of The Blog Hearld who said he couldn't get the attention of a 3rd party ad network. So, I told him get 20 publishers together and show a united front... i think that's great advice.

I'm not saying start a blac list AT ALL. A blacklist is just silly since this not happening to the extent of something like, say, spam. We've had a dozen folks do this and 11 or 12 have stopped. I'm sure #12 will stop and if they don't we will get their ISP to shut them down.

Not sure what the POT/Kettle comment is about... we credit everyone, and using a thumbnail still from a movie isn't such a big deal... for real.

In terms of our servers going down that is what happens when you interview Bill Gates, break the news of the XBOX 360, etc. EBAY was down in the early days. We've solved the problem with the help our ISP and Microsoft and we handled the crushing traffic of E3 with flying colors.

Sure we make mistakes, but that's part of growing a business. I'm not sure what this 2k retainer is/has to do with anything....

Not sure what the POT/Kettle comment is about.

Some might suggest that you yourself make a living from wrapping adsense round other peoples content, to then critise others who do similar comes across as a little "rich".

I suppose in a way it comes down to intent, that is very hard for an outside observer to judge, unless of course we start to see poker and such like "blogs" start to appear on the weblogs network.

-

"unless of course we start to see poker and such like "blogs" start to appear on the weblogs network"
aparently G doesn't allow adsense on pages with "Gambling or casino-related content" ;)

(think about the last point if you don't get it...)

1st and 3rd party accounts

Your company approached someone to fix problems encountered during a transition to IIS6. 2K was apparently too much to invest in fixing the problem.

These stories came out shortly afterward:

http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2005/04/15/hosting_growing_pains_for_blog_networks.html

http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=engadget.com

http://calacanis.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000640039328/

http://calacanis.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000273037970/

These folks are violating

Quote:
These folks are violating the TOS of the 3rd party advertising services and they are violating the TOS of the publishers.

While I admire you for dropping in, I wonder which part of the TOS are being violated? If I were violating the TOS my account would be pulled, i am not so they are not.

come on, be realistic...

we all know what 'made for adsense' scraper sites look like. i saw one just the other day. it consisted of tons of text links leading to pages with scraped search engine results. instead of just linking like a search engine, though, it was all javascripted up so the links wouldn't be followed. there was NO ORIGINAL CONTENT at all on the site. but, of course, littered with adsense to look like content.

now, as a user, if you come to a site that has no original content, don'tcha think they're gonna click on adsense ads?

and sure, you can say "well, the advertisers get quality leads..." but i don't think that's true.

these made for adsense sites are against google adsense TOS afaik and i hope they start taking care of the problem sooner rather than later.

</rant>

I agree

with kpaul

I just had a semi rant here -> http://www.threadwatch.org/node/2717#comment-16329

Jason makes a very good point, if a spammer is kicked out of their affiliate across the board they will lose everything.

It really annoys me that affiliates are effectively harbouring spammers, at least google own the serps too so they have stacks of evidence.

Tradedoubler harbour spammers in my opinion, since they get a slice of every transaction they don't care. I submitted an abuse report for blatant guestbook spamming, their stance was basically:
'we don't police the serps, the transactions are valid.'

we don't police the serps, the transactions are valid

I have to agree.

Without railroading this, you put a form on your site, expect it to get filled, after all that is what you are asking people to do.

Going back to the subject, who is going to police the police?

Say you take me out and I did nothing wrong, can I come back at you with a law suit for lost earnings?

>> Some might suggest that

>> Some might suggest that you yourself make a living
>> from wrapping adsense round other peoples content,
>> to then critise others who do similar comes across
>> as a little "rich".

That would be an absurd argument.

We write 100% of our content, these folks pull an entire feed.

We're not cutting and pasting the NYT or WSJ into our blogs, we're commenting on those places (like slashdot) with original voices and original editorial.

We're talking about cutting and pasting vs. creating here!

>> I suppose in a way it comes down to intent, that
>> is very hard for an outside observer to judge,
>> unless of course we start to see poker and such
>> like "blogs" start to appear on the weblogs
>> network.

Has nothing to do with intent, has to do with breaking the user license that some publisher publish their RSS feeds with.

We do not allow republishing of our content. The RSS feeds are for end users only.

This is just a silly moment in time that reminds me of the time people thought it was ok to take email newsletters and republish them on the web, or take web content and republish it to a phone.

This is just basic stuff...

PlumSauce said: >> Your

PlumSauce said:
>> Your company approached someone to fix problems
>> encountered during a transition to IIS6. 2K was
>> apparently too much to invest in fixing the problem.
>> These stories came out shortly afterward:

PlumSauce,

I spoke to Brian and yes we did speak with you about helping us with our servers and we decided against paying a $2k retainer to someone we didn't know. Had your position been pay as you go or a smaller retainer we would have probably would have hired you, but we can risk exposure like that (we're not flush with cash just because Mark Cuban made an angel investment in our company... we have to run this place like a real business and I can tell you Mark is not the kind of guy to invest in folks who waste money).

We were able to solve our problems and the servers have been running great. We've still got challenges like any fast growing dynamic business does, but we're in really great shape now.

Maybe in the future we can work together if you change your retainer policy. :-)

best j

>Has nothing to do with

>Has nothing to do with intent

so long as it does not break TOS (for example linking to off topic / unrelated poker blogs) then intent does not matter?

everything you do should be based on someone elses guidelines?

and its ok to ignore the guidelines, but just for poker?

nothing wrong with a bit of honesty. it is ok to admit when you are wrong.

Jason Calacanis steals himself too

Jason Calacanis here:
http://calacanis.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000773042643/

.. apart from publishing many lies about me (I phoned only 1 person in 1 day; I post comments under my own names, I have stopped posting comments to blogs at WeblogsInc long time ago), also stolen my comic strip from:

http://comicstripblog.com/?p=49

Jason: please add a link to http://comicstripblog.com/?p=49 near that comic strip or copy the comic from http://comicstripblog.com/?p=49 again but don’t modify it. Then we will be more or leass OK.

If you will not do it, Jason, then you are the thief and I will contact your advertisers about stealing content.

PS. "Mobile Phone Fan" blog doesn't exist anymore and now I express myself only in drawings, in comic strips.

PS2. Relax, Jason, you take it all too much seriously and in doing this you behave too nervously.

Jason Calacanis steals himself too

I forgot to mention: Jason Calacanis stolen file with comic strip from my server, removed copyright message (that contained URL).

He removed copyright message and didn't provide a link. Is it a stealing?

>He removed copyright

>He removed copyright message and didn't provide a link. Is it a stealing?

it does not get much more blatent than that.

i like my approach better

Maybe in the future we can work together if you change your retainer policy. :-)

A retainer is always required when the client is new. This was quoted as a retainer in anticipation of a final bill. In other words, it was good faith money and by no means a demand for full payment in advance of work. Customers usually do not have a problem with this policy. Especially if they've spent a few hours on the phone with me beforehand.

we have to run this place like a real business and I can tell you Mark is not the kind of guy to invest in folks who waste money

Exactly.

My remarks are more a general commentary on the trend in web based businesses to want every dime possible, but expect required ancillary services to be dirt cheap. $5K to recover $1K a day should have been a bargain. Any bricks and mortar would jump at this kind of payback. YMMV.

We do not allow republishing of our content. The RSS feeds are for end users only.

Then put it behind a password login. Unless of course you also seek to have it indexed only by "approved" scrapers such as google and yahoo.

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