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Bligter: Letting Others Republish Your Content

Written by Ben Yoskovitz. Ben is co-Founder of Standout Jobs, a startup tackling the online job market. He also blogs regularly at Instigator Blog about startups, business, marketing and social media.
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Bligter is a recently launched service that allows you to submit your blog posts for others to use on their blogs. The idea is simple:

  1. Input your blog posts. This includes: title, full body (HTML allowed) and tags.
  2. Other bloggers find your posts. They then copy and paste your blog post into their blog and publish it.

Bligter adds a snippet of text at the end of the blog post you’ve taken to attribute it to the proper author. A simple example:

author: John A Ciampa # via: bligter.com

But, there’s nothing that stops a blogger from taking that out (even if it’s against the rules.)
The goal for people submitting posts into Bligter is that it generates link backs to them. For people using the content, it’s an easy way of feeding their blog with new posts.
Is this a good idea?
No. There are too many problems that I see with the model:

  1. People using content are publishing exact duplicates of original blog posts. I’m not concerned about Google’s “duplicate content” penalties (which are focused on duplicate content on the same domain), but what does concern me is that you water down your own brand and the value of your own content when it gets re-purposed, especially when you have no control where it’s being reused.
  2. People could remove the attribution. It’s too easy to remove the attribution and claim the content as your own. On top of that the attribution is not prominent enough. Bligter doesn’t change your post’s byline (which most bloggers use) so now you’ll see a blog post by one author, but at the bottom it’s attributed to someone else. Very confusing.
  3. People aren’t adding any value to the conversation. Copying someone’s content doesn’t add to the conversation. Instead, I’d much prefer if you summarized someone’s blog post, linked back to them prominently and added your own thoughts. Even if you don’t add your own thoughts and you’re just summarizing other people’s work, it’s better than publishing it verbatim.

On top of this, I’ve discovered that some of the content in Bligter wasn’t put there by the original authors. I found a few articles in there from bloggers who did not give Bligter the right to use their content. One author told me:

“I never heard of Bligter, and didn’t give permission to have my postings reposted. Are they just randomly grabbing posts from bloggers and repurposing them?”

Brent Evans told me that his blog content is legitimately in Bligter; he posted it there. “Yes I’ve received some traffic and a couple of links back by using Bligter, but to be honest, I’ve only posted a few links over there so far.”
So Bligter is getting some user-submitted content, but if they are seeding their service with content that they don’t have permission to use that’s very, very bad and extremely disappointing.
I’m a fan of guest writing on other blogs. I haven’t done a great deal of it, but I plan on doing more. And I can see the value in services that would help guest bloggers get together – although generally, like most things in the blog world, success in guest writing comes from building one-on-one relationships with people.
Bligter isn’t a service that helps people guest write or find guest writers. Bligter isn’t a service that will generate a lot of links back to your blog (there are plenty of better ways to do that!) And, if Bligter is in fact using people’s content without their permission, Bligter is a service in big trouble. I understand what they’re trying to accomplish, but I don’t think it’s going to be successful.
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12 thoughts on “Bligter: Letting Others Republish Your Content

  1. Sounds a lot like article directories repurposed and easier to abuse. I have to agree with your assessment.
    Like you I haven’t done a lot of guest blogging, but also like you I think it’s a great idea.
    Ben I’ve noticed a few of your articles in a variety of places the last couple of weeks and I’ve been enjoying your writing and what you have to say. You probably don’t need me to tell you to continue, but I wanted to let you know when I see your name now I’m apt to read the post.

  2. Steven – thanks for commenting.
    The “article directory” isn’t a bad analogy, although I know of many people who use article directories VERY successfully to re-publish their content. At least with article directories you know where you’re putting your stuff.
    Here, you put your stuff into Bligter, but have no real idea how it will get used and where. On top of which, if they’re pulling from blogs without the owners’ permissions, there’s a huge problem.
    And I appreciate the kind words. I’ve been doing a bit of guest writing to allow myself the chance to talk about things I want to (in this case “news-ish” type stuff) while trying to maintain the core purpose of Instigator Blog.

  3. Dan & Jennifer – I agree 100%. Find a way to link to yourself at least once in a blog post so that anyone stealing the content (whether they attribute it or not) is going to be sending a link your way.
    Same holds true if you write guest posts *chuckle* — get a good deep link or two in there for yourself.

  4. Thanks Ben. Have any opinion on mochila.com? I registered a day back but am still waiting for my approval. I think they place javascript code (which prevents duplication from search engines point of view.) And have a revenue sharing model.
    Would love to know if anyone has used them and if they are good.

  5. Did they not realize that their name sounds a lot like blighter?
    Definitions of blighter on the Web:
    * 1. a scoundrel or unprincipled person, esp. a man. 2. someone who spoils things for others.
    http://www.artistwd.com/joyzine/australia/strine/b-5.php
    * pest: a persistently annoying person
    * chap: a boy or man; “that chap is your host”; “there’s a fellow at the door”; “he’s a likable cuss”
    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

  6. If you have a powerful domain and the copying blogger domain is new, you don’t risk much being filtered.
    However, if the story gets popular on another blog and gets plenty of links, that story will get the search engine traffic and yours will be considered a duplicate.
    What about submitting posts just for Bligter, like you’d write unique articles for guest article writing/blog posting instead of taking them from your own blog? That’d make a huge difference.

  7. @Beau: I know there are concerns from some about duplicate penalties across domains, but I think that’s the least of the concerns with Bligter, and that’s what I was pointing out. I didn’t want my post to be a debate on duplicate content across domains.
    I would have to assume (and I will read your article), and Yuri follows this up as well, that if someone re-used your content, but left the attribution there, Google would recognize the original owner of the content. It’s gotta be smart enough to do that.
    And while I understand the concerns with article directories, I know some people who do VERY VERY well with them. I’m not quite sure how (it’s not an area of expertise for me) but it happens.

  8. @Yuri: If you’re going to write original content for use elsewhere, my suggestion would be to write it for a specific blog – build up a guest writer relationship – instead of writing it, posting it to a service like Bligter and *hoping* someone worthwhile picks it up. The value there is questionable at best vs. guest writing (even for a less popular blog.)

  9. @ Yuri
    Submitting posts written solely for a directory would be original content. Once that content is distributed from the article directory to multiple points it becomes duplicate content. But, because the article was created for the directory and not your blog the supplemental issue will not affect your blog but the article directory.
    I think that you need to be careful when submitting to article directories.
    If you submit an article to a directory and it is “not” one that you have posted on your blog you do not have to wory about the “supplemental consequences” to your blog. And, if the article is widdely distributed you may get some good backlinks. Just don’t distribute content that you have already published on your own blog as this may have some unwanted consequences.
    @ Ben
    Do you really want Google to make the choice of which version of the article is the original? I don’t. You cannot make assumptions about the intelligence of Google. There are a lot of factors that Google uses when it is faced with making a decision about original source. So, if you publish to article directories develop content solely for that directory and not something you’ve already published.
    The point is that the definition of duplicate content is the same on and off domain. How worried should you be. If you republished your best pillar article that draws the most traffic to your blog to Ezine Articels. I would be worried. What happens if Ezine ranks higher in the SERPs than you for your article. You will loose the SERP traffic. But, if you publish unique content that is not on your blog then there is not much to worry about.
    With that said some have suggested, I can’t remember the articles now, that by changing the post title, description, and first paragraph may be enough to evade Google’s duplicate content filters (read as spam). I do not know if this works as I have not tried this.
    I agree, guest posting, relativley speaking, has a much higher ROI and will return more exposure than article submissions to directories.