Getting Important Information Out There

I don’t normally write about the blog marketing annoyances, but this one deserves a comment. Mark Bennett received a request from someone (I’m guessing this guy) asking for permission to repost some of his stuff:

I have recently started a blog and would like to cross pol­li­nate with peo­ple such we your­self who obvi­ously see the world the same as I do.  So I’d like to start by re-printing your blog with your per­mis­sion, and to have a lit­tle “about the author” at the end.

Mark Bennett’s response was blunt, but full of good advice:


Who is advis­ing you on this “cross-pollinating” thing? Because the way to do it is not to reprint other people’s stuff. It’s to join the con­ver­sa­tion. Com­ment on other people’s blogs, dis­agree with them, write your own blog posts with links to their stuff.

This is work.

James sent back this response:

I have to say I’m a lit­tle sur­prised by this angry response, as the goal of my blog is to get impor­tant infor­ma­tion out there, whomever writes it, with attri­bu­tion —

Stop right there, James. If you really wanted to get important information out there, whoever writes it, with attribution, all you have to do is something like this:

Robb Fickman has a great guest post at Mark Bennett’s Defending People about prosecutor Ken Anderson’s ridiculously short sentence for wrongfully sending Michael Morton to jail for 25 years. I think they should have at least forced him to make a public admission of what he did.

There you go: Attribution, a short comment, and getting important information out there in just a couple of sentences.

James, you’re on the friggin’ World Wide Web. It’s been around for over twenty years, and an entire generation has grown up with it. At the base level, everyone knows how it works. In particular, everyone knows how to follow links. So if all you really want is “to get important information out there,” then all you need to do is link to it.

No, the reason you want to copy entire articles from other people into your blog (and I see you do that a lot) has nothing to do with getting important information out there. You just want to fill your blog with content about current events to attract readers and search engines, but you don’t want to do the hard work of writing it yourself.

That’s not very sporting, and it’s not going to work very well, because everybody already knows that trick.

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