I didn’t want to blog about this, but I’m going to do it anyway. No point in holding it in, besides, I think it’s stunting my creativity…
So here goes. I run Blog365. It was my idea, I setup the Ning site, and I also setup a supplement RSS aggregation site for the members (which is the important part). The idea was to allow all of the members to go to one place to see what the rest of the Blog365 group was blogging about. Blog365 is up to over 1200 members at this point and the RSS MegaFeed site was up to 350-400 syndicated feeds. I was constantly adding more feeds from the group, but stopped recently while trying to correct some pretty serious bugs in the WordPress site.
Part of the problems seemed to be coming from the feed aggregation plugin that I was using to gather the content from the member feeds. At this point I setup a test site to try different methods of feed aggregating while leaving the original MegaFeed site intact and running for people to use. So a quick recap. I am polling member feeds for the “Live” site and also polling feeds for the “test” site. At this point the test site had more feeds on it than the original.
I received an email from a Blog365 member notifying me that he wanted me to “stop scraping content from him for my test site”. I respond to him explaining the point of the “test” site and reassured him that in fact, I am not using this to benefit myself in anyway. I remove him as he asks and he kindly responds to my message explaining that he didn’t realize that the test site was part of Blog365. He even apologized and noted that he over reacted because of a goal he was trying to reach on Technorati and I guess he was worried that me pulling the feeds were going to somehow mess things up. I was very happy to remove the member from the test site and was even more pleased that he responded so kindly. The issue was resolved, nuf said.
I received a new email from another member of Blog365, this time there was a link in the email… nothing else. I am not going to post what he wrote, but my name was in the headline and he was very accusatory and said I was sucking blogs dry…
His basis for annoyance is this:
There are a lot of people out there that have been using RSS Aggregation tools to fill sites with content and then serve up ads to make money. They create no content, but instead steal everyone else’s. I have seen my stuff show up on these kinds of sites and can appreciate the annoyance one feels when they realize that their stuff is getting swiped.
Where it went wrong:
I responded to the post and to his email explaining the situation and making sure to highlight the fact that I was building this site for the group and had no ads or any other benefit reaping systems in place. He responded very negatively and told me I should have stated the intended use and then went on to categorically deny me permission to use his feed. He was bent on teaching me a lesson that what I had done was wrong. His implied permission did not transfer to the test site and blah blah blah.
Here’s the thing. A couple of additional emails went back and forth and he finally said thanks and noted that sometimes, in the internet age, common courtesy goes by the wayside (in roughly the same words). I took this in a positive way. I took it as him leveling with me and that the issue was fine, but I looked at his post again and not only are others trashing me, but he is responding to the remarks with equally negative comments. At one point he is making fun of me and joking about how he hurt my feelings and that I am whining about being called out.
I leveled with him, he should have cooled it with the bashing and put an end to it with me.
It got me thinking about the MegaFeed and I decided to delete the whole thing, not just the test site, but the live site as well. I decided that I would rather rebuild a system that is opt-in only if I am going to have to deal with responses like the one I got from him.
Sometimes, no matter how reasonable and honest you are, there are people out there that will never back down and shake your hand.
Even though those people exist, it does not mean you shouldn’t extend your hand when you have the chance.
This concludes the rant, we now return to the regularly scheduled blogging…..