Like a lot of successful bloggers, I have put many thousands of hours into creating free content for my blog and other sites including Businessweek.com, Ad Age DigitalNext, and many others. I’ve been giving away content online since 1995 when I started publishing whatsnextonline.com newsletter, which morphed into What’s Next Blog in 2003.
Why give away free content?
o I love to write
o I love to share knowledge
o My writing has made me part of an online community of extraordinary people whom I’d never have met otherwise
o My online content is my storefront. It attracts household brand clients who have allowed me to make a wonderful living doing work I enjoy.
My work is available to be shared under the legal terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License which includes the stipulation that “Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.”
My terms are simple – I am delighted when ethical bloggers, editors and content managers share my content with a link to the original post, and a byline with a link to my blog.
I am not happy when asshat spam bloggers and unethical publications steal my content, with some even having the temerity to remove my name. One of those editors told me yesterday that he is”not required to run a promotional ad for you in the form of links.” But he did think it was ok to run my entire Businessweek article on a page with paid ads for his publication.
I long ago gave up on spam blogs who actually steal content from my RSS feed, where I include the line “Content Stolen from B.L. Ochman at What’s Next Blog.” They don’t read that far, so they just run that line. I get to laugh at them They get to steal my Google ad income.
So please do share my content. Just have the decency – and 99.44% of people do – to attribute it to me and link to me. And of course, I’ll do the same for you.
I’m not even going to get into the “all content should be free” argument. I’m just going to quote Jason Elk explained it beautifully in his post entitled Online Content Theft is Just Plain Nasty! Fight It!
It’s the kind of offense that should force perpetrators to flee town out of sheer embarrassment and an overwhelming fear of finger-pointing. But besides it being the lowest of the low, stealing content that has been copyrighted and claiming it as your own is also wrong, selfish, short-sighted and potentially very damaging for the copyright victim AND the thief himself (after his devious ways have been detected and acted against).