Holy shit, Huffington Post is taking everyone’s concert previews. If you go to their Chicago Concerts page, there’s a whole list of concert previews from us, Time Out Chicago, Centerstage, and the Onion‘s Decider–and they’re just taking entire pieces. For instance, here’s our Byther Smith preview, and “theirs.”
Oh, there’s lots more.
I’m sure that someone is thinking, “hey, you get lots of inbound links from a popular site, and they link to you directly from their local homepage, which helps your SEO.” Whatever–they’re still taking other people’s content, in my non-expert but reasonably well-informed opinion well outside the bounds of fair use–so that they can get more pageviews and SEO advantages for themselves by taking the entirety of other people’s work. They’re taking all of it. Real people–my colleagues–wrote those. You can give us the inbound links, which helps you, us, and everyone, without taking entire pieces of work. (I am presuming for the moment that none of the other publications have given Huffpo permission; if they have, that’s fine and their choice.)
Update: I heard from people at TOC and Centerstage; HuffPo never asked permission from them, either. No word from the Decider yet. Or, for that matter, from Huffington Post, whom I have e-mailed through their form.
[Update II: I should make my problem really clear. If they’d asked, it might have made sense to let them bury our concert previews somewhere on their site. The Bon Iver refer that was on their homepage today goes directly to our site, and that helps them and us, and that’s okay. To find our entire concert preview, or the others, you have to look around–I didn’t find all those until I clicked on the “chicago concerts” tag. So it’s not like they’re trying to take readers from us (provided those readers don’t find the full preview through a search engine). SEO dark arts bother me on some level, but it’s not illegal. It might screw people who don’t know or don’t participate in such jazz, but you learn.
What bothers me is that it was done without our permission. Full stop. Perhaps there’s no damage to the Reader–perhaps we even benefit–but it really, really bothers me that someone copied entire concert previews, buried though they may be.]
Update III: Heard from the Decider/Onion; they weren’t asked permission, either. In comments, Andrew Huff from Gapers Block mentions they’ve had the same problem as well.
You want to do a post that says, “According to Jessica Hopper, Bon Iver rules, check ’em out, go here for the info,” fine. But taking an entire concert preview is bush league. Doing it as a practice is just beneath contempt. If the future of journalism–which everyone keeps telling me the Huffington Post represents–is a bunch of search-engine optimization scams, we have bigger problems than Sam Zell’s bad investment strategies.
Hey, oracles of the future of media, you want content?