Crossposting isn’t spamdexing

June 9, 2010
post on Edward Hugh:

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A rather angry commenter named IbexSalad reacted quite angrily to my post on Edward Hugh:

Mr. Hugh is one of the blog world’s biggest spamdexers.

What the NYT characterizes as ‘…writes for a suite of blogs…’ is, in fact, ‘…crossposts to a suite of blogs…’. The end result is that Google searches for country specific economic analysis constantly turn up multiple repeats of the same articles written by the same Mr. Hugh.

When another commenter remarked innocently that Hugh “certainly understands how Google works”, IbexSalad responded:

No Claus – that would be how Google fails to work. Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often outside the realm of selling gland enlargement supplements, and the like.

Spamdexing is taboo.

Putting aside the question of Edward Hugh specifically, I think it’s a very bad idea to consider crossposting to be the same thing as spamdexing. In fact, I’m a fan of crossposting, and consider it just another way in which people can use all manner of techniques to reach a broad audience of readers.

I think that the best content finds its way to readers, rather than the other way around. That’s one of the reasons I’m a fan of full RSS feeds, and it’s the main reason why I’m happy to let Seeking Alpha republish my blog entries for free: Seeking Alpha’s readers are not the same as the readers of my blog on Reuters, so I reach more people that way. I also like the way in which Seeking Alpha readers get my posts sent to them by email. And if other sites with wide readership also want to carry my stuff, I’ll be happy about that too.

That’s not spamdexing, that’s just humbly going to where the readers are, rather than forcing the readers to come to me. There can be issues surrounding comment streams, and I’d love it if more sites standardized on Disqus or Echo or similar, so that you don’t have to try to keep up with multiple conversations. (As it is, I almost never read my comments on Seeking Alpha, sadly.)

It’s true that some search engines will end up returning the same post multiple times if it’s crossposted to multiple places. But Google has worked out how to deal with that bug in Google News, where wire copy can often appear in hundreds of different places, and I’m sure it’s going to work out something similar for cross-posted blogs as well. Crossposting is just a natural issue for search engines to deal with, it’s not a black-hat or taboo way for bloggers to try to boost their search results.

It would have taken me years to find Hugh were it not for the fact that he was crossposting from early on to A Fistful of Euros. I’m glad he did that, and I think it’s great that he has other outlets as well. Let’s not excoriate him for being open with his intellectual property, rather than jealously guarding it in one place.


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