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WordPress Direct, Have You Lost Your Mind??

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OMG are you effing insane?

Today comes the announcement that WordPressDirect.com has reached 10,000 users. WordPress Direct is a site that allows users to click a few buttons and potentially scrape steal kidnap plagiarize automatically post content from blogs by simply entering keywords. So now, sploggers (and apparently there are 10,000ish of them now) can enter keywords, set up an account with Google allowing them to be paid for page views, and VOILA, your content is on their site and making them money. Thanks, WordPress Direct.

From their press release: “Armed with little more than a desire to publish on a topic, users can create and maintain any number of content-packed, automatically-updated, search engine optimized (SEO) niche websites powered by the WordPress blog engine.

Every WordPressDirect site comes “pre-optimized” for maximum ranking and maximum traffic. By clicking a few radio buttons and entering a few search phrases, WordPressDirect will create a blog-driven website, create the blog categories, install the theme, and automatically post content. WordPressDirect contains special software that identifies relevant content and then automatically posts it to the site with proper categorization and tagging to aid visitors and searchers alike.

What do YOU think?

I think they sum it up best on their FAQ site when they answer a question, “We are a pretty sucky bunch, it’s true.” What do YOU think?

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Jack Leblond

    November 24, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    “Armed with little more than a desire to publish on a topic..” and obviously the inability (or desire) to publish original content. Hopefully people know about the Google spam reporting tools and will report every one of these they find.

  2. Vance Shutes

    November 24, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Makes me glad I don’t have a WP blog!

  3. Jessica (from It's my life...)

    November 24, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Protect yourself and your content. Make sure to write “Original content from XX.” at the bottom of each and every post.
    It’s brutally hard to stop scrappers, but at least you can make sure people know the information was lifted.

    Hateful people.

  4. Matthew Collinge

    November 24, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    I thought this was creepy from the minute I heard about it.

  5. Lani Rosales

    November 24, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Clarification: WordPress Direct generates content from ALL user-generated content sites (like WordPress blogs, Blogger blogs, TypePad blogs, YouTube, Viddler, etc.) and RUNS on WordPress, making ALL blogs are vulnerable to this “service.”

    We have and will continue to cover how to fight content theft (or “borrowing” as some will surely call it).

  6. Vlad

    November 24, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I wonder if they are playing with fire as far as trade mark is concerned. But if guys at WordPress own the trade mark they can probably challenge WordPressDirect.

  7. Tom Royce

    November 24, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I recommend all bloggers who use wordpress and have an RSS feed to use this plug in.

    It adds a footer to your feed so worst case you get a link back to your post, best case it stops the splogger dead in their tracks.

  8. CTannStarr

    November 24, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Oh my word… this really whomps! I am very particular about my stuff. It’s mine. I have Daffy Duck syndrome when it comes to my blog. MINE! Mine! MINE! Mine! (LOL). We gotta do something… Seriously. I want Lenn Harley and her attorney on my side when I start fighting about this. Thanks for the tweet. I love AG. I am so down with the program and agree that this major league sucks!

  9. Christina Ethridge - North Idaho Real Estate

    November 24, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I’m wondering how I can utilize this to combine the content of all 3 of my blogs into another blog… hum…

  10. Mark Hulsey

    November 24, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Not hard to write your own content.
    Jackholes! Guess this stays in line with everyone wanting to get something for nothing.

  11. Sherry Baker

    November 24, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Interesting that this ‘tool’ came from WordPress. WTH are they thinking? Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Lani — I saw a news item about it earlier today and blew right past it.

  12. Lani Rosales

    November 24, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Sherry, as far as I can tell, there is no affiliation and Vlad is right that this could potentially be a trademark violation. Benn told me in conversation today that most companies using the word “WordPress” in their company name or URL have removed it and I suspect WordPress is aware of WPDirect.

    Like I said on Twitter, I don’t get mad easily, but I’m already so tired of the SEVERAL blogs we have that we continually monitor, this just sucks more time out of our week having to be vigilant, and despite plug-ins, footers and the like, it still happens.

  13. Sherry Baker

    November 24, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks for the DM, Lani. That WPDirect is not part of WP *really* pisses me off — can just imagine what WP thinks about it. Probably nothing we can do to stop this company except continue to monitor like we’re doing now. Think I’ll be a little more diligent now.

  14. Jim Gatos

    November 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    If anyone else here is using Typepad (which I absolutely LOVE, btw), please let me know if Typepad is doing anything about this. I don’t think Typepad and WordPress absolutely love each other LOL…

  15. january

    November 24, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Don’t worry.

    I tried to sign up for an account to see what it was about… total hilarity. Typos in their calls-to-action, 3 sets of ARE YOU SURE YOU DON’T WANT TO BUY THIS?? messages, and an error message as you try to sign up.

    The site I tried to set up was wpd_sucks.profitcruiser.com, so if you are looking for that URL, I have taken it.

  16. Elaine Reese

    November 24, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    It still seems to me that the only reason sploggers exist is make money with Google Ads. I suppose Google makes tons of money from those ads, but it would sure be nice if they found another way. That would eliminate 90% of the plagiarism.

    Even if WP does challenge them on the trademark of their name, those folks will just set up a new name. What a scam! Wonder if they’ve advised those 10K people that they are risking being sued for copyright violation.

  17. Craig Barrett

    November 24, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Pretty sucky bunch is right. They seriously need to check their integrity and invoke some self-control.

  18. Vicki Moore

    November 24, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Subject change. Ding. That post title is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

    Okay. Back to the topic. How does Jay attach that footer: If you’re reading this outside your feed reader…? Could you put some key words in there that you could do Google Alerts on to catch sploggers?

  19. Vlad

    November 25, 2008 at 1:44 am

    Vicki, sorry for misspelling your name.

  20. Kris Berg

    November 25, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Finally, my total failure in SEO is paying off! My blog has absolutely no keywords of value and no posts worth scraping. I’m safe.

  21. Brad Rachielles

    November 25, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Lani, I am probalby mistaken about this, and I am clearly not up on copywrite laws, but it seems to me that copywriting content would at least offer creators some recourse, or is everything placed on the web now considered “public domain”? What is the latest word on this aspect of creative protection?

  22. Shailesh Ghimire

    November 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    This is insanity. Someone has to do something here. I suggest boycotting all Google ads (banner ads as well) – seriously we will survive without those ads! They won’t.

  23. Mark Hulsey

    November 25, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Amen!!!

  24. Paula Henry

    November 27, 2008 at 8:46 am

    “We are a pretty sucky bunch, it’s true.”

    What more could one say? They describe themselves well!

  25. Steve Simon

    November 28, 2008 at 11:15 am

    To those that assume there is viable recourse:
    While I understand the outrage, know this, most battle that are successful in this arean have Goliath besting David. Meaning the large concern usually wins over the small content thief; the reason is enforcement is never guaranteed, it is time consuming, costly and with limited reward to the victor.
    Sad but there are no “Content Police”, and there is no shortage of those who feel no remorse for taking the words of another as their own. Your best options have been outlined already (the footer and active links to your site in the post’s body).
    You might add, if comments are permitted on the site that word burgled, a comment saying you wrote this post and the person publishing the blog stole it?

  26. Tico

    December 2, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    I signed up for this service, BUT my foot hit the brake as soon as they asked for my ftp login information. It is one thing to ask for my WP self hosted user ID and pw but for the ftp root?

    I was able to install and learn about IonCube and with it installed what is the reason for the ftp access?

    Does anyone know this answer, it might be a simple one I am overlooking. Why would they need this root access, this is what seems very fishy to me. Easy to install programs that they could use to their advantage like bots…

    But maybe I am wrong..
    Original content from XX

    Is this the correct attribution?

    Thanks

  27. Nick Barnes

    January 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    This makes more more than angry to read this. We work hard to do what we do. Seriously, how difficult is it to write your own blog posts?

  28. Ron

    June 24, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Well, I tried it.

    Unfortunately, for me, I liked it.

    You see… the idea was they offered me a chance to load up a blog with content immediately. Obviously, I’m not greedy or lazy so I also wrote some of my own content.

    But, it was convenient to have an instant-and-ready blog.

    Everytime I post unoriginal content (maybe yours)… I ALWAYS include a link back to your site (thus increasing your ranking in Google) and allowing the reader a chance to check out your site (thus creating a testimonial and FREE advertising for you).

    I really don’t see what’s wrong with that. If it was stealing… I wouldn’t allow the reader to know who originally created the content and how to contact them. This system isn’t like that. I credit the originator.

    If you use this “tool” intelligently and not like everyone here is jumping to the conclusion and THINKS people are doing… it will really help your business.

    Heck, it helped mine tremendously!

    – Ron

    P.S. — I dunno. I probably shouldn’t have opened my big fat mouth because I’m the only one on this blog who uses WordPressDirect.

    I completely understand if you don’t agree with me. After all, I’m walking into a tiger den with everyone bashing the product.

    Just do me a favor… don’t judge the tool based on what scam-artists and content theives would use it for.

    Obviously, the developers should have made this a little more reserved and not open to the public. However, remember this tool is only available to those who are willing to spend over $100 per month to utilize. It’s not available to freebies and bottom-feeders.

    Sure, the basic product is free, but this particular feature called “auto-content” is only available to high-paying members.

    The system is advertised to help your business grow… and it does if used ethically and honestly.

    Just my two cents.

  29. Jerry

    August 6, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Wowza, Does anyone do any research before commenting?

    Did you know that Yahoo! has a free feature called Yahoo Pipes! That you can put any rss feed information into and put the resulting code on any web page?

    RSS is made for this sort of thing.

    And how did Google get brought into this? roflmao
    There are plenty of ways to make money with a website besides Adsense. Most of the WPDirect sites are running affiliate ads rather than Adsense.

    As far as wpdirect goes, they aren’t out to steal your content. The content it ads to your site comes from places that make content syndication easy because that is what it is designed for. Blog rss feeds are for syndicating content, Youtube videos can be embedded in any webpage, etc.

    Spammers or Sploggers are going to steal content till the end of time and it’s just something you have to deal with. You don’t have to like it, but you can’t stop it.

    I have personally used WPDirect but I did not use it to steal content. The features that gather content and auto publish to your blog have to be enabled. The reason I would use it is to get a quick install and optimization of a blog without having to manually gather, install and setup all the plugins you need to SEO optimize your blog(which can take hours even when you know what your doing).

  30. Andy

    September 13, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Surely they are not scraping content, that would be illegal I think?

    As a blogger I only syndicate excerpts of my posts that people can do what they like with. Hopefully they also link back to my site.

  31. Andrew

    October 20, 2009 at 9:24 am

    I could be wrong but WPD are not “scraping” anyone’s personal blogs. It uses content that has been made available for syndication by the copyright owner (whether or not the owner realises that they have made it available for syndication). If you’ve ever posted a video to you tube or submitted content to an article directory then anyone can use it on their blog. This is no different.

    Many bloggers and content creators use Creative commons licenses https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_licenses because they WANT their content to be freely distributed to as wide an audience as possible. After all, why are you creating content? to be read right?
    And if you got a few 1000 extra subscribers because of all that exposure wouldn’t you be pretty happy?

    Another take on the issue anyway.
    Andrew

  32. Brian Fowler

    September 5, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I am not a WP Direct member, however I am researching the possibility of becoming a competitor. It has nothing to do with scraping or stealing copyright content.

    It is about providing a win/win situation for authors who wish to share their content in exchange for notoriety and backlinks to their websites, as well as providing a better experience for consumers who enjoy a variety of content mediums on a website.

    Many of my blogs provide a means for other bloggers to post their articles to my sites with backlinks in their signature to their own sites. It is a win/win for me (because I get content relevant to my choice of topics, while I get to spend time with my kids) and the author (who gets two powerful links to their site of choice).

    I admit, I intentionally place ads that are more likely to get clicked than the links to their sites. Call me a capitalist, I don’t care. I’m not a writer, blogger, website developer for my health. I do it as a business.

    However, the main reason they share their content and the reason I write articles and books to give away, is to get free advertising for my own businesses.

    No text content is provided through this or any other legal service, that hasn’t been agreed to be shared by signing up for Google’s Feed Burner RSS (Really Simple Syndication) service, or article directories that authors want to be shared.

    If Word Press Direct is thorough, as I would like my service to be, it would provide automatic image content, intentionally shared on sites like Flicker, PhotoBucket and other sharing sites as well as video from sharing sites like You Tube, Metacafe and others, to provide a more complete educational and pleasurable experience to one of it’s users sites. It should also provide easy access to relevant products from a variety of sources to keep the visitor from having to search further for what they want.

    Unfortunately, with all of the amazing talent and gifts God has given us, there simply is not enough time in the day for anyone of us to be everything we are capable of, by ourselves.
    Why not teem up with like minded individuals to produce a better product or experience for others?

    I know most of the posters here have concerns about thieves and those who demand something for nothing in return. However, I believe it is safe to assume that those lazy SOBs will never succeed (something to do with karma, maybe). However, there is a difference between laziness and finding or creating tools and partnerships to be more efficient.

    If you are struggling to get traffic to your website and content, it may be a good idea to share your talent on more websites. If you want your talented writing to be ultimately protected, why not convert the content to PDF format and sell it on Amazon.com, Clickbank or install a membership script on your website.

    From what I have seen from about 20 minutes of research on this company, is that WP Direct provides a service that benefits article, video and image syndicators, as well as webmasters and advertisers, by helping to provide a quality end result website that attracts and pleases visitors.

    It is not just Google who ranks multi-content authority sites high. Utilizing all of these mediums enables me to get my personally authored content in front of millions of people and ranking page 1 for hundreds of search terms, on multiple search engines.

    Instead of tar and feathering other businesses that you are not a part of, it may just benefit you to take a closer look at the service they provide (apparently to 10,000 needy people) and see if it is actually a needed service that may benefit millions. Maybe you, instead of me will build the best mouse trap in this niche.

    Are you up to it?
    Brian

    • Lani Rosales

      September 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      Brian, I understand your tone given that you are attempting to do something in the same vein as WPDirect, but I maintain my assertion (made two years ago as of publication of this article) that it is theft at best and illegal trademark violation at worst.

      There ARE companies like Pluck.com that allow blogs to opt IN and that is the only way for redistribution to work legally and ethically.

      Good luck in your company, we hope you make ethical and legal choices in order to grow your company rather than the shady, horrid tactics of this company mentioned above.

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*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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