More on syndication

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Previously someone asked about the word syndication and what it means in the blog world. Prompted by a question I received, here are some more thoughts on the use of “Syndicate this Site” and what it means to have and use an RSS feed.

Typically “syndicate this site” means that the site owner has an XML feed (RSS and ATOM are the popular formats) that you can use to read their content. While syndication in the offline world refers to the fact that you can purchase certain content (comics, old TV reruns) for use in your publication, bloggers don’t often think of it that way.

For a variety of reasons, the word syndicate is misused by bloggers. What a blogger means is that they offer a feed that can be used to read their site in a news reader or on a site like My Yahoo or Bloglines that aggregates feeds. They don’t typically mean that you can use their feed on your commercial site.

That said, if you contact some of these blogs, you may be able to get permission from them to use their material on your site with attribution. Some bloggers are open to this and some aren’t. The answer you get will depend greatly on what you intend to do with the feed, who the blogger is, and how nicely you ask.

August 5, 2004 6:03 PM

Indeed some bloggers (or site owners with RSS feeds) actively encourage syndication of their content (in the orginal sense of the word). Here's a bunch of news feeds available for free syndication:

Bill Flitter
August 5, 2004 7:43 PM

One potential problem is feeds being syndicated without the authorization of the copyright holder. It will become more of an issue when feed consumption increases. Content can now be scraped from a publisher's site and distributed without their control.

Andrew Quinn
August 8, 2004 6:34 PM

Bill - Yes, but hasn't that been possible ever since Copy and Paste was created?

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