Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Aggregation Aggravation

Splitting hairs regarding journalistic ethics aside, readers familiar with HuffPo and many other blogs (including mine) have come to expect that they will encounter active aggregating every now and then. I've had brushes with those who would accuse me of "over-aggregating" - and I've had to address the issue - even though regular readers have come to recognize it is something I do (in some instances just to save a lot of time, not at all for 'SEO').

Aggregating, when done properly (see Global Voices) provides a valuable collective portal of information. LAweekly comes to the defense of suspended HuffPo blogger Amy Lee, taking aggregation by its horns and showing it for what it is: "...a staple in blogland. Love it or hate it. Let's debate it by saying it's a prominent model and we all do it..." The following has been "aggregated" from New York Magazine:

Earlier this week Simon Dumenco published a column in Advertising Age griping that, for all Arianna's promises that she drives traffic to outside sites, the Huffington Post actually takes ideas and hands out few page views in exchange. His example was a column of his own, which was liberally quoted and minimally linked by HuffPo. In the end, the massive "traffic-driver" sent only 57 page views his way. It was an egregious but not uncommon example of the site's aggregation philosophy, on the far end of a sliding scale that often tries and succeeds in proper attribution. (Some of our posts get big bumps from a HuffPo link. Others don't.) In response to Dumenco's column, HuffPo's executive business editor, Peter Goodman, profusely apologized and suspended the young blogger who had "over-aggregated." (Read the complete NYmag article)

TechMeme founder Gabe Rivera is irked that the term “aggregator” is being misapplied ::: he argues that the Huffington Post is not an aggregator --- What irked me was the reminder that “aggregator” is a rather broad-brush term that paints systematic news-rewriters like the Huffington Post (who bury links) as cousins to snippet-quoting sites like Techmeme and Mediagazer (which link prominently). Dumenco’s piece, whose subtitle begins with “The Blog Queen Defends HerAggregation Practices” also cites Bill Keller’s famous column from earlier this year, entitled “All the Aggregation That’s Fit toAggregate“, which goes as far as coyly utilizing the term “aggregate” repeatedly as a euphemism for “steal”.

You may also enjoy:::

Successful aggregation

and here's a snippet of a "post from the past" :::

To All You 'Aggregator Haters' Out There

A bit of misplaced criticism has come to my attention: a statement that this humble weblog "publishes pages and pages of information that may be found elsewhere on the world-wide web but provides no added value to it." Here's another: "You ape what others write and publish through your unstoppable cut and paste routine."

To those above allegations from windbag Windy, I answer:

My blogging work includes, but is not limited to, reporting and editing in the traditional way, as well as aggregating information from a variety of sources, sorting and presenting the data to make it understandable.

Those who would criticize me for "cut and paste" would do well to look at their own blogs and tweets to search for occurrences of fleeting instances of originality.

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