Politics of webbing, Part Duex
respond to a response
I wrote an article, "Politics
of webbing", which earned a rebut (Bridge
for Sale: The politics of webbing, part duex) from Jonah
Jones over at MacOS
Daily. Hey, no problem, I like having my articles and
ideas challenged. So much so that I sometimes respond.
Basically, Jonah goes off on a nice counterpoint article,
refuting the premise that "News sites linking other peoples
stories hurts those websites". The problem is that I never
said that, nor anything close -- nor do I think that. In
fact, I think the exact opposite. I love it when people link
to my content -- it is not stealing my work -- it is
promoting it. Even articles that are meant to rebut are a
way to promote my content (and site) since everyone who
reads it SHOULD reread my article to see if I am saying what
the other person says that I am saying. So I don't
personally care if 10,000 news sites link to me -- other
than I like it. My only point was that I (and others) would
get a little frustrated or overwhelmed if they all asked for
links back -- and got mad at me if I didn't.
So sadly, Jonah's excellent points on "the benefits of
cross linking" are like running a marathon on the wrong day.
Nice effort -- wrong goal achieved. But thanks for caring...
My point by point response follows:
Remember, the stuff I
don't counter point in Jonah's article is stuff I don't
disagree with. So I don't have that many problems with
it. But there are a few clarifications I want to
On MacOS Daily, the article "Bridge
for Sale: The politics of webbing, part duex" says:
Calling David K. Every!
Calling David K. Every! I've got a bridge for sale, and
it's got your name on it. Now what do I have to do to put
you in this bridge today?
Hmm... I mentioned that I wasn't buying in the first
place. Nothing like pushy salesman to get on your nerves.
"What part of 'No' don't you understand?" [smile]
Then there are the people
who link to your site, without your knowledge, desire, or
consent. In David's eyes, the worst culprits of this sort
are those who create News sites but no real
...do people who produce no
content of their own but simply link to the stories on
other people's sites detract from the true content
providers' business? David seems to say yes.
Jonah mentioned that my main concern is about linking or
news sites -- unfortunately it wasn't.
If I was to sum up my article:
- WebMasters are opinionated individuals, with
individual (and sometimes conflicting) agendas, that are
going to have personality clashes, and spill on the net.
It is best to ignore that.
- Because they are people, they are going to sometimes
feel threatened by competition and have these little
- Lots of people try to do new sites because they think
it is easy -- but that is a saturated market. The market
is starving for content. If you want a successful
site, see what unique content or perspectives you can
- Some sites clone other sites and just do the exact
same thing as them (and borrow their material). That is
going to cause hostility, and it is not offering anything
- If you see battles going on, just chuckle, and don't
take it too seriously -- it is just people defending
While I mention that news sites have problems with people
getting angry with them for not providing links, I never
said that News sites were "culprits" -- just a saturated
market. I certainly never went on to say that they detract
from content providers business, since they are in the
business of promoting content providers.
The only time I have a problem is when they just
steal articles and put them up somewhere else without
permission. I will usually give permission, when asked.
My view is 180 degrees, diametrically opposed to what
Jonah seems to think it is... and I am really confused as to
what lead him to his conclusions. I wish he had quoted what
he thinks I said, and what made him think that -- I would
try clarify or correct it. Unfortunately he only implied
what I said, and never used quotes.
I've had bad experiences with people paraphrasing me. For
quite a while I assumed it was just me (and I realize that
we all have a responsibility in clear communications). But
I've learned that a lot of the time, it is peoples tendancy
to read into something what they want to be there. In fact
one of the biggest problems with the web is that it is based
on the written word. Communications are hard enough in
person [read my article on Communications]
-- but when you put it on paper (electronic or not) there is
more room for mistakes in interpretation, and so on. It is
easy to take things wrong (on all sides). [This is not
an attack on Jonah, just a comment in general]
I did speak with our
publisher Matthew Linton about the subject. He said,
"unfortunately, we had to move away from linking all
together for the same reasons Stan Flack did at
MacCentral. There were simply hundreds of daily emails
asking for links and we could not go through and select
the top five or ten without upsetting many people.
However, It pains us to do so when terrific sites such as
MacSurfer, Thessasource, Insanely Great Mac, MacsOnly,
and countless others link daily to MacOS Daily's
articles. Without the help of these sites we would be
nowhere today, but we had to decide what MacOS Daily was
going to offer and that was not the same links found
across the net."
Matthew Linton and I are in complete agreement.
Webmasters appreciate links from other sites -- but it hard
to link back to all the others who want them.
Differentiation (adding value) requires NOT duplicating the
same old links, and trying to "think different". I have no
illusions -- if it was not for all the links I've received
from news sites, my site would have a small fraction of its
When I first read The
Politics of Webbing, I agreed with David. I even sent him
an e-mail about it.... I've since changed my point of
view somewhat. (I didn't receive a reply, by the way - I
imagine his In-Box exploded after that article.)
I am usually pretty good about email. But I did get a
couple hundred responses. I was also having email trouble
during that time -- but it should all be worked out. I
apologize for not responding.
A problem with the written word is miscommunications --
and if you don't ask a question, then I can't answer it.
Jonah's sample of the eMail he sent read like another "hey
thanks for the article, I agree". So even if I had received
it, I would have likely said, "thanks". I just can't know
that others may be misreading what I've said unless they ask
(or tell me). So be clear and explicit (this is not meant as
a reprimand of Jonah -- just an explanation to all).
Sure, maybe the cloners
don't create new content - but they do offer a valuable
Hmmm. I think this is another problem - nomenclature.
Cloners (to me) are sites that just copy another site
directly. Basically mirroring their data, not adding
anything new, and not even reformatting it (or rewording it)
substantially. If I was to make a site that was an exact
duplicate of MacOS Rumors, and copy Ryan's content daily,
right after he put it up, without adding any value, insight,
or credit, THAT would be cloning.
News sites are not cloners. But a news site, that
"borrows" all of its News from other sites (down to the
wording) probably is. Most News sites offer a service in
paraphrasing articles, finding links from many sources (not
borrowing solely from a few). Without adding value (in going
to multiple sources) or offering content (summarizing), then
I have no value for what they are doing -- and they are just
I apologize if I was not clear enough on what I meant by
The main reason I have
difficulty with David Every's position on this issue is
his seemingly implicit assumption that this is a zero-sum
game . . . in other words, that if the cloner sites
generate ad revenue, it necessarily detracts from "real
content" sites' ad base.
Actually, I don't have that position at all. The market
is growing, so it is not a zero sum game. But I did state
that most webmasters see competing websites in that way
(that is not the same as me seeing it that way). If they are
the same kind of site, then webmasters feel in direct
competition. It causes a threat, and treading on territory.
And while the ad revenues may not be a zero sum game, the
amount of readers for Mac news sites, may be closer to a
zero-sum game (they are competing for the same readers).
Fortunately, sites that don't offer anything of value,
tend to go away -- but they can detract from better sites
for a while. The market will continue to grow -- but growth
is not infinite, so short term you can dilute the good
choices with a lot of bad ones, and too much choice is bad
To me it is like the PC market. Sure there are
100 word-processors in the PC market -- but arguably 95
of them are crummy. Those bad products don't help the
good ones, and may burn users out on word processors
completely. I would rather have the Mac market where
there is only 10 Word-Processors -- yet arguably 8 or 9
of them are good.
I used to teach Martial Arts, and I saw in business
how an area could be supersaturated (with studios) to a
point where none of them could afford to be in business
anymore -- and then all of them would close. Eventually,
someone would figure out it was profitable again -- but
that could take years. Of course it was more common for
one or two to survive the weeding out period. But
competition is not always as good as people think -- it
can be very bad short term, and it can drive services
So I think all webmasters should TRY to help those sites
that are adding something new, and something of value for
the users. But that the influx of newcomer sites can dilute
those efforts, and make it harder to do so. The trick is
getting the signal to noise ratio right -- by offering
QUALITY content and links, not just more noise (and links to
everyone). Each webmaster is going to have to make his own
decisions. But no matter how he does it, those that he does
not link to, are going to feel offended.
I hope this clarifies my views, and let people know
exactly where I am coming from...
David K. Every
News Site Aficionado