Sunday, June 19, 2011

Some Aggregator Site Examples

I decided to take some screen shots of the types of copyright violation that I talked about in my last post, to make things a little clearer. I'm going to address three of the most common aggregator blog situations, ranging from not-so-bad to absolutely horrifying.

All of these images are real screen captures, taken tonight, cropped and in some situations sewn together in Microsoft Paint so that the example is legible. I have not reprinted the web addresses, as I am sure that at least some of these sites try to embed viruses. They are caught by my Anti-Virus, but may not be by yours. This is why I have chosen to use images rather than linking directly to the sites. Click on the picture to get a larger copy!

Aggregator #1: Blog Search Results Embedded in another Page

This is so common that it's getting out of hand. Google search results can be embedded in a page for reference, for selling, for information gathering...the possibilities are endless. And legal, if you submit your site to Google's search ending (under your Blog Settings). I did. You pretty much have to, if you want people to be able to find your site.

However, things like this can happen, from one of the most ubiquitous culprits, the 'People Finder' type website. This entry is for cross-stitch designer Jennifer Aikman(-Smith), and references this post of mine (my blog name is on it, and there is a working link: 

Aggregator #2: A Post Stolen and Badly Translated By A Web-Bot

I have to post this in its entirety, because it is rather bemusing and sort of accidentally hilarious. I've pasted the three screenshots together to get the full text, which refers to this post and one of its comments (my blog name is on it, but no link, no context):

I don't think you can actually read it, so here's a cut-and-paste, word for word:

From Bye2Regret: Small Box Hinges (there is no paragraphing):

Many years ago, when the deviser (Jennifer Aikman-Smith) released these squares as unfettered designs, I stitched the Dragon and the Unicorn.  I from the beginning planned to do a triptych, with the Ch in the midst, but I never got around to it. I'm not inevitable if all of The Runekeeper's pieces were released as freebies, but I suppose they were, as I reward the Sword and the Wizard; I'm conscience-stricken I don't have the extract tryst, as I do not have the patterns here with me. Now, these are as they were, aright out of their receptive bag, where they've lain in my stitching can for well nigh a decade now. They necessity to be cleaned, blocked and ironed before any framing takes stead, so this is scarcely a legendary merrymaking. But I soup they would be engaging examples of the ways that you can clarify designs differently. I wanted both to be animated, and I wanted them to organize, as they were intended to be fa each other from across the palace in the center. I omitted the stars from the Unicorn and added the butterflies as opposed to (so that there would be some constituent to attract back on the Dragon's smoke). I also omitted the moon behind her horn, as I wanted the prominence to be on the gold of the horn and the gold on the claws of the Dragon. The blackwork borders were my prevarication as well, although I can't in all respects memorialize where they came from. I do summon underhanded the waggish at the top of each occupation, as I wanted something gem-like in the midriff, but I dream up the sides were from another figure. It wasn't until I took them out to photograph them that I realized I had goofed! The anxious-eyed among you may note that I forgot to add the bottom mark to the center of the bottom Unicorn verge upon. Oops! Something to be remedied at a later tryst. Thankfully, the face is famaliar, as I tolerant of my go-to backstitch shadow for these - DMC 3371. Referred to as "Coloured Brown" in the DMC Insigne Charts, this tincture is an off-the-wall tint that is cryptic and fecund yet not as inharmonious as resentful is against Caucasoid. I've heard it compared to bittersweet chocolate, which is about quickly, but it at the end of the day looks a bit other depending upon the viewing standpoint. So, here they are! I may get around to doing the Manor-house one day, if I find my stitching box with my patterns in it, or I may moral put up the two of them in a butterfly organization (one of the ones with two frames connected by hinges; I grasp there's a specific name, but that's what I've always called them). At the very least, I'd like to untainted them up a brief bit lief :) As for my Blackwork Bookmark, I've put it on clasp for the significance. I intended to stitch it together by darbies, but my Mama suggested that stitching it on the sewing shape will confer it more stamina and longevity. Since I'm hoping it won't give up me anytime presently, I've unquestioned to halt until she has some antiquated at large to show me how to do it. You see, the sewing appliance and I have a Daedalian relationship. While a celebrated associate of my Nourish, I am heedful of it and it is on the qui vive of me in takings. And so we mostly take trouble to defer out of each other's way. I am far downwards dubious that this has any unlooked-for of working out well, but we'll see. I expect that you're right about the sewing detail. Mom thinks I'm witless, but I'm powerful you, her vehicle has a consider castigate of it's own. You be sure how some 'family' pets only absolutely suffice for to one being? Well, Mom's sewing machine is her fastidious sidekick, and doesn't much delight in working with someone else. I avoid, if it were a cat, it would alienate its back on me and stamp away every era I chanced to happen in the offing it. The happening that it can't reasonable up and run away does not fix up its humour much methinks. Thanks for the promoting though. Perhaps it and I will have to exertion our differences out ;) Or silence each other troublesome!

This little gem is actually the first rip-off I found, and this sentence...

You see, the sewing appliance and I have a Daedalian relationship.

...made me laugh my ass off. You see, my very slim background in Classics let me know that this is a psychological term that originated with the Daedalus of Ancient Greek Myth, the architect who was commissioned to build the Labyrinth to contain the minotaur Minos, and when he was trapped in the Labyrinth (i.e. the problem of his own making) with his son Icarus, fashioned wax wings for them both so they could fly away. And we all know how *that* turned out *rolls eyes*.

The term "Daedalian" has since become an adjective meaning, from
Yes, indeedy, my Mother's sewing machine and I do have a complicated relationship. Some would even say byzantine. And the fact that some little piece of badly written web-bot code managed to pick up on that amuses me to no end. It must have been programmed by a philosopher, methinks *grin*. When I first came across it, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I'm going with laugh, since DMC 3371 is described as a "cryptic and fecund" tint, LOL.

Aggregator #3: Blantant, Shamless Post Stealing For Fun And Profit

This is the one that really, really, really annoys me. It would possibly make me angry, but very few things truly make me angry (thankfully), and so I will settle for a state of severe snit whereby I would happily strangle whomever thought that this was okay to do.

Here are the three pages, FULL OF MY POSTS:

As you can see, my post titles and text have been taken and reposted without my permission or knowledge on a foreign site whose primary purpose appears to be selling things like low-discount flat-screen televisions. All that gobbly gook in the right sidebar are search terms for electronics, furniture, etc. Why such a site would take my content, I have no idea; I highly doubt that anything I've written here will help sell dubious merchandise to stupid people (and I'm sorry, but anyone who buys anything from a site that sketchy deserves whatever horrors that are visited upon them).

Curiously, some posts contain my blog title (Eglantine Stitchery). Others do not. There are no links, no context; some posts have been taken in full, others in parts. You can click on the title and the get the full article in most cases.

Thankfully, none of these aggregators has reposted my photos. But from the reading I've been doing about the coming genesis of photo-aggregation sites, it will only be a matter of time. Some sites are stealing photos already. All that needs to happen is for some sneaky little hacker to build a web-bot code that is able to steal both text and image, and all blog contents will be fully replicable. Without, of course, context. Or coherence, as Aggregator #2 so unintentionally wittily proved.

I think it's kind of obvious why I would have a problem with all this. There are some people that argue that aggregation of content is the future of the Internet - that a site that can pull information from multiple sources and post it at one page (like Aggregator #1 did with all references to Jennifer Aikman-Smith) will save time and be more efficient for computer users seeking to find information.

But this sort of stealing of bits and pieces is akin to taking the body and not the heart; without context, most of this data is absolutely meaningless, and it becomes merely junk that clogs up the Information Highway with dead ends and dead leads. It is frustrating for someone who is trying to find information. And it's very frustrating for those of us bloggers who have our content stripped of meaning and repackaged as 'junk information', all in the name of selling someone a likely non-existent flat-screen tv, "small box hinges" or the latest scam of the week. Not to mention launching viruses that could destroy your computer.

If this is the future, it's frightening. As bloggers, all we can do is try to protect each other - if you come across content from a source you recognize and think it may be stolen, please contact the blogger. You may be wrong, but you may be right. And while there is really no safe way to communicate with the mysterious sleazy entities who run such sites (do not e-mail them - all it gives them is your personal information, your name and e-mail, and a confirmed site to target), at least if we know that they're out there, and where they are, we can take steps to avoid visiting and to let others know that we do not condone or appreciate such behaviour. Some of these sites - like Aggregator #2 - look like any generic blog on the block. And that's all the more reason to warn people that there are unscrupulous villains out there stealing your content and breaking your heart.

I sincerely hope that this information will help raise awareness of this growing problem, and will help you know what to look for in the future. If you know someone that might benefit from this post, please pass the link on, or copy the text, or send this information around however you need to. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say, and it is truly better to be safe than sorry :)


Anonymous said...

what I was looking for, thanks

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean, but you're welcome all the same :)