Beware BlogBurst: Bad for Business

Bitch PhD has a long post warning bloggers of the perils of signing up with a syndication service called BlogBurst. Essentially, what BlogBurst does is take an RSS feed of your blog, then sell the feeds to big-traffic websites. Now, we can already see one thing wrong with this picture. Why would anybody pay for RSS they can aggregate completely free?

Clearly that reference to “big-traffic websites” ought to read “high-traffic but clue-deficient websites”.

Now, this might seem a good idea. More traffic please. Here’s the first problem, though; the BlogBurst feed includes the complete text of your stuff. There is no way in which any of the traffic will make its way back to you, unless you count a byline link. In fact, as one can read all your stuff (and other blogs too) on Bigsite.com, you may actually lose traffic.

BlogBurst asked us to join some time ago. After considerable consideration, we decided to turn them down. It wasn’t the traffic we were concerned about, though. It was the fact that agreeing to let BlogBurst use your stuff involves granting them a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license to reproduce, distribute, make derivative works of, perform, display, disclose, and otherwise dispose of the Work (and derivative works thereof) for the purposes of (a) modifying the Work without substantially changing its original meaning, and (b) distributing the Work (and derivative works thereof) to Publisher electronic web sites or corresponding printed editions, whether now known or hereafter devised. That is to say, signing over the rights!

Needless to say, this is a very bad idea, and (although IANAL) does not seem compatible with Creative Commons licencing. Especially as BlogBurst offers in exchange the prospect that there “might” be some payment in the future. Not “will”. And, just to cap the lot, if you are independently hosted like we are, it could cost you a fortune. Any images in your posts, should they be picked up by BlogBurst, will be hotlinked – on sites that are meant to run massive numbers of pageviews.