I’ve actually never spent a whole lot of time on Fav.or.it. Whenever Louis Gray made a big deal of them a while back, I covered the back and forth and the finer points either side had to make, but I was in a place where I was all full up on early adopting and didn’t have a chance to try out the site in great depth, only to look over the feature list and get an idea on how they worked.
In my coverage, though, I implored Robert Scoble and Adam Ostrow to explain the allure to me:
I’m really asking this question to people like Adam and Scoble, both of whom have used the system and seemed to like it (as well as any of the folks in our readership that have grabbed any of our freely available invite codes). If you are seeing something that Louis and I are missing, please explain it to me.
Robert and Louis had some follow-up comments via Twitter, but they didn’t exactly explain why I should go ga-ga over things.
Fast-forward to today. I’m working on a project relating to my new take/eureka. As a part of that, I’m looking for legal, quality sources of technology news that I can pay to syndicate to a website as a way to provide context to editorial and other types of content on the site (without going out and hiring a news staff). It isn’t a cheap proposition, but working at Mashable, I know what a hassle it can be to headhunt quality writing talent for news stories, when normally everyone you hire for that is really interested in doing paid editorial or on air work.
Concurrent to this, I get a pitch from Nick Halstead over at Fav.or.it to check out some “new ways to navigate the site”:
We put up a major updated today – 4 new ways to navigate, by Tag (my new favorit!), By Feed, full-text search and popular pages.
The best way to experience all of this is go take a look, below are links to pages which we think best demonstrate the new functionality.
Feed Page Examples
http://fav.or.it/feed/523 – (Mashable)
http://fav.or.it/feed/672 – (TechCrunch)
http://fav.or.it/feed/528 – (Chris Brogan)
http://fav.or.it/feed/2214 – (/Film)
http://fav.or.it/feed/3746 – (Just Jared)
I took a good long look at the links he sent me, today. Here’s the thing – they’re reposting full feeds, pulling up all comments from the original sites, and advertising other Fav.or.it site content around their pulled content. If you leave a comment there at Fav.or.it, it doesn’t head back to the original site, either.
They’re splogging, in other words. Not only that, but they’re splogging and trapping content and visitors at their site. Additionally, they’re pulling out any advertisements that are normally in the feeds, as well (something that must be actively filtered for).
What’s more, these guys are darlings in the Web 2.0 press. When Louis and I weren’t so convinced on these guys, I remember Nick and Robert both defending it on FriendFeed or Twitter, as well as a number of other community advocates. I actually invited Nick to contact me to appear on an episode of Mashable Conversations to explain to me the value of the service. He agreed to come on the show, but never nailed down a date to do so.
So should I just start going around and re-using others content without permission, or should I fork up the cash on this new project and subscribe to some syndication networks and wire services for what I want to do?
Seems to me, if I frame my service with the right buzzwords, I can get away with using others content, no problem. Obviously, I’m probably going to go the legitimate route, but I’m wondering if I’m a fool for doing so.