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Via… The Source of the Problem

Friday, 8 December 2006 rant

When reading through blogs, “via” is something you will often see. It’s a method of referencing that gives a way of shifting liability onto the original source in case the company the post is about decide they don’t like it.

The problem is, if you’re blogging something that you’ve seen on another site, do you reference the original source (where they, or the people before them got it), just the place you originally saw it or everyone?

I’ll give you an example of something I saw the other day: Panasonic come up with a 1.5mm thick speaker. I found this on digg.

Via: digg

The link on digg takes me to TechEBlog and the best example of the worst sort of blogspam. 2 sentences, a cut down (copy) of an image, a quote and a “[via engadgetmobile]” link in very small writing.

Via: TechEBlog

On EngadgetMobile there was a little more substance. They took the time to write 3 sentences… But each of them was longer than the entire TechEBlog article. The picture was there again, but this time in full, suffixed with a [Via Plastic Bamboo].

Via: Engadget

PlasticBamboo had 4 sentences but less silly waffle that engadget snuck in while still keeping all the detail. The same image, yet again and a “Source: FujiSankei”.

Via: Plastic Bamboo

Finally the source! Or at least the last link in the chain… They may, and probably did, get the information from somewhere but I cannot read WhateverItSays so I’m unable to give you that information.

Via: FujiSankei

Something that is quite common, especially on the Gawker Media sites (lifehacker, kokatu, Gizmodo – to name a few that I regularly bump into via digg =]): cross linking. The process of posting one thing on one of these “blogs” and linking to the full story on the next one. This ensures that people will have to hit at least 2 pages within the same blog network before they start finding out new things. On a bad day it can take a good 15 pages from digg (my primary news outlet) to source.

I do understand how they want billions of pageviews to suck money from their advertisers. I know how they want to keep the traffic in their playground but sometimes it gets a bit silly when you just want to find out how legitimate something is when you have go go backwards and forwards through 15 posts just to get to the original post.

My beef is the people that submit these sites to social media sites.

Furthermore I do realise that it is vital that each blog mentions the ones before it. Otherwise we’d never make it back to the real source… My beef is the people that submit these sites to social media sites.

When the same article, as mentioned above, is exactly the same on each version why would you post the latest version to a site like digg, especially when the content on that version is so obviously ripped from ones below it?

If people could just post the upstream versions it would save people a lot of time and effort and stop distorting advertising figures from people just clicking one “via” to clicking the next “via”.

The only people that deserved any traffic from the post on digg (and therefore are the only people getting a link from me) was plasticbamboo.