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Guerrilla Republishing: New Trend?
When you REALLY dislike a site's design... fix it!
rogerd




msg:922494
 1:50 pm on Jul 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's a new wrinkle on, "They stole my site!" How about, "They stole my site, and made it better!"

According to Changing the Face of Web Surfing [wired.com] in Wired Magazine, some web designers are taking matters into their own hands and "fixing" websites whose designs are terrible or aren't accessible to handicapped users. These renegade designers redesign the site and host the improved version on their own server.

Although they aren't trying to siphon away business or traffic from the real websites, these designers generally come under fire from the real site owners who may fear confusion or traffic loss. The designers feel they provide a valuable service by making sites better and in particular by making their content accessible to disabled individuals.

What would your reaction be if an "improved" version of one of your sites showed up on someone else's server?

 

trillianjedi




msg:922524
 8:34 am on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

What a fabulous idea!

Where's their "Fix this Site please" suggestion box?

TJ

SEOMike




msg:922525
 7:19 pm on Jul 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Remind me not to make ownerrim angry!

Seriously, though, "accessibility" is *not* as simple as some say it is. It's a mess and needs to be fixed, but not at the expense of every website and webmaster. Fix the browsers and fix the screen readers (standardize them) and then come back and ask for accommodation.

Hear Hear! If there's a standard, accessibility is attainable... if not, you just bend over for every different disability. Have a standard for the site, then a browser / reader for the impaired.

<sidenote> some browsers come with "accessibility" considerations built in. For example, in IE 6 it's possible to hold down the control button and roll the scroll wheel of your mouse to change the text size. </sidenote>

lizard49




msg:922526
 5:23 am on Jul 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

LOL, I have thought of republishing other ppl's sites many times, but I wouldn't have the nerve ...

If anyone did it to me, I'd sic an intellectual property lawyer on em real fast.

Reflect




msg:922527
 1:22 pm on Jul 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have read through this thread with interest.

One thing that no one has asked/pointed out:

What about duplicate content and SEs?

What if they took my site and redisigned it (being an E-Comm site). Then the SE spiders their redesign of my site with my content. Who would be booted from the SERPs? What if it was me who received the boot for duplicate content and lost money as a result?

Just a left field thought/question.

Take care,

Brian

ogletree




msg:922528
 1:26 pm on Jul 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

More than likely it would be different enough to get past that. In some cases it would rank better than the original.

idoc




msg:922529
 5:51 pm on Jul 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I dont think the issue of usability is really a consideration here. The content belongs of course to the publisher regardless if the site is accessable to everyone and all browsers or not...same as if it is attractively laid out or of the neon green and fuschia variety with animated gif's and dancing babies. You can get a whole gaggle of programmers in India to puke out pretty and accessable websites... what you can't get there is great and well thought out indexable content. That's the heart of this I think just another thinly veiled hijack scheme.

MikeNoLastName




msg:922530
 9:29 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry, I've always agreed that information should be free, but IMHO, doing what they describe was done to some of the companies, including Odeon, is akin to reprinting the latest best selling book in a large print edition without permission, standing outside the bookstore, and GIVING it away to anyone who wanted it (handicapped or not) for FREE. No royalties to the writer, no recompense to the bookstore, etc.
BTW publishers usually charge more for 'large-print' editions, isn't this discriminatory as well?
On the other hand, simply grabbing information, already FREELY available from one or more locations, rearranging, resorting, etc, etc. is entirely permitted by copyright laws. i.e. anyone can draw a city street map based on street names provided by the city, but copying someone elses map design is not allowed. This is why most map makers include extra non-existant streets on their maps, and list providers include extra seed names, to trap this later group.
Competing yellow phone book companies get away with it by using the same names and numbers, but different indexing category names, and of course different ads.
M

ronin




msg:922531
 2:34 pm on Jul 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't get it.

Why don't the people who do the redesigns just give them to the original companies, and make the point that they had better learn fast what constitutes a good web presence and what doesn't?

photon




msg:922532
 5:34 pm on Jul 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Trying to find anyone within a company who actually knows anything about the web site is a chore in itself. And generally they have no incentive to do anything with what you give them. I tried that with a site I frequent that is broken in Opera. A simple two line fix in the CSS--but no one there was interested.

By posting it to a separate site and exposing it to the public, you get a little more leverage..

g1smd




msg:922533
 8:46 pm on Jul 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> What about duplicate content and SEs? <<

>> What if they took my site and redisigned it (being an E-Comm site). Then the SE spiders their redesign of my site with my content. Who would be booted from the SERPs? What if it was me who received the boot for duplicate content and lost money as a result? <<

You missed something here. The "copied sites" are not a copy of the whole site. They just rebuilt the front end that accesses the database, booking engine, etc. So, all of the original customers are accessing the real companies data, buying the real companies products, etc. If the "copy" ranks high in the results then the original vendor still gets all the traffic. The original vendor does not lose a thing.

It seems that the web design section of many large companies are near clueless about web technology. Nice to see some of them shown up. If I were the CEO of that company, I would want to know why someone else was able to make a better version of the site than the employees did, and see about hiring the "copier" on a consultancy basis.

>> Why don't the people who do the redesigns just give them to the original companies, and make the point that they had better learn fast what constitutes a good web presence and what doesn't? <<

I believe that they tried. Multiple times. But no one was interested. The story ran at ntk.net long before wired got hold of it. I guess it got the /. treatment too.

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