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Great content & the extra work of saying "no"

Also known as "I want to make money with your content"

5:03 pm on Jun 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Hi there webmasters, I would like to hear your comments and how you deal with this. I'm growing tired of it (insert sad face).

The good thing: I have a network of sites, all original content, all original pictures, all my own research. Some are authority references, good traffic, etc. This is the result of a lot of work over several years.

Another good thing: The content is paying some bills, stable income, etc. All pure white hat optimizations yada yada.

The BAD thing: Constant mails asking for my content, others want to make money with my content and pay their bills. I'm not greedy, I share but a lot of people cross the line. I've been receiving questions asking my permission to use my content on other websites including commercial ones, also to build "guides" on pdf and specially to create mobile apps.

I know people can take and steal content. I don't ask money for mine but all that work just to have some guy with an "idea" and take stuff? I mean, not even offering some exchange or mutual benefit?. My sites were born as hobby sites, yes it is free, but this "new web culture" behaves almost ias if the content belongs to everybody. I've been answering those questions explaining why I don't give such permissions, including the lines of "we make DMCA and go after any non authorized use".

I don't like how that sounds but the web kinda sucks nowadays. Now we have extra work unsubscribing from a lot of garbage we never subscribed to in the first place and also answering a lot of unsolicited mails from people trying to take content. And I know some will just take it or modify it. I hate having my pictures with watermarks now... SOMETIMES I think selling X website is not what I want but that would get rid of such extra work.

7:40 pm on June 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I can certainly sympathize with the feeling, but my opinion is that if you are getting say, half a dozen people asking about using your content, then yes, there are already 3 dozen others actively using it. And I would consider that number to be a conservative underestimate. (And way off if you don't do any robot control).
8:00 pm on June 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The good news is that at least they are asking! I generally try to accomodate requests, up to a point, especially if they are for a school assignment/project etc.

The bad news is the untold number who didn't ask. Whole websites have been built using my images without my permission.

It's frustrating to no end.

When I started my website in 2000 I figured there would be an endless number of webmasters/publishers/etc who would "borrow" my images, so I decided to publish images that were "just good enough" for the web, but not useable for print, etc.

To my surprise, the people doing the borrowing apparently didn't care about the marginal quality of the images, they were good enough for the web after all.

So after a while I placed a smallish URL label in the corner, didn't help much if at all.

So I placed a rather large but lite URL right across the middle of the images. That stopped "most" of the "borrowing", except for the people who emailed wanting me to send the images without the watermarks so they could use them on their websites, and a higher resolution would be nice too! Unfortunately this large URL also made the images a lot less useful for my actual site users.

Still trying to figure out what to do next.

OK </rant>
11:50 pm on June 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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One thing I have done is (realizing that you can't keep photos private and share them online) like you, ken_b - use images that are optimized for speed that depict an image without leaving enough of it out there for much but sharing online. I also posted the Creative Commons license that gives people permission to share for non commercial use and posted up the copyright policy in simple terms. The images get shared, few give any credit but you do have leverage if you object to the way they are being used.

It is more a matter of limiting than control. Best practice seems to be a mix of preventing hotlinking, establishing ownership, limiting exposure where you can and letting people know your policies.

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