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It is a system that enables you to retain the copyright ownership of content, while also permitting free re-distribution by other people, subject to accreditation being made to the original author.
It is a very good way of securing mass distribution of content that you are willing to give away - while still retaining some level of ownersip of the original copyright.
Now, lets look at this from a link building perspective.
Lets say you have some very interesting content that you know lots of other web sites would love to reprint as well.
Release it under the Creative Commons policy.
Now, loads of other sites can use the content for free - but have to credit you with the authorship.
We have a database of "Widgets" which has been cited in a large number of publications - all good linkages.
Now we have released that database under a Creative Commons license, under the condition that the authorship (our web site) is retained.
Now, anyone can duplicate the content for free - but they must link to us.
So, now - for no effort on our part - we are starting to build up a body of sites linking to us, as a condition of their using the content.
And even better, the page and sites that link to us are all relevent to us, and hence that also boosts thematic linking as well.
So, in addition to spending hours seeking out new inbound links - we now have a web page that generates good quality, theme relevent inbound links for no effort on our part.
Now, you are not going to get a lot of additional traffic from this - as the content is on the other web site, but it boosts the raw number of inbound links you have to your site - and hopefully boosts the theme relevency of your site into the bargain.
So - if you have something to give away - do so, and get "paid" in the form of backward links!
[edited by: martinibuster at 8:18 pm (utc) on June 10, 2005]
[edit reason] Widgetized. [/edit]
Would you mind if I ask, did you use an article submission service to get your article "out there"...or how did you let other site owners know that you had this content?
Generally, the content I make available under the Creative Commons system is already highly ranked as valuable data and it can found via search engines already.
Also, many "competitors" reguarly read our sites and discover the content.
We have the standard Creative Commons button and details at the bottom of the page - making it apparent that the content can then be copied, subject to linkage.
I saw this guy used his online service for this purpose and gave it for free to everyone - he received a nice link for many people who naturally decided to use that attractive thingy. Now what happens, he knows that with new 10 000 links with free choice of anchor text he can get on the top 10 for his top keywords and that means $$$$$$, in the first scenario when he sold his service he had problems with credibility, and he would average 10% of what he will now earn with the traffic he will get from all the new links.
If you offer more restrictions on top of the creative commons by saying "You must provide a link to me" then you're not actually using the creative commons license.
The creative commons doesn't specify that someone has to place a link to you. It just says they have to give credit.
From the license (if you choose attribition):
Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
So you can demand links from websites who use the content it seems. I am certainly going to study this more, I found the idea behind creative commons sympathetic already, this is really great stuff.
If you do a search on my name "Ant Onaf" you will see tons of places my articles are listed...but if you check my backlink for my site you wouldn't see the promised effort. How come? I'm baffled by it at this point, but I may also be in G's sandbox just because of the article submissions...because I built links too fast...that's my thinking.
Here's another thought: I was thinking about running my own free page counter service...this will definitely get you many backlinks...also I would like to here from anyone who has ran their own free page counter service or have advertised on a page counter service. Is there any gold in it?
He's a subject matter expert in my field. He's not some regular Joe blow in the industry. He's a Professor of Finance Emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His site his a big one in my industry and ranks well in damn near every relevant keyword.
How does he get links? Well he's started a pact (or creed) that unites everyone in my industry by a set of rules and ethics. Almost like a code of good business. In order for him to link you in his database you must create a page dedicated to his written "creed" and you must link back to him from the homepage.
So if you're the last answer in your industry start something similar. It works too. I get good traffic from his site and leads.
And because he's the last answer in my industry he can control links with an iron fist. If you don't meet his standards as a professional he won't bother wasting time adding you to the database. It's brilliant.
If I where your competator. I would take all your articles, change 30% of the words, add some keywords, and at the very bottom of the article in the smallest font possible I'd write "Original Article by YourName". I wouldn't provide a link.
Also there are those who will take your content and publish it themselves with their own name on it.
I would recommend anyone who wants to do this to do the following:
1. Don't publish it on your own site
2. Publish it in a well known newsletter first that dates the articles.
THEN you have 3rd party proof of who published it first in case there is ever copyright infringement disputes.
...but if you check my backlink for my site you wouldn't see the promised effort. How come? I'm baffled by it at this point, but I may also be in G's sandbox just because of the article submissions...because I built links too fast...that's my thinking.
Lorel - i was thinking the same thing Publish articles for re-copy but not on your own site. That way everyone showing your article can fight over the dup-content while they are all linking to you.
The other question is -- does the dupe content penalty afflict a page or a domain? If just a page than it seems there is really no harm in letting it be indexed and having the chips fall where they may.
Dupe-content may only penalise a page but that would also drag down inbound and outbound links to that page, so the site would be affected by it if not penalised as well.
another idea would be to submit a google sitemap with those pages omitted
What I'm getting at?
If your article is published (let's say) 10,000 times with the "About the Author" passage which has your link, then the SE's will notice that your site is the authority of that article, because in each published article it points back to you.
If I'm missing something or wrong, please someone explain.
What happens is when there are multiple (nearly) identical pages that would satisfy a searcher's query, the search engine selects one of them. Likely to be the one with the highest PR, although there may be more factors.
So thinking up all sorts of complicated stuff to prevent a "duplicate content penalty" will only cost you traffic. In this case because you will have lots of incoming links from the duplicate pages you will extremely likely get ranked for it. If not, there is always your link for the visitor to click on ;)