Of Aggregators and Unique Content

Over the past two weeks, I’ve noticed two new websites that siphon posts off of Ballex and Kikay. This site: http://skincare.simra.net/, which got RubyG’s post on Skin Food, and this site: http://basketball.sports-guru.com, which gets almost all of the posts off of Ballex.

These sites are called aggregators, which live off of content from different sites, and make it their own.

Now, let’s analyze that statement for a moment. First, the site has to a. Live off of content from different sites. That’s easy enough, with aggregating scripts and RSS. The fact I allow syndication means it’s ok with me that other people cite my websites. That’s the way the internet is and to disallow that is stupid. If you think about it, it actually helps the sites get even more popular, so that’s cool.

The second part however is b. Make it their own, and that’s where I see pure aggregators tripping on themselves. Making content made by others ‘your own’ isn’t that easy. Say for example, a post I made about my Coaching the 14-18 year old basketball team in our village. Posts like these offer unique perspectives and opinion only available via myself. No one else in the whole world can write that post, except me.

If any of my writers at Ballex or any of Jill’s writers at KikayEx write about an opinion they get via using a product, experiencing a situation, etc etc., that opinion or experience cannot be ‘owned’ by anyone else, because it is unique.

And so when I see an aggregator, I wonder how it is to survive if it cannot provide that unique sense of entertaining pieces of information that reveal a writer’s, and hence, the websites unique personality and character. Consequently, if a website cannot ‘convert’ other’s content into its own, it will be forced to create its own content. And since it cannot do that (since the person who made it decided to aggregate others content for itself to begin with, an indication that he cannot), then it cannot produce anything, and it will fail.

And now I will say something that everyone already knows, and that is: “Content is King”. To add to that, I’d like to also say that “Unique Content Is Even Better”. Any publication, may it be a website, tv show, book or magazine, has a chance of survival if it provides information that it, and only it, can provide. If you manage to get the groove of that type of information you feel people want, and use the best tools to deliver it, I think you’ll have a winner in your hands.

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