(Sheepishly: yeah, you read that right. I’ll explain…)
OK. Here goes. Late last night, I wrote about how Bloglovin’ had hoovered up peoples’ blogs and was pilfering them for their own gain, at the expense of the content creators.
It turns out that I was wrong. I’ll admit that and I’ll own my mistake. I’m taking responsibility and setting the record straight by writing this post. Integrity and self-responsibility are big deals for me–a hell of a lot more important than burying mistakes and/or trying to save face. Sometimes there just isn’t a face to be saved. 😉
First, I apologize for the worry and stress that this undoubtedly caused. It’s OK to be pissed off at me. ❤
Second, I’m also sorry for posting so frequently lately. I went ahead and wrote this because I felt it was important to get the newfound truth out there ASAP. ❤
I know what it looks like. It looks like our blogs appeared on Bloglovin’ without our consent (they did) because Bloglovin’ sponged them up (they didn’t; blogs are added by users). It looks like Bloglovin’ is what’s known as a “scraper site“, which is characterized by harvesting RSS feeds and then creating mirror sites of our content, whereby we, the content creators, are screwed out of hits and stats and, for those who depend on revenue from advertising on their blog, income. It looks like Bloglovin’ is hogging those stats, hits, clicks, and ad revenue for themselves.
It turns out that they’re not.
The color drained from my face–although it made me feel better–when, in the comment section on that sassy ranty post, a good friend who is also tech-savvy and lay-literate in copyright law, did some thorough digging and chimed in with their insight. Said friend actually went and created a Bloglovin’ account and looked deeply into the issue. I want to give them credit because they found this information; I didn’t.
I would like to summarize my friend’s findings, paraphrased, to set the record straight and correct my mistake(s) and the misconceptions that I spurred by that particular post:
Apparently, Bloglovin’ (BL) does not “scrape” or harvest blogs from RSS feeds; BL users submit our blog links for them to follow.
BL is not actually a content regurgitator; they’re an RSS feed reader, much like WordPress’s Reader function. It’s like WordPress offering the reader as a standalone app, without the blog functions; you visit the site (or open the app) and it just shows the Reader feature of the blogs you follow. Apparently, that’s all it is.
BL does not actually steal the views/hits/clicks from the content creators ourselves. Although BL does open the blog page in what looks like a frame (in which, according to the Wiki entry in the link), is “part of a web page or browser window which displays content independent of” the source page (i.e., your blog), BL’s “frame” is not a webpage frame in its truest sense. (It doesn’t help that BL uses URLs like “frame.bloglovin.com….(long jibberish string)”; that part is confusing, and this fueled my prior ire.)
Instead, even though BL looks like it’s opening your webpage in a “frame” on its site, it’s actually registering on your site (a good thing–that’s what you want), and any activity on, interaction with, or navigation within the “frame.bloglovin.com…” site actually “counts” toward your blog stats/hits/views. My friend says they’ve verified this. (However, this does not yet explain why some bloggers have reported a sharp drop in traffic (according to several bloggers, at least as of September 2015, when this post was written), after their site ended up on BL; perhaps (and this is just my theory) BL may have created a mirror site of a blog post before, being guilty of what I’m describing in the past, and perhaps they’ve fixed it since? That question remains to be answered.)
BL does claim to support bloggers, and this claim does appear to hold merit. My friend claims they’re legit, and that claim has merit, too. They appear to be one more RSS feed site/app, not much different from the WP Reader.
The main issue appears to be a problem in the PR (Public Relations) and communication departments. The site looks like it’s guilty of something it’s not actually doing. It looks like a spammy, shady site, when it actually probably isn’t. As my friend said in a recent blog post on their blog, “they need better PR and better support for concerned bloggers”.
Another question to which the answer remains unknown is, what about the comments left for blogs on BL? Do they transfer to–and show up on–WordPress so that blog authors can respond and interact? Of that I’m not sure yet.
In sum, I’ll quote my friend again “basically everything they’re doing…seems well intentioned. But only after you figure out what they’re doing! Which didn’t happen for me right away”. Because the way they’ve laid out the site and its features is relatively ambiguous, there’s going to be a lot of confusion among users, even the tech-savviest of us (which is not me – I’m the antithesis to tech-savvy!). “What we have here (might be) a failure to communicate.”
So, what I have done so far is this:
- I’ve corrected the title of the last post to reflect that, to paraphrase, “I thought BL was pilfering my blog”.
- I’ve written this post to update everybody on the situation and its developments, thanks largely to my brilliant friend(s).
- I’ve re-created my BL account, and it’s up and running.
- I’ve started taking the necessary steps to “claim my blog” (a hoop-jump that I’m not particularly enamored with, but I completely understand the necessity behind it; I wouldn’t want someone to “claim my blog” on BL out from under me! Which won’t happen, because of the steps they make us go through to make sure we’re really the real author of our blog).
- I’ve deleted my hostile tweets about BL on Twitter.
I’m not done rectifying this yet; I still have to accomplish the following:
- I’ll go back on Facebook and delete the angry comments I left on their page and change my one-star rating (how many stars it’ll get remains to be seen; it depends on the quality and usability of BL itself and my experience of it).
- I’ll send BL a follow-up email retracting the statements I made in the previous email (which I copy-pasted verbatim in my previous BL-related post).
- I’ll go back into the comments on that previous post and reply to each commenter that there’s an update, with new developments and info.
- I’ll edit the previous post to include an addendum at the end, with a link to this post.
- I’ll hit the “Publish” button on this post.
Without further ado…
PS: BIG Thank-Yous go out to my good friend, as well as everyone else for your support! I appreciate your respect <3, even though I don’t always deserve it. 😉
PPS: Sorry for posting so much in one day, for posting so much about off-topic topics, and whatnot. Now I promise I’ll resume Regularly-Scheduled Programming. 😀