Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wordpress Direct brings Automated Plagiarism to the Social Media

I read a rather disturbing article by Dave Fleet on Friday. The article considered the introduction of Wordpress Direct; a Wordpress tool designed to automate the process of blogging for those with little time to 'waste' on site setup, SEO and optimisation. The platforms scours the social media in search of content that matches the 'author's' interests, composing a blog from the content retrieved. I should note that I use the term author loosely. The content is essentially a plagiarized mess of a conversation that constitutes little more than spam. Even so, the number of platform users reportedly exceeds ten thousand to date; scary stuff, and a step away from social media transparency if ever I saw one...

Fleet rightly gives Wordpress Direct a 'fail', and I would quickly second this verdict. The tool seems little more than yet another exercise in profiting from deception. I presume that the majority of those employing the services of Wordpress Direct intend to profit from advertisements presented alongside the blog offering. Such 'efforts' simply detract from the user's perceptions of the social media, simultaneously cementing the arguments of social media critics such as Andrew Keen who consider the Internet as little more than a tool for plagiarism. Earlier this year, Google CEO Eric Schmidt described the Internet as a 'Cesspool of Misinformation'. Tools like Wordpress Direct do little to challenge these assertions, contributing instead to the increasingly voluminous pit of valueless information.

Clearly, those that engage blogging through tools such as those described above will jeopardise any transparency otherwise achievable through the social media. Woe betide the organisation that succumbs to the automated blog offerings of Wordpress Direct...

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  1. I read Dave's post and have to agree. Wordpress Direct seems nothing more than a spammer or plagiarizer's dream.

    If it was transparent and came with a "Recommended Reading" and linked back to the original post, then maybe there wouldn't be such an issue. I use a plug-in that allows my readers to repost anything they may find of interest onto their own blog, with a direct link and "Read original article" spiel that leads back to my post.

    But if there is no original author credit, then it's nothing more than copyright theft and it'll be interesting to see how the programmers of Wordpress Direct counter this.

  2. I would be interested in seeing just how fluid these blogs really are, Danny. I just hope that after this post there aren't any Wordpress Direct blogs in the list of blogs I am following...!