Saturday, March 6, 2010

WordPress raises the ire of more than a few bloggers

WordPress is a free open source content management system. Like MovableType (what we use), but free.

There is currently a row amongst some high profile bloggers becuase WordPress has been hosting blog entries by a company which uses the high Google page ranking of the WordPress domain to get hits and ad revenue. They pay WordPress a fixed rate for this service and then give them the content.

Many are saying that this is blog spam, but as much as I like to jump on the "kill the spammers" bandwagon as the next guy - I am not sure this is really all that spammy in nature.

I think the larger issue that people are having with this is that WordPress is supposedly a free and open project that isn't out to make money. You can donate money to it and assume that the money goes to the person toiling away on the project. But if the person is making money on the side from the popularity of the project - this irks some people - especially those who are into the whole free software way of life.

Personally, while I don't know that I would say it is great that this guy is doing it, I don't really think it is that big a deal. And I am not sure that I would categorize it as spam at all. It is clearly labeled as "sponsored articles" and I couldn't find a way to get there from the site without going through Google first.

The main issue here which makes this an issue is that WordPress has nothing to do at all with the text that is written - the text is only there because it relates to text which generates high click rates from Google (not "rate" as in frequency, but as in the money paid out per click). That is what is spammy about it.
But since it isn't being shoved on you without your control, and it is clearly labeled as to what it is - I think I have a hard time calling it spam. More just "lightly sleazy".

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