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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More, after the break

I'm experimenting with a new (well, new-to-me) feature on Blogger: the jump break.  People who are just casually glancing at one of my posts might think "Gosh, he's being unusually short-winded," but I assure you this is nothing of the sort.

All shall be explained...

...after the break.

See, you may recall that a few weeks ago I was all mad over the fact that someone had been stealing and reposting my blog posts (and those of many other local bloggers) onto another blog, and then using various tricks to make it look like these posts were actually written for this other blog, and the bloggers writing the posts were actually writing for this blog.  Yesterday I discovered another blog doing the same thing: blogger-index.com (please don't go there - see below) out of Geneva, Switzerland.  Reposting my entire posts as they are being syndicated by my site feed, up to and including the line about reposting by scraper blogs being expressly prohibited. Now, this is a little less problematic: the titles of my posts still link back to my original blog posts, so people can potentially be redirected to my site. But the site itself appears to contain adware which will latch onto people who don't have all their shields up and do terrible things.

The problem is post syndication.  This is convenient for people using an aggregator like Google Reader, which...well, basically does the same thing as this second scraper blog, allowing people to read my posts without actually visiting my site.  Blogger gives you several options for restricting post syndication.  Selecting "none" means your posts won't even get indexed by Google, and that would be bad.  "Full" is what I was doing. "Short" would only show a snippet of text, or the first 400 characters, or something like that, but in any case I couldn't get it to work.  The last remaining option was "Up to break," so I figured I'd try that.*

Blogger has a very helpful article from September 2009 about using jump breaks, including some simple instructions for replacing the dull "Read more" with something more personalized. Unfortunately, Blogger has undergone a major design revision since then, and as they say, your argument is invalid.  Or at least their instructions are, since they direct you to change settings which apparently no longer exist.

So.  Scrapers.  Making me use jump breaks to prevent wholesale pirating of my posts, but at the same time cutting off readers who use legitimate blog aggregators like Google Reader. And I'm stuck with the lame old "Read more," which I always assumed was a cheap trick to inflate page views. Ah, well.  We'll see how this works out.


*Some bloggers have another option available: they can post a summary or other bit of text in the syndication feed that doesn't appear anywhere else, and require readers to click on a link to see the actual post. Paul Krugman used this to great effect when he posted an ad from a beer company wishing the Jewish people a blessed Yom Kippur**; his syndication feed simply said "Atone responsibly" - a joke that was lost on anyone who didn't see the syndication feed text. Ryan North counterpoints his Dinosaur Comics with a syndication feed that comments on the day's comic, and also incorporates messages into hover text and the subject lines of any e-mails generated using the "Contact Me" button.

**Or maybe not.  I don't see that ad now, but the address on that link makes me think that might be a revised version of the post.

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