A few days ago, we talked briefly about Global Grind’s content scraping practices. As you may know, Global Ground is like Digg for the hip-hop community. They cover hip-hop stories, celebrity gossip, entertainment, and more. This is a pretty broad selection of content, so many bloggers were shocked to find that Global Grind had basically cut and pasted their hard work and posted it on their own site. They even went so far as to allow these competing pieces to be submitted to Google News. Any blogger would take it pretty hard if their content was scraped by any site, let alone Global Grind, which has ties into the exclusive Google News network, a PageRank of 5, and millions in funding. GG wasn’t even providing a simple link back to the original source article.
A major point that Patrick O’Keefe makes is the double standard between Global Grind and Digg. If Digg had never killed the Digg Bar and just started snatching bloggers’ content, there would probably be rioting in the streets or at least in the blogosphere. As far as GG goes, they are probably getting away with it because the audience is different. They’re not as tech savvy as a whole. In addition, many of the bloggers affected may not have a clue about how to keep track of their own content for the same reason.
It seems that Patrick’s contact with Global Grind has yielded some positive changes that better align with what we should be seeing within the blogging community. They also seem to be committed to making changes in the near future to cooperate with the community rather than simply dominate it. They have killed the top frame bar that they were using. Digg recently made a similar move as Kevin Rose took the wheel.
Most importantly, full text scraping has been turned off. Content excerpts for submitted stories now have a content limit. You can still submit the full text of a story via the manual form, but this is supposed to become human-edited to avoid further incidents. Content that has already been copied to GG will me reformatted so that the full content is not displayed. Links to the original sources of the articles are more prominent but, more importantly, actually exist as a rule.
It will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out. Most sites would receive a huge backlash for scraping content, even if it was not intentional. I doubt that Global Grind will see any such downturn in traffic or popularity. On the plus side, this may be the beginning of a closer relationship between Global Grind and the community at large.