Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: 130 RSS newsfeeds from

Author:Ian Davis
Posted:8/31/1999; 4:19:06 PM
Topic:130 RSS newsfeeds from
Msg #:10352 (In response to 10343)
Prev/Next:10351 / 10353

I'd agree that attribution is crucial, how that is best shown is still undecided. Internet Alchemy's RSS channels (now integrated into always link every article back to the syndicated web site. We never include links to offsite pages.

Reading syndicated headlines is nothing like experiencing the real thing at the original site. it's nice to have an overview of the news on one page but when it comes down to it it's just a list of links, you still have to click on each one and visit the site.

It's very closely related to the deep linking issue and Dave mentioned that some of this was dicussed earlier this year and jeff from Wired stated that they don't even think about getting ad revenue from the home page because everyone ignores it. This is where syndicated links can be very useful in delivering targetted customers. They click on a headline because they have some interest in that subject. Advertisers will pay extra to target on pages that the customers have some genuine interest in. Syndication sites such as StartsHere, NewsHub, iSyndicate and Moreover can provide that focus and can even drive in customers who wouln't normally visit.

Dave said he would be unhappy if someone scraped his site. I'm not sure why. Dave gains nothing in monetary terms for driving customers to scripting news but gains a whole lot in mindshare and exposure for Frontier, Userland and whatever he's working on at that point in time.

At StartsHere we scrape websites, fetch channel files and aggregate channels into user defined categories. All of those are available in RSS 0.90 or RSS 0.91, just stick a format=RSS90 or format=RSS91 on the end of the URL. (See the backend for more info). You can add those channel files to,, Carmen's Headline Viewer,,, or any of a dozen intranet sites. It's your choice. It's not about driving customers to StartsHere it's about spreading that news as far and wide as possible. All the links come back through a redirect script at StartsHere so we can see what's the most popular and who uses us the most. Perhaps one day the larger news sites will pay for referrals, I believe that is Moreover's business model as well. Already CNET wil pay for referrals, although at present you need to use their standard HTML - that will change soon for sure.

One question we have to answer is how far does real copyright extend. Strict copyright interpretations rule that you can't use anything without permission. Fair use copyright allows you to use small portions of content in reference to the original. Common sense dictates that the originating site should accept that syndication sites are generating visitors and to do that they need to use a (very) small amount of copyrighted content - the headline.

Some sites will no doubt complain and issue 'cease and desist' orders. Those sites will eventually lose out to other more liberal sites. Think about the Infoworld link policy. If everyone had followed those original rules then very few people would have heard of Infoworld - it would have become a lone island on the web, spending lots of money on advertising when it could have got free advertising by allowing deep links. Luckily they realised that before it was too late.

Syndication has a way to go, but in 2 years time it will be the norm. It's just a progression of hypertext.

Ian Davis
Internet Alchemy

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