Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Problem with Online Content Regurgitation

As of late, I recently became aware of a problem with online content and how it potentially affects the Web. It seems that there are two types of content published: 1) the original or primary source and 2) a copy or slightly varied version of the primary content referencing the primary content source. For example, an organization may publish a press release to its website describing a new product or service. A blogger may pickup the news of the new product or service and post a blog on his or her website describing the new product or service and perhaps linking to the original source.

The problem is that the secondary publishers of original content are simply regurgitating the original content in an attempt to, perhaps, increase user viewership of their websites from additional content or to display more web ads on the same web page of the secondary content. For instance, when reading my daily subreddits on reddit.com today, I noticed a link to the new features for Google Fit, a tool for recording human fitness and performance metrics. However, instead of posting the original content to the subreddit, a secondary article describing the original or primary content was posted for users to read. However, this secondary, published content simply regurgitated the primary source's content. It lacked additional insight regarding the new features for Google Fit which can be considered online content regurgitation.

Here are the actual links posted today:

Primary Source Link by Google: Google Fit: Make every step count

Secondary Source Link by Android Police: Google Fit v1.52 Brings Distance Tracking, Calorie Estimates, A New Widget, And A Watch Face

As one can see, the secondary source clearly regurgitates the primary source's content while providing latest deals links and other distracting content surrounding the content. A possible solution to this problem may be the inclusion of a primary source link directly referencing the original source of content by the primary provider. This primary source link could be located with a neutral, third-party website listing primary source links and secondary source links. A possible model for following and improving at the same time is the permalink model which helps avoids link rot. Unfortunately, permalink does not resolve the issue of primary source regurgitation by secondary source publishers. Perhaps, a new project undertaking is on the horizon.

--Corey