Giving Away Content

I have been wrestling with an issue for some time now, and I am unsure of the best solution. Perhaps you fine folks can provide some insight.

About a year ago — and, after considerable reluctance — I allowed Seeking Alpha to reproduce my content on their site. In theory, it cost me nothing, and (in theory) would generate some traffic. Others apparently felt the same way, as SA went from aggregating a few blogs to dozens, if not 100s.

The only requirement I gave them was "no changing headlines, no deleting expletives, no pulling links, no editing at all;" It was all or nothing, fill or kill "

After that edict was violated for the 3rd time — with an embarrassingly shitty headline of someone else’s authorship — I pulled my feed.

I am now trying to decide what to do with them going forward. Quite bluntly, I am unsure of the benefits derived. Perhaps some traffic, perhaps a link or two, but other than that . . .

The downside?

1. My friends in Marketing call the reposting a "Dilution of Brand."

2. Duplicative content weakens a site’s GoogleScore (hence, there is a real cost to my magic GoogleRank when letting anyone else take content, authorized or not);

3. I do not have the time to patrol their comments for the usual trolls and asshats; 

They have built up a nice business on the labor of other bloggers. According to 24/7 Wall Street, In February, Seeking Alpha had 797,000 unique visitors, and about three million total pages viewed (about double our stats).

I have a few options: I can kill the feed entirely, shift it to the Fusion IQ Blog, limit it to one post/day or X/week, or come up with some other arrangement.

But I am not sure what the ideal situation is.

~~~

What say ye?

>

UPDATE April 8, 2008  5:24 am

Wow, 120 responses,  and nary a positive one in the lot. Pretty astonishing. Andy emails me that last month, Bill Rempel came to very similar conclusions . . .

For the sake of looking at both sides, can anyone suggest a reason(s) for staying with SA?   

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Stav commented on Apr 7

    You’ve got the first investing/finance blog I go to and refresh regularly. Why bother? Keep your stuff here.

  2. Carl commented on Apr 7

    Barry,

    All information wants to be free.

    The internet greatly facilitates this law of nature/physics.

    Lean into it or someone else will.

    You run my favorite blog,
    Carl

  3. SeamusAndrewMurphy commented on Apr 7

    It is a dilution of brand; you already are highly rated on Google. You need them like you need a parasite.

    They have abused your terms of use. They do not respect what makes your voice unique, which is exactly what makes you highly rated on Google. Why allow them to add value to their site with your good name and then tarnish said value?

  4. ajw commented on Apr 7

    Very hard to see the upside in staying with Seeking Alpha – you have more to lose than gain. Consider:
    1.) Brand dilution
    2.) Lack of upside – it’s hard to imagine that there are that many people left who read investment blogs that haven’t already heard of you (if this were 2004, it would be different, but that was then and this is now)
    3.) Dilution of your time to correct things they specifically promised not to do.

    You have businesses to build. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

  5. Unsympathetic commented on Apr 7

    SeekingAlpha is wholly and utterly useless. If they stopped paying their ISP, we’d all be smarter.

    Barry, you will do more than fine by simply posting on this site alone.

    Your musical taste is impeccable, by the way!

  6. douglas mcintyre commented on Apr 7

    You have a great product. No reason to syndicate through anyone unless you get part or all of the traffic.

    You content will continue to bring in new readera and RSS subscribers

  7. Entrepreneur commented on Apr 7

    Barry – it may be a tad early in the cycle of Internet development for this to be widely agreeable, but it’s still true… content is king.

    What sets your site apart is the commentary combined with the culling screen you provide by using your experience and world view as a filter.

    If you continue to produce great content, and always work to make it even better, the audience will come to you. It always does.

    Information is a commodity. Content is King.

    If SA is not delivering copious amounts of useful traffic, then lose ’em. Don’t even think twice about it.

  8. bwana commented on Apr 7

    Barry,

    Tell SA to take a hike. You don’t need them. Your blog is great. Let the world come to you and get “The Big Picture”.

  9. gRIFFITH commented on Apr 7

    Nuke them.

    They are asshats.

    You have a strong brand. NO need for them.

  10. ReductiMat commented on Apr 7

    Seeking-what?

    Forget ’em. As others have said, you need them like a hole in the head.

  11. Michael commented on Apr 7

    I check both Seeking Alpha and The Big Picture multiple times per day. Here, I read everything, but on SA, I only read the articles that I find interest in from the headline. If they are creating poor headlines, few people would read the article unless they recognize your name. I am guessing that if they recognize your name, they read this blog already so you are facing dilution.

    Also, I have seen from the comments section on SA, bloggers get attacked for most of their views, whether they are bullish or bearish. There is a great example of this bashing on Crossing Wall Street on April 2nd about an article on the gold bubble. The inability to patrol comments on SA is a big problem. Its only a matter of time until it turns into a message board on Yahoo Finance.

  12. DIS commented on Apr 7

    they don’t give much too you and seem to take some from you.

    f*** them

  13. Miguel Borges commented on Apr 7

    I vote to pull the feed, and just concentrate on your own site. They need you more than you need them.

  14. pride commented on Apr 7

    It’s all fun & games until they start messing with your GENIUS!

    FOOLS! How dare they?

    Squash that worthless digital rag with a flick of your wrist (or at least the mass of your ever-increasing ass)!

    PGBTF

  15. rightline commented on Apr 7

    Pull it. What will their numbers be if your blog is backed out? Not in a vindictive way. But this asset that you bring to the table deserves better. Principle, and recognition that your blog without question stands on its own. If they haven’t got it right with the simple terms you set, what other headaches will you have going forward? Many Seeking Alpha blogs (to me) are cheesy. Grouped with those mediocre blogs it may hurt rather than help longer term.

  16. a5 commented on Apr 7

    Seeking alpha is 5% quality and the rest is truly garbage. You have to really sift through the stuff they print to find anything worthwhile.

    Posting there makes you seem like a real 3rd tier blogger. It’s for wannabes and spam artists. Don’t even think twice. Not surprised they would ‘edit’ your stuff — like they know the difference between a quality post and half the drivel they allow on there.

  17. TinkaBootItEh? commented on Apr 7

    Screw Seeking Alpha and screw Google…they are both parasites who make money off other peoples content.

  18. Douglas Watts commented on Apr 7

    Speaking personally, I would annex the Sudetenland.

  19. muckdog commented on Apr 7

    Two words: Laser Cats.

  20. upsidetrader commented on Apr 7

    Barry
    SA ain’t what is used to be and their quality recently has been greatly diluted-not a big loss

  21. Rob Dawg commented on Apr 7

    2. Duplicative content weakens a site’s GoogleScore (hence, there is a real cost to my magic GoogleRank

    Mr. R., the G-company would gladly double your g-rankings if you were only a g-member and also if you gave them a huge portion of your past, present and future revenues. The G-guys are all about making money not delivering what they imply as to search or access. Don’t get me wrong, more power to them. Especially since they have successfully convinced people that they are in some way altruistic. Buyer Beware.

    Don’t believe me. Just look at their appeal policies vis a vis disputes as to net revenue.

  22. Steve commented on Apr 7

    agree witha5 and TinkaBootItEh?

    SA is a mess, I only go when a writer that I like refers there, I will no go there unless someone wades through the morass for me :-)

  23. upsidetrader commented on Apr 7

    Barry
    SA ain’t what is used to be and their quality recently has been greatly diluted-not a big loss

  24. Douglas Watts commented on Apr 7

    Keep the feed, but require them to put your R.E.M. piece from Friday as the top link every day. And some pix of Miles making a really mean face.

    But most importantly, they must include a permanent link to Paid in Full by Eric B. and Rakim.

  25. pmorrisonfl commented on Apr 7

    As a matter of principle, if they violate their agreement with you repeatedly, say good luck and goodbye.

  26. Asshat commented on Apr 7

    Barry,
    They BROKE YOUR RULES. Why are you even questioning leaving them? My 2 year-old only gets one chance, why should they get 3?

    Why does every one gotta us my name in a bad way?

  27. Ross commented on Apr 7

    I am one of the most totally unsophicated technology users you will find on your excellent site. That said

    I found your site from your appearance on Kuddles program. I see why you are nice to the guy. I found Calculated Risk from your site so I now ‘go direct’ without the feed.

    For what it’s worth, I think this business model is very young and will go through the cycles that usually occur.

    Be a gentleman and point out the errors of their ways and hang in there until your ‘hits’ equal or exceed theirs.

    But what do I know. I grew up when there was an unwritten code that said you never spoke ill of the competition. GM didn’t need to knock American Motors product to force them out of business.

    Either way, good luck.

  28. Owner Earnings commented on Apr 7

    Pull your feed Barry. I image in the near term someone will pay money directly to bloggers. Then I would expect some of the great financial blogs (CR, HP, Mish) to fall under one main webpage.

    I stopped going to SA because the quality vs quantaty ratio was TERRIBLE.

  29. Andrew commented on Apr 7

    Is this a hard call?

    “Yes, you may benefit from my work, adding nothing yourselves, provided you don’t violate these straightforward guidelines.”

    Violations 1, 2, and 3.

    OK. Either, “Sorry, you aren’t keeping up your end of the deal. Best of luck in the future.” Or, “Well I didn’t really mean it. I don’t like you doing it, but I’m not going to stop you.”

    What would Supernanny do?

  30. Johnny Debacle commented on Apr 7

    We faced this same decision (also they wanted our non-anonymous identities). Just doesn’t seem worth it; I’d look at your analytics and see how much traffic they really send to you.

    Your site is positioned such that in my opinion, I can’t imagine they are sending you many if any permanent readers. You get linked to enough by every other financial blog that you are unshakeable and locked in such that people who want your content will find it or have found it.

    I’d drop them.

  31. mhm commented on Apr 7

    They let you down… three times and you still thinking about it? It is about business, not friendship.

    Kill it tonight.

  32. rick commented on Apr 7

    Barry,

    I think I found your blog quite by accident about 4 years ago. Yours has been the first, best and sometimes only finance related blog I read each day. I wouldn’t blame you if you nuked ’em. However, if you were to give them, say, 1 post a day for a specified time (6 mos, 1 year?), I think the quality of your product would outshine everyone else at SA and their smart readers would want more, just like I and all of your regulars do. Keep up the great work.

  33. OC Smoke commented on Apr 7

    I’d write a guest post for them periodically….or feed once a month or so. This way you get the eyeballs and most of your work. If people like your writing, let them link to your blog and come here to read it. I read SA, but I always come to this blog to read your posts.

    I love the absence of hysteria and delusion you maintain here. No need to send it out for viewing.

  34. Ken commented on Apr 7

    1. Stay separate. I’ll stop reading if you become “just another blog.”

    2. Revive the Weekend Linkfest.

    3. A section dedicated to the books worth pursuing.

    My 2 cents.

  35. D.Rich commented on Apr 7

    I read both you and Seeking Alpha each and every day. Love the both. Do what you need, because I read it here first.

  36. B.B. commented on Apr 7

    BR,

    Sounds to me like you answered your own question.. Re-read your post, you want to kill it.

  37. DJ Johnson commented on Apr 7

    I had been looking for a different financial blog aggregator than SA and have found “Abnormal Returns” along with “Real Clear Markets”. They are more straightforward than SA.
    I don’t know the ins and outs, but doesn’t a link to “Big Picture” garner you a “hit” no matter where it comes from? In any event, I found you via another blog, and would remind you that audiences rotate constantly, with newbies looking for direction. Don’t worry about the duplication, it’s free advertising.

  38. ottnott commented on Apr 7

    1) Whatever we think, please do what satisfies you. We owe you the favors, not the other way around.

    2) I think the SeekingAlpha connection should be all or none. If you view them as a benefit, don’t hold back. If you view them as a detriment, why choose less detriment when you can choose zero detriment.

    3) I vote for none. In addition to ignoring very simple and reasonable terms for accepting free content from you, SA also publishes a lot of dreck. You don’t need that mud splashing on your reputation. Plus, cutting them off is greater incentive to look at other options. You seem to enjoy a chance to explore the possibilities.

    4) If you aren’t on SA, I view that as at least some tiny increase in the probability that you will knock Ben Stein out of one of his outlets…somewhere, someday…in a just universe.

  39. steveax commented on Apr 7

    I have a “3 rule” too (everybody gets one free pass, two _might_ be a fluke but 3’s a pattern) and I stick to it. I suggest you do the same just on principle.

    FYI: I’d never even heard of SA until this post.

  40. MAS (Seattle) commented on Apr 7

    If you care about your Google Score figure out why your page loads are so slow these days.

    Google rewards fast page loads.

  41. AJF commented on Apr 7

    that site is horrible, as well, you state that you warned them about editing your content, yet three times they violate your request; pull your content and keep it where it belongs: only on the TBP

  42. dug commented on Apr 7

    They’ve proven you can’t trust them by ignoring your restrictions, so fuck em. There are always other options in life and business than dealing with people who can’t be trusted.

    The beauty of the net is that if your content is of interest people will find it no matter where it is.

    I agree with the brand dilution point too, and without absolute control over content you have no real control over the quality of product. If you make fake Rolex no big deal but ideas and information don’t water down too well.

  43. sysin3 commented on Apr 7

    my motto is …. once on my shit list …. you’re there forever.

    it has served me well over the years.

  44. Luca commented on Apr 7

    I’ll pile up on the “kill”…

  45. TimS commented on Apr 7

    Don’t go with Seeking Alpha. It is too hard to tell who knows what they are talking about vs. any yahoo who decided to blog. Your blog is one of the most respected and widely read. If you want to go with an aggregator, make sure it is someone who filters for quality as opposed to looking for quantity of bloggers. Keep us posted on what you decide and keep on blogging. I enjoy your blog immensely.

  46. Ellie at Redfin commented on Apr 7

    Your content differentiates the Big Picture. It’s one of the best. You don’t need ’em, they need you. Keep writing great stuff.

  47. UrbanDigs commented on Apr 7

    No question: keep it here. keep content quality. content is king. now make the stock market go down so my newest shorts can be profitable again.

  48. Sherman McCoy commented on Apr 7

    Kill! Kill! Kill!

    You are absolutely right that they are a parasite.

    Plus I think you put too much attention into your traffic numbers. For my own sites I would rather have interested, intelligent, open-minded readers than 10X the number of mediocre readers. And don’t forget that those crappy readers are where the trolls and troublemakers come from!

    KILL THE FEED AND KILL YOUR OWN CONCERN WITH TRAFFIC NUMBERS!

  49. odograph commented on Apr 7

    I enjoy reading your blog directly (rss via bloglines, but most often popping over for each story). No idea what works as a strategy, but as a reader I think blog/rss is more than enough. If anyone wants to quote, link, and discuss, that’s the way the game is played.

    Full quotes of text that is already “free” is IMO redundant.

    Basically I think you treat other MSM/blog sources with respect … I think that’s a good model.

  50. Rich_lather commented on Apr 7

    I read seeking alpha on occasion, but I read your blog daily–at your website. There’s no need to duplicate/syndicate your feed since traveling to your blog is free anyway. If it were a print publication, things would be different.

  51. Bob the Analyst commented on Apr 7

    Seeking Alpha has really gone downhill over the past year. Almost not worth reading anymore. 90+% of the posts have negative or zero investing value (except when I should exit a trade). To many amateur postings with pedestrian analysis. Most of the writers are doing a disservice and should try emulating Suzy Orman’s sound advice (or a passive strategy) and not try to be a Cramer). It is no wonder they are seeking alpha and not able to find it.

    Run Barry Run!!! or just post on Abnormal Returns…good stuff.

  52. Bob the Analyst commented on Apr 7

    Seeking Alpha has really gone downhill over the past year. Almost not worth reading anymore. 90+% of the posts have negative or zero investing value (except when I should exit a trade). To many amateur postings with pedestrian analysis. Most of the writers are doing a disservice and should try emulating Suzy Orman’s sound advice (or a passive strategy) and not try to be a Cramer). It is no wonder they are seeking alpha and not able to find it.

    Run Barry Run!!! or just post on Abnormal Returns…good stuff.

  53. Cameron Dean commented on Apr 7

    Barry, for my two cents I would cut them off for one simple reason: they refuse to live up to the agreement you made to them. You don’t need them causing you, or other bloggers, grief. You all do the work; why should they profit from that, while disrespecting you. Again, just my two cents. Peace.

  54. Marcus Aurelius commented on Apr 7

    Never heard of them.

    What’s in it for you?

    Cut them off.

  55. Dervin commented on Apr 7

    are they paying you? An Imaginary friend of mine writes a blog for Seed magazine and they give her $50 a month.

    But, are you telling us you get about 1/2 of seeking Alpha’s traffic? You, by yourself are throwing down 3 or 4 solid posts a day, making mad coin in the real world and have an additional blog for writing other stuff (that tripadvisor game cost me a few hours this weekend.) And you aren’t even trying. F*ck them! They need you more than you need them. I think you should be asked to be paid in Hookers and Cocaine.

    If you are worried about page hits, just do a couple of posts on porn. If you aren’t willing to do that, cold cock cramer. I know you could take him out with one punch.

  56. JSmiley commented on Apr 7

    1) There are some bad actors doing feed aggregation. They steal feeds without permission and do whatever they want with it. I don’t know if SA is trustworthy or not now. Nobody knows if they will be if the future. You should guard your content better that giving it away for free. Is it still yours after SA gets ahold of it?

    2) I trust you and I take what you say at face value. I don’t trust the random articles at SA. Who are these guys trying to manipulate me? I’ve found I’m dumber after doing a search there. So I don’t do it anymore.

  57. lls commented on Apr 7

    Barry,
    Integrity of the words attributed to you
    stands above approval and/or marketing.
    Restrict their link to “ROM”.
    LLS

  58. VennData commented on Apr 7

    Take away your stuff from them faster than you would a pre-teen girl from a polygamist “ranch.”

  59. Vernon Bush commented on Apr 7

    I find Seeking Alpha usually to shallow, lacking depth and followup with their rapid fire entries, I quit going to them last year.

    There are better outlets… Opportunities will arise for quality blogging

    Rgds

    nonrev

  60. E. Cartman commented on Apr 7

    Kill it off. Seeking Alpha chokes on garbage content, nowadays.

    Why sacrifice GoogleRank and so on sitting next to 800 people, 99% of whom are simply not on your level?

  61. JasRas commented on Apr 7

    Hit the kill button.

    You gave simple rules. You gave them three strikes, which is generous.

  62. Jason commented on Apr 7

    If they piss yoy off (like work) they can pay you in cash (like work).

  63. rzklkng commented on Apr 7

    Give them a summary feed – keep your brand out there, but with restrictions. Force someone who wants the full content to click through. If you see a substantial amount of click through traffic, then you can reevaluate.

  64. jp commented on Apr 7

    kill it and contact the pajamas media guys…am sure theyd love to have you…potential revenue over there too

  65. evanesce commented on Apr 7

    Barry, it seems that they lied to you.

    Do whatever it is you usually do to people who seem to lie to you.

  66. Sarah in OH commented on Apr 7

    I have never even heard of them.

    Besides you’re on TV and if people want to hear more of your ideas they will find you.

  67. LP commented on Apr 7

    I agree Seeking Alpha is absolutely useless. I’ve never gone to anyone’s site based on a post on their site. Matter of fact, I find many of their posts totally contradictory. If the posts had opposing views and if those views were properly argued then that’s great. However when I go to their site this is what I see;

    1) There’s a commodity bubble
    2) Commodities are way under priced
    3) Here’s the Top in Gold
    4) Gold is going to $2000
    5) Market has bottomed
    6) The market will lose another 20% from here

    I mean come on. There is no confluence of ideas, theme or structure. Also, some of the articles remind of me when I was blogging. I hated some of my posts and thus I stopped blogging. Now I do not wish to read some who is far worse than I am at expressing ideas.

  68. Christopher commented on Apr 7

    I submitted 3 articles, which they published, but changed my titles. In one article, the title conflicted with my analysis. I have since decided never to submit anything to them. As it is, I a happy with the traffic I’m getting.

    Please do let them know that they suck big time.

  69. Bogdan commented on Apr 7

    Barry,
    Thanks a lot for this amazing blog!
    You should not feed it to Seeking Alpha anymore, but rather to the Fusion IQ blog.

  70. Pam commented on Apr 7

    There is no “forward”.
    They can’t keep their half of a very simple bargain.

  71. Simon commented on Apr 7

    You don’t need seeking alpha. I found this blog by following a link from Brain Shannons Weblog Alphatrends. I notice today that he seems to have removed the link to this site. I go to him first then to you or someone..Maybe you need to link back to him so he will link to you…Anyway the best thing to have it seems is quality links. Being linked to an agregator bunches you together with all the junk. Incidently I found Brians blog by looking at the how to DIY category on you tube. The increase in my investing/economy knowledge since stumbling into this world has been explosive. I’ve always been interested in money but I’ve never had access to this level of information and experience before. I find it very interesting and exciting

  72. Bob A commented on Apr 7

    I only go there about once a month when ‘m really bored. Waste of time wade through the muck.

    If you could get Minyanville to pick up a weekly market comment and not get kicked off Real Money (like they do with Jeff Saut and Tony whashisname…Dwyer) that might be good.

  73. Cliff Winger commented on Apr 7

    Dear Barry,
    I am amazed at the great content of your Big Picture site. I am a small investor.
    You should do what is best for you and your associates. At the end of the day, you have to pay the bills and feed the family, as well as enjoying a little R&R.
    Get John Mauldin and Bill Bonner to give you exposure, they have lots of readers. If you contact Jim Puplava he might interview you and he has many followers too.
    C Winger

  74. Ben commented on Apr 7

    I actually like Seeking Alpha, but there’s no upside to either you Barry, or your regular audience. They failed you for the last time, keep it that way.

  75. Arby Johnston commented on Apr 7

    If Seeling Alpha = lacking integrity, the answer seems obvious, no?

    Whether they pay you or not is immaterial if you can’t trust them. If you’re gonna let them screw with your headlines, you risk having people think you’re a hack.

    Keep up the good work. This is where I come to for straight shooting commentary.

    rbj

  76. Jim commented on Apr 7

    You don’t need them to dilute and diminish your product.
    At the outset you set your standards, maintain them.
    Off with their Balls!!
    JC

  77. Joe commented on Apr 7

    What I don’t get is how they have time to edit the dozens if not hundreds of blogs they run? And why they bother?

  78. Robert commented on Apr 7

    One simple solution to this issue… Only allow SA to print the 1st paragraph of your article followed by a “more…”

    their click will take them to your site.

  79. Stumanji commented on Apr 7

    Barry –
    My first post ever here at your blog. SeekingAlpha is good for one thing – free ccall transcripts. I was a former Street analyst for ~10 years and I’d have to say (I have been on CNBC as well) that you are as refreshing on CNBC as anyone. I have never looked at Bob Pisani the same since your “Pisani Top” call. Good stuff.

  80. Francois commented on Apr 7

    Barry,

    Do you need a 3rd shoe?

    ‘Nuff said

  81. Armchair Fed commented on Apr 7

    Verily I say unto thee, o Barry:

    thou shalt seek out other established, perhaps lesser-known figures in the financial blogosphere. Thou shalt call them Pundits;

    yae, and these Pundits shall join forces with thou, yae, and create an even bigger Picture than the Big Picture provideth today;

    yae, and thou and thy pundits shall form a Gang, for no man (or woman) assemble on Wall Street, or any other street, without a show of Pundits for strength, protection and portfolio diversification;

    yae, and thy Gang shalt challenge established foes at TheStreet.com and Barrons, where content is held captive by raving madmen and print barons;

    yae, and where thoust has fed so many, so shalt thou feed in thy quest for Pundits, lifting from the cream of the SeekingAlpha crop; of course, thou shalt also peruse thine Rolodex for such Pundits as well.

    Thus sayeth the Armchair Fed.

  82. Karl K commented on Apr 7

    Barry, for all it’s flaws, of which there are many, Seeking Alpha I think is going to be a long term winner in the on-link financial information game. For me the site has two sources of value — the options commentary, which I read faithfully though about 80% of it is useless, but some is not. And their search engine for conference call transcripts. That in my view is a HUGE benefit they provide.

    In the end, I think it is the aggregators who are going to win the game. Instapundit was really the first model in this regard — it may be Glenn Reynolds site, but he’s really an aggregator.

    Blogs with a point of view, like yours, are going to have loyal audiences but a natural ceiling in terms of the value that can be extracted. Which is something I think you have already found out.

    Given what you seem to want this blog to do, they don’t need you. Do you need them? If you want to keep on doin’ what you’re doin’, probably not. But consequently, what you have now may be as good as it gets.

  83. larster commented on Apr 7

    Kiss em goodbye.

  84. Richard commented on Apr 7

    barry you have to find a compromise of protecting the success of your brand with paths for spreading it beyond your individual blog to continue to support and expand the brand. maybe seeking alpha isn’t the right way to accomplish this but it does show that you do have interest in expanding its reach. before making any decisions take a step back and do an analysis of payoffs/pitfalls for different approaches.

  85. Wayne Sarchett commented on Apr 7

    Barry, You don’t need them. This is one of the most successful blogs in the world. I check it several times a day.

    Tell them to “stick it!”

    Wayne

  86. Gene commented on Apr 7

    Dump them. First, you don’t need them to reach anyone at this point. Second, they aren’t driving traffic to your site or increasing your own personal visibility. Third, all they care about is building a business on the content of others. If they were a more influential player, content providers might be scared to take away the content, but they’re not that influential. I just don’t see what’s in it for you and why should you help them generate traffic, revenue and critical mass?

    Just one man’s opinion. But then again, I believe in intellectual property.

  87. brasil commented on Apr 7

    barry hire help ..expand …find your own other quality content..someone intellectually honest ..seeking alpha is to busy and quality has gone down hill…double your traffic on quality …your not worried about putting food on the table..quality content will be the new king..imo..not quantity…great blog ..and vibe..thanks for all..

  88. Darkness commented on Apr 7

    I’m sorry… they aggregate ‘100s’ of blogs and only have double your stats? Those numbers don’t add up to treating them seriously.

    Well, what do your referrer logs look like…how much traffic are they sending you, exactly? You should have a real measure of that at your fingertips.

  89. feedbite commented on Apr 7

    I don’t care what you do with SA, but don’t kill your rss feed. I use feedbite to aggregate several blog feeds and save it as a live bookmark in firefox (click my name). If you kill your feed, I will never find your articles and I will stop coming to your site (not because I don’t like it, but because I don’t have time to click around to 100 sites, I need the aggregator).

  90. Mich(^IXIC1881) commented on Apr 7

    86 comments and the message is clear: Let them seek alpha, beta, gamma, whatever it is that they want to seek, and you seek the big picture.

    Plus, why do you want more visitors or better ranking? If better ranking and more visitors means I need to read bunch of garbage comments only to find the few I care about, I think it is fine as it is.

    You worry about finding time for linkfests, and digging other interesting topics, let the other stuff like ranking, visitors take its natural course.

  91. Lee commented on Apr 7

    Your blog more than stands on its own. Unless the compensation somehow outweighs the annoyance, you risk further erosion of trust that will steal more of your valuable time and concentration.

  92. Russ Wood commented on Apr 7

    What is your objective? Does sharing content with SA help you meet that goal?

    My guess, maybe a SWAG given the previous comments, is you do have some readers who prefer an aggregator site like SA. Will they check TBP and SA if you drop your feed? If not, do you care?

    I suggest you think about this as the entrepreneur you are. What creative solution best fits your objectives? I say don’t dump them, make them give you something of value in return for your feed.

    Good luck.

  93. wunsacon commented on Apr 7

    You don’t need them, Barry. You don’t need to be “discovered”.

    It’s brand dilution. YOU could be “Seeking Alpha”. Or more.

  94. BT commented on Apr 7

    As if you need another person telling you that SA needs you more than you need them. Especially if they are violating your TOU.

    As for them generating traffic… if someone is taking editorial license with your words, you are probably getting less clicks than you otherwise would. “Irreverence == objectivity” in my view, “toning it down a bit” means you are misrepresented. Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke!

  95. frankie commented on Apr 7

    I can draw a trendline with three data points!

    And if they are changing your content- even if only a headline- then you know what you need to do.

    Some of my favorite girlfriends remain good girls. Sometimes, it just does not work out!

    You’ve got a great site!

  96. wunsacon commented on Apr 7

    Barry, Armchair Fed is saying what I only alluded to. (See? An Armchair Fed is good for something.)

  97. Jason G. commented on Apr 7

    I’d personally vote to cut them off. If you find at some point in the future they have a tangible value to contribute, then re-establish the relationship. SA is not stupid, and they will not shun your blog’s traffic in the future if you cut them off today.

  98. Robert commented on Apr 7

    Barry, fuck it. Your blog is good enough so that you don’t need SA.

  99. C. Maoxian commented on Apr 7

    Do you want to be another serf toiling away for … nothing … to help send David Jackson’s kids to private seminary? Run away, Barry.

  100. Greg Nowak commented on Apr 7

    Hi Barry,

    I came to your website via SA. Currently, I like your website more than SA, so I would say drop them.

    Expand your website, get some editors to write for you. Get into cross marketing agreements with other bloggers.

    I am from the tribe, that believes, that if someone commits offense, it needs to be punished….for a sake of ideas.

    Keep doing the great job!

    Greg

  101. Fred commented on Apr 7

    Seeking Theta. ’nuff said.

  102. Frank de Libero commented on Apr 8

    I hadn’t heard of SA until your post this evening. Like many others, I don’t have time but to check out a few proven worthwhile blogs. Yours is right in that sweet spot for me. I’ve recommended your blog to close to a dozen friends. Based on my experience, you don’t need SA.

  103. nick Patsavos commented on Apr 8

    bsrry,

    Whatever you do, please keep this blog free for us little guys

  104. Dave commented on Apr 8

    Barry,

    Long time reader here. I have about 25-30 blogs on my blog roll. Your blog is at the top of that refined list of financial blogs.

    You have the best financial blog bar none. They should be diverting you traffic, not the other way around.

    I just visited their site for the first time in a while and I’m reminded why I don’t bother going to that garbage. They have 50+ links on the first page alone. That mean’s there are far too many opinions on there.

    In short: Drop em and don’t bother looking back.

  105. Greg commented on Apr 8

    Cut off the feed entirely, for all the reasons enumerated in the other comments.

    There’s just no upside to balance the negatives.

    Save yourself the time and trouble. Your loyal readership shall continue to spread word of TBP far and wide.

  106. Mike commented on Apr 8

    How the ‘eff am I supposed to know the best way for you to run your business?

    On the other hand, thanks for asking.

  107. Rodrigo commented on Apr 8

    Pull.

    The only worthwhile feature on Seeking Alpha is their conference call transcript service. The content is “too much to handle.”

  108. Brian commented on Apr 8

    Barry, You should kill the SA feed. While it is true that I first read you on SA, I did not pay close attention as there is so much trash on that site. It was only after I had clicked through from other trusted sites (calculated risk, naked capitalism) that I first gave you a close reading and came to appreciate your excellent insight and wit. The uneven quality of the other SA content cheapens yours. Ditch it.

  109. Frank Murphy commented on Apr 8

    three sa violations = kill the feed

  110. Viking commented on Apr 8

    I have your site bookmarked (along with many other sites). However, I go to your site almost every day (not the case with most other sites). I go to all good sites directly.

  111. charles commented on Apr 8

    The benefit you seek here is to attract readers from SA’s broader reader base to your site with the hope that they ultimately go direct to your site on a regular basis. Perhaps you should do a survey of your regular readers, asking them how they discovered this site and whether they now access it directly rather than through an aggregator, etc. Furthermore, you need to do this survey several times over time to observe the trend. Only then will you have a more objective view of the value of the benefit.

  112. Bob commented on Apr 8

    I think you should stay with them. I didn’t find you through them, but I have visited other useful sites via SA. I think they can bring you good visitors who will soon visit you direct. I don’t buy the “brand dilution” argument. If they visit this site, they get the real product; if they don’t, they probably didn’t perceive a brand. Guess I’m the only one so easily compromised, but that’s my view.

  113. brasil commented on Apr 8

    ps ..Barry ..just thinking ..I’d bet TV appearances letting viewers know about your blog adds more eyeballs per month than SA …this could be done in a smart way so that you do not become overexposed and at the same time flexibility in point of view is helpful..so you not known as barry the bull or barry the bear or barry the stock guy or commodity guy ect…the most compelling guys on TV are people who have an understanding of inter-relationships and express those ideas clearly ..for example John Mauldin does this in his writings ..very few do it on TV..and even less do it well … just some thoughts..

  114. Philip in Bali commented on Apr 8

    Barry,

    Why should we give a s**t? You aren’t poor and how you conduct your business is ultimately up to you? Do you want to be:

    a. A TV star
    b. An Internet star
    c. A Long Island millionaire

    Combining all of the above, it might just be better to get back to advising private clients. Unless, of course, you have figured out a way of makink more money on the net? Like you, I have NEVER yet clicked on an advertising link EVER.

    I may be old fashioned, but hey, life here on the beach is very nice.

  115. MarkM commented on Apr 8

    Barry-

    I’d nuke them for the content violation alone. The fact that they ADD NOTHING to your brand (and possibly detract) supplies the second reason.

    Best,

  116. Sully commented on Apr 8

    web 2.0 in a nutshell.
    you make all the content. they keep all the revenue.

  117. peadar64 commented on Apr 8

    Drop the feed. SA is almost impossible to read and there’s a lot of crappy blogs there. Why be contaminated?

  118. Bob commented on Apr 8

    > For the sake of looking at both sides, can anyone suggest a reason(s) for staying with SA?

    The feed is already in place. To remove it requires you to do something. (OK, so it’s a lame reason, but it’s the best I could come up with on such short notice)

    Having said that, my preference is in line with [what looks to be] a pretty solid agreement among your faithful readers. SA obviously do not understand what an agreement means or represents. Dump ’em.

  119. 12th Percentile commented on Apr 8

    I worked for years as a search engine optimization consultant.

    duplicate content does not lower the google rank of your site. While your other concerns on this issue seem pretty valid to me, this one isn’t.

  120. Lee D commented on Apr 8

    If they’re messing with you, then mess with them. You had an agreement, and they broke it, case closed.

    It’s bizarre how the “blogosphere” is at once held up as a bold new world, yet from a business perspective is treated like kid stuff. It’s as if the people trying to make a buck off of it want to have it both ways.

    Besides, being paid in site traffic is no big deal. Your content will deliver the traffic, if someone wants your content, they need to pay.

  121. Mark commented on Apr 8

    You want a reason to stay with them? They’ll suffer if you leave, so the benevolent thing to do is continue.

    Of course, you could extend that argument and say their readers suffer by their edits, in which case you’re doing their readers a favor by leaving.

  122. AndrewBW commented on Apr 8

    Can anyone suggest a reason(s) for staying with SA?

    Nope.

  123. softwarenerd commented on Apr 8

    Use it as advertising. Tempt SA readers to add your blog to their RSS/favorites lists, instead of giving them a reason not to visit your site.

    So, send them 1 post every so often — weekly perhaps. Maybe even a burst now and then. Or, better still, if you can think of some post that makes a reader come from SA to your site, and realize that he’s missing something if he only reads you via SA.

  124. GreenAB commented on Apr 8

    Barry,

    your brand should be strong enough without SA, just on this very site alone.

    i get the daily SA headline newsletter and i think there are some disadvantages:

    -one window for each article

    -relatively long time to build the site (their menu, ads…)

    -most important for you: SA becomes more and more crowded.
    when the number of articles increases it´ll be become harder to attract new readers to your site (which should be the only reason for you to post on SA)

    whatever you decide – you´re doing a great job.
    would read you on any site.

  125. bilian commented on Apr 8

    kill the feed to them. you are the man !!!

  126. tuco commented on Apr 8

    Dump them. I use to read their main feed but its just too much noise over clear signal. Like the guy said above, The Big Picture is my first read of the day.

  127. Greg0658 commented on Apr 8

    a rising tide floats all boats
    but why be the subsidy

    friends to support? kickback via cross ownership? tax expensing? fun producing?

    go for the $ … forget the asshats … there are no rules, only data tobe manipulated … its Pottersville baby / till it breaks

  128. dark1p commented on Apr 8

    my verdict: death…by booga booga.

  129. Howard commented on Apr 8

    Screw ’em!! They didn’t live up to the bargain & breached the agreement. Their loss.

  130. weinerdog43 commented on Apr 8

    Sadly, I have just discovered your blog via a link.

    After spending the last 30 minutes kicking myself for not discovering you sooner, I would simply recommend directing those ding dongs at SA to this comment section and give them the opportunity to confess/explain. If you don’t get that within a reasonable time period, it is obvious they are not a trustworthy business partner.

    Good luck.

    /s/ A new regular reader, weinerdog43

  131. Dan commented on Apr 8

    For what its worth, I found your blog (and that of Calculated Risk and Mess that Greenspan Made) through Alpha. That said, I no longer look at Alpha – I just follow the sites I know and trust.

    I’m certain it generates traffic for you, as I myself am evidence. That said, if it affords you any angst, why bother? You have a large following with links across many blogger sites….so people will find you eventually.

  132. The Financial Philosopher commented on Apr 8

    I never knew you were on Seeking Alpha and I never had any reason to seek Seeking Alpha, either…

    Also, if they are a “blog aggregator” it seems the word “alpha” should not be a part of their name. I’m puzzled that “aggregation” adds value to anything…

    As with any wisely constructed “portfolio,” it is best to seek our own unique and diverse set of information sources rather than allowing someone else to do it…

  133. Dervin commented on Apr 8

    You haven’t given us any metrics so I’ll just make up a bunch of reasons to stay:

    Why you should stay with SA…
    They pay you $250 a month for stuff you’d write for free.
    They are responsible for 60% of your unique page views.
    They are responsible for 30% of your regular visitors.
    They send you daily text messages telling you how good looking and intelligent you are.
    They give you back-stage passes to some of the best shows.
    Their Hookers are better looking than Elliot Spitzer’s hookers.

  134. b commented on Apr 8

    Seeking alpha will ultimately not survive in a world with RSS feeds. At best it is transitory.

    If your content is of value, as is yours, Seeking Alpha adds no value – as readers would be here regardless. the readers who matter will be those who take the time to find relevant content.

    If your content is of little value – now that’s when you want to align with SA.

  135. IBH commented on Apr 8

    You are a columnist. SA is the newspaper. As the newspaper, SA should compensate you and others for syndication rights. The model works well for the print media, but does not work so well for the blog world.
    Getting back clicks helps the business blog model, but the payment is purely on the back end or exit strategy. In the meantime, you work for “free” to SA and they get the VC money as an aggregator. Smart for them.
    Unless they provide a decent return (click) to you, is it worth it? Your marginal cost is zero for your coverage on SA. Yet, SA has diluted themselves by having too much content from unknown bloggers. I would think a monetary payback to bloggers who drive above a % of page views is a good model. If not, then let em go.

  136. Bruce Banister commented on Apr 8

    Anyone who goes to seeking alpha knows your site too. Screw them, they violated their agreement. To continue with them would lower your level of integrity.

  137. rumpole commented on Apr 8

    This seems pretty simple to me. They had a right to reproduce and display your work over the internet, subject to certain conditions. Once they violated those conditions, they exceeded the scope of their license to reproduce those works. It sounds like artistic control was material to your arrangement. This looks like plain vanilla copyright infringement. The “dilution” etc are ancillary harms that occurred by virtue of the unauthorized reproduction.

    I wonder how blogs have been registered with the copyright office (most likely as serials), but here’s the bottom line. There are provisions for registering a work as a serial,and one can sweep in the last three months of publication. Given the blog’s economic value, think of it as insurance. If you’re registered before you’re ripped off, then you have access to (1) statutory damages and (2) attorney’s fees. If you’re so inclined, see 17 USC 106 (exclusive rights); 412 (timely registration); 504, 505 (statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, respectively).

    I am not suggesting that you sue them nor offering advice. I suspect you know plenty of lawyers. But you get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you do with a kind word.

  138. Mark W commented on Apr 8

    Time is your absolute most precious asset to invest. Anything that eats cycles to monitor its oversight, and does not yield a corresponding perceived benfit from the time required is a poor investment.

    based on what you said, Pull it.

  139. Michelle Leder commented on Apr 8

    Welcome to the club. I left them over a year ago after Barron’s credited one of my posts from footnoted.org to Seeking Alpha.

    If SA were willing to share the ad revenue they get from running quality content like yours (and mine!), that would be something to consider. But that’s not their model — their model is free content. But without our content, they’re just a bunch of ads. And without good content, their ads (and the CPMs they can charge) are likely to go downhill.

  140. Roger Bigod commented on Apr 8

    Someone can get in the center ring of a circus and give a world-class performance reciting Shakespeare. But to the audience, they’re just another clown.

  141. Innocent Bystander commented on Apr 8

    Cancel them, you are unique,and they are a commodiy. Class allways wins out, and its so refreshing to be right too.

  142. WorldBeta commented on Apr 8

    Nice post. They have mangled a bunch of my posts as well.

    I like the idea of aggregators, and considered building one with Bloggerator. The problem with the ones like RealClear Markets is that they are 1) poorly designed 2) have too much information/links 3) not edited with useful value added information.

    IMO, for the site to work you either need to have value added editing, or user based participation where it gets rewarded. . .Seeking Alpha has worked so far because they were first movers. They will lose out to the next best designed competitor that either 1)does a better job of sending traffic to the blog’s site, or 2) shares revenue with the bloggers.

    Forbes had a shot but is doing their best to muck it up. Take 60% of your revenue then just run ads for the Forbes blog network for two months? Ridiculous.

    I think a blogger owned aggregator from the top sites could work.

  143. John commented on Apr 8

    I agree with Michelle Leder’s comment — if they shared ad revenue I would have kept my blog on SA.

    What I also don’t like is that when I told them to stop running my content, they said they couldn’t delete my profile and previous posts on SA. Lack of class, IMHO.

  144. Jim commented on Apr 8

    Trust me, you don’t need SA … in my opinion, they clearly pursue quantity at the expense of quality.

  145. Mark W commented on Apr 9

    Barry, life is too short to worry how or if they are messing with your copy. They have done it repeatedly and they knew the rules going in. Headlines, bold print, small print, etc. all add up to your message. Give ’em the boot.
    MW

  146. howard lindzon commented on Apr 9

    i would move the whole blog there and shut down the big picture…fading the comments…no?

  147. Bill aka NO DooDahs! commented on Apr 9

    I actually first wrote about SA’s business model in September of 2006, not long after I had decided to quit contributing to them. Considering the “exposure” that I got from persons reading my work on SA, I was getting a horrificly low clickthru rate to my site. My post explains why, it’s the SA site design that encourages “stickyness.”

    http://www.billakanodoodahs.com/2006/09/seeking-alpha-on-yahoo-finance/

    Many other bloggers with mainstream media chops left before Barry; Footnoted and Controlled Greed are just two others that have been reasonably upfront about it. You could probably cull their list of contributors and find a significant percentage that are still active on their home blogs, but don’t get posted by SA; I don’t think quality is the reason, I believe most terminated the relationship but just didn’t do so publicly.

    Re: brand dilution, I think Barry’s got a point, even though I’m not a fan of his. If the Wal-Mart sold high-end Swiss watches – EVEN AT THE PREMIUM PRICE – would they still be as sought after?

  148. Turley Muller commented on Apr 10

    Barry,

    Why the f*ck do you need SA? You have the top blog on the web and you really don’t need to send/give your content to anyone, anywhere.

    I like seeking alpha, and It’s great for less-known – unknown blogs, like mine for example, Financial Alchemist, but for a blog that has as much popularity as The Big Picture, there isn’t any need to syndicate.

    SA is good for pulling together opinion from folks that would otherwise be missed, but I always visit your blog directly as well as several others. I think you do a good job finding really cool and/or insightful commentary from other blogs and share with your readers. Here, the reader gets quality and specificity, SA offers a wide breadth of content ranging in quality.

  149. Jack Kento commented on Apr 10

    Of course you should keep it on SA.

    It gives you distribution and gets you on Yahoo Finance. There’s no cost or work to you.

    I think the “problems” are with you wanting control. Give it up dude. Just ignore the comments there. No reason you have to invest 1 second in patrolling them. Ignore imperfect links and title editing. So what? Or if it really bothers you, get a written contract with financial penalties. But don’t bother to monitor after. As for brand dilution…that’s silly. The people who read it at typepad aren’t affected if it appears on SA. And the SA readers obviously like reading it on SA. Give up the ego, you are not above distribution. Is there $1 of business that you’ve lost because SA picks up your stuff?

    The problem is with your attitude more than with SA.

    The negative SA comments here are readers acknowledging your or their particular SA gripes. They are not good business advice.

    Stick with SA. That’s the only place I’ll read your stuff. And there are 1000’s like me. You don’t hear from here them because…they only read your stuff on SA and didn’t see this.

  150. Mark D. commented on Apr 10

    We just pulled our content from SA. Very few click thrus and our google rank was slipping.

    Pull the plug.

  151. David Schrader commented on Apr 10

    For bloggers I don’t see it being very useful. For others who just want to make their picks public to maintain accountability, I think it’s great. I write articles on there because I don’t want to create a blog and spend time trying to pump traffic to it. You’ve already got a successful blog.

  152. The Big Picture commented on Apr 10

    Giving Away Content, part II

    On Monday evening, I asked readers about the concept of Giving Away Content. The response to the post was overwhelming. Over 150 comments, plus another 50 private emails from other bloggers. Several other sites picked up the discussion. The Deal picked…

  153. Elizabeth commented on Apr 11

    I had contributed a few “thought” pieces on specific companies but have stopped doing so. They would not give me any stats about readership – they do have a wide readership so I got a few people to come to my website but not a single new client. The way the site works it does not really discriminate between garbage pieces, short term timing pieces and more reference style ones like mine. As a reader, it would be nice if the cream rose to the top.

  154. Jim G commented on Apr 12

    I would be very sorry to the better posters like Barry R. pulling their feeds from SA. I think it would pretty much kill the value of SA for me if that happened, and I value SA a lot, reading it (too much!) every day.

    I knew Barry from RealMoney, but when I stopped paying for RealMoney, I stopped following him. Then I found SA, which does for free what RealMoney charged way too much for (namely, intelligent aggregation of content in the financial sphere).

    My price is somewhere between the ‘free’ of SA and the several hundred dollars per year of RealMoney when I looked last. For me at least, there is room in there for some cash flow, which could be split between SA and the contributor.

    (This probably means SA would have a tiered model, with free and paid. I like the Financial Times’ model, where free includes access to 5 articles/month from the paid tier.)

    One of my larger problems with SA is the inability for me to tell the website which contributors (and commenters on them) I value most, and have it present things filtered and prioritized by that. I’d love it if there was a collaborative filter that helped to filter out the flamers and ignoramuses. I always look at the contributor bios and it’s big points off for anyone who doesn’t have a bio. I wish SA would just refuse to publish if the contributor has not provided one.

    I would also value it very highly if SA verified the bios, but I’m not sure how much to trust their verification today. They have no direct economic incentive to do a good job of that. Perhaps a “reputation system” would work, where other contributors (not random readers) vouch for the new one.

    So here is my idea of a solution.

    First, SA could accept an abstracted version of contributions, with a link to the original. The abstract has to be more than just “Barry likes Bonds”. It needs to be a decent screenful, so I can tell if I’m interested enough to drill down. I expect to scan a hundred headlines; read ten abstracts; and drill down to the contributor’s website once, where I might stay and roam about for a bit. As a reader, I’d value this way more than a generic feed-aggregator.

    Also, while we’re at it: I frequently use SA’s list of other contributions from the same author. If SA wants to give you a bit more value, those links could lead to your website instead of remaining within SA.

    [Technical nit: SA should have the right to cache your page and show the cache if your website dies or the page goes to markup heaven, so the SA link is always good, but it always looks like your site, with your ads and it’s your traffic].

    Second: the collaborative filter. That has a benefit to the contributors too, by reducing the need to monitor the comments for “trolls and asshats”.

    As a poor man’s version of that: SA could allow me to customize my home page to list those contributors I value most.

    Third: I’ve always wanted the feedback to work better. I envision the regular comments section as now, and then an edited Q&A section. The public posts in the regular comments area just like now. The contributor can click on the posts that add value, and they are made visible in the Q&A area too. The contributor can then reply to them in the Q&A area, or post general remarks there (“Lots of readers have asked about …”). But nothing goes into the Q&A area without going through the contributor. As a reader, I’d start there whenever it was non-empty, and go to the comments area second.

    I’d use the Q&A to ask questions like what’s the source of that statistic, or could you explain why you believe that, or where can I read more about that. Right now I can’t even point out a garbled sentence without clogging up the airwaves.

    HTH,

    Jim Goodwin

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