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June 16, 2008

The AP Hates The Blogosphere. We Hate Them Back

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Over the past few weeks I’ve come to find that my patience for stupidity is at its lowest in the morning. Combined with the fact that it’s Monday, the most sleepy and irritating day of the week, you can imagine my reaction when I opened up my feeds and heard that the AP was going to set guidelines for how bloggers can link to and reference their articles. Oh sweet Jesus. Are you kidding me?

I decided to write them a note:

Dear A.P.,
Get over yourself.
Hugs and Kisses,
The World (minus all the Belgians, of course.)

The A.P.’s display of moral superiority comes after they sent the Drudge Retort (a Drudge Report parody site) a letter demanding that they remove several posts that contained short quotes from various A.P. articles. According to the New York Times, each quote contained between 39-79 words. Not exactly gregarious and definitely falling within fair use. [Even setting aside the protected status of parody –Susan] The blogosphere did not react kindly. Michael Arrington and TechDirt have both decided to ban the A.P., or at least seek out alternative publications to link to when possible. Other grassroots anti-A.P. movements are also in the works.

The A.P. tried to clean up the mess it had created with a comment over at TechDirt that did nothing but offend even more and raise some eyebrows. The comment left by Jim Kennedy makes reference to the “licensing agreements” that many bloggers have with the AP to display their stories in full.

Is that what this is about? The A.P. wants bloggers to have to pay to include a snippet of their text? Good luck getting people to agree to that. The record companies can barely get people to pay for music. You want them to pay for a paragraph? Hee!

Blogger Jeff Jarvis called out the A.P. for leaching off original reporting and not crediting original sources. He was so insulted by the A.P.’s stance that he’s launched the FU AP campaign asking bloggers to stop linking to the A.P. until they apologize to the Drudge Retort’s founder Rogers Cadenhead.

As frustrating and time warping as this whole scenario is, it’s actually kind of humorous for a few reasons.

First, when are people going to realize that bloggers send you traffic? The more often a blogger takes a small quote from your article and links over to you, the more people who are going to follow that link and discover your content. Instead of looking at TechMeme and bloggers as competitors, look to them as partners helping you to push your content. They’re not going away. You may as well find a way to work with them.

Second, bloggers don’t need your guidelines. We don’t care how you want us to link to you or reference you or talk about you. We have our own guidelines. We’re not going to acknowledge yours. Perhaps we would have helped if you were smart enough to engage and ask for our input, but you didn’t. You assumed you knew better. Now you fail.

When will mainstream media and large corporations realize that angering the blogosphere is not in their best interest? We may seem small and fragmented, but we’re not. When you go after one of us, you suffer the wrath of the entire army.

This was a huge fail by the A.P. Forget just looking silly and like they’ve never heard of the Internet, the A.P. is doing a stellar job of coming off like a bully here, overstepping their bounds, rights and trying to get bloggers to adapt to a set of “rules” and “standards” that the A.P. has yet to create. Sorry, A.P., but we’re not interested. We’re so not interested that we’ll not only boycott linking to you, we’re working on removing all your precious TechMeme links.

Consider yourself unlinked from the blogosphere.

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One response to “The AP Hates The Blogosphere. We Hate Them Back”

  1. Jeffrey Smith writes:

    One statement, what in the hell are they thinking? What’s next headline infringement and copyrighting idioms and cliché’s? With an attitude like that, just label their business model as soon to join the realm of the yellow pages (obsolete)…



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