One of the members of GeneaBloggers contacted me with questions about the blog aggregating site Bloglovin (http://www.bloglovin.com). After some extensive research concerning the need to “claim a blog” and the use of “framing” to view blog posts, I concluded that others likely had similar questions. So here is my review of Bloglovin and its use as a possible substitute for the now defunct Google Reader or other RSS feed readers such as Feedly.
Bloglovin Overview and Basics
You sign up for Bloglovin and then you search for blogs you want to follow and add them to your feed. Then when new blog posts are published, you go to Bloglovin and view the new posts.
Click on the blog post title and you’ll be able to read the entire blog post, albeit inside a Bloglovin frame (see below).
Does Bloglovin’s Use of Frames Violate Copyright?
One of the main concerns with Bloglovin is the default setting to display the contents of a blog post with the Bloglovin toolbar/frame at the top. Look closely at the URL and it is “http://www.bloglovin.com/frame” . . . and not the URL of the original blog post. There is an “X” off to the right that allows me to remove the frame and proceed to the original post. But by this time, I figure Bloglovin has already gotten some of the traffic, right?
Courts in the US have not yet developed conclusive case law on the issue of framing and copyright. Some see framing as not violating copyright since the original work product is not altered in any way; it is simply delivered with a “wrapper.” See Connecting to Other Websites.
Bloglovin’s contention is that its framing makes it easier to read the next blog post in your list of followed blogs and perform other operations such as sharing to Facebook etc. Funny, but with my Feedly account, I can do all these share functions in the condensed view and still click on the original blog post link and see the original content outside of Feedly. Is Feedly in fact framing as well and am I just splitting hairs? Does Feedly get any “traffic juice” in its framing process? I’ll do more research on how Feedly handles content . . . another review on the horizon!
There is a way to remove the frame permanently, but only for your account as a user of Bloglovin: go to Bloglovin Settings and scroll to the bottom, and in the Other section, select “I don’t want the frame” and click Save settings. There is no way to remove your blog from Bloglovin’s listings or the remove the frame from your blog post content when other Bloglovin users access it.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of “opt out” functions like this one at Bloglovin; if you want me to use your frame, then pitch it to me and make a good argument for it. Otherwise don’t force me into it. This practice an “option” does not make.
Claiming Your Blog on Bloglovin
Yes, there is a process where Bloglovin strongly suggests that you claim your own blog. This is done through the Bloglovin Settings:
Click Claim blog and search for the name of your blog. Bloglovin will then prepare a snippet of html code for you to include on your site.
This process will “verify” your blog back to Bloglovin. Of course, it also builds a back link from your blog to Bloglovin (which helps build Bloglovin’s page rank). By now you’re understanding the business model Bloglovin has here and how it all works, right?
I realize that like genealogy records providers such as Ancestry.com, RSS feed readers and content aggregators can’t be entirely “free.” There has to be some way to generate income (freemium model) or at least traffic. Feedly doesn’t have a strong “push” to claim a blog; they do however provide you with code for a “Follow me on Feedly” button to place in your sidebar.
Bloglovin is an easy-to-use content aggregator geared towards discovering new content and its target demographic seems to be users who are not bloggers themselves and are unfamiliar with the RSS feed reader concept. Will Bloglovin bring your blog or website more traffic? In the long term, probably but only if the user opts out of the framing option. Content consumers who want a more robust platform and one that doesn’t force them to opt out of content framing, would likely do better with Feedly or one of the other Google Reader alternatives.
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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.
©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee
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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry and other industries, please see Disclosure Statements.
©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee