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Posted 28 April 2007 - 07:09 PM
Now I see a company has a novel idea. They can automatically take posts from other on-topic forums and add them to your forum. According to them it is all legal. So you get to build your forum in a natural way, because the average person sees a forum full of posts, and they feel more comfortable posting.
A friend of mine has a forum, and it is hosted by a third party company and not on his url. But he has his site's url at the top of every page, and that gives him 64,000 links back to his site.
My questions are:
A. Are these links worth a hoot as far as Google rankings?
B. Would I be better off to host the forum at another url to vs on my own url so that I get more link credit rather than just internal link credit?
My main goal for the forum is to get more return traffic by getting self-help junkies to hang around my site more often. Jill, I'm going to assume that this forum is helping you in your business. I have found many of the posts on this forum in the Google SERPS. But does anyone else on this board have a fourm, and is it worth the time and hassle? Does it bring you a reasonable return for the time and money invested?
Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:03 PM
Why do you want a forum? If it's just for search engines, it's a really bad idea.
You should only have a forum if you're interested in having a community of like-minded individuals hanging out online and/or that you want to help them.
Search engines, rankings and links are never a good reason to add something to your site. With the "wrong" motives you're bound to fail.
Posted 29 April 2007 - 05:03 PM
I started the first forum without any thought of links back to my site because back links from a forum didn't even occur to me at that poing. The purpose was to answer people's questions and have a reason for them to return to my site repeatedly in the hopes that they would get a feeling of comfort and eventually buy something.
I started that forum with the best of intentions. And it took a lot of my time (seeding it with fake posts on a daily basis). Unfortnately it was also a total waste of my time because not enough people posted and I was unable to overcome "inertia" with it.
The main reason I'm considering a forum again is for those same reasons. However, this time I would be able to have that software populate the forum with real posts from other forums, and hopefully that would help it to overcome inertia so that people from my site would overcome their shyness and start to post.
The possibility of getting backlinks from it would be a bonus.
So . . . . Now that you know what my reasons are, I'm interested to see what your response will be. Believe me, I'm not interested in wasting time again if a forum won't have the outcome(s) that I'm looking for. I've got more than enough on my plate.
Posted 29 April 2007 - 06:39 PM
All links are worth something, it will all depend on the overall popularity of the forum over time (years).
It makes no difference. You get the same credit from internal links as you do from external ones. (For the most part.) This really needs to be a business/branding decision. Somtimes a different domain is in order, sometimes not.
Posted 29 April 2007 - 10:34 PM
Legal as in "not yet illegal" or legal as in "will always be OK".
I doubt very much that it is legal, and I would want to confirm that with a lawyer before proceeding. I acn;t imagine taking omeone else's content and using it verbatim is ever legal, but I could be wrong.
Edited by projectphp, 29 April 2007 - 11:38 PM.
Posted 30 April 2007 - 08:05 AM
You make a good point. I can only tell you what it says on their web site.
Apparently they take the content from Yahoo Answers. Here is what they have to say about it:
Does Yahoo! allow this?
Yes they do! The Yahoo! Developer Network provides API access to most of Yahoo!'s sources, including del.icio.us, Flickr, MyBlogLog and many more. As long as you comply with their Attribution and Usage Terms it is permitted. At the time of writing (January 2007), the Yahoo! Answers TOS even allows commercial use of the Answers API. The default installation of [Name of this software] is fully TOS compliant although it is the end user's responsibility to be mindful of those terms, since they may change at any time.
If you would like the link to their page, send me an email either on this forum or to my real email and I'll pass it on to you.
Anyway, I am still undecided about starting another forum. I only know that I will never attempt it again unless I am able to use something like this to help me get it started. It is just too difficult.
Posted 30 April 2007 - 04:58 PM
Unless Yahoo! have specifically gotten the full copyright to answers other people --mostly volunteers-- provide, the content couldn't be legal. By posting to Yahoo Answers or any of the other Yahoo! properties the orginal author has given the license for their original work to be displayed on that site. But without very specific legal language in the contract between Yahoo! and any author there is no right for it to go any further than that. Regardless of attribution.
Not only does Yahoo! not have the right to issue further license to anybody else, it certainly doesn't transfer to any other third party of whom the original authors (thousands of them) are even aware of.
Or at least that's my (very limited) understanding of copyright law. You'd most definitely want to run the concept past a good copyright attorney. But I think he/she is going to tell you the web site proposing the idea if full of
Posted 30 April 2007 - 06:16 PM
Posted 30 April 2007 - 09:33 PM
Their Attribution section for API tools is here. Notice that last line. One I won't alter a bit since they're trying really hard to make it stand out.
To me that says Yahoo is going to leave you hanging in the wind if someone claims copyright infringement, even if the content is pulled through an API license.
The API Terms are here. In it you'll notice entry (ii) under section F entitled You Shall Not:
And then under Yahoo's General TOS, which is referenced throughout both documents they say in 6f that you shall not:
They've got their ducks in a row to cover their own back sides. But just because they give you an API license doesn't mean anything and everything on any Yahoo Network site or any site for which they have collected information is free to grab and make your own. Quite the opposite in fact according to what my copyright attorney told me after a quick review for some of the Y! API stuff I do.
I'll have to stick with my earlier advice. Alan or anybody else thinking about using such content needs to get in touch with a good Copyright/Intellectual Property attorney, lay out exactly what they have planned and get an opinion. In writing.
Posted 02 May 2007 - 11:35 AM
They may say it's legal but it's not. And I, for one, don't appreciate finding things I write incorporated into forums I did not register with and do not support. I have outed more than one and do occasionally go so far as to whine and complain to search engines until the offending forums are placed in the "penalized and not going to rank for Michael's stolen content any more" bin.
A. Are these links worth a hoot as far as Google rankings?
Links by themselves don't boost your rankings.
You'd be better off to create a forum about topics people want to discuss with you.
Theft of content on the Internet is illegal in just about every country now.
Posted 02 May 2007 - 12:02 PM
WOW!! This is certainly a more emotional and explosive topic than I imagined. And I appreciate all of the feedback thus far.
As far as creating a forum about topics people want to discuss, thousands of webmasters (myself included) have proven that this is a very difficult and expensive undertaking. Not because it is difficult to find topics of interest to people, but because 99.9% of the population will not post to a forum that doesn't have a lot of posting going on.
So there is a "catch-22" going on. You can't get posters unles you have a lot of posting going on.
As far as the legal aspects of this particular company using posts from Yahoo Answers. I'm not a lawyer, and I have no intention of hiring one. Having a forum that will cost money and take a tremendous amount of my time and that might or might not provide a return is just too big of a gamble for me right now.
So I want to thank everyone for all of their insight and passion. For now this is going on the back burner.
Posted 02 May 2007 - 12:05 PM
Then don't have a forum, have a blog instead. You can allow comments so you'll still have feedback and interaction.
Posted 03 May 2007 - 08:12 AM
Posted 04 May 2007 - 12:11 PM
There are certainly technical distinctions between forum software and blog software, but they really perform the same function: they allow people to share their thoughts on the Web quickly and easly, and invite interaction. We just look at forums and blogs differently, though.
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