Several days ago, blogger Louis Gray lashed-out at Mashable‘s considerable disregard for proper citing/linking back to the original source on certain stories. Gray’s post spread pretty fast across the blogosphere, with support coming in from all corners of the web. As a result, Mashable updated several stories with proper links and acknowledgement to the original sources.
But the truth is, what Mashable does is nothing, nothing in comparison to what goes on in the non-English territories on the web. A couple of days ago, we published an article along with a download link to a Windows Vista Recovery DVD… Within 24 hours, we’d gotten first taste of the Chinese Web. For some odd reason, our
story download link to the 120MB ISO image spread like wild-fire in the Chinese corners of the internet.
To put things in perspective, NeoSmart Technologies was under load the equivalent of 15 simultaneous Slashdot effects. Impressive, right?
Well, the problem is that not a single one of these Chinese sites bothered to even link back to the story or NeoSmart Technologies. Not only did they take our content almost word-for-word (translated into Chinese, of course), but they also were kind enough to provide their readers with a hotlinked 120 MiB ISO image download link… from our servers, of course.
But the question is… why is that every single Chinese site that came across our article decided not to link back, and didn’t have a problem with hotlinking a pretty sizeable download? It’s as if the web were built on….. communism. Where one’s hard work is the same as another’s; we toil together and we harvest together.
But that’s not the blogosphere. At least, not the English-speaking blogosphere at any rate. Perhaps it’s the way the Chinese blogging and tech news sites do their thing, but that’s considered highly-unethical in the rest of the blogging world. If you’re going to take some news and use it on your site, you link back to the original source (even if it’s at the bottom in the form of a “via” link). But to take the news and the bandwidth, and not even bother to link back? That’s something else.