Friday, July 26, 2013

Sleazy, or Savvy?

Check out this recent op-ed by the new chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Now copy and paste some of the text. Notice what gets auto-appended to the bottom of your clipboard:

Read more: Can free enterprise boost the economy? Yes - The Denver Post
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:
Follow us: @Denverpost on Twitter | Denverpost on Facebook

Many websites do this—Business Insider is a longtime offender—but I’ve never seen any that do it as brazenly (three lines and 315 characters!) as the Denver Post.

Yet the idea—that if you’re going to copy my content, then it comes with a reminder to read the full article at [URL]—is something to consider.

Counterargument: isn't this just a form of spam? And how do you measure its efficacy?

Let’s call a spade a spade: this is really annoying. But so are splash pages, which are terrifically effective. As for ROI, we can append characters at the end of the pasted URL (in the above example, this is likely what the "s#ixzz2Z81J61dw" means) to ascertain referral traffic.

Ultimately, my hunch is that such traffic will be insignificant, especially for a big site. Which makes the operative question, Do you want to annoy a few readers for the sake of a few more page views?

My two cents: it’s probably a wash. The number of people who copy and paste is likely around the same number who would click on the pasted link.