Difference Between Curation and Down-Right Stealing

The value equation: curators and aggregators was a post I wrote about three years ago that summarized many of my thoughts on best practices online. In it, I included a chart that showed the main goals of content curation:

  • boost SEO
  • establish thought leadership
  • elevate visibility and buzz
  • lead generation

All excellent reasons to receive traffic in exchange for providing value to the community. Execution is what sets apart the hacks who look to short-cut the actual work of delivering something additional in exchange for attention and those who do.

For example, not a day goes by without a perfect stranger either reposting this content on their site as is (often requiring a DMCA submission to the host after repeated attempts to contact them and request they remove the ill-taken content) or reaches out to propose "link exchanges" with iffy sites or paid text links, etc. If you find a post I have written here somewhere else, it was scraped.

The irony of it all is the very post where I explained the difference between curation and aggregation got scraped by a .org site of dubious origins while it contained an opportunity to sponsor Conversation Agent at the bottom. Guessing staying hidden within shady actions of dubious impact is preferable to those types. Yet success is fragile when it's borrowed.

I do like the idea of transparency and over the years I have done my best to shine a bright light on those practices because they just fill the Interwebs with volume without a thought as to the value of community and relevance.

For example, Be a blogger, not a thief: link where linkage is due is a post I wrote to call out content laundering practices. For a while a realtor in North Jersey used to repost content from this blog and then tweet its own site. When I reached out to try and understand the rationale, he mentioned SEO. It is easier to believe hacks who sell the magic pill than do the work, but what a poor user experience if I am looking for a house and I land there!

Curation is both the process of researching, organizing, and displaying information and data with the intent of presenting it meaningfully.

The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever# by NPR is both an example curation as well as one of aggregation.

See? They get a link without asking because their action of collecting 300 speeches going back to 1974 is sufficient to direct attention to the value of the site. They also requested permission from sources and name them on the site. In the long run, you want to be there, not obliterated by Google catching up to you.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.

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