Sagna a doubt : ‘aggregation’: + Arsecast 315

Arsecast - the Arsenal podcast

Morning all, and a happy Friday to you.

We’ll start this morning with the team news ahead of Sunday’s game against West Brom and the bottom line is that there really isn’t any. Nobody who is injured is back, and nobody who was fit is injured again.

I suspect that the line-up for this game will depend greatly on what happens between Everton and Man City on Saturday evening. If City win that means we’re assured of fourth place and in that case I think the manager will change things around a bit.

We might get a bit of Sanogo in place of Giroud; a Flammstrom midfield combo, perhaps; a run out for Vermaelen etc. Nothing too serious, but just enough to ease the team towards the cup final and keep the legs as fresh and rested as possible.

There’s some unfortunate news, however, with the Mirror reporting that Bacary Sagna is 50/50 for this game with a knee injury which is a real shame. Not just because he’s the best right back, but because this is likely to be his last ever game at the Emirates. He’s made 281 appearances since joining in 2007 from Auxerre and he has been a tremendously consistent player down the years.

We’ve been over the contract stuff plenty of times. If it was going to be done, it would be well done by now, and he’s going to be playing elsewhere next season. Quite where that is, I don’t know, but all the same it’d be a bit sad if injury robbed him of that final run-out in front of the home fans. I assume there’ll be the usual ‘lap of gratitude (not honour)’ at the end of a game, but it’s not quite the same.

Hopefully, if he does miss Sunday’s run-out, the injury isn’t serious enough to keep him out of the cup final, and that Wembley can provide him with the swansong he deserves. Ideally Arsenal well ahead in the game and awarded a late penalty, he’s got to take it, right?! Anyway, fingers crossed he’ll be back for that.

Other than that we’ll have to wait until the manager meets the press this morning to get the rest of the news, which you can find over on Arseblog News throughout the day.

For now, I’m going to go slightly off topic here and this might be a bit insular or navel-gazing, but I would urge anyone who is running an Arsenal blog, a football blog, or any other kind of site where you’re producing original content, to be very aware of ‘aggregation’ apps.

I’ve had a lengthy discussion this week with one company who emailed me to proudly tell me they’d added Arseblog to their Arsenal news app. When I asked what that meant, they said took articles from the web and displayed them to their users on a range of topics and that Arseblog was one of their sources for Arsenal news.

They asked me to put up a banner on Arseblog to promote their app. I asked them if they were using headlines or a snippet of our articles, and was told “Yes we are news aggregator, same like newsnow.co.uk” and “Just a snippet with links to your blog.”

A quick look at their app, however, showed they were pulling in the entire article with a little button which says ‘read on web’ which, when clicked, takes you to the full site. I objected to this for obvious reasons. Why would anyone need to click that if they’ve just read the whole thing in their app? I asked them to remove our feeds from their app, and got an email full of mumbo-jumbo back from the CEO extolling the benefits of being in their app, which include:

  • ‘Free’ traffic
  • Lots of people are asking to be included in their app
  • They’re the ‘leading Arsenal app on market, besides the official one.’

Now, clearly that’s a load of bollocks. The difference between what they do and what NewsNow do is obvious. NN provide a headline, you click the headline, it takes you to the site in question. End of story. NewsNow do not take the content of your articles and display them in their own shell.

Arseblog, like many other sites out there, is reliant on advertising to survive. I know many of you use AdBlock and those kind of things, but clicks on the ads generate revenue for us which keeps the site going, allows me to pay all the people who write for the site, and continue to do new things and provide all the posts, podcasts and so on to you for free, seven days a week. That’s the reality. As much as I’d prefer to have an ad free site, it’s simply not possible, but we don’t, and never will, do things like pop-unders, ads in the body of the content or auto-playing videos – the work of the devil himself – so we try and find a balance which I hope is appreciated.

But what these app people do is take our content, and display it to users of their app which only benefits them. Not me. And they have the cheek to email me asking me to display a banner on my site. They strip the content it takes time, effort and money to produce of the advertising it needs to help produce it, then ask for free advertising on the site they’re ripping off. Amazing! Not only that, I’m supposed to be grateful to them for a few clicks here and there.

What they call ‘aggregation’, I call theft. Simple as that. The CEO, unable to understand my objections to this said, actually said, “You’ll make history by being the first one who asked us to be removed from our app.”

Well, call me a trailblazer then, because I don’t think it’s right that people can scrape our RSS feeds and use our content the way they’re using it. If they use a headline, or a headline with a small snippet of the article which then links through the full site, I’ve got no objection whatsoever. But taking entire articles is going too far, and I’m sure this is happening all over the place.

Not just to me, or other Arsenal bloggers, but to all football sites, and probably way beyond that. Anyone producing original content seems to be open to this, and to these people use of the word ‘aggregation’ justifies it in their mind. I’d suggest that anyone writing a blog or a site check these apps, and address the issue if you feel it’s affecting you or your site in a negative way.

And remember, if you do want to use mobile apps, we have our own for both iOs (soon to be upgraded) and Android. You can find details of them here.

Sorry for the rant, but I feel quite strongly about this. If I choose to include myself in an app like that, it’s one thing, but to be added, then lied to, then asked to promote an app for free that is basically nicking our stuff, well that’s ludicrous and nobody should have to stand for it.

Update: just noticed the same people who do the Arsenal news app do apps for Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City, and loads more (plus a general football one) – so you can imagine how many sites/blogs are affected by this.

Right, onto this week’s Arsecast and we’ve got a couple of guests for you this week. Firstly, John Nicholson from Football 365 (and beyond) to talk about the cult of the ‘proper football man’ and other punditry/journalistic claptrap, and then by Tim from Arse2Mouse to yap about the Arsenal.

There’s some vintage news and the usual waffle, as well as the winners of our printmygoal.com competition.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly click here33mb MP3.

The Arsecast is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can now also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

And that’s that, back tomorrow as usual. Until then.

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