Using Copyrighted Material in Blogs and Forums

Recently, a relatively new member of Ecademy, one of the online communities I participate in regularly, posted an article from my About.com site in his blog without a link and proper attribution. I don’t believe that he was trying to claim authorship or doing anything malicious, but he caught some pretty heavy flak about it from other members. What he did was “wrong”, but unfortunately all too common, not because people are willfully stealing intellectual property, but because they don’t know any better.

That may seem shocking to those of you who know (or think you know) the proper care and handling of copyrighted material, but in some discussions about the topic on a couple of forums, I learned that a common sentiment about articles on the Internet was, “Spreading the articles around just helps promote the author. Why wouldn’t someone want their articles posted in discussion forums and blogs, assuming proper credit is given? It’s doing them a service.”

That may or may not be true, depending on what the author’s business model is. Ultimately, though, how you can use someone else’s writings is not your decision, it’s the author’s. Here are a few basic concepts and some resources to help you stay within the law, as well as build respectful relationships with the people whose content you find so valuable:

Blogs posts are copyrighted by default. The #1 rule to remember is that, by default, posts to a blog (or to a discussion forum, for that matter) are copyrighted material, and the author owns the copyright. Just because it’s “public” doesn’t mean it’s “public domain”. That means that it is subject to all the restrictions on copyrighted work, i.e., it can’t be freely copied and used even with proper credit without either a) the permission of the author or b) within the context of “fair use”. The owners of the site, e.g., Ecademy, may also have rights to use it as part of the user agreement, but no one else does.

Fair use is a concept that allows limited use of copyrighted material, generally for the purposes of criticism, education, satire, etc. And no the “education” umbrella doesn’t allow you to use works in their entirety. There are no hard-and-fast guidelines as to where the line is drawn, but using a work in its entirety is never allowed, whether it’s a four-line poem or a four-page article. Similarly, an entire chapter from a book would also be a copyright violation. You can use excerpts, but not “complete” anythings: chapters, articles, posts, poems, etc. You can see a quick summary of “fair use” at the U.S. Government Copyright Office or get more in-depth information at the Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center. The Electronic Frontier Foundation provides some great legal resources for bloggers, including Bloggers’ FAQ – Intellectual Property.

There are exceptions. Sometimes, bloggers or article writers make things available for use in their entirety. This may be done through an express permission statement in the byline of the article or on the blog site’s footer, something to the effect of “This article may be reproduced in its entirety so long as this resource block is kept intact and included in the article.” Many people now use a Creative Commons license of some type to permit broader use than allowed by copyright, but still under the control of the creator.

Don’t make assumptions. You can’t assume that you know what the allowable use is of a particular post or article. For example, the content I post on my About Entrepreneurs site is all copyrighted and may not be reposted without permission. On the other hand, what my coauthor and I post on TheVirtualHandshake.com, the companion site for our book, is under a Creative Commons license and can be freely reposted with proper attribution and a link. Why the difference, you ask? Simple economics. On About.com, the revenue model is advertising-based, and I get paid based upon page views. Post the content elsewhere and I don’t get paid on it, at all. On TheVirtualHandshake.com, it’s all about positioning ourselves and promoting the book. Post the content wherever you want — if it’s any good, it eventually drives people back to us for the book and maybe more.

Proper respect for intellectual property = good networking. Good networking means learning about other people’s business. For those of us who write professionally, our content is our product. Learning about our business means learning how to properly refer people to us, just as it would for anyone else. The simplest solution is to always use an excerpt and a link, never content in its entirety. That will pretty much always constitute fair use, and will always be appreciated by the content creator.

This is not the first time this has happened to me, as you might imagine. I always approach it as a networker, not a litigant. “Are you aware that this is copyrighted material and may not be re-posted in its entirety, even with proper attribution? I’d be happy for you to use a short excerpt and a link. Please edit it as soon as possible and inform me when you have made the correction.”

Think win-win.

Tips to Successful Forum Posting for SEO

What is a Forum Posting?

The Forum is a great way to interact with other members on your Network. An Internet forum is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are at least temporarily archived. Also, depending on the access level of a user and or the forum set-up, a posted message might need to approve by a moderator before it becomes visible. Depending on the forum set-up, users can anonymous or have to register with the forum and then log to post messages. Usually you do not have to log in to read existing messages.

Categories of Forums:

1. SEO Forum posting.

2. Forum Site for SEO.

3. Free forum post.

4. Writing posting.

SEO Forum posting

By posting some good short articles in the forums or by guiding your website to the users helps in driving the traffic. In SEO Forums posting in next to Social Networking Websites. Social networking brings more traffic considering to others and the next follows the forum Posting.

You can post on new topic or reply to asked question. Try to post good reply to the asked questions and Post Good content in the new topic. Many forums are strictly moderated by the owners to avoid spam. First register with the forums and post some of the good new topic and good replies in the forums without adding any of the back links to your website.

Site for SEO

Example site for forums:

http://samacheerkalvi.co.in/forum

Free forum post

You can build relevant links back to your site pretty fast if you keep involved in a few popular forums have related to your niche. This is also a good way to build up sort of following and be looked upon as an expert in your field.

Start by finding a forum that you believe has some good traffic and discussions have related to your niche. The more related to your niche the better. Remember our goal is to get that natural search result for a keyword term. Go ahead and sign up. Make sure you go through and get all the settings set in your profile.

Writing posting

The term “High Quality” is very subjective when applied to forum posting. Many forum administrators would however agree that there are some requirements on forum must meet before it can considered a high quality post. The quality post is Grammatically corrects, Spell checked, Relevant to the niche subject and Well-written.

What Exactly is Social Media Marketing?

“SMM combines the goals of internet marketing with social media sites such as Digg, Flickr, MySpace, YouTube and many others. The SMM goals will be different for every business or organization, however most will involve some form of viral marketing to build idea or brand awareness, increase visibility, and possibly sell a product or service. SMM may also include online reputation management. Most online communities don’t welcome traditional direct or hard sell techniques so an effective SMM campaign will require more finesse to execute properly. SMM campaigns must be targeted to the community you want to reach with a message that appeals to them. Some common ways of achieving this are with authoritative information, entertainment, humor or controversy.”

– Wikipedia 2007

Social media marketing can be thought of an indirect method of marketing your business. It is a powerful process which utilizes the principles of traditional marketing to programs with social ends that ultimately promotes your business through social media channels. Social media marketing is the new wave of online marketing and might be considered an indirect method of marketing. Traditional marketing focuses on immediate sales and gets right to the point. This is who we are, this is what we do, this is why you should buy our product or service, now buy it. The length of traditional sales cycles vary within industries but the goal is always the same – close that sale.

Social media marketing has the same goal but the means to the end are very different. It is generally frowned upon to try to do sell your product or service on industry forum sites, for example. Those forums are in place for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and networking. Most forums have a separate advertising section where businesses can pay for advertising. The idea behind participating in forums is to establish yourself as your industry expert. Sharing your knowledge and learning from those in the same industry or your target market results in exposure for you and your business.

If you provide helpful information, make constructive comments and ask appropriate questions, you will be offering value to potential customers and they will, eventually, come to look for more value from you. Naturally, your ultimate value is in the product or service you are trying to sell. The inherent problem with social media marketing is that it takes a lot of time and effort to achieve the eventual desired result – that being the sale. Many business owners either don’t have the time to devote to something that does not provide immediate desired results (the delayed gratification theory) or they are resisting utilizing the powerful social media marketing available options specifically because of its indirect approach to sales and the time it takes to see results.

Social media marketing is really no different than social networking off the internet. When you attend a trade show or a company event, you are networking in a social environment with the desired result being to increase your customer base. Companies that sponsor golf outings, company picnics and other social events, often invite employees, customers and potential customers. What do these three groups of people do at these events? They socialize and network. Although some may develop friendships at such events, the main reason for and ultimate goal of such events is to increase the bottom line – meaning the company’s profits.

The Internet offers massive sources for networking through blogs, forums, communities and of course the immense number of social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo, Dzone, Gather, Ryze, Squidoo, Tagged, Xing and many, many more. The networking concept is the same; the platforms are exponentially greater and different. The vast number of sites can be overwhelming (http://traffikd.com/social-media-websites/), so it is a good idea to focus your social networking on sites that are specific to your industry as well as some of the larger, widely used generic sites like Facebook, Plaxo, Linkedin, etc. I prefer to use the sites that are more business-oriented like LinkedIn and Plaxo – but that is a personal preference. To me, my Facebook profile has information and photos that are more appropriate for friends and family than business associates, but there are those who don’t agree. Again, that is a matter of personal preference.

For discussion purposes, let’s consider traditional (or direct) marketing to be a one way communication channel and social media marketing to be a two-way communication channel. In traditional marketing, a business might send you a direct mailer, an email, or you might see an advertisement in a magazine. These types of marketing campaigns cost the business a whole lot of money and don’t always result in large volumes of sales. Now consider participating in two-way conversations on forums, blogs and other social networking sites. You, as a representative of your business, are engaging in “conversations” with your prospective clients and hopefully providing valuable content (content is King in social media marketing). Over time, you and your business will become more visible (as you increase your online presence), your reputation and value will increase and in time, your prospective clients will know who you are, the value in what you are selling and where to find you.

I always like to put myself in the other person’s shoes to understand where they are coming from. I don’t purchase anything before going on the Internet to find everything I can about the product or service I am considering buying. I read the reviews as well as what is being said about the competitive product or service. This being said, why would I expect anyone else to not do the same? If you think about social media marketing in these terms, its value, albeit a time-consuming process, may become more apparent to you.

It is important to keep in mind that social networks consist of loyal and engaging large audiences. Social media marketing can greatly benefit any business as it compliments your brand (an incredibly important topic in its own right), business and online profile. However, social media marketing takes time and serious dedication but the ultimate return you will receive will be well worth the time spent.

Whether or not a business owner embraces the value of social media marketing, there is no escaping the fact that the Internet is the new frontier for marketing. Social media has taken on a life of its own and if you have not jumped on the bandwagon, you are missing the boat. Social media marketing can greatly benefit any business as it compliments your brand, business and online profile.

How to Generate Traffic Using Forum Marketing

If you’re wondering how to channel more traffic to your website or blog, I wouldn’t hesitate in using Forum Marketing as the vehicle for potential customers.

For example, there are millions of forums on the Internet for all kinds of niches.

From pet grooming, parents and teenage counseling, gaming forums where teenagers are playing games between friends, open forums for political, social, and environmental issues, small business forums and of course Internet Marketing Forums. The list is endless and this becomes an invaluable resource to share your ideas and learn from others within the same niche.

By far, the most important lesson to learn when you enter any forum is to follow the rules. Once you have these rules understood, you should have a lot of connections with like-minded people who will be willing to help you whichever way possible.

It’s within these forums where people get to know you and what you intend to deliver.

My recommendation is to build relationships with fellow forum members. Like all customer building relationships, their needs to be trust, credibility, responsibility, and accountability and if you already have these attributes, then this would not be a problem.

Having said that, the best thing to do is look at the questions members are asking and try to provide answers from your experience that members will appreciate.

And of course, you can add your questions that are on your mind and you’d be surprised how many people are willing to contribute to the thread of information during the discussion.

Similarly, once you have shared your thoughts and knowledge over time, if you are confident to take your business to another level, you may connect to forum members, to form a JV Partnership.

Whilst you are enjoying the opportunity to form these business relationships, you will find that visitors, members will click on your forum signature and link to your website. This is obviously your ultimate goal.

Furthermore, I would suggest you be careful not to add affiliate links in your signature unless the forum rules allow this and one such forum to be careful in this regard is the “Warrior Forum.” This forum is full of Internet Marketing Gurus willing to offer their services to help any individual to make money online and help you develop a full-time business. But still, you are not to add affiliate links. You must have your own website URL.

By the same token, my suggestion would be to focus on adding your value of contributing to each discussion and over the long-term, people will notice your sincerity and honesty.

Finally, to summarize some key points:

1. Keep to the Forum rules.

2. Make an effort to contribute your wisdom, knowledge and experience to each discussion and give your best answers and opinions.

3. Do not post affiliate links unless the forum allows.

4. Develop lasting business relationships, which could possibly encourage JV Partnerships.

5. Participate in Forums that fit within your niche.

6. Use Forum Marketing as a long-term strategy.

7. Stay away from sales pitches. Build the relationship first.

My last advice before I wrap up this article: Never ever be offended in forums where they maybe heated discussions. In other words, do not get caught up in your prideful emotions just because someone did not agree with you.

The best option would be to turn away and join another discussion.

I hope this article has given you some insight; using Forum Marketing and if you don’t want to use this medium as a traffic source, there are other traffic generating resources.

Click the link below to learn where to advertise your website to funnel 2000 guaranteed website visitors and more…

How Social Media Optimization Services Can Benefit Business

One of the most new yet the most effective concept which has changed the face of internet marketing immensely is the social media optimization or SMO. Social media optimization services are one of the best ways that help a webpage gain relative exposure in the online domain and generate traffic. SMO services essentially provide a platform and facilitate the business houses, especially, the small scale business houses with the opportunity to interact with the set of target audience SMO services use blogs and discussion forums to build a thread of communication and drive traffic to a website. Communities such as MySpace, Facebook, Digg, YouTube, Twitter are some of the platforms that are extensively used for SMO services.

To derive the best result out of social media optimization services it is very necessary to have a proper strategy framed. SMO services require adept policies to approach the target network. First and the foremost requisite is to initiate effective communication on social media platforms. Since SM platforms offer the easiest ways to interact with a whole lot of people, there are better chances of promoting business on a large scale. Using online social platforms, the business houses can spread the brand awareness to a wide section of audience and in the process, can well build up a comprehensive online presence.

As an integral part of social media marketing, the success of SMO services depends on spreading the ideas through discussions in interactive forums. Maintaining a website blog is a genuine way of attracting online audience. Website blogs, however need to feature latest and update d news. Through blog postings and comments, the business houses can establish a good communication thread with prospective clients, wherein the latter can post comments and feedback regarding the former’s service. Adding a blog and maintaining it aptly increases the linkability of the websites and make them easily optimized in the online realms.

The role of content is very crucial in SMO services. While advertising in these forums, catchy content can best appeal the online audience. SMO services also include submission of articles and press releases in different directories. The articles feature keywords which are hyperlinked and contribute to the overall ranking of the webpages.

Participation holds the key to the success of SMM services. The social networking websites such as Twitter or Facebook are efficient tools that can add to brand’s popularity to the very best. Then, there are video submission platforms such as YouTube, wherein business houses can showcase their products and attract the audience. The YouTube video thread, the Twitter profile and the Facebook business page can all be linked with the company’s blog and vice versa. This way, proper online presence can be built and maintained.

It is a fact that SMM is an inexpensive way to promote the business. Prior to initiating a social media campaign, it is important to have a proper planning that complies with the company’s end objectives. We can conclude that SMO services, if employed in the right manner, can generate loads of traffic and give a genuine online presence.