9/26/2008

BNET Offers Content Without Owner's Permission

I was surprised to get a Google Alert pointing me to one of my own company's newsletters, represented as a white paper on BNET.com.

No record of granting permission to republish or host our content at BNET, or its owner CNET Networks, or their owner CBS Interactive... and the "blurb" they used to tease the newsletter was very poorly written!

I couldn't click through to our "white paper" without registering for BNET, so I did. Full name, e-mail, phone, mailing address, job descriptors and company size are all required fields. An e-mail confirmation was required, as well.

Once I finally registered and clicked through, the "download" link took me to my own company's web site!

Of course two more messages from BNET appeared in my inbox within minutes. One informed me that I had opted in for two categories of spam from them, even though I had unchecked every opt-in box on the registration form.

Sleazy? You bet. They're collecting personal profiles in return for linking people to content that was already available online.

CBS? Surprising, a little... the site is plastered with ads, and the tactic of posting others' content is a well-known Google link farm technique.

Your thoughts?

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