Monday, November 7, 2011

Take my advice

Here's something new I wrote on my Forbes blog: "The Best and Worst Advice I've Ever Gotten."
1. Sometimes when you try to do something faster, it takes longer.

I learned this one from my father. It’s the only advice he gave me that I remember. Now he’s dead, so it’s all I got. Interestingly, I continue to make this mistake. I fail at this on a regular basis. So, maybe my father’s advice was really about being mindful, and how sometimes when you slow down, everything hurries up around you.
For the past couple months, I've been struggling with something at Forbes. Basically, when I signed the contract, without realizing what I was doing, I gave them permission to syndicate the content of my Forbes blog, Pink Slipped, and now my Forbes blog posts are republished on Yahoo.

There's been this whole back and forth thing over this for some time, about how it was a glitch, and supposedly it's ending soon, and it goes on and on, but mostly it's really frustrating. Depressing, actually. Because I am paid for how much traffic I get at my Forbes blog, and when your content is republished by another site -- in August, Yahoo Sites had over 177 million unique visitors -- you are fucked.

Here's an example.

A week ago, I published a post on Forbes: "How Not to Get a Job at Yahoo." Ironic, right? I'd been holding off on saying anything about any of this because I was up for this blogging job at Yahoo, but I didn't get it, and then I wrote a post about that, not getting the Yahoo job, a post in which I referred to Yahoo as a "dead, 12-armed octopus sprawled in the sand at your feet and trying to figure out which tentacled limb it fed itself with." And Yahoo republished it.

Look at how terrible the republished post looks here: Ugh. For a time, Yahoo appeared to be stripping out the links back to my Forbes blog that I put in at the end. Sigh.

One reason I find this so difficult is that Lewis DVorkin, who is the Chief Product Officer at Forbes Media, is very open and transparent about how blogging works at, and has written really interesting stuff about the new digital newsroom, and seems very pro-journalist. He has been supportive of my work, but how is republishing of the sort that I outlined above pro-journalist?

To be clear, as someone who likes to take responsibility for things, I signed the contract. I think everything they're doing is kosher. But is it smart?