Social networks like Facebook and Google+, along with free blogs like Blogger, Tumblr and Posterous are deceptive ways to share posts. They have built-in audiences, are easy to set up because of a lack of real options and let you share posts with fancy URLs like

This is not how you should be sharing your valuable content.

And you don’t really own the content.

Google PlusSure, they may say they won’t use what you write without your permission, but if that network goes down, your posts go with it. If you violate their terms of service, your content goes down the tubes. If enough people on that network flag your content as spam, it can be removed.

You are not in control of your content.

There are businesses out there that may say “so what” to this. An audience is an audience no matter where you find it, and because social networks and free blogs can often attract tons of page views without much work, the risk is worth it. They are wrong.

You should own your content.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t summarize and distribute your content across various social networks and platforms. That’s a pretty good idea, as it allows your friends, fans and followers at least a taste of the value you have to offer, without giving up the farm or being held at the whims of whatever network you joined up with.

You should control how your content is presented.

Unless you’re a fancy programmer/developer, most free sites offer limited layout options, without any real ability to customize it to your liking. If you’re big on looking like everyone else, go for it. If you like being able to choose from thousands of templates that you can customize freely, go with a service like Pagely.

Even the big boys say you should own your content.

If a guy like Chris Brogan, a social media first adaptor and knows quite a few things about blogging and self promotion, who are we to argue?

Besides, he’s right.

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4 thoughts on “Own Your Content

  1. Is it fair to say that the real issue is time and/or money?

    It’s not that difficult to setup your own content system on your own, self-hosted server, but realistically that’s just not feasible for most businesses or even individuals. Which brings up another good point: how much of your online content do you really own anyway? Even if you host your own blog software on your own website, odds are that you rely on another party to do all the hosting and DNS.

    So if you do something to break your hosting company’s rules or if enough people report your site as spam you’re just as in the water as if you blogged through a site like Tumblr.

    There are a lot of options and what it really comes down to is what works best for you right now.

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  2. Sure, but you’d need a ton of people to complain to an ISP or host to get your content shut down, as opposed to Facebook, where it may only take a few people.

    And the ToS is much looser on anything that’s not hosted on a social network. Pagely wouldn’t stop me from posting porn, but I bet Facebook would have fits.

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  3. Haha Tyler.. We would have to have a discussion if it was out-right hardcore pr0n. Good thing you are not into that.

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  4. This post is absolutely true regarding social networks, but not entirely correct when regarding sites like Tumblr or Blogger (Posterous I have not dived into as much, so I’ll leave them out of this argument for now).

    Tumblr you could post porn on, and IMHO they have one of the most liberal TOS’s around. Could your site get blocked for being spam? Yes, perhaps easier than a paying host, but that is the “cost” of using free easy services (note: WordPress is easy IMHO too).

    Tumblr, Blogger, et al are usually able to take on a stronger DDoS attack, due to their ability to buy an enormous amount of bandwidth and hire the best experts around (I have massive respect for Fire Host and, but at best they are a close second to Google’s security team).

    IMHO the only reason you should host your own content over Blogger, Tumblr, et al is that you will be seen from countries like China, Saudi Arabia and other restrictive countries that make it a policy of blocking all things Google or popular American sites.

    Yes, they could also block you, but more often than not they go after the popular sites rather than individual domains on the interwebs. ;-)

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