After reading 5 Bad Genealogy Sources, reading the author's defense of himself here, and offering my own take here, I wondered—why hadn't I listed the Genealogy and Family History blog in my Blog Finder? Surely a blog that incites such debate should have a place in the directory.
After a little investigating, I discovered the answer: I had blacklisted the blog because of suspected duplicate content. Take this post, "Genealogy Software: Tips on Finding the Right One," posted November 30, 2008. The advice is pretty generic, which immediately makes me suspect that it came from an article mill. Googling the first sentence brings up 170 results. Here it is posted on a different blog a year earlier.
This must be a fluke, right? Well, how about this post, "Ancestry.com: The Best Website to Learn About Your Genealogy," published October 30, 2008. 307 Google results. This post appears to have come from here, and this post from here. But given the lack of proper attribution, it's impossible to tell who wrote what when.
[Update: Please note that use of content from article mills on a website is not illegal and does not constitute "stealing," though it may in some cases be unethical, unseemly, or contribute to making the website seem worthless and laughable.]
To be fair, the proprietor of Genealogy and Family History seems to have cleaned up his act a bit in the past month or so. But maybe not. He wrote this just four days ago:
I recalled that I had written an article last year about Genealogists using Twitter as a means of connecting with others who were researching their Family History. So as it’s obviously a topic of interest to folks I searched the blog and here’s a link to the article which originally appeared back in October 2008:The linked article is remarkably similar to a tutorial at eHow.com, submitted by a user named Moomettesgram a month earlier.
Genealogists and Twitter
I have no interest in embarrassing anyone, or attacking anyone else's business model. But I won't stand by while my fellow bloggers are maligned by someone claiming to speak from a position of authority, but who may be guilty of something far worse than omitting a footnote.