There’s a sad story in the Guardian today about several leading music blogs being shut down on Blogger.com. It seems they had DMCA notices filled against them and although they attempted to respond to the complaints, Blogger deleted their entire sites. These contained more than four years of archives.

“It’s just sad because we were documenting young people’s music from all around the globe,” Guillaume Decouflet, co-founder of Masala said. “For a lot of people, it was music they wouldn’t have been able to discover elsewhere.” Decouflet is now trying to “salvage” the Masala archive, using Google’s own Reader tool to dig up old posts. Other banished blogs have taken similar steps. Living Ears, It’s a Rap and Pop Tarts have relaunched at new URLs, generally without any older material.

It’s noticable that the blogs concerned have re-launched using their own hosted copies of WordPress. They have learnt a hard lesson about content ownership.

If you place your content on someone else’s platform then you have given them control over that content. It doesn’t matter if this is Blogger, FaceBook, Ning or Twitter, you must always realise that there is a risk involved.

Of course there are advantages to handing off control to a third party; convenience and cost, especially in high volume sites. There may just be a marketing advantage, using FaceBook to host your group opens it up to a larger audience. Twitter offers a unique channel that rewards your time. But always weigh up the pros/cons in making this strategic decision. If your business is based on this model, as was the case for these music blogs, then I’d argue the risk is too great.

If these music blogs had been banned by Google for DMCA abuse the worse they could expect would be exclusion from the index. In time they could have resolved the problem and recovered from the position. As it stands they have been hit too hard, losing years of content, links and branding. Make sure you don’t learn this lesson the hard way too.

** Evicted by malias one of the artists who make their work under a Creative Commons license at Flickr – thank you!

Digital strategist and consultant. Founder at E3 Business Incubator, a consultancy network helping enterprises and start-ups. Extensive experience across digital channels, with specialist knowledge of SEO, content marketing and paid distribution.

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