Article Updated: See Below.
Fav.or.it, a content aggregation service, had earned a great deal of controversy among many bloggers. The site would collect content from various RSS feeds, at least in some cases including the full content, and display it on their site as well as offer visitors the chance to comment and discuss the news, away from the original site. This caused some to accuse Fav.or.it of using splogging as a business model and earned it several mentions on this site, including this one.
However, earlier this week, Fav.or.it went down. The initial message said that the site had been taken down for “maintenance”. However, after a few days, the message was changed to read the following:
“Recently we decided that we would not continue with the fav.or.it service on our site. For more details about this please take a look on our blog. As a result we are replacing the site with our company site!”
In short, the Fav.or.it service is no more. It is down never to return, and the site is being replaced by a home page for the company, also called Fav.or.it, which also runs products such as Tweetmeme, which I was unaware of until the site changed, and TweetTabs (Note: The link to TweetTabs on the Fav.or.it site currently is broken).
The sudden closure of the site seemed odd and I emailed Fav.or.it to ask what had happened. However, I am yet to receive a response.
(Note: I have a suspicion as to why the site might have gone down but do not wish to say anything more until I get confirmation.)
Fav.or.it Moves On
Though the closure of its flagship service may seem like a major blow, it could be a very good thing for the company in the long run. They have already moved on to other, more-popular and less copyright-questionable products the best-known of which is Tweetmeme, which is used on this site.
This may help Fav.or.it focus their time and resources on those projects, rather than a small, legally-dubious and much less popular content aggregator.
In the end, I don’t harbor any real ill feelings toward the company as they seem to have created new products that manage to be both useful and raise far fewer copyright issues. Abandoning Fav.or.it as a service was a good move for both themselves and Webmasters everywhere.
As such, I have no qualms about keeping the Tweetmeme feature on this site and don’t think others should either.
I just hope that this serves as a learning experience for Fav.or.it as a company and they are able to build and grow from this controversy.
Fav.or.it, the company, has posted a short blog entry about the closure of the site that talks about the various reasons for its closure including a shift in the commenting marketplace that made it difficult for them to compete, a lack of updates to the service and a series of implementation mistakes that caused it to lag behind other competitors, including Lazyfeed.
The post did address the content reuse issues and said the following:
The site has also not been without controversy for re-use of content (through public RSS feeds), and although we put massive effort into support of licensing models (such as auto-detection of creative commons) our approach to aggregation of content for which we could not detect a license, and that required the publisher to opt-out (rather than opt-in) was in hindsight misguided.
In short, Fav.or.it, the company, acknowledges they made mistakes with the way they used content within the system and seem to have learned from them with Tweetmeme. However, they did stop short of issuing a full apology. Though I don’t think that will satisfy the most disgusted at Fav.or.it, there still seemsto be much rejoicing that the site is done for, both due to its poor reuse of content, but that it also increases the focus on Tweetmeme. .