The Dangers of Private Label Rights (PLR) Content
Private Label Rights (PLR) content, sometimes referred to as “White Label” or “Resale Rights” content, is a type of content that is commonly sold to Internet marketers and webmasters. The idea is that, unlike CC-licensed or even article marketing sites, with PLR content nearly all of the rights in the work are sold, including the rights to attribution, resale and so forth.
In short, depending on the exact license being used, when one buys PLR content, they are free to take the work, modify it, put their name on it and even sell it, for example, as an ebook.
There are a lot of reasons PLR content is tempting for marketers. It’s cheap to purchase, easy to implement and, if done well, visitors are never aware that the content wasn’t written by the company or person itself. Many use it as “filler” content for when they can’t write material themselves.
However, there are many dangers to using PLR content on your site and reasons to shy away from it, especially for resale. Here are just a few of the reasons you should be wary if you’re offered PLR content for your site.
Few PLR sales sites actually create the content they provide. Instead they use third parties to either write it or purchase the rights themselves. Unfortunately, even with the best due diligence and plagiarism detection techniques, there is almost no way to completely vet a work as being plagiarism-free.
The work could easily be an unlawful derivative that defies easy detection, it could be taken from something not yet online elsewhere or it could just be that the content is so heavily resold as PLR content that finding the original author is almost impossible.
However, if the work does turn out to be infringing and it appears on your site with your name, it’s pretty obvious who will be the first to get the letter and legal threats.
Duplicate Content Issues
Nearly all sites that trade in PLR content sell the same content to multiple parties. If the work is published publicly, Google will sense this and treat most of the versions of the work as duplicate content, penalizing those sites. If it is outside of Google’s scope, such as being included in a member’s area or an ebook, it can still create problems as customers and visitors may spot the other copies of the work.
Think, for example, how a customer would feel if they bought an ebook from you for $5 only to find the same ebook being sold elsewhere for $1 or even given away for free. At best they will feel ripped off, at worst they will accuse you of being a plagiarist or infringer.
To combat this, some companies do limit the number of times a pack can be sold, but even then, there are usually dozens, if not hundreds of others who buy the same content as you.
Quality of Content
Most PLR sites that I’ve seen sell articles and books in “packs” that are purchased largely unseen. This prevents the buyer from determining the quality of the content before buying. Unfortunately, a lot of time it turns out that the content is not of high quality and either requires a great deal of editing or has to be scrapped altogether.
This can make the good deal PLR content seems to be a much worse bargain.
Using Private Label Rights Content
If you decide to use PLR content, you need to be aware of the risks that you are taking and understand that it could, feasibly, come back to bite you.
That being said, there are things you can do to mitigate, but not eliminate, the risks of using such content. Including:
- Do a Thorough Plagiarism Check: Using a service like Copyscape or Plagium, check the work to see where it has been posted elsewhere and if there is likely plagiarism. It might be difficult with PLR content, but it will also let you see just how widely it has been used already.
- Use as a Source, Not as Content: If you view PLR content as work you’ll have to rewrite or even just as the idea of new blog posts, you might be able to get some good mileage out of it. Some purchase PLR content just to have interesting topic ideas, something that can work well.
- Purchase Only From Reputable Dealers: Do your research on the company before buying, remember there is a lot more at risk than just the cost of the content.
All in all, these steps won’t mitigate the risks and drawbacks of using PLR content, but they can help reduce the risks.
In my experience, the people who do best with PLR content are, unfortunately, spammers. With scraping and other copyright infringement becoming riskier, most find it cheaper and easier to shell out a small amount of money on PLR content that they can then run through content spinners and then generate thousands of low-quality articles from the set that are at least somewhat unique to the search engines.
People who want high-quality, unique content that they can put on their blogs or sell as an ebook probably need to either write the content themselves or, at the very least, hire a good ghostwriter. While either process will be more expensive and/or more time-consuming, it’s the only way to ensure that you get high-quality work that is free of copyright issues and other pitfalls.
In short, as tempting as PLR content may be, it probably isn’t the best move if you to be safe with the content you post online.