Letter to the editor: Why do I have to click twice to see a story?

Listen to this story

Mr. Gerber,

Why do I have to click on “read this post,” see two or three more lines of the story, then click to go to the full story. Can’t you link “read this post” to the full story? I realize it makes it look like you get more clicks, but it is annoying to a user.

Paul Roberts

Thanks for the question, Paul. It’s a good one, and something I need to address again in an editorial.

Click counts really have nothing to do with it. If there was a way to make it easier for readers, I certainly would.

We post the full story for articles we write ourselves as well as for press releases we receive. Because press releases are given to us, we can use them without penalty and without paying for the content.

However, when we are linking to other published news stories or another blog, U.S. copyright law prevents us from using the complete published work produced by someone else.

The copyright law grants us “fair use” of that person’s content. My legal team and I interpret that law as giving us permission to use up to three sentences of someone else’s work as long as we attribute where we got the content and link back to the original.

I know some publications in our industry steal the entire published work of others. They try to attribute it to the original author in a byline or footnote, but by stealing the complete story, they are playing with fire.

Readers perceive the content to have been generated by the second publication, and the original author doesn’t benefit in any way. The writer doesn’t get paid for the content, nor does he or she benefit by traffic coming to the author’s website to read the story.

Eventually, those publications will be held accountable, and the fines and penalties are steep. It’s not a risk we are willing to take.

So, as a news aggregator, we make it convenient for readers to find RV-related content at one place — rvdailyreport.com. That way, people don’t have to search for and visit dozens of different websites every day just to see if any new content has been posted.

But, the law only allows us to give readers a taste of what’s available elsewhere, and then direct them to the original source for the full story.

Because of the way websites and newsletters work, we can’t just link directly to the other sources.

The newsletters would have to be coded from scratch, and doing so would give us no record that we ever linked to the story. And the original authors would have no way of knowing that we had linked to their content unless they subscribed to RV Daily Report.

Linking to the content from our website actually “pings” the original site to let them know someone is referencing their article. It’s a courtesy to the original providers in case they want to object to our use of their content.

Even mainstream media sources often provide a snippet of content and then link to the original.

I hope that makes sense.

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber

A journalist who has covered the recreation vehicle industry since January 2000, Greg Gerber founded RV Daily Report on April Fool's Day in 2009. He also serves as the editor of the publication and website. As an Eagle Scout, he has enjoyed camping for decades and has visited every state except Hawaii. A DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three young women, he has two grandchildren as well. He currently splits his time between Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona. Greg can be reached at editor@rvdailyreport.com.

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  • Gene H. says:

    Google the term: Change mouse settings licks. Gene H.

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