Scoble has decided to stop his “illegal quoteblog”. Too bad. Robert's strength really has been his ability to connect people. In his own blog, he adds commentary to interesting topics started by people I would have never found on my own. On channel9, he introduces you to to the great individuals that work behind the scenes to ship world class software. At the MVP summit, I saw it in person. Through him, people would find each other as Robert was able to match similar interests with ease because of the wealth of people he has collected by reading over 2k blogs (or whatever the current number is).
His experimental blog was great because it leveraged his strengths and proved that you could take what you do well, tweak the process a little, and improve what you were already good at 10 times over. It was much more effective, for Robert, to invest in the “Magic Outlook Folder” than it would have been for him to try and improve his own unique content. No offense to Robert, but I haven't found his own content any better than the hundreds of other bloggers out there that he links to. He just types fast and can generally be counted on to comment on an issue before others get the chance. 🙂
The concept of his quoteblog probably is illegal. I touched on it before. The fear that comes with something as easy to publish and re-use as RSS is that someone could take your posts and leverage them for their own gains. What if someone was reposting your posts on a site that served to advertise pornography? What if someone did this without linking back to you? What if they put ad-words in your content or otherwise modified it for their benefit without, as they say in baseball, your express written permission. Bad times.
I would call for some tweaks to how the information was presented in the RSS feed. Put the source first and actually link the source back to the person. If possible change the “from” so it shows up as from the original source. Change the “read on” link so it points back to the original source. This way if I go choose to quote or comment on the quoteblog it doesn't point back to the Scoble feed. Essentially I want each content item to show up exactly as it would as if I was subscribing to the source feed. If this were the case, I'm not sure any original author would have much to complain about since I would rarely visit their web sites anyway.
While the concept is probably illegal, I was probably one of many that benefited from the spirit in which Robert leveraged it. He provided the kind of quality human filtering that you will never get from a feedster search. I've had people connect with me that otherwise might not have ever read what I posted. Conversely, I've read bloggers I would have never have found had it not been for “The best of Scoble Feed” as I titled it in my blog reader. If it's only 10% of the content, it won't be as effective for me because of the way I read my feeds. For some reason, that extra click required to see the whole thing will probably slow me down since my blog reading has now outgrown a web browser. I won't connect to as many interesting people and ideas now. The service was “good times,” and I'll miss it. Steal this post!