Post RSS content WITHOUT linking to it!
If any of you use RSS2Blog (and I know you do! 😉 ) then you probably already know about issues like having outbound links in your content postings. There are two problems with this, one is the page rank that you are now potentially giving away to other sites, and the more serious problem is visitors can LEAVE YOUR SITE! Since the goal here is to earn our living, we need to make sure that visitors don’t leave by any means that doesn’t pay us (short of closing their browser or typing in a new address).
The typical “solution” to these problems is to add rel=”nofollow” to your links (built in to the program) and to open pages in new windows so your site is still open in the background.
BUT… what if I told you you could actually post all the content you wanted, WITHOUT OUTBOUND LINKS!
Well, this feature is actually already built in to RSS2Blog believe it or not. Maybe some day it will be added as a checkbox item, but for now we can enable it “the old fashioned way”, that is we can hack the code directly. Really it’s not even code, it’s just a setting.
So, here is what you need to do:
WARNING!! DANGER!! ACHTUNG!!
If you don’t understand how to edit a text file like this, DON’T DO IT! Things must be very very precise and one wrong move COULD cause you to lose your entire RSS2Blog job. Any stray carriage returns or other characters will cause major havoc. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! 😉
RSS2Blog stores all the parameters for each job in a file, with a name like setup_123456789.php and stores them in the “settings” folder. If you open one of these up, it’s a big mess. But if you begin to look THROUGH the mess, you notice some interesting things.
One big one, is a setting called “post_rss_withoutlinks”. Open the settings file up in a text editor and if you need to, do a search for the word “withoutlinks” and you’ll see serveral instances of it. The others for some reason don’t seem to behave properly, so I’m sticking with RSS (which is fine because I don’t post SE results or news items anyway).
So, the entire string we need to change is:
Specifically, the part in quotes, the zero, means “no”. We want it to say “yes”! So, change the zero to a 1, like so:
This will now cause RSS2Blog to post RSS items, BUT WITHOUT ANY OUTBOUND LINKS! So, you will still have a link to your permalinked post, but not to the original source of the content. Make this change to all your settings files, and also make sure they are all set to post RSS content (and you have valid feeds in there), and you’re done. Incidentally you can make this change across any number of projects in one shot by using a server side find/replace utility like the one I posted here.
Now I can hear some cries now about how unethical this is, etc. etc. etc. Well I don’t figure these things out because I’m going for my masters in ethics! You decide if you want to use this technique or not, I leave it entirely in your capable hands/brain to make that decision for yourself. But just as I might not drive my car at 90 mile per hour (I said MIGHT… 😉 ) I certainly want to know that it is capable of that kind of performance.
So now you know… and in this game, I’d say knowing is much MORE than half the battle!