User Generated Content

In my recent interview with Richard Chapo, Esq., we discussed copyrights and the ownership rights of web hosting companies when it comes to your site. What about the content that's on your site? If you go down the user generated content path, what are the pros and cons of doing so? First, let's define ‘user generated content.' User Generated Content

Types of User Generated Content

This type of content can fall under various categories including:

  • content written by an outside party
  • content written by a professional writer
  • images created by a designer
  • guests posts

Essentially, any content that is not created by you, the site owner, is considered user generated content. This type of content can result in excellent blog posts and images, as well as presenting your readers with alternate views. But, user generated content comes with a downside too.

The Problem With User Generated Content

The main issue with content that is created by other people is this: it might not be legally owned by you. Unless you have a contract that states otherwise, you can't simply assume that you own the rights to any content on your site. Sure, you own the site – but only partially. That cheap web hosting company you sign up with actually owns most of your site (unless there's an exception).

What can you do if you want user generated content but you don't want to lose your site over a contend dispute? The best thing to do is to make sure that you have a solid contract in place. Your contract should state which party owns the content on your site. No contract? Anyone that posted content to your site can take it down at any time. That's not something you want to deal with.

When This Type of Content Works

User generate content can really work wonders for a site. As long as both parties are in agreement over ownership, content that comes from the outside might just be the boost on your blog or site that you need. There's just one more issue to consider: the flow of your content.

Controlling Outside Content

Did you find the perfect person to contribute a guest post to your blog? You'll want to make sure that your content manager has clear control over this posts. Not only should you hire someone to edit posts, but your content manager should be helping that guest author head in the right direction. Otherwise, you could wind up with a post that's not great and totally off topic.

Photo Courtesy of Cubosh via Flickr Creative Commons

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