AO republishing articles from other sites

What do you all feel about how Atlas Obscura has been republishing articles form other sites? I first noticed it a few months ago and it seems to becoming more common. I’ve gotten a strange sense of deja vu reading AO until I realized I had already read this article before somewhere else. For a New York-based media company with a large talent pool at hand, I find this to be unusual, especially when there are complaints from frequent users here on the inability to get feature articles published.

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I hadn’t noticed–can you point to some examples? I’d assume they must’ve gotten permission to republish copyrighted pieces. Maybe they’re cheaper?

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Originally published Undark.org

Originally published in The Conversation under Creative Commons license.

Originally published in Sapiens.

Originally published in Sapiens.

Originally published in The Conversation under Creative Commons license.

Originally published in The Conversation under Creative Commons license.

There are also a couple of articles that are excerpts from books or reworked from a contributors earlier work. Both of which I don’t mind. I view that as different then using Creative Commons to avoid paying contributors.

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I don’t really mind myself, although it is a good point that using Creative Commons articles seems like a way to pay less for Stories. My whole Flickr profile is on CC, so I also understand that, as an author, you might just want to gain exposure or share your material for the sake of it.

As much as I like the Stories, I’d say they’re secondary to Places on the site, since the motto still is “the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders”. So ultimately, if new written content has to be sacrificed and resources allocated elsewhere in order to improve the Places database and the speed of submissions, I’d be ok with that. I had a Story idea rejected, but it doesn’t compare to the frustration of seeing several Place submissions be forgotten for months or worked on out of order.

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Well, there you go. CC pieces are definitely cheaper. And if authors don’t want their work republished in this way they shouldn’t make them CC. Presumably they’re doing it for the exposure.

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That’s not the point. I’m not shaming the academics on The Conversation sharing their articles. My post was about AO itself choosing to go outside for content rather than publishing articles from AO regular contributors.

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I’ve noticed this lately too.

I’m kind of curious as to why it is happening but I guess it doesn’t really bother me.

I thought the “World’s Largest Bee” article was pretty interesting.

This along with the massive slowdown in place editing, abandonment of the forums, dips in writing quality and communication, etc seems to be another sign of them not doing well as a company. I’m guessing that the investments that they got from their sponsors mostly dried out and that they are basically a skeleton crew now that is trying to hold on and do everything at once.

I’m starting to get worried that the whole site will just close one day in the near future, given that all these dips in quality can’t be good for raising profits, but probably works if one wants to squeeze as much out as possible before dropping it.

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@CoolCrab I hear you.

I’ve contributed articles, photos, edits over the years, but they told me that my own attraction in Austin (eureka room) didn’t fit their criteria, which it clearly did while other stuff on the site clearly doesn’t.

Then they ask me to join their (imaginary) community for $100. Slap in the face! (That $100 request was only a few months after Airbnb invested $20 million in them, which made it more mind-boggling).

But here’s what really makes me think they are going downhill:

I have emailed them four times in the last few weeks through their advertising forms and email addresses and no one has responded.

I am literally telling them “I would like to give you my money” and no one gets back to me.

How long can you stay in business when your sales team doesn’t respond to inquiries? So frustrating. I used to love this site but now it’s just meh.

Find me at irlxd

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They said that they would check on the discord, did you hear anything? I also tagged you under the message there, so you could try to talk to them there if you want.

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Thanks! I replied through discord. I used ads@atlasobscura.com and the contact form in the footer of the site: https://www.atlasobscura.com/contact_form

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I’m fine with sourcing content from sites that somewhat overlap with the “mood” of AO; I think it’s kinda neat to get some peeks at what else is out there. 99 Percent Invisible also does this kind of thing, airing content from other podcasts. (Though I’ve never once actually subscribed to a new podcast through that, because I already have too many. I recently had to declare podcast bankruptcy – my phone ran out of memory. I deleted all my downloads and un-subbed like half of my podcasts. I used to listen to them on my commute. I don’t commute anymore, because of permanent WFH. :expressionless: )

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