Bucking an industry trend to firewall content, UK newspaper The Guardian has taken a step in a different direction by offering free syndicated content to bloggers via a WordPress plugin.
The Guardian News Feed offers bloggers the full range of Guardian content via an internal WordPress menu system, and in return bloggers must agree not to edit the content, and run a Guardian logo and Guardian ad with it.
Matt McAlister, Head of the Guardian Development Network, said: “Last month we announced that the Guardian Open Platform is officially open for business, and the WordPress plugin is a fantastic example of just one way we are reinforcing our leading position as an innovator in digital technology.
“Bloggers will be able to browse through our articles on the WordPress platform, choosing which articles they wish to publish on their blogs. We will embed ads within the articles in order to build a global ad network for the Guardian, yet the bloggers will be able to keep any associated revenue that they earn on their own sites.”
We’ve run a quick test using the plugin as one thing missing in the announcement and WordPress plugin page is screenshots of how it works in practice, and we’ve got to say we’re highly impressed.
The setup is easy enough, although with the note that you have to register for an API key; that in itself is not a bother, however there are limitations on the API calls, and without extensively using it we don’t know how limiting those API restrictions are. Of note is that the plugin will update posts if and when they change, so if you had a lot of Guardian content on your site, you might (in theory) push past the API call limit, with possible consequences for your WordPress install.
The way the content is posted is both surprising and welcomed: unlike some previous attempts at article syndication from other sites, the Guardian content appears as a normal WordPress post vs an iFrame or search engine unfriendly embed. The ad, at least in our test, was a single 300×250 box at the end of the post. For what’s on offer, it’s a fair swap.
You can download the WordPress plugin here.