Have you heard about article spinning? There are a number of applications for it, but basically it's a way to shortcut the generation of content either for your site, or for placement on article directories to generate inbound links and therefore targeted web traffic. Wikipedia provides a good definition here:
"Article spinning is a search engine optimization technique by which blog or website owners attempt to manipulate their rank on Google and other search engines. It works by rewriting existing articles, or parts of articles, and replacing elements to avoid being penalized in the Search Engine Results pages (SERP) for using duplicate content. The original articles are often plagiarized from other websites and can often also be copyright infringements if the original article was used without the copyright owner's permission." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_spinning)
(Note that I correctly cited Wikipedia for the quote above). Frankly I can't see how anyone could view spinning as anything less than plagiarism or fraud, but let's take a minute to try and weigh out the good and the bad anyway.
1. Quick content generation turnaround time
2. Shortcut to create credibility on Google (really?)
3. Software exists to automate spinning
4. Easy way to generate link-backs from article directories
5. Something for nothing, easy way to generate targeted web traffic
1. Dilution of content on the internet - junk clogging results pages
2. Google is good at identifying spinning so website ranking is impacted
3. Copyright infringement
4. Detrimental from an Inbound Marketing perspective
Look at ‘Good Point #5' and ‘Bad Point #4' for a moment because they are related. The notion of ‘something for nothing' might be attractive because blog writing for many folks can be a major time sink. Writing high-quality content that is unique and provides value to your readers requires research, focus, and effort collectively necessitating a significant time investment.
From an Inbound Marketing point of view, your objective is to provide something useful and meaningful to your audience in order to establish yourself as a thought leader, or go-to person in your field. Be careful not to underestimate the natural tendency of your traffic to conduct research, and their ability to detect that you are generating redundant material. In my view, I don't want my readership to see me as someone who regurgitates my own material, or worse, steals someone else's hard work. Take your time, invest in yourself and your product, and do it right. Shortcuts like this won't do you any good in the long run.
image by Don Moyer