I write a lot. I write articles, press releases, webcopy, blogposts… you name it! And occasionally, I’ll get a request to do a re-write of a piece, for re-publication. That’s generally not hard to do. There are even some programs available that do a dynamite job of comparing your text to existing text on the web, and identifying identical passages and phrases, even telling you what percentage of similarity exists.
If a client requests six or seven re-writes of the same piece, it becomes more challenging, making such a program a necessity. I prefer to just write each piece manually, off the top of my head, but trying to get the same idea across in half a dozen different ways can be difficult. We all tend to mentally plug-in certain phrases, metaphors and adjectives, and it requires a lot of attention to avoid doing so. Even so, it’s all too easy to screw it up, which can cause embarrassment to my client and to myself.
While searching for one of these programs, I came across several hundred thousand SERPs listings offering a slightly different variation on that sort of program… a spinner program. They claim to automatically generate as many “unique copies” (THAT’S an interesting turn of phrase, isn’t it?) as you might need, in a thoroughly readable style. Never having seen or used one, I thought I’d take a look, and see if one would be a worthwhile investment. I picked a couple that offered a free trial, and gave them a shakedown.
Two things were immediately evident: they’re not as automatic as they’re purported to be, and the end result is about as “readable” as a US Navy technical manual on nuclear reactor maintenance. I quickly came to the conclusion that if people were actually using these things, and distributing the 1,000 “different” versions of each article that was advertised, the internet would soon be full to brimming, and we’d all be washed away in the overflow.
I’m not exaggerating (well, hardly). The results of all those that I checked out were laughable. They may be accurate, but readable? As readable as “Look! See Dick run. Run, Dick! Run!” can get, I suppose. How about, ‘Observe! Watch Dick perambulate rapidly. Sprint, Dick! Jog!’?
My first thought was, ‘What an insult to the intelligence of article publishers and directories, to send out such drivel.’
Then I realized that article publishers and directories apparently are buying that drivel by the truckload, so those that do so certainly don’t deserve any sympathy. If there’s a market for such crap, it’s because they created a market for it.
And the worst aspect of these programs is their purpose. It doesn’t appear to me that they were designed for people like me to offer different versions of their own work. It looks MUCH more like their intended purpose is to allow THIEVES to plagiarize the work of others!
I think I’m just going to continue in my old fashion, of manually re-writing my OWN work, and checking it against existing webcopy, to make sure that I haven’t inadvertently typed something in the same way that I had read it. If a client requests six re-writes, and I can only give them four within those parameters, then I’ll tell them that, and be done with it.
And may all the publishers and so-called writers that perpetuate such cartoon-style word-vomit burn in Hell!