Bloglovin’ respond to issue around stealing traffic from bloggers

If you were on social media yesterday you may have read some confusing news about Bloglovin stealing page views.

I wasn’t going to do a post about this as there’s already a lot of information out there, but I’ve got a few messages so thought a blog post would be best to explain what is happening and what you can do about it.

Update: Bloglovin have responded overnight. They have fixed the canonical URL issue, saying that it was an oversight. They have changed it to the blog URL instead of their own URL. You can view the tweets here.

@XOmisse our apologies! The canonical URL issue has been fixed! Please feel free to reach out to support@bloglovin.com with any questions.

— Bloglovin’ (@bloglovin) March 27, 2017

Why bloggers call out Bloglovin

Bloglovin’ is a popular way to read and follow blogs with over 25,000,000 people per month visiting the site.

Unlike some other RSS feed readers, Bloglovin’ state that they send traffic to bloggers in multiple places on their website.

Yes, all clicks that come from bloglovin.com count towards your traffic. In fact, Bloglovin has become the top traffic source for quite a few lifestyle blogs with many followers. Every time a member reads an article on Bloglovin.com or clicks on an email, it counts in your analytics and shows your ads.

However, it seems that is not the case!

Bloglovin’ change how users read posts

Up until now, users have clicked on a post title to be taken directly to the live blog, which may or may not show the Bloglovin’ frame at the top of the window depending on your settings.

However, users started to notice that Bloglovin now show full posts on their platform – letting users read your posts in full on their site without having to click-through directly to your site.

This naturally got people talking as they were worried about losing traffic to their own blogs. A topic which regularly comes up, in fact Tumblr previously blocked Bloglovin’ after disputes about the Bloglovin frame.

Personally, I don’t have an issue with posts being displayed as full on their platform. This is how most feed reader services work as it’s the most convenient to users. The real problem unfortunately is worse than that…

Bloglovin’ seem to be claiming your content as their own

Upon viewing the source code on Bloglovin’, it seems that they are setting the canonical URL as their own.

This means that they are using a piece of code to tell search engines where the original version of content is from.

Bloglovin setting their URL as original version using canonical tag

The problem with this is that they are using their own URL as that source. Therefore telling search engines such as Google that they own the content.

Since this content is also on your site and their version will be seen as the original version, the post on your blog will be a duplicate and could result in you getting penalised.

Bloglovin indexing your full posts on their site

Looking further into it, some posts on Bloglovin have the robots tag set to noindex meaning the canonical tag would be ignored. Some posts however have it set to index, meaning those posts will be indexed by search engines.

Why this is an issue?

They are telling search engines that they are the original owner of the posts on their site and that search engines should index and rank those posts.

Strange… posts on one of my blogs on BL is set to index, but from another blog is set to noindex. Both with Bloglovin as canonical tag.

— XOmisse • Elaine (@XOmisse) March 25, 2017

Can’t I just delete my Bloglovin account?

No, not really. If you have a public RSS feed, then ANY RSS feed reader can pick up your blog and display your posts. Deleting your Bloglovin account won’t change this. This is explained further on their help page.

The issue isn’t that full posts are being displayed through the platform. The issue is marking their version of our content as the original, and in some cases ranking higher in search engine results pages than the blog itself.

What can I do to prevent Bloglovin’ doing this?

1. Change your RSS feed settings

I recommend switching your RSS feed to summary/short instead of full. This will affect all RSS feed readers, but if you have an issue with your content being available in full via a feed reader, then this is the solution. This is not the same as displaying your posts as full or excerpt on your blog, this is your RSS feed settings.

To do this:

  • On WordPress.org (self-hosted) Settings > Reading > Choose Summary
  • On WordPress.com (free hosted) WP Admin (https://yourblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin/) > Settings > Reading > Choose Summary
  • On Blogger Settings > Other > Site Feed > Allow Blog Feed > Choose Short (you could also choose Until Jump Break if you use that feature)
  • On Feedburner Optimize > Summary Burner

I’ve seen some people ask why they should *have* to do this when Bloglovin is “scraping content and infringing on copyright”. This is actually a grey area since you’re providing the full content in your RSS feed which you have made publicly available.

ANY RSS aggregation service or feed reader can pull in that feed and you control what is on that feed. It kind of depends how they are doing it, whether they are seen as RSS reader or RSS scraper though.

2. Block Bloglovin from your RSS feed

Ashley, from NoseGraze, has also done a blog post on this where she explains some other methods for blocking Bloglovin’ from accessing your RSS feed. You’ll need to be self-hosted to do this.

Why I moved away from Bloglovin’

While we’re on the topic, I moved away from using Bloglovin’ to read blogs a while ago. I disliked the direction they were taking the platform such as the ability to publish posts and comments directly on the site .

Conclusion

I’m hoping that in the coming week Bloglovin’ respond to this issue, which I am hoping was a coding mistake (though a pretty silly one). I’ll continue to update this post as information comes through.

Post last updated:

25 responses to “Bloglovin’ respond to issue around stealing traffic from bloggers”

  1. Thank you so much for writing this! It’s all very concerning. I’m very new to blogging so excuse my ignorance. I’m trying to change my settings on WordPress following your instructions but I can’t see the ‘Reading’ tab that you’ve mentioned. Don’t suppose you know how I go about sorting this? Is this maybe only available on the paid option?

    1. Hi Rachael. It is worrying, but hopefully it will be resolved by Bloglovin soon. My apologies, I’ve added in instructions for WordPress.com now. You’ll need to access the WP Admin Dashboard (https://yourblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin/) and then you should see the reading tab under settings on the menu on the left of the dashboard. Here’s some further instructions – Find Reading Settings on WordPress.com.

  2. This is the most comprehensive post I’ve read about this issue. I already had a shortened feed in use on Blogger as I’ve recently had a lot of my content scraped, but I’ve made my Feedburner a summary feed now. Thanks for sharing! xx

  3. Hi Elaine,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. You have our deepest apologies. We just became aware of the canonical URL issue this weekend, and it has already been fixed. It of course was not our intention to appear as the original source of the content, and we’re thankful to the community for having brought it up.

    Please feel free to reach out should you have anymore questions and/or concerns (support@bloglovin.com)

    Again, our deepest apologies.
    Community Team at Bloglovin’

    1. Thank you for your fast response and action in fixing this issue, it’s very much appreciated. As mentioned above, I had a feeling this was an unfortunate mistake, but a pretty big one for such a company to make. I really hope it was not your intention.

  4. I’ve always had mine set to “after the jump” in my blogger settings, I learned this in a Google Help Desk forum…. sometimes that forum is actually helpful!

  5. Wow! I had no idea and apparently missed the buzz yesterday. Thankfully, I only use a summary in my feeds. But this is a bit disheartening, especially because Bloglovin’ is so popular. I have to pass this along as I know many who use Bloglovin’ and a full feed.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    B

  6. Hanh

    Thank for sharing these Elaine, so helpful and pleased to see BL response below!

    1. Thanks Hanh! Thought it was important to share what was happening and so pleased to see BL respond as well 🙂

  7. Wow. I can’t believe Bloglovin had their URLs set to canonical for our posts. You’re a true blogging hero for looking into this issue for us, Elaine! I believe this might have been 100% intentional from Bloglovin, so it leaves a bitter taste. I’ve never been a fan of theirs and don’t use their platform to read blogs, but I can’t help having my blogs on it. :/

    1. Hi Suzi. I know it’s pretty shocking, isn’t it? I would hope that it wasn’t intentional, as they’ve said it wasn’t above, but it’s hard to believe it was an accident. You’re right, it’s a popular platform so can’t really not have your blog there.

  8. I’m so thankful you described this in real terms I can understand. Thanks
    Jana

  9. Thank you for this post! I love your blog, it’s extremely helpful content and easy to understand format make it my go-to for all my blogger needs 🙂

  10. Changing the RSS feed on WordPress does not work, unfortunately—this is what mine was, and full posts were displayed on the Bloglovin’ site regardless. I don’t know how it pulled them when the feed only shows the summary, but it was. So this solution (only showing summaries) doesn’t work. :/

    The only way to keep them from leeching, it seems, is to block them.

    1. Hi Liz, that’s strange. I’ve just had a look and seems like Bloglovin is showing your posts as summary only since October 2016, did you make any changes around that time? As the changes to RSS feeds only affect new posts on Bloglovin.

  11. Thank you for the post! I’ve always really liked Bloglovin’sad I can’t use it anymore… did they fix all the issues yet?

    1. Hi Zera, they have! There’s an update in the post above with details 🙂

      1. Thank you for the reply! I’m wondering if it’s okay to show my full feed then? I’m a sucker for full feeds xD

        1. You can do, it will just affect the RSS feed and not the feed on your blog. Lots of RSS feed readers (like Feedly and Bloglovin) show the full post so you may risk not getting page views from those.

  12. Thanks for the tip regarding BlogLovin. Just added our blog to the platform and implemented your tip.

  13. Thank you for sharing your advice on BlogLovin. Your article is very practical and I like it a lot. Keep working!

  14. Your post was the most helpful I found on this issue. I’ve followed all the steps you suggested and my feed shows the excerpt but this has not fixed the issue on Bloglovin’ for me. When I click on my most recent posts (since the change), it still shows Bloglovin’ as being the source 🙁 Any suggestions?
    (I did email them about this but haven’t heard back).

    1. Hi Lilly. Thank you for leaving this comment and reminding me to have a quick check up on this subject! The UTM tags are used for tracking purposes and UTM source identifies which site sent the traffic, so this shouldn’t cause too much worry. Though Bloglovin should really be using your sites URL for all canonical tags and not the tracked URL of your RSS feed. They seem to be using both depending on the post. Going to look into this further!

      1. Thanks Elaine! Basically Bloglovin’ said there is nothing they can do about it. Here is what they said “Please note that we are not the primary source for your posts. The reason this says Bloglovin in the URL is because you utilized our site to get to this post page. If you were to view your analytics, and page views it will break down who visited your blog through Bloglovin.”
        Except it also says that they’re the “source” of my posts. If you have any suggestions how to fix this or can refer me to someone I’d be very grateful. Thank you 🙂

  15. I changed my rss settings but they still publishing my complete posts. And they don t even answer my e mails.

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