Apr 16, 2013 · 3 minutes

For many articles published on PandoDaily, you can find an exact duplicate published somewhere else, illegally, on some obscure website that is trying to ginny up pageviews in the name of earning cash from the ads on the site. It’s an annoying but kind of unavoidable fact of life, and even if you try to quash the behavior, news sites keep popping up, whack-a-mole style, to frustrate your efforts.

But what if other websites could legitimately take PandoDaily content and republish it for their audiences? If there were a way to embed stories just like there’s a way to embed YouTube videos, then both the original content owner and the syndicator could reap the traffic benefits and the extra exposure, without Google’s search spiders penalizing the publishers for the replicated text.

Well, that exists. And the way to do it is simple. You can just click on that orange “Repost” button sitting at the top of this post. Once you do that, you’ll be presented with a fully embeddable version of this very story, complete with headline, pictures, ads, and footers. When you post it into your website, it will automatically adjust to the right dimensions and match your design. It will look just like one of your own articles, except with attribution and links to PandoDaily, with our logo displayed prominently in the top right hand corner.

For an example, check out Raw Story’s redux of our listicle about how to stop the Internet making you fat, stupid, and poor.

You’ll also notice that when you highlight a passage of text on PandoDaily, you get presented with a series of options, including sharing that portion of the article to Facebook or Twitter, and the ability to repost the whole article.

This is the work of a startup called Repost, which has been around a year but has been keeping a low profile. Today it is coming out of the shadows to tell the world about its existence. Founder and CEO John Pettitt, who also founded CyberSource and the old Beyond.com, both of which went public, says the wire service model for content syndication – in which one publication pays for edited copy from another publication or agency as part of a formal sharing agreement – hasn’t changed in the last 50 years. Repost obliterates that model by allowing any publisher to republish a site’s content for free, at just the click of a button.

Repost inserts an ad into the republished content, which is how it makes its money, but it’s also dabbling in content marketing. So far it is working with 20 brands that are producing branded articles, which include monetizable links, for the platform.

At its website, Repost also offers a “discover” option that lets users search for content from its publishing partners that can be reposted for free. Repost’s early partners include Fox Sports, the Christian Science Monitor, AFP, PBS News Hour, and of course PandoDaily.

Repost’s idea and execution are sound, and the concept has already been proven with embeddable videos. Two questions now for Repost are how many publishers can it sign up to take part in this new syndication system, and are there enough viable online publishers in the world willing to republish content produced by others?

Perhaps a more pressing concern, however, is whether or not the idea of republishing content is an attractive or sustainable model for publishers at a time when a premium is put on original content. In an age of mass social sharing via Twitter and Facebook, it might be the case that publishers don’t need to reach audiences through partner sites and would prefer instead to find them via viral means. In that case, having their content split across multiple properties might not be all that appealing after all.

But then, those cheats who merely republish PandoDaily stories without attribution or links still exist. Clearly, someone thinks there’s still money to be made in syndication.

[Illustration by Hallie Bateman]