The CMS deja vu phenomenon

At the turn of the century it was estimated that there were over 7 million Websites in the world. In October of this year, Netcraft estimates that there are now nearly 50 million active sites on the Internet. However, I can't help but wonder how many of those 50 million sites are actually unique sites?

Sure, from time to time we are all guilty of recycling a post with the same content from one site to another. Increasingly though, I have come across sites that share not just a little bit of content but are almost exact duplicates of each other. On some cases, the only difference between the sites I'm comparing are their domain name. Let me give you an example of the déjà vu we are now seeing.

I came across a very good article about developing our own content management system titled, "Hands on: How to roll your own CMS". The article is written by Nigel Whitfield and I found it on the UK site, Personal Computer World. So far, I've found the article on four other sites. The four sites are:

  • Computeract!ve
  • WhatPC?
  • Personal Computer World
  • IT Week

Now it isn't too uncommon for various sites under the same parent company to share articles. It also isn't uncommon to see a publication syndicate their articles out to other publications. However, if you take a look at all four sites I found the article you'll see that they have much more in common that a few articles from sister companies. If you remove the header and name of the sites, it would a difficult task to pick the sites apart.

This déjà vu we are witnessing, in my opinion, is happening due to the increasing usage of Web content management systems. It is just too easy in today's world to put together a large Websites almost overnight. It also is just as easy to clone your sites from one domain to the next. I don't know if this duplication of content, look, and feel is a good thing or not. All I know is that this CMS déjà vu phenomenon we are now seeing is only the beginning of things to come. Consider yourself warned.