Internet Marketing

This Blog is Getting Robbed!

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I hate spammers and thieves. A funny thing happens when your blog starts getting attention. You get traffic and high Google rankings, but you also get all the scum that the Internet marketing industry seems to breed.

Normally I ignore them. Blog posts are being stolen all the time, that’s the reality of blogging and you have to learn to live with it. And it’s easy to do – usually that doesn’t have any negative impact for you. But sometimes it has.

For instance, today I’ve found my blog post that used to rank #1 on Google for its keyword phrase stolen and posted all over the place by various spammers. One of them happens to now rank #1 and my post is nowhere to be found anymore. I’m sure it will come back (especially now that I was forced to rewrite it) but it’s a major annoyance that results in real financial loss.

Unfortunately Google is far from perfect and doesn’t always weed out the spam, on the contrary, it rewards spammers as it happens in this particular case.

So what can we do to prevent our blogs from being robbed? First we need to identify the problem and the culprits.

What is a typical content thief? It’s not a reader who copies and pastes your post on their blog without giving you the due credit. Those are few and far between. A typical thief is using an automated program known as a scraper.

As far as I know, there are legitimate scrapers, a.k.a. article writing assistant programs that scrape the top results on Google to get the content while giving the source website a credit. Unfortunately their users are free to remove the links and leave themselves all the content – that’s pure old-fashioned theft.

So to prevent your content to be stolen, you need some sort of protection against the scraping software. It would be easy to do with the use of simple Javascript, but the problem is that the search engine bots are scrapers too. If you block them, you will lose all your rankings. That’s a big problem but I think it’s possible to work it around and at least make the stealing harder.

I’ve spent all day brainstorming ideas of how this could be done and finally have created a little plugin for WordPress that is supposed to make things harder for the scrapers. I don’t know if it works, only time will tell, but I will not rest until this thievery stops!

If it works, I’ll make the plugin available to everyone to download free.

14 Comments

  1. How’s your quest going for ranking in the top 5 for CB product reviews? I’ve noticed a major increase in people trying to do this the past 2 to 3 months.

  2. admin Reply

    Good enough to make it worthwhile, Tim. This post relates mostly to those reviews. Not only there’s an increase in people trying to promote them, there’s an increase of people just outright ripping off other affiliates’ reviews. I’ll see how my plugin copes with it.

  3. Spammers are annoying, but your comment helper tool will also indirectly be spamming won’t it. I have downloaded it and will test it. I hope it is not spamming. Can u enlighten.

  4. admin Reply

    I guess you mean Article Submission Helper, as I don’t have any other submitters. It helps you submit your articles to article directories, that’s what they are for. You won’t be spamming neither directly nor indirectly.

  5. We do a review site too, but it’s all based off of buying the product ourselves and the sales letter. I did see 2 sites today ranked in top 5 where the content was identical, quite ridiculous. I noticed you also have a Forex niche site as well, or at least using the same template, very nicely done forexmachines I think. Most of these sites have biased reviews also, but we’ve left comments open so we we can get real opinions of others just as you have. We just started our review site back in July. I own a call center and do CPA mostly, but these sites are monsters to keep up with, just starting to begin outsourcing a lot of the work. Though we compete for SERP rankings, I respect what you do and I commend you on your work.

  6. admin Reply

    Hi Tim,

    Yup, that’s my site, have some smaller ones in other niches too. I’m of the same opinion about my competitors, I’ve learned a lot from them, in fact.

    BTW, the plugin I mentioned in the post doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to help the plagiarism issue. If they just copy and paste it from your blog, nothing will prevent them from doing that. I think I need to figure out a way how to benefit from this rather than fight it, after all, plagiarism is a form of flattery. My thinking cap is on.

  7. It’s actually quite funny you wrote this because I found your site after checking my competition for a certain Auto Blog product that will remain nameless. Anyway my hub regarding this product which I’m sure you can find was ripped off close to 25 times including being posted to Ezinearticles. I spent close to a whole day sending off DMCA notices and now I think most of them have been removed. If you find a way to block them they will find a way to rip it off. We’re at war with spammers right now I’m afraid to say.

  8. admin Reply

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for sending those DMCA notices. I didn’t bother to do that myself as it’s time consuming and I’ve never done that before. Glad to see someone actually does that.

    I don’t really want to fight a war, luckily all those illegal copies have no permanent impact on my site so far other than being highly irritating. I’m trying to figure out a way to turn this issue around and get an advantage of it. Clearly, the site gets enough attention and the content must be worthwhile to be plagiarized, so just need to make use of that attention.

  9. Good point I hate thieves. It makes it tougher on all of us legitimate, hard working bloggers. I have a plugin installed on my site though not perfect it does help. If someone copies my content it automatically adds for more information visit my site link. I realize people can just delete the link, but it does help a little and we need all the advantages we can get as bloggers. Good post, and sorry about the scumbags ripping off your content.

  10. There are spammers in every element of business (copycat products etc etc) not just the internet.

    it’s tough and feels punishing, but it will get better for the honest ones I am sure of it.

  11. One of the cool things about having a high PR blog is that your new posts should get cached within a few minutes, before the spammers even have a chance to find them. I believe if they find them after they are already cached your content will take priority over theirs. So to be honest I don’t think there’s much to worry about, but I guess you can argue that they get the leftovers.

  12. Hi
    I’m kind of new to this. I had been thinking of writing some reviews and articles but after reading these posts, I’m getting the feeling that it might just be a colossal waste of time since they’ll just be copied and ripped off anyways.

    What if I were to submit them to an article directory rather than publish them to my website or blog for example, wouldn’t that discourage people/bots from ripping them off? Aren’t there copyright laws? DMCA? Copyscape?

    Doesn’t Google penalize sites that steal articles for “duplicate” content? If they don’t, it seems to me that they should. After all, it wouldn’t be very hard for them to figure out where and when the content was first posted or published, seeing as they’re constantly spidering content to rank sites anyways. Comments, anyone?

  13. admin Reply

    Hi Rob,

    Don’t be discouraged, this is the reality of the Internet. Whatever you do online will be copied sooner than later.

    I was quite irritated when I originally wrote this post, but by now I’ve given up. Let them copy if that’s how low they wanna go. I would appreciate if they at least asked for permission, but again, it’s the reality, some people just feel that it’s OK to do it.

    It depends on where your stolen content is posted. Some sites are very cooperative and you just have to report it to them – it’s obvious what’s going on anyway. Some culprits comply to your request themselves but that is rare.

    The most effective is a DMCA notice sent to the host provider or even Google but it takes time to file one and I don’t feel like wasting my time over this. In the end, aside from being irritating, usually it doesn’t do any real damage to you. And if you find that it does damage after all, you can always resort to sending that DMCA.

    Google doesn’t penalize for “duplicate” content. Once again we can see that it’s all about backlinks. If they don’t build backlinks they probably won’t see the daylight anyway, but if they do they might as well outrank you with your own content.

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