Archive for November 10th, 2008

good-thiefI don’t really understand why I’m so annoyed at content theft, but I am and need to step up on my soapbox. 

I spend a good bit of time thinking up ideas, researching information, taking photographs and writing articles for this blog.  When I come across blatant plagiarism for the sole purpose of driving up ad revenue I get miffed. 

Today I discovered a recent example (see photo below) or navigate to motorcycleo dot com.  I’m not linking to the site because often search engines interpret links as “votes” to promote credibility.  At any rate they blatantly used my content without permission.  In the blog industry it’s called Splog’s (SPAM Blogs).  These people artificially create weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliate websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. The purpose of a splog is to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors, and/or use the blog as a link outlet to get new sites indexed.  In some cases these sites are going to the extreme of backdating the entries before re-posting them.  The result makes the fake site appear as though it posted the content prior to the original.

sbloggersAt the site (left) some quick background checks and Whois search revealed the address for the registrant is in Canada and the website is registered through a service in Germany. Clearly it’s a criminal enterprise. In addition, they are a cybersquatting address (motorcycle with an O added at the end) tells everyone a lot about their intent.

Often there is confusion between the terms “splog” and “spam in blogs”. Splogs are blogs where the articles are fake, and are created for search engine spamming. To spam in blogs, is to include random comments on the blogs of innocent bloggers, in which spammers take advantage of a site’s ability to allow visitors to post comments that may include links.  Splog’s are usually a type of scraper site, where content is often either inauthentic text or merely stolen (blog scraping via RSS) from other websites. These blogs typically contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator that are often shady or otherwise useless websites.

It seems once content is on the internet, this type of behavior is hard to stop or it becomes a full-time job to take them down.  Yeah, that’s where I want to spend my time – NOT!  There are a couple of things you can do that I wanted to pass along for others who might be annoyed by this pesky behavior.

  1. For starters, you can add a copyright notice to each and every post with a link back to your site and your information.
  2. You can configure your RSS feed so that it only displays summaries (not the full content). Many sploggers rip off through RSS feeds and not the actual blog as it’s easier for them. NOTE: If your blog is syndicated through legitimate aggregators then this may not be an option and you should check with them prior to changing RSS feeds.
  3. Lastly, and depending on your blog hosting service you can report a blog for violation of TOS or follow the appropriate steps to file a DMCA notice against the site owner and/or its host. For WordPress.com see HERE.

It’s frustrating and infuriating to see the internet savvy generation on one hand claim to be proponents of open/free technology yet show such little respect for creativity and intellectual property…okay, I’ll step off the soapbox and think of something interesting to write about rather than let these A-holes bum me out!

Yes, I feel better now…


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