A blog called “Job Tips” (saboteototal.info) owned by Robin Gupta (robingupta.com), who is ironically a Search Engine Optimization services provider, was born about 2 weeks ago from content stolen from my Executive Resume Branding Blog.
I was alerted to the blog scraping through several pingbacks to my blog. A visit to the pirating site showed me about 15 of my most recent blog posts, duplicated in their entirety without my knowledge or permission. No other content but my stolen posts is on the site.
Since then, every time I post a new article to my blog, it immediately shows up over there. Take a look at the blog if you want, but I won’t give them link juice by providing a hyperlink in this post.
My initial reaction was shock and horror. I felt like someone had ransacked my home and grabbed what was valuable and easy to profit from.
Although I knew a little about scraping, until it was in my own backyard, I had no understanding of its devastating impact. I never would have thought such a thing could make me feel so violated.
According to Wikipedia,
Blog scraping is copying a blog that is not owned by the individual initiating the scraping process. If the material is copyrighted it is considered copyright infringement, unless there is a license relaxing the copyright. The scraped content is often used on spam blogs or splogs” (spam blogs).
Scraping is a nasty tactic used usually by lazy and/or unscrupulous bloggers who decide it’s okay to ride on the coattails of, and benefit from, established, popular bloggers by stealing their content.
Unfortunately, scraping is a rampant practice and, if this scraper decides to slither back under a rock and take their site down, another one will probably rear its ugly head in no time.
Somehow, it’s of little consolation to me that the scraping is probably a direct result of the fact that my content is good, and therefore my blog has become popular. This doesn’t feel like a sincere form of flattery.
If you’re even an infrequent reader of my Executive Resume Branding Blog, hopefully it’s apparent how much I love everything about blogging and my blog. I’m so attached to it, it’s practically a body part.
I suppose I should consider myself lucky that, because the offending blogger copied my full posts, the internal links I put in them came along for the ride. At least I’m getting a little bit of bounce-back traffic from the links.
So what’s a blogger to do to combat such an attack?
The thieving blog originates in India, so I don’t think I have much recourse legally, and I don’t know if it would be worth the effort and expense anyway.
Kevin Muldoon at BloggingTips offered some extremely helpful and comforting advice in his post, Don’t get stressed about blog scrapers stealing your content.
He explained how scrapers easily accomplish the content theft by quickly setting up a blog through a free hosting service like Blogger and using a plugin or script to automatically copy the content from RSS feeds that they specify.
Often these thieves repeat the process, stealing content from many blogs. The benefit to them comes from driving traffic to their site, lured by someone else’s wonderful content, and getting people to buy whatever product or service they’re selling on their site.
Aside from the fact that all the loving care and hard work I invest in each blog post has been swiped for someone else’s benefit, I’m concerned about what this may do to search engine results for my posts, and therefore traffic to my blog.
Google and other search engines don’t like duplicate content. It takes up valuable space. After researching Google’s Webmaster/Site Owners Help site, I learned what can happen with duplicate content.
Google chooses just one version of a web page to show in search results. They may show the offending site’s version of my post and ignore my own blog’s version, which affects traffic to my blog. Google says they do a good job of discerning which version was published first and which is the duplicate, so more than likely they’ll choose my original version, but there’s no guarantee.
In his post, Kevin somewhat alleviates my concerns with these 4 points:
♦ It can be very time-consuming dealing with scrapers (eg. reporting them to their host etc). This is time you could be promoting your blog or writing more posts.
♦ Google determines where the original article came from by inbound links to the article and from the authority of a website so you don’t lose any search engine traffic (Google can sometimes get this wrong.
♦ Blog scrapers will not lose you any money and will not lose you any traffic. Most of their traffic comes from commentating and trackbacks (which you can delete).
♦ Blog scrapers soon realise that scraping is a waste of time. The people who are scraping BloggingTips now are different from the people who scraped it 2 months ago (this has been the same since the blog started). It seems to take scrapers a month or so to figure out that whilst creating a scraping site doesn’t take long, it just isn’t worth it.
What am I doing about my malicious blog scraper?
I’ve decided my best course of action is to blog about it, knowing this post, peppered with internal links to my blog, will show up on the offending site as soon as I hit “publish”. I’m outing them on their own blog and riding on their coattails for my own benefit.
Blogging and the power of words may be the best revenge.
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Meg Guiseppi says
I really have to wonder what kind of SEO tactics this person uses for his/her clients. Does he/she suggest slapping up a bogus blog and stealing content? It is hard to understand some people.
Meg Guiseppi says
Thanks for your comment and sympathy, Larry. Knowing that whatever I publish here will end up over there gives me a very creepy feeling.
It seems to me that if this pirate blogger had any sense, they’d pay attention to the actual content they were scraping. From now on, and until it stops, I’ll include a brief mention of the theft in each blog post.
That is just terrible. I really find it difficult to comprehend as to how some people can be extremely unethical.
Larry Roth says
Thanks for sharing that experience and outlining best practices. That is really a terrible thing to have happen and as much as I support sharing of information, there is a very obvious line that was crossed. Best of luck!