Three weeks ago someone pinched one of my blog posts! A few hours after I blogged about finally becoming a full-time freelancer, I received a pingback – someone was linking to my new post. Feeling flattered, I checked out that site and found that they had reposted my whole article and were even hotlinking to the image on my website. Cheeky!
The site was obviously a spamblog. It was covered in adverts and none of the content seemed original; like my post, all the articles had clearly been scraped out of RSS feeds and reposted.
There were no contact details on the site so I left a comment asking them to remove my post. However, over a week later and the comment was still awaiting moderation…
How I beat the content scraper
This gave me little more than a name and the fact that the spamblog was a subdomain of a site registered through GoDaddy. GoDaddy’s own site was much more helpful though and I found an email address for the site owner.
I sent them a polite but firm email explaining the copyright violation and asking them to remove my post and refrain from using any of my content without permission in the future. A few hours later I received a reply; the spamblog was managed by someone else but the message had been passed on and within 24 hours my post had been removed. Yay!
What if that hadn’t worked?
I got lucky and the person I emailed was helpful, but sometimes content scrapers don’t see that they’ve done anything wrong, or don’t care, and might ignore your email or even send a rude reply.
If that had happened to me, my next step would have been to contact GoDaddy, or the spamblog’s hosting company and ask them to remove my stolen content.
How can you check if someone’s stolen your content?
I found out that my post had been scraped through a pingback in my WordPress dashboard, but there are other ways to check if someone is using your content without permission.
Copyscape is an online plagiarism checker; enter the URL of your blog post and it’ll check the web for duplicate content.
2. Google Search
Type the full title of your blog post into a search engine and see if it finds results for anything besides your own post. I wouldn’t rely solely on this though; I searched for the title of my stolen blog post and the search results didn’t bring back the spamblog, only my own website.
3. Google Webmaster Tools
If you use Google Webmaster Tools, you can check the list of all sites that are linking to your site.
Why should I care if someone scrapes my content?
To put it simply, you should care because you created it. When you create something, you automatically own the copyright to that creation and posting it online doesn’t give anyone and everyone permission to use it without asking you first.
You should also care because Google does. Google loves good quality, original content and duplicate content can affect your site’s ranking in search engine results if you’re really unlucky and Google mistakenly views the scraped post as the original and your site as the duplicate.
Now, go forth and beat the content scrapers – good luck!