How to Detect and Deal with Content Theft, Autoblogs

Last Updated on July 28, 2010 by Wong Ching Ya

Online content theft is not a new problem. We are so used to it that sometimes we chose to be ignorant of it. Can you imagine the time and effort we could spend on dealing with scrappers? Endless. Even so, does that mean it’s ‘okay’ to let it happen?

So obviously I have a good reason to blog about it again. It’s not the first time my article was scrapped by someone or autoblogs, but this time it has gone a little too far! I’ll explain why in a minute.

How Did I Found Out About the Content Theft?


Two ways, basically. Coincidentally I was running a duplicate-content-check of my post about 16 Facebook Applications to Boost Popularity of Facebook Fan Page, interesting finding:

1. Google Search

– I posted a random paragraph on Google Search and found out a site that ranks higher than mine in the results (possible more popular too):

2. Copyscape

– Copyscape is a free duplicate content detection software that helps to monitor and check for duplicate entries. I double-checked the results and they matched, of course.


Now How is This Particular Case Upsetting?

It is not an autoblog and particularly ‘well-planned’. Despite the fact that I had spent the entire week working on the post, what upsets me the most is the lack of ethics from this scrapper – he sent in the stolen content as a Guest Post! This is serious, not only he jeopardizing his very own image but threatening the other site’s reputation as well! He modified the title, relocated the facebook app sequence and replaced my graphics with his. He removed all the backlinks to my site which is why I was unable to found out earlier. After all the ‘effort’ he left the sentences as they are, word for word. So, need I say more:

  • No notification to re-use the content
  • No link back or credit given to the original content
  • Assuming the article belongs to him based on the way he responded to comments
  • Getting link love and credit for his own site and service with stolen content
  • Hurting another site’s reputation that published the stolen content


What to Do After Found Out about the Content Theft?


1. Inform/write to the site owner who published the content

Several ways to reach :

a. Email
b. Contact Form
c. Comment Section
d. Social Media Profiles

I wrote an email to the site owner reporting the case and requested for post removal. I had a good look at the site and the services it is using, so just in case the site admin decides to ignore me, I will know whom shall I report to.


2. Request for Opinions from Friends

I had requested opinions from fellow bloggers and friends, most of them agreed on reporting this and standing up for justice. I’m on their side 100%, and it’s a relief to see people are still valuing original content in the internet. Some suggested to request for credit instead of removal, that has to depend on how the discussion goes afterward.

Join us for the discussion at the fan page if interested, we’ll be happy to see you there too.


3. Write to Google and Inform about the Duplicate Content

a. Spam Report – Google Search Results
Request Google to remove the specific web page from appearing on the Google Search results with the keywords used. Stating your content is the original.

If you own a Webmaster account, you will receive a sent report to be followed up if needed.

b. Google AdSense DMCA Complaint Form

This is particularly useful if the site is using Google Adsense. By filling up this form Google Adsense will be notified about the suspicious act and review the troubled site whether their account should be blocked or fail to meet the requirement as a trusted site for publishers’ ads.



What is the Situation Now?

From the Site Owner:
I received a response from them, requesting to grant a few days to sort things out. No specific date given but I hope they will look into this matter seriously and asap.

From the Scrapper:
Just out of curiosity, I ‘visited’ the scrapper’s site and after I ran a check on Google, no surprise he also scrapped from other sites for his own posts as well. Unsure if he is aware that scrapping is harmful to both his site and his service, which brought me to another major concern about:


Autoblogging: NO WAY to Build Brands & Provide Value

If you’re a new blogger, avoid automated blogging at all costs. Blogging is not a get rich scheme where you can trash other people’s work for own benefits and it will eventually hurt your site and own reputation in long term. If you cannot respect people’s work, how do you expect people to put trust in your service as well? Same as in real life, why would you steal to gain publicity at all? That’s not right and not worth to risk for it.


Do Not Stop Caring about Content Theft

Yes, there is no way we can stop our content from being scrapped/stolen, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore this completely. Continue to report, inform your blogger buddies if you ever came across their work on other sites. If you decide to let them be, at least request for a link back with a mention to the original author. People say there is no more originality in this world wide web, but I do think it’s necessary to respect other people’s work after all. It’s about ethics, asking for permissions, respect and care about Copyright Infringement issues.

Also, always be careful with guest posts from unfamiliar senders. Check them thoroughly to avoid becoming the victim.


Now Is Your Turn…

Did you ever encounter content theft? How do you normally deal with such issues? Kindly share in your comments below.


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