Online Plagiarism And Content Theft: How to Deal With Spam Blogs
Online Plagiarism is a disease which spreads everyday, no matter how hard you try to prevent people from copying and republishing your blog posts. There are ways to get notification when someone copies content from your blogs, but how are you going to remove that copied content ?
There are some blogs who publish an excerpt from your blog post and provide a link to the original article. This is acceptable as long as the copied content is one para long and the images are not hot linked. But there are so many websites who blindly republish content from your RSS feed as well as hotlink the images hosted on your server.
Why Remain Strict With Online Plagiarism
There are a couple of reasons why you should remain very strict when someone copies content from your website.
First, the search bots are sometimes clueless about who the original source is (unless your blog is quite popular). There are instances when I have found some copied posts rank ahead in the search results for particular long tail keywords. Here is an example:
The second reason is image hotlinking which may result in loss of bandwidth. When the number of copied posts increases to a considerable amount, any page impression of the copied content will pull the image from your web server. This will cause unnecessary bandwidth usage, and if you are using Amazon S3 to host the images – you may have to pay extra bills as well.
The third reason is tolerance – when you see someone republishing each and every other post of your blog, it’s time to get your hands dirty and do something about it.
Things To Do After Detecting Copied Content
There are basically two ways open after you have discovered that someone has copied content from your blog or website, without explicit permission.
- Contact the owner of the website and ask him to remove the copied content.
- If he does not responds or no contact information is available, report a DMCA complaint with their web hosting company or Advertising partners e.g Google Adsense, Infolinks or other Ad networks used on their website.
Contacting the owner of the Spam blog: First prepare an email template which you will send to the owner of the spam blog. Keep the tone humble and ask him to remove the content, specifying a deadline. If there is no “Contact” page available on that blog, you can try any of these following methods to find the email address of the spam blog:
- Try commenting on some of the recent articles and ask the owner to remove the content at the earliest.
- Check the WHO is record for the domain and find the email address of the administrator.
- Try searching for the same brand on social media websites like Twitter, Facebook or Digg. If successful, send a direct message asking him to remove the copied content from his website.
In most cases, you will never get any reply from the owner or the author of the scraped website. If there is no reply after 2-3 days, there are two things to consider:
- Report a spam report in Google Webmaster tools
- File a legal complaint to the technical support of the web hosting company where the domain is hosted.
- File a DMCA complaint with the advertising partners – Google Adsense, Infolinks, Chitika and so on.
How to Remove the Copied Posts From Google Search Results
Log into your Google webmaster tools account and go to the spam report page. Here, you have to enter the following details:
- The URL of the page who is copying the content from your website.
- The query for which the spam website is ranking in the search results.
- The URL of the Google search result page.
Additionally, provide the URL of the original page of your website in the “Message box”. If possible, include the date when your webpage was published and give as much information as available, so that the Google web spam team can remove the copied content from their index.
Once you have submitted the spam report, you will receive a confirmation from the Google webspam team. Wait for a few days and the spam page will be removed from the Google’s index.
Sadly, Yahoo and Bing (Microsoft) do not have an online complaint form to report copyright issues, but you can visit the following links to find the email address where the complaint can be sent
Filing a DMCA complaint with the Web Hosting Company
First, run a Whois look up of the domain name which is hosting the copied content. Running the Who is lookup will reveal the hosting company where the domain is hosted.
Most of the hosting providers have a DMCA complaint page where you can enter specific details of the website which is copying content from your blog. A big list of DMCA contact information of major hosting providers can be found here
Filing a DMCA Complaint with Google Adsense
If the Autoblog or the spam website is using Google Adsense for monetizing his blog, you can report a DMCA complaint as well. According to Google Adsense’s terms and conditions, an adsense publisher is not allowed to use copyrighted content on his website(s).
Similarly, you can use the contact page of other Advertising networks e.g Infolinks, Chitika and report the content theft issue.
Note: Blogger.com has an exactly similar complaint form which allows webmasters to submit a DMCA complaint, in case the spam blog is hosted on Blogger.
The frustrating part of the entire procedure is that it is endless. More and more people are trying to get rick quick, using some autoblogging software or plugins and scraping content from other websites. There is nothing you can do to stop them – the only thing you can do is to ensure that their spammy work do not hurt your website in any way.
What methods do you use to prevent plagiarism of your content? Do you ignore or take necessary steps?