Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Right?
Except when someone has done a wholesale ripoff of your creative idea or blog post.
For anyone who produces online content, itÂs crucial to protect your assets.
Make Life Difficult for the Thieves
Alert the readers
ItÂs good practice to do spot checks on your best blog posts, to make sure they havenÂt fallen victim to the Âcontent scrapersÂ who ruthlessly roam the web looking for content to steal. Just go to Google’s Advanced Search and type the title (or a sentence) from your post in the “exact phrase match” box.
The silver lining for these automated scrapers is that they often take the whole post without a human reading it, so you can add a note to the end of the post that will notify readers of the original source (you’ll want to include a link to your actual site):
This post originally appeared on RosemaryÂs Best Blog Site. If youÂre not reading this via email or RSS feed from RosemaryÂs Best Blog Site, it may have been stolen.
Check referring links
In your Google Analytics, look at your referred traffic periodically (you probably already do this). If you see anything suspicious, check the source.
Any visual content you post, including photos and videos, should have your site name or logo watermarked on it. That way, even if itÂs stolen, youÂre getting credit. One option is an application like VisualWatermark.com.
Try changing your RSS feed to excerpts only. The scrapers often like to use RSS feeds as a funnel for content; if youÂre only sending excerpts, youÂve made their job much more difficult. The Advanced Excerpt plugin for WordPress is one way to do this.
How to Do a DMCA Takedown Request
Use a ÂwhoisÂ lookup to find out who the web host is for the site with your stolen content.
Most web hosts will have a DMCA form on their site for you to submit your claim. Click here to see GoogleÂs copyright infringement form (if the content happens to be on a Google-hosted site like a Blogger blog).
Unfortunately, tracking down those who have stolen your content can be like a big game of ÂWhack-a-Mole.Â But if you take precautions that make it harder for the scrapers to get your posts, maybe theyÂll pass you by.
How have you dealt with the content thieves? Please share any special tips with us.