March 14, 2013

How to Stop the Content Scrapers

published this at 8:07 am

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, it’s crucial to protect your assets.

Make Life Difficult for the Thieves

Alert the readers

It’s good practice to do spot checks on your best blog posts, to make sure they haven’t fallen victim to the “content scrapers” 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 Rosemary’s Best Blog Site. If you’re not reading this via email or RSS feed from Rosemary’s 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.

Watermark

Any visual content you post, including photos and videos, should have your site name or logo watermarked on it. That way, even if it’s stolen, you’re getting credit. One option is an application like VisualWatermark.com.

Excerpts only

Try changing your RSS feed to excerpts only. The scrapers often like to use RSS feeds as a funnel for content; if you’re only sending excerpts, you’ve 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 “whois” 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 Google’s 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 “Whack-a-Mole.” But if you take precautions that make it harder for the scrapers to get your posts, maybe they’ll pass you by.

How have you dealt with the content thieves? Please share any special tips with us.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


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