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This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37 ( [1] 2 > >     
Unfair penalty for stolen content
Competitor stole content, gets indexed faster!

 1:31 pm on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

My website's traffic and PR are being affected by a competitor who is copying every new article we are putting out there.

For some unknown reason, this spam site gets indexed before we do, so it appears to Google that WE are stealing THEIR stuff. (Our theory is that they are either using Google Sitemap or that their GoogleAds get them indexed faster.)

We can conclusively prove that we are the original copyright owners of our content and have hired an attorney to proceed on DMCA. However, the lawyer is a cautious person and has been dilligently gathering information for the DMCA prosecution--in other words, it will take at least a week before DMCA notices will go out.

In the meantime, I'm seeing PR drops in the latest Jagger update. Since we don't do any SEO tricks to our site other than adding articles, I believe we are being penalized because we're considered the "spam" mirror of our competitor instead of the other way around.

I have two questions:

1. Are there other ways besides DMCA notices to get Google to take a look at the site? I considered using the spamreport at Google but wasn't sure if that is the appropriate place to air the grievance.

2. Even if Google complies with the DMCA and remove the other website from its index, will Google go back and reexamine our PR and fix any unfair damage that has been inflicted by the competitor's website?



 11:14 pm on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

If they are visiting your page, do you have any means of identifying how they are getting your content?

Perhaps you can cloak your page and serve them up something else. :)

The Contractor

 11:26 pm on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

PR is gained through incoming links...you cannot directly lose PR for duplicate content unless you are totally banned by Google.

Serving Google a DMCA does not take an lawyer. You can find everything you need at [google.com...] and [webmasterworld.com...]


 12:27 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

File the complaint with the hosting company too. Hosting companies don't make enough money off individual sites for it to be worth their while getting involved in law suits. The site will probably be booted off within 48 hours.



 12:56 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the advice guys.

aeiouy, I'm not quite sure how they are getting our content. Of course, I'm not the most tech-savvy guy in the world. *grin*

Contractor, that's good to know. I always assumed PR takes duplication into consideration, but I'm glad to learn that I was wrong. The reason why we used a lawyer is because our boss is really mad. Not only does he want the offending page removed from the index, but he also wants to sue the offender for damages. I personally think he will never see a dime, but people do strange things when they see their labor of love get stolen I guess.

Kaled, that's good advice. I'll pass that along.


 1:54 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

"File the complaint with the hosting company too. Hosting companies don't make enough money off individual sites for it to be worth their while getting involved in law suits. The site will probably be booted off within 48 hours."

This is excellent advice. The first time I had someone stealing my content I spent a lot of time trying to deal with the site itself. Total waste of time and energy. Now I just send the site a copy of the e-mail I sent the hosting company. Also, most hosting companies have 800 numbers now and a phone call can do wonders.

Every so often one of the hosting companies will respond that they will not take any action until they get a letter from a lawyer. Basically calling your bluff. Be ready for this and overnight them a letter the same day, make sure it's registered so they have to sign for it. Many lawyers will now do this sort of thing for free with an agreement that they get a percentage of possible damages. Most hosting companies understand that these damages can get quite large and will fold to pressure quickly.


 2:10 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe what one should do is get unique content which you plan to post on your site on paper along with the , year and all rights reserved and put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself.

Make sure your site has 1997-2005 Name.... All Rights Reserved on every page.

This way you can start protecting yourself and if you feel the damages done by your competitor warrents a cease and desist letter, or engaging an attorney go ahead.

Perhaps this might help you: [google.com...]


 2:51 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

What is the reason for mailing it to yourself?


 3:11 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

You then have a post mark showing a date which will be stong proof that you wrote the content (text) first. In I.P. law it is ussually the one with the proven prior art which wins.


 3:17 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

To get your content indexed by Google first, you could try using Google sitemaps or maybe you could try submitting each new article using:


I know Google says to submit only once using the root of the domain but there is no harm in submitting individual pages.

You could also put up a page but don't initially link to it from your site (so your competitor can't find it.) Hopefully, Google would spider it using the submit tool above or by sitemaps after which you could link to it from your site. Not the strongest ideas but something to consider anyway.

Best of luck, go get the thieves.


 3:38 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think this has become a big problem and sites are all to willing to take others content without crediting them for it. Its pretty easy to do you can load the page via php and strip out everything you don't want and republish the content you do want as a xml file to your site. This would come from the server and probably be a cron job so I would say look for a ip address at probably around midnight daily on your logs and block it.

Also when you publish the article put the date and time at the top of article. Then do an rss feed of the article straight away and submit it to atom yahoo and all the other rss engines.


 4:59 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Wow, thanks for all the great advice and encouragement. This is quite a stressful thing to go through, especially during the Jagger update. I don't know what I would do without this forum.

I will try all these strategies and hopefully give this thief what he (or she) deserves. :)


 7:08 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Easiest way period would be to disect your logs extensively and find the IP address that keeps coming back! I have defeated many of my competitors from doing just this by simply analyzing my logs and seeing certain IP's that keep coming back every day. Certainly your competitor visits the pages in questions so look at who visited those pages in particular. Also do reverse lookups on the host and see if it is in their general demographic area. It's quite funny because the company I used to work for constantly visits my site and likes to put phrases on their front page of things they don't even carry. Nothing is worse than a company that says they represent some manufacturer they don't even have! :>~


 10:30 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Another vote for banishing the competitor from my site. That should be my priority, I guess, as it keeps the problem from getting worse while I try to fix it. Thanks!

P.S. Is this the right way to ban the IP address?

From my webhost's help files:

How do I block certain IPs from accessing my site or directory?
It's pretty easy!

All you have to do is create an .htaccess file in the directory you'd like to restrict (your main directory to restrict the entire site) and then put the following in it:

<Limit GET>
order allow,deny
allow from all
deny from
deny from 124.24.

You can put whole ips or just the beginning part you'd like to match, and you can add more and more ips, each with its own line!

When somebody's ip is banned, they will get a 403 error (access forbidden) when trying to visit your site.


 10:45 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, that's correct.


 12:15 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is there a SIMPLE way like this to do the same on a windows box?


 12:18 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I had the same proboem but then with a newsarticle. They copied my frontpage and now my site won't get indexed.


 1:18 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tom. :)

Ruben, are you going to try any of the methods suggested to get your site reindexed by Google?


 1:37 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'll give a try to google sitemaps, but i don't think it will help... but lets try!


 1:59 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks rossendryv, makes total sense to me now.


 2:43 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

PS: You need to leave a blank line after the last </LIMIT>


 2:50 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't want to discourage you, but we had a competitor copy our site content and product. I'm not sure how long they were around before we noticed, but we got a duplicate content penalty from Google and they got great rankings. We submitted a DMCA report to Google and their site was taken out of the results, but our site is still being penalized and filtered out as duplicate content almost 6 months later. After about five months our PR came back, but the site is still missing from results.


 8:05 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

One possible way to check who had content on site first is by doing a [waybackmachine.org...] search


 8:15 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

When all else fails try the following:

I have a client who has a competitor who is constantly posting an article around the internet written by my client years ago and claiming he (the competitor) wrote it. We have 3rd party proof of the true ownership and also proof via the webarchive -- which usually is enough proof.

We have to chase these stolen articles down almost every week and request they are either taken down or credited to the right author.

About 1/3 of the time they take them down,about 1/3 of the time they change the credits, and another 1/3 of the time the hosts insist on our filing a DMCA report.

We even managed to get a website taken down that had posted this article on the home page (it's sole purpose was to direct that site to the main home page of this competitor). The host took the article down after we sent a DMCA report but the owner refuted it so the host put it back up. Host said we'd have to take them to court to get it down again. However, we also reported them to the Google Spam Report, Yahoo Spam and MSN Spam, and everywhere else we could think of.

Most importantly we reported them to the company that monitors registration of domain names (which I can't remember- search for Internic False Domain Report) because the owner of the site harboring the stolen article had filed false contact info (and we believe the name also and the host admited they filed a false name but wouldn't confirm our suspicions of who it really was) . When they were doing this for illegal purposes it appears they lost their domain. We never heard from that domain regulating company but the site went down 15 days after we reported it and that was the deadline when they said they would look into it.


 8:18 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

" One possible way to check who had content on site first is by doing a [waybackmachine.org...] search "

This would be a helpful tool but first does not mean ownership. Ownership is upon the CREATION of the content by the individual or entity that created it. This ownership may be transfered upon agreement. Just because it was found on someone else's site first does not mean that they are the creater/owner of the material.

That is why it is important to file for Federal Copyright Protection before you distribute the content (putting it on your site). OF course this does cost bling to do.


 8:31 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

PS. I just checked on the above mentioned site that had stolen content, and while it is back online it has removed the stolen article and has also been penalized by Google--not within the top 1000 even for all it's major keywords. I also checked whois on the site and it is now listed with the true owner.


 9:17 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

It is logical sequence that who ever had the content online first (checking waybackmachine) is more than likely the person who ownes the the I.P. prior art. That in conjunction with mailing your self the content and filing for Federal copywrite protection will help.


 9:21 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Jam2005: Why not write to Gooogle directly and ask them to manually unpenalize you _assuming there's nothing else wrong with your site_?

You could even (shock, horror) write an old-fashioned letter.

Just the facts, no whinging, no special pleading. Make it easy for them to understand the issue; no one likes reading a thousands words of blather to find the point.

I reckon a lot of webmasters go wrong by writing long-winded, screechy emails to the wrong addresses. Overworked, bored techs won't give these much thought.


 1:58 am on Nov 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

When I'm writing something long, I typically save every hour or so as longdoc1.rtf, longdoc2.rtf, etc. If you can show all your early drafts, that's going to help in court. It's not proof but it will help.



 2:06 pm on Nov 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

rossendryv said:
[Take the] unique content which you plan to post on your site on paper along with the , year and all rights reserved and put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself. You then have a post mark showing a date which will be stong proof that you wrote the content (text) first.

This process is called "the poor man's copyright", and is of dubious evidentiary value.

For instance, if you file your copyright-infringement claim in the US, it has already been established that your postmarked envelope will have no legal standing.

Just FYI....


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