homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member
Home / Forums Index / WebmasterWorld / Professional Webmaster Business Issues
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: LifeinAsia & httpwebwitch

Professional Webmaster Business Issues Forum

Competitor copying my content / Report to Google?

 1:50 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Periodically I find sites on the net making blatant copies of my content, of ideas etc... I've got one competitor who is using some questionable stuff, like similar content under multiple domains...I believe in karma and always decided not to tell...what goes around comes around...

But now I'm POed!

I just found him trying to totally build and copy every last thing I'm doing...down to copying the ads...but it's just so nasty....and I'm seeing red...

How would google feel about this? Will they say it's none of their business, or view it as a bad seo techniques?

They do have a page specifically saying they are using secret seo techniques and I think google may not like it...

What's the best way to report it?

Thanks for any advice.



 1:57 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Heretic - for the most part this is absolutely not a Google issue. It's an issue of someone stealing your content. I would immeadiately send them a letter threatening legal action.

Google is not an authority to report legal problems with business partners to.

The first and most important step to take would possibly be to make sure you can prove your claim.


 2:02 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

He copied so much word for word....will be easy to prove...

But is that right google doesn't care if a site swipes another sites content including keywords etc in order to get position and says so outright on their site that they are using SEO tricks to get top positions?


 2:07 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm sure Google cares, but they are not responsible for your legal battles.

Do as Heini says and send them a letter stating that unless your copy is removed immediately, you will take legal action. Moreover, if the material still appears on their site in 48 hours, you will report their spam efforts as well as the page stating that they are using secret seo tactics to Google and all other search engines.

That should produce some action for you! :)


 2:10 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

And why should Google care? Google's job is to deliver relevant websearch results.
Imagine Google taking sides in private legal battles - it could be pretty costly for them. Most often things aren't that clear as either side believes - who's a search engine to play the role of the judge?


 2:17 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

And why should Google care?

I believe that Google does care about this sort of thing as it only degrades their database to have duplicate content. After all, they warn against mirror sites, so what's the difference.

My point however was that this truly is a legal issue as you correctly pointed out and heretic has every right to take legal action. Threatening to report the spam effort to Google and the other engines is more likely to produce quick results though!


 2:26 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)


You should definitely go the way the others are advising. Any letter you send to them should have a detline for a repsonse and / or action to be taken.

If this doesnt work, you will find that some solicitors offer free first sessions. A carefully worded letter from your legal representation should get a response.

If you dont want to go with the legal rep, set up your own "web advocacy" site, and send a letter from them to your competition, always refering to yourself as "our client". That should have the same affect as legal representation (but please note it will not stand up in court!:)).

I would be inclined to contact the webmaster directly and have a word. Im not too subtle though.... :)

Also check to see if your competitor is in your ODP category. Google may not be bothered about someone stealing your content, but an ODP editor may be, especially if it is bringing down the level of his or her cat.

Best of luck!



 2:27 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

>And why should Google care?
That was not directed to you Liane, as I was typing while you posted.
I was thinking about a possible duplicate issue. But then duplicate content on different doamins is all over the web. Just think about news stories from the big agencies - propagating all over the web and finally being available through hundreds of sites.

Reporting to Google or other engines - I would not rule that out. But I can't say I like that. Why? Just imagine somebody puts up duplicated, stolen content and then he reports the site he's stolen from... Google might be able to find out the truth, but that's not a definite...
What about if someone sets up domains with the explicit goal of harming the competition? It would open a huge can of worms for any search engine to get in the middle of private legal battles.


 2:32 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I suppose that Google could possibly compare cached versions of disputed pages as an independant arbitor in some cases (to see which was uploaded first).

I cant see them doing it for every case though; perhaps as evidence in court.

But, at the same time, any evidence wouldnt hold up too well due to possible differences in crawling frequencies.

Still, might be a possibility if the case does go to court.



 2:33 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks guys. I was upset so I didn't choose the best words, but I think my pov was mentioned properly here...when someone is admitting on their site that they use seo to manipulate content and they copy things outright, I would think google and any search engine would care because it is degrading their content.

The person is a lawyer so I don't think idle threats will help much.

I'm not even particularly concerned about the competition... We live in a tight knit community in our category, people will know very fast what he's done and the rep will be out the window tomorrow...but I just don't like having someone copy my content to try and beat me for my keywords...especially when I see that this happened that he got a better position in one case...


 2:35 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I meant to add that I don't want google to do anything to him legally or get in between anything legal at all...but if they would penalize his pr would be nice since he's using very unethical seo techniques :)


 2:40 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Heretic - what exactly is your problem with the competitor - does he steal your content?
Or does he use SEO techniques which make him outrank you? Those are two totally different pairs of shoes.


 2:41 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

If i am not mistaken, Google has a specific procedure for reporting copyright infringement. It requires you to fill out some sort of form, and then they contact the other party and request a statement that they have reason to believe the material is their's and not copyright. If they do not submit this statement they will be removed from the index. i am quite sure i saw this procedure outlined, but i'm in a hurry right now and cannot find it.

The reason Google cares ( i think) is because when the copyright infringement is cached or displayed in the SERPS, Google becomes a party to the infringement.

If your plagiarist is overseas, outside of the easy reach of North American law, it can be really hard to do anything at all, except try to get google to act for you.

I recently had a web site operator in Washington accuse me of plagiarizing her material, and she CC'd the accusation to a number of contacts which discredited me in their eyes. Because of her actions, and people's stupidity, i lost several links. The material on my site was public domain, and i was able to demonstrate that the complainer had copied the material word-for-word from a public domain source. None of this made any difference to the damage done. Because i am in Canada and the liar was in Washington, and because her offense consisted mainly of libel, there was very little to be done other than lick my wounds.

(i am currently in the process of working my way past her up the SERPs. . . the only revenge i could think of.)

The reason i mention my experience is to demonstrate that the Google process of removing copyright infringements may be the only option open to you.


 2:48 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thank you snowfox. Very interesting info.

Heini, try to put yourself in my shoes. You work for years on something, it's your baby and then overnight someone steals all your work...some of it word for word, some of it not...

The keyword he beat me at is one minor one, not that big a deal. I have around a thousand backlinks and a rep, he has no backlinks and no rep.

But this experience feels like someone has come into your house and stolen your personal belongings. So I apologize if I'm rambling a bit, but while it takes a lot for me to lose my temper, once I do it takes me awhile to calm down...and to realize that his theft is not one of major consequence.....logic tells me that, but emotion makes me so upset you can't imagine...


 2:57 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Given the time and effort that we go into to write good content, Im sure everyone can apreciate how it feels to have it ripped off.

Im an ODP editor for a small category that one of my sites is listed in (the site was in before i became editor). Someone recently submitted a carbon copy of my own site to my category. ;) That didnt work too well! Apart from anything else, the site (a directory) didnt have any links in its directory!

I think there should be a way in which to pursue a course of action if someone steals your online content.

For every other form of media there is a process to air problems, but due to the wide scope of the web it makes it difficult for us.

Just my thoughts though!



 3:14 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Jack.

I think he's an ODP editor because he's making a big deal about that on his site..plus I've been rejected for my category so I don't know if there's foul play there...but I won't jump to conclusions, its easy to get paranoid...


 5:14 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

If i am not mistaken, Google has a specific procedure for reporting copyright infringement. It requires you to fill out some sort of form, and then they contact the other party and request a statement that they have reason to believe the material is their's and not copyright. If they do not submit this statement they will be removed from the index. i am quite sure i saw this procedure outlined, but i'm in a hurry right now and cannot find it.


IMPORTANT: There's a difference between stealing ideas and stealing actual content. Words or code are protected by copyright, but ideas, procedures, recipes, etc. aren't. So don't bother reporting an infringement to Google unless it really is an infringement under copyright law. For more on U.S. copyright, see:


 5:48 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors posted the right link. I came across this not long ago when performing a search in Google...

In response to a complaint we received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint for these removed results.

After reading the DMCA complaint, it was exactly what you are referring to in this thread. Google does not take kindly to copyright infringement and will take steps to remove it. They will also provide a link to the complaint in the above verbiage which puts the offender on the spot. Neat little procedure if you ask me.


 11:35 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)


thanks for posting that link. it is exactly the one i was thinking of. Copyright infringement can be complex or simple, but if someone is stealing original content created by you, word-for-word, then they are simply breaking the law.


 11:35 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

sorry, that last message from me ought to have been directed to "europeforvisitors."


 12:07 am on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks you guys, that information was perfect and exactly what I was looking for. This place is awesome...

One more thing, most of his site is a total copy of mine, word for word, even though there seems to be an article or two of someone else he probably copied from too...but since he's a lawyer (I googled him..this fact shocked me as behavior for what I would think would be a smarter person)...so I want to make sure to get the complaint right...is it enough that I have had Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 on every page for years now, or do I need to do more than that to copyright the content"?


 2:21 am on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

You'll want to check out the actual copyright act to see how it applies to the web, but i suspect it's essentially the same.

What that fellow has stolen from you does not have to be all over his site. He could have 99.9% totally original content created by himself and just ONE article copied from your site and he is just as much in contravention as if he copied your whole site.

Changing a few words of your article does not make him immune from prosecution. If the work is substantially yours, then he's guilty. Let someone else be the judge.

The important thing, more than your copyright notice, is that you can PROVE that you wrote the items before he did. There can be all kinds of ways you could do this, but other folk here can perhaps give you a better idea of how to do this.

Copyright notices are not necessary. They are only there to remind honest people to obey the law.


 12:26 pm on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have the same problem with a competitor carbon copying my successful ads in Google's Adwords. Do you think reporting this to Google will have any effect?


 1:27 pm on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

We have a couple of lawyers contributing to these fora ... seems to me there might be a good business in copyright protection cases on the web. Any takers ... how about you lawman?


 1:37 pm on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

>I have the same problem with a competitor carbon copying my successful ads in Google's Adwords. Do you think reporting this to Google will have any effect?

How does your competitor know that they are successful ads before they copy them?



 8:47 pm on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

This is Veneerz, I had to change my user name.


To tell you the truth I have no idea. My guess is that since we're from the same site and have some common suppliers, my competitors were able to find out my constant increase in sales. I don't know......... But I know this - I played with Adwords for about a month and a half and as soon as I was able to find an ad copy which brought on average 9% clickthroughs they copied it to the last letter.

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  

Home / Forums Index / WebmasterWorld / Professional Webmaster Business Issues
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved