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Google AdSense Forum

Beware of jerks stealing your site content
...to get content for their formerly contentless AdSense pages

 6:25 am on Apr 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just for fun this evening, I was searching on a rather clever / humorous term I had coined on my blog to see if I was indeed the first -- or maybe only -- person to use it online.

I was -- almost!

I then discovered, much to my chagrin, that some jerk had stolen dozens of paragraphs from my blog -- occasionally interpersing the words "big" and [breasts] throughout -- to trick the AdSense bot into thinking that his or her page had sufficient content.

I've notified the AdSense team about this, but it may well be my word against this jerk's. And since they reside in another country, it'd likely be rather challenging for me to get the offending pages removed.

Has anyone else dealt with this? I've certainly heard of sites being copied or pages being stolen before, but hadn't previously seen it done specifically in the pursuit of AdSense profits.

Anyone have any stories to tell... or advice for me?



 1:11 pm on Apr 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

You would likely get a better response posting this issue in the Content & Copyright section of WW. Indeed, a good read of that section will go a long way towards answering your questions and addressing your concerns.


 11:03 pm on Apr 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've had something similar happen. A couple of sites are "framing" a particular page of mine and putting an ad at the top (on their frame). I'm too inept to describe it properly, but I think you probably know what I mean. One of these "stolen" pages also lists on Google. Exact same content, everything. (At least they aren't trying to take credit for the page.)

I contacted Adsense about it and they won't do anything, as they say they are not a "mediator" of copyright issues. In a way I'm not even sure this is a copyright issue, since no new page has been created--they're just cleverly linking to mine in a way that makes my page's content also list as being on their site (as least as far as Google is concerned).

I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't for the search engine listing. It isn't like they are trying to take credit for my page. And one of the thieves is so incompetent that they somehow didn't "link" to my site properly. Because I have hotlink protection on, when anyone views the page on the thief's site, they see all these "This graphic belongs to mysite.com" pictures. (And since I set a background graphic on this page, the *whole* page is one big sea of "this graphic belongs to..." pictures, making it basically unreadable)!

It does irk me that these sites seem to basically exist by hotlinking to other people's content, slapping a frame at the top of the page, and adding an Adsense ad. I thought that Adsense would be interested in that. I thought that would definitely be against Adsense's TOS. The vast majority of these sites' original content is comprised of small frames and an ad. Everything else is just leeched from the rest of us.


 12:44 am on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

1) I don't know if it will help in your case but you might investigate adding some "frame busting" code to your html.

2) The number one reason I will transfer the bulk of my pages to Yahoo from Adsense (whenever the new program starts) is because of this issue.

I can understand that Adsense feels it is not their place to be mediators of copyright issues but what I won't forgive Adsense for is letting any and all sites (some of which are clearly crap and theiving sites, and any human with eyes can tell these sites in an instant) participate in their program.

If Yahoo even remotely controls the sites that can participate in their program and if Yahoo money is even 80% of Adsense money then they've got my traffic.


 2:30 am on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Broadway, thanks for the tip about "Frame Busters." I am so oblivious, I never knew about such a thing. Never needed it before. I found a script and put it on my page. Works PERFECTLY. Exactly what I needed. Thanks!

Yeah, I am on Yahoo's mailing list too. I want to find out more about their ad program as well.


 2:45 am on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ya, Google is shooting themselves in the foot, especially since this is their major income, and they don't have the content partners that yahoo does... they can only place their ads on search results and adsense publisher pages.

You can tell from the way that Yahoo runs their search marketing that quality is part of their brand- probably goes back to their directory-only days... and if yahoo indeed favors hand-picked directory-like pages (as I've read here elsewhere), that fits too.

Point being: I suspect Yahoo will be more diligent in maintaining quality.

Can't wait for their pub program- did they say when that was starting?


 5:41 am on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've notified the AdSense team about this, but it may well be my word against this jerk's. And since they reside in another country, it'd likely be rather challenging for me to get the offending pages removed.

I see you live in the US, about 20 minutes from me according to your profile....

Send a DMCA notice to Google and all the search engines and they'll disappear:



 1:19 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

My favorite discovery of late was that a website selling a large collection of articles to would-be AdSense profiteers was including content plagiarized from my site. For all I know, he still is - he didn't seem that interested in cleaning up his act.


 2:18 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sounds to me like the actionable problem/TOS violation is that the other site is placing a google ad on content they do not own or control. Contact google on that one.


 6:41 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

It may be a TOS/T&C violation but when I reported a case of 10 violations from just ONE person last year the AdSense team just referred me to the DMCA claiming they weren't in the business of making that judgement call of who stole from who, that the dept. handling DMCA complaints took care of that.

When I complained he was meanwhile making money off of my content and needed to be disabled ASAP basically referred me to the DMCA reporting procedure again and told me more or less to comply and stop whining as they weren't getting involved.

I filed the DMCA and *POOF* they were gone.


 6:42 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I contacted Google, and got a form letter back saying, uh, sorry, we're a middleman, send us a DMCA takedown request blah blah blah blah.

I'm really disappointed and annoyed. Google is not an ISP, nor should they act like one.

I totally understand why Google would take this stance regarding natural SERPs, but... they (theoretically) review every AdSense Publisher for quality, or at least claim to. They have openly denied sites the ability to carry AdSense ads because they didn't measure up.

So when I actually point out a page that is so obviously a scam, I'd think it'd be a no-brainer for them to pull the account. This is not some site framing my content in an attractive way, this is a site that has a barrage of AdSense banners, followed by tiny text that looks like:

[my content my content my content my content BIG MAMMARY GLANDS my content my content my content PORN WORDS my content my content someone else's content someone else's content BIG MAMMARY GLANDS]

It's clearly nonsensical, yet real AdSense ads are being displayed since the bot is tricked by the plethora of "content."

Any human can detect that this is a scam in about, oh, 1 second.

Sure, I could send in a DMCA request, but out of principle I have half a mind to share this URL with some other Webmaster sites that'll permit me to do so, so some AdWords advertisers will have the joy of learning where their ads are showing up. Nothing like a little bad publicity to perhaps light a fire under Google's corporate posterior.

As an AdWords advertiser and AdSense publisher myself, though, I hope Google doesn't retaliate :\


 7:44 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

one of the best tricks to see if your content is stolen is the easiest in the book.

due to my bad spelling I have to always proof my content, but I leave 1 or 2 words misspelled after some key word phrases.

I do google search for them about 2 months later. Sure enough I catch a few every year and end up getting people. I tipically start with the site owner, the webhost, the upstream provider, and then the search engines ( google cache is the link i always give since it is dated )

does this work : yes
does it take out the people that tried to take my content : yes
does every page have spelling issues : yes
don't forget to bury your name somewhere within the text or a made up association on a non-important page, that's kinda like the clincher.



 8:10 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm really disappointed and annoyed. Google is not an ISP, nor should they act like one.

Did you read their policy?

I hate to tell you but Google still has the same legal requirements as anyone else and they need the legal documentation to back up their decision to yank off a web site. If they just yanked any web site offline based on every email they got without a signed affadavit attached they'd be bankrupt defending themselves in legal fees alone so they do it by the book.

They WILL help you, but you have to send the DMCA and if you don't it's your fault.

You can fax it today.


 8:21 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Actually, I should have clarified; I'm not asking them to yank the Web site out of their SERPs; I asked them to yank their AdSense account. Without that revenue, the jerk'd have no incentive to keep my content on their site. They're not trying to claim authorship, they're simply trying to make a buck by feeding something to the AdSense spider.

Were I asking for the site to be removed from the SERPs, then I agree the DMCA would be an appropriate tact. But I'm just asking the AdSense folks to bork clearly crap-sites out of their Publisher network, and I don't think that's unreasonable from a simple request.

I mean, seriously, as someone who facilitates over $100K/monthly of AdWords spend, *I* sure as heck am not going to encourage my clients to turn on Content Match when I see crap sites like this showing AdWords!


 9:39 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Actually, I should have clarified; I'm not asking them to yank the Web site out of their SERPs; I asked them to yank their AdSense account.

I fully understood what you meant as I had the same intent when I notified AdSense when I was ripped off, been there, done that, same results. The long and short of it is Google appears to have one corporate mechanism for dealing with copyright which is DMCA so you either file one and they stop earning off your hard work or you don't file one and the theives win.

I filed and keep filing for every abuse ever since, it's just the nature of the beast.


 10:04 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

But what about sites that clearly violate Google's TOS? Is a site whose main content only consists of small frames with ads on them adhering to Google's standards? The content that they "frame" is not *their* page, they have no control over it (as I've done with my "frame busters" trick, and also with my "this graphic belongs to" graphics). Do Adwords advertisers want their ad on a page that is framing a page that is (literally) a sea of tiled "This graphic is hotlinked" graphics? The framing leecher has absolutely no control over this content. I could replace the page that they are leeching with porn, and until they caught it, they'd be framing a porn page.

All these people are doing is making frames and putting ads on them. Why shouldn't Google disallow such sites when they realize what they are doing, instead of throwing up their hands and saying "our hands are tied"?


 10:49 pm on Apr 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

But what about sites that clearly violate Google's TOS?

They seem to ignore those sites.

I reported a competitor that MODIFIED his Google search box code to generate more income.

They responded "thank you, we're investigating" and it's been a week and he's still violating TOS.

I was tempted to follow suit in what he's doing since they don't seem to care but with my luck they'd cancel my account.

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