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Stolen content - what to do
realmaverick




msg:4433100
 11:16 pm on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am getting demoralised by Google. Each update rewards those stealing the content from my website and I need to somehow put a stop to it.

I have a website with lots of user generated content, similar to DeviantArt.

Many of our artists, only upload to my website and nowhere else, yet there work pops up everywhere.

So many websites, especially blogs, come to my website, steal the screenshots, download the files, re-upload to mediafire or some other file sharing service and post the work.

No credit to the artist, no credit to the website it was stolen from, nothing. Then they somehow manage to outrank us, for the keyword.

Most have terrible on site optimisation, paid links in their sidebars and are completely made up of stolen work.

One website, takes every single piece of our artsits work. I think they're using a bot of some kind to do it, as the username it was apparently posted by, just so happens to match the username of the artist on our website.

They don't have any artists on their website, they just steal all the content.

They have ads placed around the screenshot, in a way that tricks the user to click. Then they have hundreds of links at the bottom of every page, spamming and in the sidebar, at least 15 paid links and not to mention their website is crap!

They are doing everything that Google tells us not to do, and yet after each and every Google update, their traffic grows and it's making me sick, to the point I want to find the little rats that are doing it and kill them.

What the hell can I do? Report them to Google and be ignored?

I once had faith in Google, I have completely lost it. The results are not right!

Sorry for the rank, but I need some ideas, as clearly I cannot rely on Google.

 

Lame_Wolf




msg:4433111
 12:35 am on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi realmaverick,
I've had similar problems. If the blogs are operated by Google, then DMCA them. Also mention that they do not have a vaild privacy policy (privacy polices are a rare thing with blogs). I find that the content (and sometime the blog) is often removed/closed down within 24-48 hours (week days).

If they have Adsense on the page, then use that to report them to Adsense for TOS violations (again mention no valid privacy policy)

If they are on sites that are not operated by Google, then write to the site owner to remove them. Failing that, go to their hosting provider and ask for the legal department.

On a side note, have you tried Tineye to locate images? I do and it is pretty good. Google has one too, and does smaller images but only works on some browsers.
HTH

One other thing... create an email address as DMCA@example.com - They seem to take more notice of that kind of email address.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4433127
 2:35 am on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Each update rewards those stealing the content from my website


It rewards those taking your content and adding to it with their own opinions and discussion, it rewards mashup sites as well(which it shouldn't but that's for another thread).

If your content was copied verbatim and republished without adding to it you can file a DMCA with Google and it will be promptly removed from search.

I think netmeg says it best: The best content requires the most DMCA filings. Take it as a compliment, when you have it sorted out.

Moving forward you may consider incorporating stronger social signals, it seems you have the sort of site that lends itself well to people talking about the content in various social networks? Also, implement rel=author tags for your artists, that way their work can be copied but google will have a better idea of which is the copy and which is the source.

tedster




msg:4433133
 3:04 am on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Going forward, another good idea is to use PuSH (PubSubHubbub) technology [code.google.com] and send Google "fat pings" of the full text whenever you publish something new. This goes a long way toward establishing your site as the original.

backdraft7




msg:4433195
 2:18 pm on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyone know the current status of Google regarding the processing of DMCA complaints? I was preparing a complaint the other day, but read that Google no longer gets involved. They recommend you take it up with the offender directly or produce a court order. If anyone has a link to their latest DMCA policy, it would be much appreciated.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4433203
 2:48 pm on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

If the site belongs to Google (eg Blogger) then they do process the DMCA.
[support.google.com...]

backdraft7




msg:4433209
 3:59 pm on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

It appears Google will no longer directly handle DMCA complaints regarding web search related trademark or copyright issues. The statement below is as far as I got. BTW - I have already informed the violator and sent a C&D. However, they refuse to comply. Now it's a matter of spending a considerable amount of money to get a judgement that they won't pay. Bottom line, thieves win again.


Google is a provider of information, not a mediator. We bring you different webpages that relate to your search request, but we don't make any claims about the content of these pages. For more information, please see our Terms of Service. In matters involving trademark, it is best to directly address the webmaster of the page in question. Once the webmaster has altered the page in question, Google's search results will automatically reflect this change after we crawl the site.

If you have an AdWords trademark complaint, please visit this page.

If your concern is about trademarks in an iGoogle theme, please visit this page.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4433211
 4:03 pm on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

It appears Google will no longer directly handle DMCA complaints regarding web search related trademark or copyright issues.
It must be extremely new then. Because I raised one the other week and they took care of it.

The site you are having problems with. Is it owned by Google ?

backdraft7




msg:4433214
 4:22 pm on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@L_W - No, it is not a Google site.

We have notified the site owner, but I believe their contact information is outdated by several years or is completely false. This leads us to a dead end, whereas G could simply remove the listing. I'll check with my attorney to see if we can just get a default judgement against the site regardless of the false contact and probable false identity. Probably need to go after the web host.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4433243
 7:24 pm on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

No, it is not a Google site.
The link I gave was for Google owned properties.

We have notified the site owner, but I believe their contact information is outdated by several years or is completely false.
It sounds like you've gone via the whois database for the info.

Have you looked on the site for a contact address ?

I normally write to whoever is listed on the site. If they fail to reply, I check with the whois database.

If the email bounces back because it is invalid (taken from whois) I then write to the hosting provider. I also mention in the DMCA that the whois information is out of date. They do not like that one bit and they may even decide to close the site down.

Now, if they have adsense on the page where your copyrighted work is being displayed, you can go for them that way. The thing with this method is that it can take a while. ( I also check to see if their privacy policy is up to date) If it isn't, I mention that too in the DMCA.

HTH

doc_z




msg:4433253
 7:56 pm on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

It appears Google will no longer directly handle DMCA complaints regarding web search related trademark or copyright issues.


I had several DMCA complains [google.com] (copyright violations) this week and Google removed all the pages.

In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have completed processing your infringement complaint. The following webpages will be removed from Google in a few hours:

klark0




msg:4433277
 10:16 pm on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

backdraft, are you talking about this tool?
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-notice?hl=en

I had a few requests recently and they all were removed successfully.

There's a separate form for where your content resides on pages with Adsense. That one works as well last time I did it. I like to use this one since the thieves are always quick to take action and stop copying all together so that they don't lose their adsense account. I'm pretty sure I'm responsible for dozens of adsense account bans.

netmeg




msg:4433542
 2:57 pm on Mar 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google can't take a page down (unless it's on one of their properties) but they can remove it from search.

I've had pretty good (and quick) results filing DMCAs with hosting companies too. That will usually take it DOWN.

(Gotta be a business opportunity in there somewhere for a company that will handle that sort of thing for busy webmasters and people who need to run their own businesses and not mess with all the paperwork)

klark0




msg:4433567
 3:52 pm on Mar 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I use dmca.com, in addition to filing my own requests. It acts more like a deterrent than anything else. If they see that you're vigilant about protecting your content, they're less likely to copy.

I also use a script that adds the url and page title anchor text for any text copied from my sites. That brings in quite a few backlinks.

realmaverick




msg:4433910
 2:03 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am going to try sending google "fat pings" as Tedster suggested.

There is a forum, that receives tens of thousands of visits a day, solely on artwork stolen from my website. They rank above me and before me.

No sooner has one of our artists uploaded the work, they have downloaded it, posted it to their forum and been indexed. They never ever credit the website or the artist. We have a big fat download button for god sake, a simple link to the original page, rather than uploading it to their own server, would be so much more polite.

Then their news section, is all ripped from places like Engadget and a few words changed. They never do or write anything original. Yet they're close to 100,000 visitors a day.

I used to speak with the owner of the site, but fell out over the fact he never credits the places he takes the work.

Extremely grim!

chrisv1963




msg:4433943
 3:28 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

solely on artwork stolen from my website. They rank above me and before me.


Sounds familiar. My only solution to stop a thief was blocking all visitors from Romania.

zdgn




msg:4433972
 4:25 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

While I agree that Google does take action promptly with violations within their own properties... I feel they could do it more strictly, which they don't.

Just one example: some Android publisher constantly steals entire pages off one of my site and makes them into individual apps.

DMCA complaints have the apps removed promptly, but the publisher is still there with hundreds, if not thousands, of other apps which I'm sure are all created off other websites' content.

I wish Google would act more strictly and punish such culprits more reasonably, not just removing the complaint-about app/page at a time.

And I just happen to come across such theft accidentally. How much can one monitor, in this ocean of so many places your content can end up?

Who knows what else is being stolen, and where, except Google and their massive resources of data, so they must do a better job!

It's whack-a-mole game for sure.

garyr_h




msg:4434187
 11:18 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

No sooner has one of our artists uploaded the work, they have downloaded it, posted it to their forum and been indexed.


Is it a bot? Perhaps you can figure out exactly who/what is doing it and block it by .htaccess

realmaverick




msg:4434189
 11:35 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I believe one of the websites, is definitely using a bot. As the content appears far too quickly, usernames etc match perfectly.

The forums, well, their users just feel its OK to steal the content and not give credit. Though some of the forums, the content is posted by the admins and mods, who know it generates a lot of traffic.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4434193
 11:44 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

It surprises me that they appear to take fraud so lightly. I knew of a site that was asking people to click on the adverts. This was above EVERY advert. Their homepage had TWENTY ONE adsense blocks.

It took over 3 months before Google acted upon it.

Now here is the really strange bit...

They were allowed back in. And on the first day, they were already breaking the TOS by having (IIRC) 6 adsense blocks. They did this by having two accounts on the page. It was reported again, and was acted upon rather quickly.

BUT...
They still kept their account!

Another site I know of was asking people to click on the banner above, to keep the site free. This took over 4 months, and was reported 3 times that I know of in that period.

They are also not consistant when someone violates the TOS for copyrighted material.

Both non-Google owned sites...
One lost their account altogether. One just had adverts disabled for that page alone.

Go figure.

realmaverick




msg:4434196
 11:50 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Lame_Wolf, once an adsense publisher earns over a certain threshold, they are assigned a Google rep, who can remove any restrictions at will. High earners can get away with a lot more.

I met with my adsense rep last year at Google London, where he made modifications to my account, such as opening ads in a new window and all sorts of various tweaks, not available to regular publishers.

One of my competitors, a top 500 website, has ads open up inside a popup. This is strictly now allowed, but they do it and get away with it.

Another competitor wraps a screenshot of a download, in ads, and then has a tiny text download button under one of the ads.

These websites are both currently also thriving in the SERPS.

They also have ads above the fold and popup ads. It's all completely crazy.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4434197
 12:04 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

realmaverick, they were not a huge adsense earner. And even if they were, asking people to click on their adverts is not allowed, even for them.

realmaverick




msg:4434198
 12:06 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Oh I totally agree LW, but it seems that some can clearly get away with a slapped wrist. Some IMO can get away with breaking the Google TOS entirely.

The website who have ads in their popups, have been getting away with it for year. I imagine they're earning close to $100,000 a month with adsense, so I guess that counts for something.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4434206
 12:27 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

The website who have ads in their popups, have been getting away with it for year. I imagine they're earning close to $100,000 a month with adsense, so I guess that counts for something.
I reported a certain dating site that was doing that. I only went there because one of my images was showing up in the SERPS. Because it was no longer on that particular page, I had to go to page 4, 5, 6 etc till I found it. As I was about to do the 3rd or 4th page, a pop-up appeared with only adsense showing. Bang out of order, premium site or not.
realmaverick




msg:4434208
 12:50 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Definitely! There should be one rule, no exceptions.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4434211
 1:02 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Definitely! There should be one rule, no exceptions.
Which is why I would like Google to show us plebs the TOS for premium accounts.

How many times have you seen something different about sites, and brushed it off as a premium account. They too have rules, yet are secret. Just because someone has a premium account, doesn't mean they are honest.

chrisv1963




msg:4434267
 5:54 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

It surprises me that they appear to take fraud so lightly.


They do keep fraud lightly.
I just noticed that they are now ranking Pinterest pages for certain keywords. And everyone knows that Pinterest is simply a collection of STOLEN content. If Google would take content theft serious then they would ban Pinterest.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4434296
 8:15 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Pinterest have nothing on Photobucket. I have raised more DMCA's to PB than all other sites added together.

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