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Today, I begin stealing content

 6:17 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've had my site for ten years. In that time, I've built up 2000 pages of authentic, genuine quality content, not in the same style of those on here who say, while keeping a straight face, "I have 50,000 pages of quality content" which almost always means regurgitated, recycled, rebranded pages from elsewhere.

But since about 2004, the game hasn't even been close to being fair. We've been outranked, out trafficed and out earnt by those who blatantly steal content, including ours.

I have no more patience left. I used to be able to go to bed thinking "I'm doing it the right way - eventually, I will come out on top." You know, you get bored of saying that after 7 years and all the evidence in that period not only fails to give you real hope that you'll come out on top eventually, but that the opposite will happen. You'll get buried by ever more thieving websites who can wrap YOUR stolen content, among others, in a fancy $50k template and rise to the top.

Of course, there are DMCAs. I could spend literally half my day submitting DMCAs to hosts who don't or won't respond. In the few cases where content is taken down, the mega-site simply steals from elsewhere and moves on.

the internet is now awash with parasites and well-funded parasites at that. My 2000 pages of genuine content have been whored around the internet earning money for everybody else. Call someone on it and it's "yeah, sorry, my bad" and nothing really changes. I do searches for my content now that returns tens and tens of sites that have stolen.

And, here's the killer, sites will "recycle" content, adding odd words here and there, making it impossible to find via search engines. These people hire bottom-dollar labor from places like India, china, turkey, who "wash" content, inserting words here and there. I've seen it so many times on sites I know and follow. Lord knows how much it's happening on sites I've never seen. It makes them immune to being caught via google, bing, etc.

On every one of these sites are adsense ads. You all knew that punch line was coming, eh? My content is framed with 20 adsense ads and a pretty template and these guy out-earn me. Where is the justice in that?

so today, I throw in the towel. I join the dark side. I'm further from justice today that I was at any point since 2004 so I'll do what they do. I'll add 20 regurgitated pages to my site per week instead of 3-4 original ones. I won't waste my time writing proper content anymore because it gets stolen, rewritten, "borrowed" and then buried in the SERPS by all the above.

Do I feel guilty about this? Not in the slightest. I would have 7 years ago, even a year or two, but after being repeatedly punched in the face, it changes you. Mega-billion corporations such as google, bing and the like have decided what the shape of the internet will be like and it's not going to be formed by the likes of me plugging away at a small site with 2000 original pages.

So I'm not going to be like that anymore.



 6:44 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do not risk your genuine website nor your Adsense account.
It's easy to open new Blogger/Wordpress websites with affiliate links and, of course, you should open twenty or thirty websites a week filled with autoblog scripts, and not twenty pages a week.


 7:08 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'd join the dark side if only I was smart enough to do so. Unfortunately I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so I'm stuck with plodding hard work as my only option.

I feel your pain, and understand. Perhaps you'll learn something by moving to this strategy.

Let me point out one thing though. When I tally up the people I know who I would consider knowledgeable about black hat (and I'm not one of them) and I look at what I know of what they do and how they do it? These days much of it looks awful white hat.


 7:11 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

"Waaaah, I'm not making enough money, so I'm going to start stealing, waaaah!"


 7:16 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I sense another "I've been AdSense" thread coming...


 7:38 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

"Waaaah, I'm not making enough money, so I'm going to start stealing, waaaah!"

Reading posts you 'respond' to is a good idea. Just go back up the page and you'll find it. You'll see it has nothing to do with what I am or am not earning and everything to do with what others "earn" with stolen content, including mine. In short, I'm fed up with doing the hard work for others.

[edited by: ChanandlerBong at 7:55 pm (utc) on Jul 6, 2011]

brotherhood of LAN

 7:49 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I won't waste my time writing proper content anymore because

If your new approach works, create an e-book explaining how, and when the cat is out of the bag go back to what you perceive to be genuine content creation.... win-win.


 8:16 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Have you tried creating interactive content that's difficult to copy and too much effort to imitate? I'm thinking along the lines of web tools, games, quizzes with the answers hidden in server-side code, and so on.


 9:24 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

rosalind, not really suitable for my niche.

BTW, I'm not actually going to start stealing content, but I think you all knew that. I was ranting, unloading, whatever you want to call it. What I *have* considered doing is selling up. I'm tired of playing on an unlevel playing field.


 10:23 am on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

"You'll see it has nothing to do with what I am or am not earning and everything to do with what others "earn" with stolen content,"

I see. It's the "principle" of the thing that offends you, and so that is why in your own words you have decided to start stealing, because if no one else has principles, why should you? I mean, everyone wants to fit in. It has nothing to do with earnings.

I see things like this and wonder why I should read this forum at all. It just makes me despise people in this business.


 11:04 am on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

rosalind, not really suitable for my niche.

Are you sure? Because I struggle to think of the niche where it doesn't apply, although you may have to think creatively to make something that fits your circumstances.

If you really can't think of anything, your only other defence against scrapers is to implement Incredibill's whitelisting and bot blocking advice. Either way, the only way to get on top of scraper problem is through code.


 12:11 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

the only way to get on top of scraper problem is through code.


Generally speaking, webmasters spend a lot of time and effort and at times money to produce the best site about their subject yet seemingly very little of all that effort goes into preventing getting scraped in the first place.

Ever since it became obvious that easy money could be made by slapping a site together with whatever content could be found easily (scraped) and stuffing that site with ads it has been an ongoing problem yet to this day it remains a recurring moan of many webmasters. Do something about it first and then focus on all the rest.


 3:57 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Two things come to mind from your post.

Would you rather be part of the solution or part of the problem?

You would no longer have that warm spot that says no matter what anyone else does, my conscience is clear. That spot becomes very rewarding as the years drag on . . . money or no money. At least I did the right thing.


 5:02 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

rocknbil, I address that very point in my OP. "Warm feelings" and "clean conscience" are the very things that black hatters and content thieves laugh at as they head to the bank with the latest check, earned off my content. I thought like that for years, thinking I would get my just desserts ultimately. I didn't. I won't. The internet just doesn't and won't work like that. With every algo change pushing me further down the SERPs and others with my content higher up, eventually the penny has to drop.


 5:19 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe it's time to package your original content in a different fashion.


 5:28 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have complete sympathy with your predicament. Only recently, I decided to close a hobby blog i'd run for quite a while. It used to get a fair level of traffic and was well linked. I closed it, not because of content theives, although there were some, it was because I was sick of the comment spam bots. It got to the stage where I really could not be bothered fighting them off. I mean, it was taking up so much time.

I was grateful for the helpful comments and suggestions from WebmasterWorld members that gave ideas on how I might resolve the comment spam bot issue, however, I had already gotten despondent. I did consider those ideas, and I hope you will consider any that come out of this thread.

Here's my suggestion:
Depending on how they scrap, how about embedding code so that the scrapers end up feeding your earnings. It won't work with them all, but the lazy ones will end up helping you.


 7:44 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I understand the frustration. I've lost count of the sites that have stolen original content from my sites. It's all too common.

OP - I don't know what industry/niche you're in, but have you considered charging users for access to your content? I don't mean via an eBook (although that could be an option), but having premium content that's only accessible to members.

This is something I'm seriously considering myself. Should I go down this route then most of my content will remain free-to-view, but some will only be visible to paid members. I'm on WordPress and there are some interesting plugins that will make this fairly easy to do (give teasers, choose which parts of a page are free / premium).

Just a thought.


 7:38 pm on Jul 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm with Engine's comments on this one. Design something in so that the lazy scapers loose out.

For myself, my technical knowledge is almost zero but when I started my first site, I used asp extensively - the microsoft equivalent of php. This happened for good reasons because I wanted to tailor the contents to a user's location. It worked a treat for me and I believe it also had an unintended side effect. Any scraper could not be sure what the server side asp code would deliver because they couldn't see the code.

Php can be designed the same way. In fact php and asp can be used to deliver crap content if the site has been scraped. It can also direct traffic to your site if the content has been scraped. It can also be used to render all sorts of unwanted content to the scrapers site if coded correctly.

The additional benefit of asp is that it is dinosaur technology (but still supported and will be for a long time) that is alien to the scraper. It's like a big sign saying "don't scrape this site unless you know exactly what you are doing". And most of the scrapers are ignoramuses.


 12:01 pm on Jul 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you are technical something like this may work. To access the fresh new content have them enter a code (like CAPTCHA), but don't stop them from getting in if they enter a bad code, just log the IP address and number of times that IP entered a bad code, maybe store the code they entered too. Eventually (and it won't take long) you'll have a database of IPs that are only there to scrape. Then use that database so when that IP connects, provide them with crap content.


 4:44 am on Jul 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Interesting comments but, why risking YOUR account ON your website or on the scrapper website (if they copy everything along content)?. If we worry about our account being magically closed doing things the right way, why increasing the chances and worries doing it the wrong way?

So you found your reasons to begin stealing content? you are going to regret this a lot, more if you truly had the "do things the right way", I don't see the danger here on the -technical web way- but on a personal level. We should never compromise our principles, otherwise, this couldn't be your switch to the dark side but only the beginning.

I'll say keep trying, change strategy and don't loose hope, the world needs more people doing things the right way, in my own experience following this path you can create bonds and partnerships that could last years based on the principle of trust, something that experienced webmasters value a lot. Just my two cents.

PS. I also keep comments to myself regarding the "difficult? not at all, I create myself 20K of original content per month".


 12:58 pm on Jul 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

You might try an article teaser then a read more based upon free registration, automated but the real thing, with email verified.
at least it might deter the auto-scrappers.

Furthermore if your site can afford it got for the real Copyright, the one with an attached fee per copyright items


 3:02 am on Aug 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think I'm going to join you in your crusade. I've played by the rules and have been screwed BIG TIME and also tried to play by the rules and contact Google (which it is impossible to get a hold of a real human by the way). My stolen content is still up on about 20 different Blogspot accounts, and Google has done nothing to help me.

If you're going to steal content, posting on Blogspot seems to be the best way to go. Trust me, I've gone through great lengths to get my stolen content removed and Google doesn't give a crap.

P.S. I won't steal anyone's content - I'm just venting :)

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