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Over the last two years, I have developed a site with 400 original (i wrote them) articles aprox, doing a lot of research and work, almost every single day; as a result, during the last 6 months I have been on the first spots on Google for some of the topics covered.
Three weeks ago, my traffic dumped and I thought it was just seasonal, but during the last few days when performing searches for my main keywords I noticed pages from Yahoo! answers dominating the serps, with complete articles copied from my website and no back links or reference to the source whatsoever. More than 100 articles have been uploaded as "answers" during the last 3 weeks (complete, with punctuation and everything else), and maybe as a result, insted of my site in the first places (witch has vanished from the serps entirely), the copied content appears on the first places in google. Maybe I got a duplicate penalty and yahoo is taking the credit for being an "authority".
Anyway, returning to the copyright issue, the question is: ¿What can I do about it?
Even if yahoo removes the copied content, it appears as if a couple of users are devoted to copy my site's content into yahoo answers, so this problem will possibly go on.
I actually took the time and made an ellaborate complain to Yahoos copyright department, and only got a kind reply in response with legal stuff I do not understand; after a couple of follow ups it seems that it is going nowhere. I do not have a lawyer and do not have the money to hire one - my site is only a great hobby for me at the moment. I also flagged the copied content right from Yahoo answers, with no effect at all.
I just feel quite frustrated working all over the last year for Yahoo to take the top positions with my articles.
I also posted this issue on google webmasters group, but no official response so far. I will try the DMCA with Google.
I think this will be a growing issue for all webmasters (I'm sure at the present is affecting many people unknowingly), so I will keep you posted on the outcome. At least in the spanish language, Yahoo answers is dominating the SERPS closing in to Wikipedia, with the difference of having tons of copied content without reference to the original sources( in a lot of cases).
(*** If you check on almost every large, well written and elaborated response on yahoo answers, it is most likely copied from somewhere else and pasted***)
It's only a matter of time before someone in the print media decides there's a story in this. And in the often poor quality of the answers, if not copied!
In my experience, Yahoo will take stuff down, but only after you submit the DMCA complaint in writing and through the mail. Their fax, e-mail, and form submission methods are (in my experience, anyway) fraudulent (which is, in itself, a violation of the DMCA).
By the way, you may want to send the complaint with some sort of tracking, so they know they won't be able to get away with claiming they never got your package.
Part of the problem with Yahoo Answers is that you can't ask your own questions until you've earned a sufficient number of points in answering other people's questions. This gives cheaters an incentive to plagiarise
Well, actually that's not quite true. I joined to try out the system, and you get 100 points on joining, which is enough to ask 20 questions--more than enough for anyone. You also get two points just for answering at all (even a one-word answer) and only ten for getting best answer selected. Even if you write a long, copied answer you may not get the ten. So if people JUST want to pile up points, then answering lots of questions is the way to go. But there is ego involved, and I think the ones doing the copying are trying to look like experts, and maybe get some traffic to their web sites. (Though I can't see that Yahoo Answers would drive a lot of traffic--the Q&As are pretty ephemeral, and Yahoo uses "nofollow" in all URLs.)
At least with images or videos they can be watermarked, but what do you do about long passages of text? I wouldn't really want to start publishing articles as image files, they're a pain to read and can cause problems with people who have a resized browser window, a mobile device browser etc. And of course if they're an image, Google won't detect or catalogue the text content, so no one will ever find it.
The thing that really annoys me is the all-pervasive "pirating is a victimless crime" thing you find on the internet... how would these people like it if they spend many many hours of their life perfecting a written text only to see some idiot spend two seconds cutting and pasting it and claiming it as their own? I've even seen commercial sites do this.
I submitted a detailed complaint in a few different areas, so can't be sure which worked. Be sure to include the username of the violator, and the location on Answers and your site where the content is.
I'm sure this is happening all the time, so if they don't already have a capable system in place of dealing with it, they'll need one soon.
These Wiki, Y! Answers, Ezine sites are nothing but duplicated content in some cases. This problem just seems to be getting worse and worse if they are an authority site like Yahoo Answers.
That being said Yahoo must also have a copyright claims department. Make claims via certified mail.
Search for others in your situation.
Respond to those Yahoo! answers and let consumers know they've done it... etc