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Original content curse, how do you deal with it?

You work hard and then everybody wants your content and pictures

5:29 pm on May 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This post relates with writing, copyright and adsense. Hope is the right place.

Build it... and they will come (to make copies of it?)

Ok I have some websites with original content and adsense working kinda good. I took the time to read, research and prepare a new website. It took me time and a lot of effort to combine what I have learned by myself and reading here from great posts.

The plan was:
1. Work hard and publish the site with original & unique content.
2. Get growing traffic
3. See the traffic turning into Adsense clicks and feel like my effort was worth doing it.

Instead this is what happens:
1. I worked hard & published the site
2. I got the traffic growing in less time that my other websites. I'm about to put Adsense on the site.
3. I get many emails telling me how great the website is and how unique, valuable and complete the content is... and they want a piece of it.

I didn't work this hard so people just ask me and then copy my work. I know some will use it without permission, others ask me for permission, thats fine. I'm dealing with this asking them to only use 1 or 2 paragraphs maximum and only one picture with a visible link to my site.

I aimed for the traffic and the Adsense clicks, but instead I get many mails asking for permission. I'm getting tired of answering this emails, my ideas are:

1. Make a template email with the guidelines to use my work properly
2. Always ask a link to the site without the "nofollow" attribute
3. Perhaps creating a widget so they can put on their websites to show pictures and text from my site (via Javascript so it won't hurt as dup content)

Any of you aimed for the traffic and clicks but instead got into a nightmare of emails?

I know I got to take it easy or people will just copy the content without me wining something from this. I see people just don't pay for this neither, so selling content is not an option for me (I also don't want to do it so).

9:35 am on May 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Been there, done that.

Like you, I'm producing my own content and publishing it on my website. At first, I was VERY upset when I discovered hotlinking, scraping, and image stealing. Not to mention all those requests to use my stuff FREE. To be honest, it still annoys me when I think about it.

I am *so* tired of people ripping off my content, especially all those young people who apparently can not create content any longer (writing? photographing? filming? painting?). To them it seems to be so much easier to just take someone elses content instead of being creative themselves.

However, the human nature is what it is, and the Internet is the perfect place for this kind of thievery.

These days I am just tracking the degree of thievery (i.e. hits for images without associated request for a HTML page), as I found out that this is an almost static relationship. On my sites, roughly 25% of the traffic is coming from hotlinkers, thieves, and scrapers. 75% of the traffic seems to be genuine. As long as my genuine traffic grows, this is fine. Except that my stomach rebels every time I think about it.

So I suggest to CLEARLY watermark all your images, so that it acts as form of advertising once hotlinked. And then monitor the ratio of genuine traffic vs. hotlinked traffic. Get used to the fact that people WILL steal your content, no matter what measures you deploy. Take it as a sign that your content is really good. So, you must be doing something right. ;-)

(In my opinion the Copyright is kaputt, and once a digital content item is "in the wild", you can pretty much forget about it. People WILL steal/share/use it without asking you or giving proper attribution. Frustrating, but that's the reality.)

5:46 pm on May 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Isn't it true that the first to publish the original content gets the better ranking?

I know it's a shame that people steal content wholesale. I've just really started on the content side, but haven't really promoted, so I'm not experiencing any theft yet. Let alone much traffic.

The more I read about thieving though, the more I don't want to write. Whats the point? I myself could just watch for new content in my area and hope to be the first or second in line to steal it and make some ad revenue from it. Much less work!

These "young people" you mention have the right idea. Little work, much gain.

Ok, I'll take off my t'ed off sarcastic hat now...

6:13 pm on May 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If they are outright taking it, then you can threaten a lawsuit if they don't remove the content. Obviously it would be tiresome to do this with everyone but you can track who the big sites are and go after those first. Defend your content.
2:12 am on May 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If a takes-without-asking site runs AdSense ads, it's easier to report the copying to Google and have them kicked out of the program than it is to file a lawsuit. Of course, they'll just go start another site, but if you're lucky it won't be in your content area.

Have to say I'm surprised that you get so many that do ask, especially if they don't try to wheedle a link from your site to theirs in return for placing a link to your site from your content.

There's nothing wrong with using a form email that lays out the groundrules. Then check up on as many as you can to make sure they're limiting the amount of content used and giving you those links as promised. In most cases, incoming links are a Very Good Thing (especially if they're not reciprocated). They not only advertise your site and give more people an opportunity to find it, but also give it points with Google for being an authority. Try to make sure any new content is spidered before allowing it to leave home, so your use is seen as the original.

2:49 pm on May 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, useful ideas

0. People stealing content means your content is good, yes
1. Watermarking images (I already did it) yes, it limits their freedom to use them and to steal them.
2. Copyright "kaputt". I agree, but I guess my long disclaimer on the site is helping so people is asking this much for permission.
3. Lawsuit, I've read about emailing the hosting companies and some say it works. I still don't go there.
4. Reporting to adsense sounds pretty good, great idea.
5. Don't give permission unless the content is already spidered, great.
6. Hotlink protection, sounds good.
7. What about this?: css for screen and for print (make several styles invisible) and perhaps adding an invisible div for screen but visible at print stating rules and guidelines. Yes, is not a magic solution but I bet people will be surprised looking at the printed page wondering where did this disclaimer come from?
8. Enable a JS that avoids "copy" on IE?

Well, people who ask for permission are kinda cynic sometimes: "I want to print it and put it into my thesis". "I want to put this on my website". But I worry mostly for the ones who never ask.

Thanks for the ideas.


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