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Duplicate Content - Content Theft



1:29 pm on Apr 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Duplicate content and content theft is a huge problem for Google as I see it right now. It is too easy for people to highlight your text or steal your source code and post it onto their own site. This will invariably lead to some sort of dup penalty being applied to a site. Which one it is applied to is really at Google's discretion but eventually it will be applied to yours.

I have a site that is content rich. The content has been written by ourselves and covers a variety of topics. It's all unique, has pictures, been spell checked and grammar checked as best possible. The site has been up for about 5 years and has a stable amount of traffic and a PR of 6 with Google.

Every time I check for duplicate content I find new sites having stolen ours and just posted it onto their websites.

Dealing with it is another time consuming task to do and is something we, as content writers, can all do without.

This post is going to try and identify the best ways to deal with content theft. I've experienced varying degrees of content theft. From full source code theft, to snippets, to full on copies without even modifying absolute URLs or affiliate IDs.

Finding your content

Go to a popular page of your site.

Highlight a full sentence of some of your good content.

Go to Google and put it in the search box and make sure to put inverted commas at the beginning and end of your phrase.

Search for it.

See how many results are returned. If your site is alone in the results, then great, your probably ok, but if there are other URLs then uh-oh.

If there are other sites, visit those sites and see what's going on. Sometimes it is rather disturbing to see just how much of your content or page they've taken.

Report it to Google

As a first step report it to Google by using their Spam reporting tool.

Hopefully they'll do something about it. Not much else you can do.

Take a "Print Screen" of the Site

Keep it for future reference in case you need it. Keep it with your copy of the whois report and the email you've now sent to the site owner.

Contact the Site

Contact the site owner by using their contact details on the site or even by doing a whois lookup. Write an email and indicate what part of their site has taken content, from which site it was taken and any other details required.

Take a copy of the whois details as some site owners are clever enough to quickly go change their details and hide all their contact details. This has happened to me before.

Phone the owner

I've done it many times. Hong Kong at 3 am local time, Germany at midnight local time, wherever. I don't care, it's my site, you stole it, wake up and take it down immediately. Be polite but firm. Insist. Send an email to confirm, check again later. Keep phoning and emailing.

Contact Hosting Company

The whois details are very useful. Contact their hosting company if their details are there. Twice I have had the pleasure of a responsible host take down a site that had blatantly copied my content. Other times, it was a dead end but it is worth a try.

File a DMCA complaint

Not sure about this, I have never had to do it so other peopleís experience would be invaluable.

The important thing is to protect your content. Content theft is rampant and dangerous. I have seen my previously 1st page results site go nowhere but down from page 1 in the last few months and I am quite sure that this is because of content theft from unscrupulous webmasters.

Right now, there is no real way of stopping this. Google say not to worry about Dup content. Whatever. I have no other explanation for my dipping results than penalties. From Result No.3 to page 20, I donít think so.

We all have to fight this abuse of our content. We spend time and effort writing good stuff only for some lazy thief to take advantage of it.

Please help by posting similar experiences or recommendations to deal with this.



8:02 pm on Apr 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Pico,

Bookmark this:

Content theft is a constant problem with our company as well. Copyscape is a lot easier to use than copying and pasting select text into Google's search box.


8:18 am on Apr 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

thanks for this post...i didn't realize how many "people" copied all my content.


8:55 pm on Apr 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

inverted commas?


8:33 am on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



8:46 am on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"Search for it.
Report it to Google
Contact the Site
Phone the owner
Contact Hosting Company
File a DMCA complaint "

Your joking right? By the time I had finished doing this for each of the first hundred sites there would be a hundred more to deal with.

No. This is Googles problem and they have to somehow work it out using their programs. Can it be soooo.. difficult to check who had the content first?

By the way people talk about this a lot with relation to Google but it is hardly mentioned in connection to MSN and Yahoo!. They have the same problem, how do they deal with it?


9:41 am on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Pico, you are only catching the kiddies, a skilled content thief will run a thesaurus on the content, you will not get any uniques on google.

Cleanup. First does not mean owner, it means first. WHat if I wish to use my own content on a new domain and kill the old one for whatever reason? Does the spammer who copied my site, who now has the oldest online version now "own" the content?


10:36 am on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Nipi, If google did their job right then "that spammer" who nicked your content would not be
listed with your content.

If as soon as google notices the same content appearing on two or more sites the decision must be made by Google which one is legit, if that is they want to stop it at all.

What they do at the moment is anyones guess but with all the suppemental bull#*$! around these days and the number of pages/sites dropped incorrectly for suposedly dup content I would say that they would be better to do knothing than to get it wrong.

Again, does anyone have any idea how MSN and Yahoo! aproach this problem? or do they just ignore dup content?


10:51 am on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hi Cleanup:

YES its a big chore chasing scrapers / plagiarists / copycats / infringers, but I do it anyway.
While G could/should do more, there are dangers in that.
They could mistake the copy for the original, compounding the crime immensely.

Yes, I did say 'crime'. Copyright Infringement is a Federal Offense in the USA,
relevant law includes 17 U.S.C. 506, 18 U.S.C. 2319
18 U.S.C. 2318, and so forth.


Even if a scraper is unaware of this legislation, that was NEVER any excuse.
Scrapers should really really think twice. They could get in WAY deeper than they planned. -LH


2:29 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We had the same problem with content on our site. After contacting the owner a few times by email and having no replies we went the DMCA route.

Yahoo responded in less than two weeks to our letter and would contact the owner about the problem.

Owner contacted us to say dup content has been removed.

Google responded six weeks after DMCA letter saying they couldn't find dup content. We told them Yahoo has taken care of this matter.

MSN never replied to letter.

Two thumbs up to Yahoo's quick response.


2:39 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Good responses all around. I don't see the point in trying to put me down though. Contribute additional ideas, your experiences or don't contribute, really.

Thanks for the copyscape link...

[edited by: Pico_Train at 2:45 pm (utc) on April 22, 2006]


2:39 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

That's one thing for Yahoo. They seem fairly quick to respond to dmca matters. Had an issue once myself and was very pleased at the response. Google on the other hand.

Me: "Wake up, Google, wake up!"

Google: "zzz.zzzz.zzz."


2:40 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have a fair number of sites and every page on every one of them is original content. Over the years many of my pages on many of my sites have been copied, scraped, ect. Every now and then I check out of simple curiousity. I have never sent one e-mail to any of these people and I have never spent any time trying to combat the problem. My income has been steady as a rock (knock on wood) for years and my positions for any of my sites do not appear to have suffered because of scraping.
This chasing of the scrapers and copiers seems like a lot of unnecessary stress and wasted time to me. I can understand if you have images you don't want people hotlinking to.
I'm not saying people are wrong to chase down copiers and scrapers, only that my personal experience has convinced me it is not necessary and therefore a waste of my time.


1:02 am on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm with sandy.

A scraper can not hurt you, if you spend your time writing content, getting links, etc,

Every minute you spend chasing others, you could have spent improving your own site.

You'll only catch the chumps, not the champs, and it the champs you need to worry about.


Cleanup. Again. First, deos not mean owner.

I could put up 1000 pages today on a pr3 site.

They may be 2 clicks deep and not get into the google index for weeks, months even considering home page is only pr3

I could get sraped today, and someone else could out these pages on a higher pr site, and get them indexed immediately.

Its my content. Google thinks i am NOT first.


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