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joined:Oct 27, 2001
I have emailed Google and reported them but Google says, they can't do anything about bad web design and that tells me that they, Google, doesn't really care who displays ads as long as someone clicks on the ads.
I suspect that you've paraphrased Google's reply rather heavily (I can't imagine them saying anything like "we don't really care who displays ads as long as someone clicks on the ads"). In any case, there isn't anything that you can do about scrapers unless you want to take them to court, where you might or might not prevail. Scrapers are like e-mail spammers: They're the scum of the Internet, but they'll probably be around for as long as they can eke out a tiny profit on each of their made-and-hosted-for-almost-nothing pages.
If it's any consolation, Google does seem to be attacking scrapers on the search side, presumably on the theory that it's more cost-effective to hurt scrapers as a group by depriving them of traffic than it is to send the AdSense Police after them. When I did my own recent link: search with Yahoo, most of the scrapers who linked to my site had PR0 in the Google toolbar. And I haven't noticed many scrapers ranking high for the keyphrases and keywords that I've searched on lately.
Is there anything you can do about scraper sites?
Yes, a couple of things. But you're not going to like them very much.
The first is to educate people. Explain to anyone who will listen how to identify this garbage, and the importance of not clicking on any links within this kind of site. So tell your friends, and if appropriate your site visitors, why the search engines have become so useless of late.
The second action you can take is to discourage scraper bots from your site. That could be anything from banning all bots, as Brett has done here, to sticking some of your best content in a members-only area. Obviously this isn't going to be SE-friendly, and won't appeal much to most people round here.
I don't know how useful it would be to look out for IPs and user-agents of known scraper bots. This is probably not a good plan, because it's a time-intensive way of trying to hit a moving target.
There's no point banning visitors by referrer when they come in from scraper sites, but it might be useful to identify these visitors. That way you could do something server-side that would display a relevant message to these people about the evils of scraperdom.
This does work, I have done it a few times myself, although it is a bit time consuming - but worth it if you are being thoroughly ripped off by someone.
ewoss.com seems to be popular and ad.doubleclick.net, clickbank.net, hop.clickbank.net, servedby.advertising.com, shopping.yahoo.com and websponsors.com.
Like I said, what happens here is that people use their affiliate id from these sites in the link so when you click they might get a couple of cents from that and/or get paid from these sites for sending people.
I am not sure how much a click is worth from these sites but I am willing to remove them for now and see what happens.