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What is a scraper site?

     

sunzfan

4:11 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Okay - people keep referring to scraper sites and I'm not sure exactly what that is - could someone quickly give me a definition?

It's different than spam pages?

oddsod

3:15 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



the definition of scraper site has two aspects, that are constantly mixed and blurred. Maybe intentionally, maybe unintentionally.

because the scrapermasters argue that if the system (i.e. Google) does nothing to stop them (and surely G could if they wanted to), their behaviour must be okay or even welcome

Disingenuous, my friend. If there is any "mixing and blurring" it's happening by those trying to associate scraper creators with the Google detractors. The assumption that there is a connection is itself what's blinkering you from seeing the truth.

Pause for a second to consider the possibility that I don't have a scraper site. No, really, pause and consider it. What's glaringly obvious is that people like birdstuff and I have expressed clearly our distaste for scrapers but also our explanation for where the problem lies. You choose to ignore the former and offer distractions from the latter. No matter how badly you feel about scrapers your attacking the concept of scraping - or the people who indulge in it - won't make scraping go away. You know who it is who needs to take action to make scrapers extinct but you target all your energies in the fruitless barking at the wrong place - up the "scraper creator" tree. We all seem to agree that scrapers should go, we seem to differ only on the "how". I subscribe to the theory that Google should do something about it, many of you seem to think the responsibility for not creating scrapers should reside with individual webmasters. It is frustrating that at least some people seem to persist in thinking that the latter is even a remotely possible solution.

spaceylacie

3:24 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



From what I've gathered, the new TrustRank should solve the problem. From what I've gathered, Internet hubs will be given authority according to how trustworthy they are.

Trustworthy hubs will be the ones able to distinguish between good content and scapers(SERP spammers)... according to Google's guidelines, not our interpretation of the word. Getting links on these trustworthy hubs will be imperative. Spammers, scrapers, won't be able to get links on these hubs, at least, Google hopes this is true, based on percentages.

oddsod

3:31 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



If Google is hoping Trustrank will cure scrapers they're clutching at straws. All that trustrank will do is make some links more expensive than others. And scrapers can afford to buy a few links.

Think about it: scraper DNA is easy to figure out algorithmically. And the Google crew must know one or two things about algos. For all we know Google is aware of every single scraper site. Just hit the switch, boys!

Atticus

5:28 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)



"You know who it is who needs to take action to make scrapers extinct but you target all your energies in the fruitless barking at the wrong place - up the "scraper creator" tree. We all seem to agree that scrapers should go, we seem to differ only on the "how". I subscribe to the theory that Google should do something about it, many of you seem to think the responsibility for not creating scrapers should reside with individual webmasters. It is frustrating that at least some people seem to persist in thinking that the latter is even a remotely possible solution."

Well that's a bit convoluted.

I don't like scrapers, see? And I think G should do something about them, see?

I don't expect the scrapers to stop just because I often say, "Gee, I hate those lousy scrapers." And I fail to see how disparaging scrapers causes Google not to do anything about them.

Think of it this way. If I said, "Rapists are bad people," that doesn't mean that I am trying to convince rapists to play nice. And I fail to see how pointing out that rapists are very bad has any negative effect on the police catching them. See?

In fact, the more people who shout, "Look, there goes a rapist," or "Those lousy scrapers really tick me off," the MORE likely it is that some authority figure will take notice and do something about it.

[edited by: Atticus at 5:30 pm (utc) on June 8, 2005]

HughMungus

5:30 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



moral aspects

Really, just forget about moral aspects. It's business. As long as it's legal, people will do it and not think twice about it.

hyperkik, regarding Fair Use, I would love to argue with you how what search engines do does NOT fall under fair use and I'd love to demonstrate to you how search engines that use snippets DO do harm to webmasters, but, I've said it all before and no one listens because they've all already made-up their minds.

You think scrapers are bad. What are you going to do about it?

Atticus

5:32 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)



Human Gus,

Talk to an IP attorney yourself. Much like Taylor, you may not like what you find.

-Zaius.

HughMungus

5:36 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Talk to an IP attorney yourself. Much like Taylor, you may not like what you find.

Like I said, no one listens.

But it does bring up a question. If people's sites are getting scraped and they don't like it, why aren't there a ton of lawsuits against the scrapers and against Google for contributory infringement for providing the snippets and for providing the advertising revenue? You'd think some hotshot lawyer would be all over it with a class action case. I wonder why there hasn't been one...hmm...

oddsod

5:49 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



And I fail to see how disparaging scrapers causes Google not to do anything about them.

Because you are blaming scrapers. See? If all the world blamed the scrapers Google needs do nothing. "It's not our problem, guv". But, if it's universally accepted that Google is what spawned scrapers, that Google is encouraging scrapers (by not cleaning the SERPs), that Google is the root cause of their very existence... then something may happen. Hold the SE on a pedestal but have the vision to recognise the truth: Google is basically a scraper (and that could be one reason why you still see scrapers in SERPs).

the more people who shout, "Look, there goes a rapist," or "Those lousy scrapers really tick me off," the MORE likely it is that some authority figure will take notice and do something about it.

Oh, well. You guys are obviously not shouting enough. Keep shouting. Do it louder. Raise the volume to a deafening crescendo. But you're shouting at the scrapers.... like they give a damn. As far as the only "authority figure" is concerned: "It's not our problem, guv".

Atticus

5:57 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)



oddsod,

How does saying a scraper is bad stop Google or anyone else from opposing them?

Please explain the dynamic of that, cuz I just don't get it.

Atticus

6:00 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)



Human Gus,

You're right. People don't listen. Talk to an IP attorney yourself. You may not like what you find.

[edited by: Atticus at 6:16 pm (utc) on June 8, 2005]

oddsod

6:05 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Atticus, it's deflecting attention from the source of the problem. Scrapers found a hole and they are exploiting it. People will always exploit holes. As webmasters we should focus on the cause of those holes and concentrate our efforts at the people who can fix them. The more you say that scrapers are bad the more you are entrenching yourself in a position of "This is not Google's fault". We don't like scrapers but they are not bad - they're just a variation on SEO (which almost all webmasters do). Strictly speaking your sites probably violate more Google guidelines than the scraper sites (if you really, really read Google's small print). That's from a purely technical point of view... not a usefulness test.

There will always be small time bad guys. An SE that can't protect against the commonest brand is faulty as far as I'm concerned.

Atticus

6:07 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)



oddsod,

I say I don't like scrapers for the sheer pleasure of saying it. I, for one, don't expect or require that anyone take any action whatsoever.

Thanks for being so concerned about me, but I just enjoy jawing with the webmaster crowd and a popular topic is "Those scrapers sure do suck!"

We talk, we laugh; a good time is had by all.

Except those few people who don't publish scrapers, mind you, and don't like them either, but who think "they are just them same as Google" and "anyone who would even mention how sucky they are is just plain mad. Mad I tell you!"

kwngian

6:07 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member




No point arguing about it. The scrapers are hoping that things will stay this way at least for a little longer.

The less that is being mentioned about them, the better, so any attempt at it will be rebuted instantaneously by the guilty parties. (And to be fair, also those that are neutral to scrapers)

Atticus

6:09 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)



Scrapers are bad and not very profitable.

hyperkik

7:03 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



HughMungus - you would love to argue but... what? I'm, of course, relying upon legal authority; should you choose to argue, do try to find some authority for your position. In the interim, to avoid the harm you describe, I'm sure you will be blocking the major search engines from spidering any sites with which you are associated. [Insert eyeroll here.]

In the meantime, go back and read the legal authority I presented, which includes a description of successful litigation against a scraper site, EF Cultural Travel BV v. Explorica, Inc., 274 F.3d 577 (1st Cir., 2001).

HughMungus

7:35 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



You're right. People don't listen. Talk to an IP attorney yourself. You may not like what you find.

Hmmm...I could swear I already answered this. Would you like to explain what you found when you talked to an IP attorney? Or have you?

ken_b

7:36 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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



Geeze, I wonder how many new scraper sites have been built while this thread has been running.

Anything that "bad" has got to look "good" to a bunch of folks. OK, they're probably the folks collecting scraper site adsense checks, but still...

For what it's worth, I set up a "Google Alerts" for my domain name. About once a day, sometimes more, I get alerted to a new scraper page listing my site.

HughMungus

7:37 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Except those few people who don't publish scrapers, mind you, and don't like them either, but who think "they are just them same as Google" and "anyone who would even mention how sucky they are is just plain mad. Mad I tell you!"

We're not saying that. We're asking you how you can say that scapers are morally wrong when what some search engines do to webmasters is also morally wrong and what some webmasters here do is morally wrong?

Like I keep saying: forget the moral aspects. They're irrelevant.

HughMungus

7:44 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



hyperkik,

I addressed this last time, back in March: [webmasterworld.com...]

'whether unrestricted and wide-spread conduct of the sort engaged in by the defendant . . . would result in a substantially adverse impact on the potential market for the original.'

Google devalues information on web pages by providing snippets and caching websites. Are you as outraged at Google as you are at scraper sites?

spaceylacie

7:51 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



200 posts later.................

Juan_G

7:55 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



You may not take the results from a Google search and reformat and display them, or mirror the Google home page or results pages on your Web site.

Google Terms of Service

hyperkik

7:57 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



HughMungus... that was supposed to be legal authority? You don't even pretend to be injured by Google - you don't even lie to us by claiming to have delisted your sites. We're not birdbrains - nobody is being fooled.

ogletree

8:08 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



If we made a counter for new scraper pages being made currently it would look a lot like that national debt billboard.

I know people that churn out new scraper sites every day. Business is Business. I don't think you realize how much money these guys are making. Can you blame somebody for wanting to work a few hours a day and make $100K plus a year.

Atticus

8:11 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)



Human Gus,

"We're asking you how you can say that scapers are morally wrong when what some search engines do to webmasters is also morally wrong and what some webmasters here do is morally wrong?"

Are you saying that because person A does something wrong, forget about it because somewhere out there is a person X, Y or Z who has also done something wrong?

So two wrongs make a right?

The scraper defenders all seem to have their talking points in order: scrapers are bad, but for one reason or another no one should ever mention them.

Sorry Charlie, but I call 'em as I see 'em. Scrapers are bad. And I don't necessarily mean 'morally wrong' if that makes your knees quiver. I mean bad as in "they suck," and anybody who does publish them has got to be nuts because there is little money in them but a great chance to ruin your reputation.

Atticus

8:15 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)



ogletree,

If scraper publishing requires you to put in a couple hours work per day to make 100k/year then it's not really as profitable as publishing real content, is it?

Rodney

8:44 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



For what it's worth, I set up a "Google Alerts" for my domain name. About once a day, sometimes more, I get alerted to a new scraper page listing my site

I thought that only alerted you if an actual news story was posted about your domain name?

HughMungus

9:18 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



hyper,

I claimed no legal authority. Let me know when you're ready to reply what I posted back in March.

HughMungus

9:20 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



So two wrongs make a right?

Like I keep saying, argue all you want based on "morality". It's meaningless.

Atticus

9:30 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)



Gusmeister,

"Like I keep saying, argue all you want based on "morality". It's meaningless."

You're the one who is fixated on morality, which is why I keep having to mention it.

There are alot of ways to be "bad" without bringing morality into it. For one thing, based on some numbers being kicked around here, scraper publishing just doesn't look to be very profitable considering the amount to be made vs. the effort involved and the risk to one's reputation.

(That's 'reputation' as in how other humans inhabiting the surface of the planet will be willing to interact with you in future endeavors, and not 'reputation' as some "meaningless" moral abstract.)

HughMungus

11:03 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



You're the one who is fixated on morality, which is why I keep having to mention it.

No, I'm not. Someone said that it's immoral. I said that it's no more immoral than what search engines do and what most webmasters do. But even if it is the most immoral thing ever done on the web -- it's still legal which is all that matters.

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