Monday, January 14, 2013

Blog scrapers and what to do about them

One of the really neat things about this dog blogger community is that we get to learn from one another, about bloggers we would not have come across on our own. The other day, my friend Pam from Something Wagging this Way Comes emailed me about a blogger named Allen who is apparently also a 30-something woman, with a boyfriend named Florian, two dogs named Fozzie and Lamar, and who had recently traveled to Ithaca, NY!

Who knew?


Of course, that is just what you would have assumed upon looking at "his" blog that day, as it had been lifted from my blog without attribution along with a bunch of other posts from dog blogs we know and love.




Why anyone would do this, I don't know. I couldn't see that there was money to be made from it, or fame to be gained. Just a blog with a bunch of other people's posts, re-posted, without attribution.

So what to do about it? Suggestions include contacting the offending poster (impossible in this case, as there was no contact info or way to comment) and contacting the web host to let them know that a site they host is infringing on a copyright. The offending site merely said on the bottom "powered by wordpress.org," which as I learned just means the blog uses wordpress open-source software and wordpress.com takes no responsibility for it. 

So I used a site like http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ to find out who did host the offending blog at http://101virtualassistant.com. From several different "who is hosting" sites I got two different answers, and I contacted both to let them know about the infringement.

And the account has now been suspended. Yay! I don't know how it got suspended, or why, or if it has anything to do with my efforts, but I have to admit its kinda satisfying.

What do YOU think of blog scrapers? Is it a form of flattery, or should it be discouraged?

12 comments:

  1. This is the first time I'm hearing of this. How weird. I'm intrigued. I'm wondering what they gain? Good for you to take this on.

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  2. that is so weird, it's not like our own blogs are generating income in most cases!! I would be annoyed would probably take similar actions!

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  3. Thanks again for the heads up (and finding justice!). The weird thing is that the guy wasn't just scraping generic posts about How to Help a Dog XXXX, but the post he included were specific to those dogs and families. So strange...I don't understand the benefit of it.

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  4. It's one thing if you are using someone's content and giving them credit for it, totally another if you are just plagiarizing. I'm glad you got the account suspended.

    I really don't see what can be gained from ganking someone's blog.

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  5. Bizarre, lazy, unethical, and totally weird. Glad Pam and you followed up - when I know to whom to credit, I give credit; if anyone ever complains (and no one has), I would pull/delete/or give credit. Thanks for the heads up.

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  6. Good for you for taking steps to find out who was doing this and try to put a stop to it. I sometimes get weird letters and odd requests, sometimes hard to sort out the legit ones from the scammers. BTW, hello from a fellow New Yorker. (Love Ithaca...my kids went to Cornell.)

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  7. I just recently read about this happening to another blogger I follow. It's crazy! Like everyone else, I wonder WHY? It's also very creepy:/

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  8. How awesome. We are happy you did the investigating and it is suspended
    Benny & Lily

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  9. So glad you got such fast action. And it looks like you've educated all your readers about this weird thing.

    I can only assume it has to do with having enough content to make the site rank higher on google for a future sale. If someone can show a domain name has some traffic, they can sell the name later for more money.

    We can't even imagine the crazy ways unethical people come up with to make money. That's why they get away with so much.

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  10. I'm still getting over the shock of Pamela being called Pam! ;)

    I'm really proud of you for having done something about this !!!^#!! person and getting the account suspended. I once stumbled across another site that had used one of my posts but he/she had linked to it. I had no idea who that person was and never bothered to find out. I know if I google LDOLL, I see some funny links including image ones. I'm too chicken to click on them. Maybe I should watermark my pics but honestly, I don't feel they're good enough to bother. What are these sad sad people thinking eh? Sigh.

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  11. Bluehost is definitely the best web-hosting provider for any hosting services you require.

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