OPINION

Help! Someone's Stealing My Blog Posts!

September 04, 2007
B Shantanu

Yesterday, I became a victim of splogging.

After blogging for three years, I was actually quite thrilled. Someone actually found my posts worth “stealing”!

Wikipedia describes “splogs“ as:

Spam blogs, sometimes referred to by the neologism splogs, are artificially created weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliated websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites.

The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors, and/or use the blog as a link outlet to get new sites indexed.

Spam blogs are usually a type of scraper site, where content is often either Inauthentic Text or merely stolen (see blog scraping) from other websites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless websites.

I discovered I had been “splogged” completely by chance.  At some point yesterday, I saw four links back to my posts from a single site - all within the space of a few minutes.

This was clearly an “admirer”! Curiously, the site that the links came from did not remotely looked like it might have anything to with issues that I cover. What I really saw were a lot of Google ads.

Not only was the site unrelated to what I usually write about - worse, the posts were reproduced - in full - without any links or acknowledgement of the source.

Now I know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery etc…but this was not imitation - it was plagiarism…or simply put - “stealing”.

Like most other bloggers, I protect my stuff under the Creative Commons license and am more than happy for people to share it or otherwise publicise it…but it does make me angry when people do not attribute or cite their source(s).

If you think splogging - or blog scraping - which is what happened to me - is a minor issue, think again.

Here is a relatively well-known incident that happened about two years ago to Podcaster Erik Marcus. Read it here in full - in his own words. As a bonus, it also has a comment from George Lambert who is “the person accused of being the worlds first podjacker” detailing his “side of the story!”

After a little bit of diligent search on the web, I came across Lorelle’s guide on how to fight spam blogging…Taking a cue from her, here is what I am considering writing to the site owner.

Dear Sir/ Madam,

It has been brought to my notice that you have recently reproduced written content and some recent posts from my blog on your website without attribution or acknowledgement and link back to the source.

I would urge you to reconsider your actions and either remove these cross-posts or acknowledge the source and provide a link back to my main blog.

I look forward to hearing from you and I trust that you will do the needful.

Sincerely,
B Shantanu

I hope this is the last I hear of it. If not, I have an interesting series of posts coming up…

I am certain that at least some folks on Desicritics (and on Blogcritics) must have faced this issue before. I wonder how they dealt with it.

Look forward to hearing from others who may have had a similar experience and other views/ideas.

***

For more on this, see the wikipedia entry on Splogs

Here is a fellow sufferer’s tale and here is a fascinating post on Why Sploggers Splog!

Finally, here is a post by Colette Vogele on some of the legal implications of RSS hijacking.

P.S. I just realised that I am now in the elite company of bloggers like Om Malik.  That can’t be bad! :-)

Until about three years ago, B Shantanu was like any normal, middle-class Indian - long on debate/discussion and short on action. Something happened two years ago that changed all that for him. He still has to work, eat and sleep like most of us but for the past three years, he has been trying very hard to change a few things. A lot of that effort comes through his writings http://satyameva-jayate.org/ but the pen only goes so far. Someday, he hopes to be able to do a lot more to bring about fundamental and lasting change. To read more of what he writes on, please visit http://satyameva-jayate.org/
eXTReMe Tracker
Keep reading for comments on this article and add some feedback of your own!

Comments! Feedback! Speak and be heard!

Comment on this article or leave feedback for the author

#1
Jonathan Dingman
URL
September 4, 2007
07:22 AM

Yeah it's a tough battle.

If you want to try to combat it, you could try offer "partial" feeds instead of full content feeds or try adding a "fingerprint" in the feeds.

Try this too.

http://www.copyscape.com/

#2
temporal
URL
September 4, 2007
10:46 AM

JD:

interesting!

I just checked my last submission on copyscape..and guess what i found!

News for pollution de l eau OR humain
... Using their skills they grab the attention of the willing reader on this roller-coaster journey - from the the zenith of emotions to the nadir of despair ...
http://www.jamespot.com/news/en/pollution+de+l+eau+OR+humain.html - cached

and when i clicked on it i got this message:

This page seems to have recently removed your content. Click here to see the cached version.


#3
B Shantanu
URL
September 5, 2007
11:52 AM

Jonathan: Thank you.
I was aware of the partial feeds workaround but had not heard of copyscape.

Will have a look.

#4
Kelly Jad'on
URL
September 9, 2007
06:43 AM

Mr. Shantanu,
Just yesterday I found I have been splogged! Somewhat upset, I'm happy to have found your article.

Thanks!

#5
Kelly Jad'on
URL
September 20, 2007
07:24 AM

Mr. Shantanu:

Please see below a link that splogs. My work is there--assigned the authorship of "admin" rather than myself. I've written to the site, and left comments that this work is stolen--see comment at the bottom of my Dr. Pamela Peeke article. Unbelievable! I also believe other BlogCritic authors' work is used there.
Thanks,
Kelly Jad'on
http://myhewad.com/health/interview-author-dr-pamela-peeke-discusses-fit-to-live/

Add your comment

(Or ping: http://desicritics.org/tb/6172)

Personal attacks are not allowed. Please read our comment policy.






Remember Name/URL?

Please preview your comment!