I am a Victim of Content Scraping

I’d never even heard of content scraping until yesterday when I found my article Why I Write About My Grief posted on two other blogs. The other blogs did not quote the article, nor did they reblog it. (When an article is reblogged, only the first paragraph or so shows up on another blog, with a link back to the original blog.) They stole the entire thing. One of the blogs was hosted by WordPress, so WordPress suspended the blog for violation of services. The other blog was not hosted by WordPress (it’s a self-hosted blog powered by WordPress, which is a completely different matter) so I have no recourse except legal means. Sometimes courts will take action against a “scraper,” but more often than not, if it is an automated theft by special programs rather than copy and paste by humans, there’s not much that can be done since the site will simply disappear and reappear under another name.

Apparently, search engines cannot distinguish between scraped content and original content, so the plagiarized content (let’s call it by it’s real name) shows up first in search results since it is the newer content, which makes the theft even more of a problem. If you are the victim of scrapers, there are some things you can do to fight back. First, take the steps outlined in this article from WordPress Support: Content Theft – What to Do. Second, you can follow the suggestions in this article: Content Scrapers – How to Find Out Who is Stealing Your Content & What to Do About It. Third, ignore the situation but take steps to make sure you get the credit.

If you decide on the third option, the easiest way to get at least partial credit for future plagiarized material is to use a link to your own site in your content, such as the link to my grief in article in the first sentence of this blog. Even better, add a promo to the bottom of the blog so that no matter where the article appears, information about you as the author will go along with it. That’s what I decided to do: add a promo to the bottom of my blogs. Regular readers will forgive the intrusion (I hope), new readers will learn a bit about me, and any bot that steals my content will also spread the word about me and my books.


Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free. Print books can also be ordered from your favorite bookstore.

17 Responses to “I am a Victim of Content Scraping”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Thanks for letting me know, Pat. Now I know what to do if I ever get scraped.

  2. shadowoperator Says:

    Good for you, Pat! Time to find some way to put teeth in rules against Internet plagiarism.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      This has happened to me before, but it never struck me as being so blatant as it did with the grief article, maybe because it was such a personal post. With the bio on my articles from now on, at least they will be stealing an attribution along with the article.

  3. dellanioakes Says:

    How do you find out if you’ve been a victim of “scraping”?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I got pingbacks, so who knows how many other copies of the posts are out there! If you click on the link in this post for the article “Content Scrapers – How to Find Out Who is Stealing Your Content & What to Do About It.” It will tell you several ways of finding out if you’ve been a victim of scraping.

      • shadowoperator Says:

        Pat, I thought pingbacks are legal stuff. I mean, isn’t a pingback just a way of letting your readers know the links to other sites that may be important in the evaluation of your own site? I’ve gotten two pingbacks before, and both of them were more like spammers trying to put THEIR content (which was very unlike mine) on MY site, so I just disallowed them. And the times when I put the addresses of other sites into my posts, I was writing reviews of the sites because I found them valuable. Surely these things are okay, though with the ones I disallowed I did so because they seemed unsuitable.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          Yes, pingbacks are good. Dellani asked how I found out that my post was copied. I clicked on a pingback and instead of a link to my post I found the entire post.

  4. Carrie Rubin Says:

    Excellent post. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. I like your idea of including a brief blurb about yourself at the bottom of each post. I may have to start doing that (and if I do, I’ll credit you with the idea 🙂 ).

  5. Amrita Skye Blaine Says:

    Thank you so much for this, Pat. I love your strategies, and will end up using one of them. I had never heard of “content scraping” either.

  6. awlasky Says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I’d never heard of it either, but will take steps as you have.

  7. Aaron Paul Lazar Says:

    Hi, Pat. I’ve seen this so often – it is really goofy. I wrote an article once about how my blog(s) had been constantly copied to other very bizarre blogs, but my words were scrambled and sounded like they’d been translated back and forth in several languages, then reposted. So odd. http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6001825743960552008#editor/target=post;postID=6969070335470183057

    Here are a few funny examples:

    “I designed to tracheophyte every garden on the grounds. There would be no stragglers mitt stagnant when I was through!”

    (original: I planned to weed every garden on the grounds. There would be no stragglers left standing when I was through!)

    “And, prizewinning of all, I would completely spot my proofs for Upstaged, the ordinal aggregation in the LeGarde Mystery Series. Due ‘any period now,’ I’d been promised that they’d come meet in instance for my carefully designed hiatus. When ended with Upstaged, I’d impact on Counterpoint, the ordinal book, and indite until my fingers cramped or I became a mummified author, affixed to the laptop with a vitrified countenance of revel on my grotesque mug.”

    (original: And, best of all, I would completely scour my proofs for Upstaged, the second book in the LeGarde Mystery Series. Due “any day now,” I’d been promised that they’d arrive just in time for my carefully planned hiatus. When finished with Upstaged, I’d work on Counterpoint, the ninth book, and write until my fingers cramped or I became a mummified author, glued to the laptop with a glazed expression of delight on my ugly mug.)

  8. maesprose Says:

    I am so sorry this has happened to you. Thanks for turning it into a lesson for all of us!

  9. griefhealing Says:

    Hi Pat ~ Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I did a little research of my own, and came across some helpful information. I don’t know if you’re on Google+, but you might want to check out these articles:
    “How and Why To Add Your Google Profile to Your Blog,” http://hotblogtips.com/how-and-why-to-add-your-google-profile-to-your-blog and “How to Add Google Author Tags to Your Blog,” http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/google-author-tags/
    The first article includes a short video in which the presenters mention how doing this will help with the problem of content scraping.
    Hoping this helps,

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Marty, Thank you for your help. I followed the instructions and will be adding a google author tag to my posts from now on. Lucky, I already had a google+ profile, so I just had to add my blog, and while I was at it, I added a header to my profile page. Maybe someday I’ll even figure out how to make the best use of google+.

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