Attack of the Blog Clones

November 28, 2007 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Throughout the past several months I’ve noticed that I would receive numerous pingbacks from other blogs that were simply ripping off my content and using it as their own.

This is done automatically, no doubt, although I think that some actual human had to have originally added my site into their script that rips content.

Two of the worst culprits are (God, forgive me for giving them traffic) RookieMillionaire.com and ArmchairEntrepreneur.com which seem to each rip about one post per week. Here are some examples of ripped content from my blog: RookieMillionaire [1, 2] ArmchairEntrepreneur [1, 2] Voixx-Facts [1].

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But it’s not just my blog, other sites such as PublisherSpot.com are being ripped from too (example).

At least I can see some satisfaction from some of these sites being shut down such as this one where somebody like me probably complained to their host.

These are just a few examples, but there are probably hundreds of such sites stealing and ripping my content. These examples are also only posting about a paragraph of text, but some of them post the entire posts.

And while they do link back to my full post, you can’t simply expect to repost my content, even if it’s partial, on a site whored with ads and then just link back to my site and think that makes it okay.

Normally I wouldn’t care about such worthless sites, but I’ve been noticing them grow lately with the amount of pingbacks on my posts. I’m worried that search engines such as Google might penalize me since my content may appear to be duplicated content since it is on so many other sites. Is Google smart enough to know which is the real, true content?

I also don’t appreciate the pingbacks in my comments from these sites… that is the salt in the wound. I wonder if there is a way for me to block out certain sites from displaying pingbacks on my blog… perhaps I just add the URL to my list of blocked commenters the same way I do with people? Another solution would be to disable pingbacks entirely, although I do like to have legitimate ones…

Or perhaps I am looking at this the wrong way, and should actually be grateful that these sites are linking back to me as it grows the number of sites linking back to my site. But I just can’t stop thinking about how that very fact may actually hinder me in regards to SEO rather than benefit me..

What are your thoughts?

peephole

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Posted: November 28th, 2007 under Articles  

21 Responses to “Attack of the Blog Clones”

  1. Gyutae Park says:

    Ok, this is actually a very common blackhat method to gain traffic for these splogs (spam blogs). Essentially what they are doing is scraping content from other blogs, linking back so they don’t seem as obtrusive, and posting a pingback – hoping people will then click through. If the link doesn’t have a nofollow attribute then better for them as they gain SEO value as well.

    Now this is done in MASS and with enough pingbacks, a good amount of traffic can be gained – which then translates to more ad clicks, SEO value for rankings, and more linking power for the splog – which they then use to leverage other blackhat sites in their network.

    How do you combat this? My view is that no matter how much you protest or try to out these sites, they will always exist. You can actually turn it into a positive by using internal links in your posts. Since the scraper site uses your entire RSS feed, all internal links to your site will remain in tact. Use this to your advantage to gain backlinks. Also, implementing a Related Posts plugin into your RSS feed helps accomplish this as well.

    In terms of duplicate content in Google, usually the most authoritative site that publishes the content will get credit as the original source. Google isn’t perfect on this, but unless you’re a completely new site or you’ve been banned I wouldn’t worry about this.

  2. fumbler says:

    I had noticed this a week or two back but figured you’d be on top of it so didn’t bother messaging you to point this out due to the trackback link (which was how I found it).

    You can try to send their hosts emails telling them they have copyrighted content on their website and hope it’s against their TOS and have the site pulled. I’m curious too as to how to thwart this or if G can tell the difference.

  3. Jack says:

    Wow, Great response GP. I actually learned a lot from that one little comment! It’s good to know we wont get penalized because I have this same problem myself.

  4. Great image lol – who made it?

      • I kind of like it actually – lol

        But wait a sec I just noticed the right side of the image.

        The heads are on backwards! lol

        • Tyler Cruz says:

          I meant it was pathetic that I spent to long making all those little heads myself :P

          Regarding the backwards heads on the right – D’oh! I certainly knew this when making the image, but it would have been much too time consuming to make the back image of my head, so I just put my front on there and told myself “Nah… nobody will look THAT closely.. and it looks like their walking forwards anyhow… hopefully nobody will notice…”

          But then you had to come along and…

  5. Tyler, if those blogs are using Adsense (I only looked at RookieMillionaire and it did), you can report them to Adsense and get their Adsense account closed. :)

  6. dan.N says:

    (i don’t know why i still had my website in my name. took it out)

    i’d like to add that Google compares cache dates on content to weight which site has the “legitimate copy.”

  7. F1Wolf says:

    I have same problem and yesterday was actually an extreme when I got about 200 of those and to quite old posts … But usually the Akismet catches them up, so all I need to do is to delete. And if they make it through Akismet, than usually they need to wait for moderation as I moderate the first comments

    it gets annoying, but at least the spam is not visible to visitors

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Yes, I forgot to mention that Akismet catches 99% of these… I actually get a few dozen of these sites copy my posts each day but Akismet catches the pingbacks.

      But a few sites keep getting through Akismet.. which again makes me wonder if I can ban them by manually entering their domain names in the ban filter option… anyone know if I can do this?

  8. 360gamr says:

    Tyler, instead of providing those dodgy sites with links, why not paste the URL instead, as providing them with links will improve their pagerank (amongst others), especially from a site like yours with a decent pagerank.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Don’t worry, I posted those links up with “nofollow” tags :-) The only benefit they’ll get from me is a bit of traffic, and I’m sure that none of my readers will click on their ads.

      As for my PageRank, since when was PR3 decent?! :D

  9. Abi Titmuss says:

    The same thing happened to me, not just with those three sites but with a bunch of others as well. I emailed them but nothing happened. But, when I looked at my stats I found that I was getting a decent handful of hits FROM them and I didn’t worry about it anymore.

  10. Rob Schultz says:

    That’s the pro and the con of the Internet, it’s easy for anyone to get into business, but some people prefer to do it the easy way and with a lack of integrity. Hopefully, you’re able to get their adsense revoked or more…

  11. Empress says:

    I noticed my site showing up on those sites as well. I’m not surprised at all. Having an RSS feed opens it up. Having a site on the ‘Net opens it up.

    I think it comes with being online.

    There are always going to be imitators, those looking for a quick fix without having to work for it. I’m not really sure what they’re going to get out of it for the long term? But I suppose these sorts of things aren’t in it for the long-term.

    I just think this is inevitable.

  12. Marius Sescu says:

    From what I know, Google can detect which is the real, true content!
    Some time ago i moved my content from one blog to another (closing the first blog also) but as the operation took some time, I’ve had problems with Google, and i asume he detected the articles written on the first blog.

  13. […] by Splogs December 4, 2007 Posted by Gyutae Park Last week, Tyler made a post saying how he has been receiving numerous pingbacks from other blogs that were ripping off his content and using it as their own. This blog spam is […]

  14. […] on the December 4, 2007 Tags: attack, blog Last week, Tyler made a post saying how he has been receiving numerous pingbacks from other blogs that were ripping off his content and using it as their own. This blog spam is […]

  15. Gadget says:

    One of my blogs has scrapped too, but I don’t care since I’ve got decent traffic and the amazing I’ve got sales from them :-D

PeerFly

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