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RSS Abuse, Duplicate Content and Parasite Websites

Jason has spoken out about something that a number of us have been mulling over for the past week or so – RSS Abuse. He points to Skweezer as one of the culprits that is targeting their blogs.

I’ve noticed a growing trend recently for sites to do this. Skweezer has pages for most of my blogs also (http://www.skweezer.net/s.aspx/2/www.livingroom.org.au/photolog/ is the one for my digicam one). Basically they are repackaging content of sites/blogs for viewing on PDAs and Phones. Not a bad idea in many respects – however they are taking complete posts and giving no real link backs. They are also stripping the advertisements from the sites also.

About the only thing that I can see on their version of my site that is linked directly back to and hosted on my site is the images. So not only are they using my content without giving me a way to benefit from what they are doing – but I’m also hosting their images.

This does not seem a fair deal to me.

The other thing that concerns me about this approach is that now there are two pages with almost identical content for each page on my site – there is duplicate content. Google does not look favorably upon duplicate content – it downgrades the ranking of sites that use it and I suspect that this practice will (and already has) downgraded the ranking of blogs that are duplicated in this way.

In a similar way sites like Excite Japan seem to be doing similar things with some of my blogs. Again check out this translated version of my digicam blog that they are running. At least in this case they are still showing my ads and so I get some benefit – however again some of the pages on this site will (and do) come up as duplicate content on Google. I know when I search on CopyScape for some of my blog posts it shows these pages – if CopyScape can see them as duplicates I worry that Google does also.

A number of people have suggested to me that my recent massive downgrade in traffic from Google is likely to at least partially be due to this duplicate content.

To be honest I’m pretty angry about this sort of thing. I’m just a nice guy trying to make an honest living from my sites – I don’t have the time or energy to fight against slime like these sites who are like parasites – sucking all the goodness from what I do.

It is time some of us stood together to tackle issues like this. The latest downgrade in traffic from Google will cost me a large sum of money (six figures) over the next 12 months unless it rights itself – and if its sites like these duplicate sites that are behind it then I’m willing to fight. Is anyone else?

Update: As with Jason I’d encourage you to email Skweezer’s CEO and be removed you can reach them at [email protected] and cc [email protected] (thanks to Jason for those email addresses).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Someone was doing the same thing with my blog as well. I tried to get in touch with them to have my content removed.

    They didn’t get back to me, so I decided to give them a different rss feed. Since I knew the ip address that was scraping my feed, I redirected it to a different one.

    I wrote about this at: http://www.paulstimesink.com/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=301&blogId=2

  2. Here’s the IP address they use to pull your site’s content:

    216.115.239.17

    I strongly suggest blocking it, it’s much easier than political action and it gets the point accross. (If they start using different IPs or spoofing, it will just prove they’re up to no good.)

    While it could be argued they’re providing a “service” rather than a copy of the site, if the copies get into Google it’s the same thing.

  3. Tom Hanna says:

    If Google rank is a concern, perhaps it might be worth taking the issue of this site and others like it up with Google. My experience with their customer service has always been positive and they are publically committed to providing a useful search experience. Of course, the Google cache does the same thing in some ways, but a) doesn’t affect your search results b) links to your page c) doesn’t strip your ads or links. If nothing else, I’m sure if Google is made aware of the problem that they’ll treat the Skweezer site appropriately in not downgrading the original creators PR, etc.

  4. Tom Hanna says:

    Also, if Page Rank is a concern, you should probably consider removing the live link to Skweezer dot net in your post and replacing it with a text only reference.

  5. Lenin Nair says:

    Darren thanks for this post, I have added it to my latest post on copyright protection

  6. Raymond says:

    I too have been fighting these sites for over a year now and they are killing my traffic. Every time I get the site back on top, they scrape it, and in days it is on twenty other sites. Feel free to contact me as a fellow webmaster who will do anything I can to help our cause.

    Ray

  7. My site uses relative URL, Skweezer strips out my html to display all my content from their site they even duplicate Paypal pages, these bastard should be sued under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act for taking others work and displaying it in their own pages. What arrogant bastards, there is not a single link left to a single one of hundreds of my pages they display.

    I am taking it up with Google and then taking legal action. I email those two addresses they arrogant mongrels did not reply when I first complained to them over a year ago.

    These bastards are ripping off our hard earned content and displaying it as their own while removing all links back to the real content owner. Bastards.

    Tim
    http://www.hereticpress.com

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Said Darren Rowe of ProBlogger: Basically they are repackaging content of sites/blogs for viewing on PDAs and Phones. Not a bad idea in many respects – however they are taking complete posts and giving no real link backs. They are also stripping the advertisements from the sites also. [...]