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How to Hit Content Scrapers Where it Hurts

This is a guest post by Robert from The College Investor.

If you’ve been blogging for any period of time, you’ve inevitably had your content stolen.  In fact, you’ve probably already taken steps to protect your content from being copied. And you’re also probably familiar with how to go about filing a DMCA takedown request.

However, I’m here to tell you to wait on doing that, and follow these two steps first!  You see, content scrapers are stealing your content for two basic reasons—to make money off it, or to build a site for links and/or traffic with it.

As such, to really hit them where it hurts, you need to hit them at these basic levels. And it only takes a matter of minutes!

Hit them where they make money

Most content scrapers are in business to use your content to make money.  If you’ve found their site, you will usually see some type of monetization, like AdSense. 

Now, a huge part of being in compliance with Google AdSense Terms of Service is to only publish original content, and not plagiarize or steal content.  If an AdSense Publisher is caught using someone else’s copyrighted material, it will result in the banning of their account, and the forfeiture of any revenue.

You can use this form to file an AdSense Complaint, and when you do, make sure that you select “This site is distributing someone else’s copyrighted material, possibly without permission.”

If you’ve read about being banned from AdSense, you know that it is very hard to get another account—you have to use a totally separate entity (such as a business), or another person has to open the account for you. Even so, if Google suspects any connections between the old and new account, the account will be suspended before first payment is made anyway.

Most pay-per-click advertising networks have some sort of reporting tool, so if the site isn’t using AdSense, you may still have an avenue for justice.

Hit them where they get traffic

The other reason why content scrapers steal your content is to use it to either build links or build traffic to their sites. However, if you’ve paid attention to any SEO news lately, you’ve undoubtedly read about Google’s search algorithm update. The search engine will now take into consideration valid copyright removal notices when it generates search results.

As such, it is essential that you report these scraper sites to Google using their Content Removal Form. This way, the offending sites will have their search results hampered, and may even be de-indexed.

It is also important that you submit the request to Google first, because they will usually verify the validity of the claim within 24-72 hours. If you get the content removed via DMCA, and then file a complaint with Google, the scrapers will stay in business because Google won’t see the plagiarized content.

Hit them where it hurts

If we all hit these content scrapers at these basic levels first, before we get our content removed from their sites, we can seriously impair their ability to make money and gain traffic, and hopefully slow down their actions.  I’ve had a lot of success with this in my niche, and I know you can as well.

Have you taken direct action to go after content scrapers and other who plagiarize your content?  Share your story with us in the comments!

Robert blogs at The College Investor, a personal finance blog dedicated to college students and young adults, and My Multiple Incomes, where he discusses his goals and methods to develop multiple income streams.

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Comments

  1. D says:

    Great info!! thx.

  2. In a perfect world, this is a great idea. In a perfect world, the spammer’s site gets removed from Google, and he loses his adsense account, blah blah blah.

    But it’s not a perfect world.

    The spammer doesn’t care. Why? Because he has thousands of websites that he’s doing the same thing with. All on automation, by the way. It’s nothing to change the money making platform on one site to another. It’s not like he’s making millions with that one site. He might be making a buck a day, on a good day.

    So you took down one site. Big deal. He’s got more right behind them. This is why it’s so hard to get rid of them.

    • You’re correct in that it is automated and they are doing this with a bunch of sites everywhere. However, the AdSense accounts are most likely linked, or use the same info (i.e. address, etc.). Google will still ban the new account before the first $100 payday if it senses that anything is linked to an old banned account.

  3. Fantastic tips!! Hopefully, in the long run, this will make people think a little bit before they decide to steal content. Thank you for the post!

  4. Drewry says:

    it’s always a positive and wonderful thing to create unique content at full strength, simply because any site that creates their content naturally, even if it sometimes sounds off-key, gets more respect online vs. a site that steals content from others.

  5. wow! the more people that read this post the better.

  6. Bookmarked!

  7. This is a brilliant pair of tactics – I love it. Bookmarked and Stumbled.

    Best of luck getting the word out!

  8. Very simple and effective techniques Robert! thanks for sharing it. I happened to ignore them all so far.

  9. Abhishek Raj says:

    well, great tips on hurting the content scrapers. But I agree with what Elizabeth has said in her comment.

  10. I like the way you think. Your content is always good and I am always compelled to come back. Guess I can’t get enough of all this.

  11. Shelby Roth says:

    Amazing information. I enjoyed your contents above and they really helped me tackle my stuff. Sounds so inspiring and educative. The more you read the better you get knowledge at the spot. I look forward to bookmark it. Thanks fro sharing!

  12. This is business and the you don’t miss any slightest opportunity of hitting the market, you have to understand your competitors well. This is not only informative but educative as well and thanks for sharing.

  13. This sounds amazing but the world we live in isn’t perfect and there are always alternatives, you tackle them from this side they get you on the other side.You have to be careful on how you go about this l wish you the very best though.

  14. Vijay says:

    Ouch! this gonna hurt.

    I am tired and sick of the content scrapers taking over the search results often, regardless how many requests/complaints we file and these two are the best ideas I have come across to deal with them.

    Thanks Robert

  15. Steven says:

    I have not had any of my content scraped, but I did enjoy your informative approach. Having read about this despicable practice on other forums, I am now armed with two tools that will help me in the future if I need them. Thanks.

  16. Mike Collins says:

    Going after their AdSense accounts is the key. Shutting down the scraper site itself is useless because they can easily throw up 100 new sites just like it. But take away their ability to make money off their crappy sites and you might just get them out of your hair.

  17. Rabin says:

    Yeah it is better to hit them where they make money.

  18. I really wish that there was more regulation – both in antitrust, with google monopolizing everything, and with these sort of scrapers that are out to make $ with thousands of useless sites cluttering the internet. Thanks for this great advice – bookmarked, and shared.

  19. I found a site scraping from several other bloggers who joined in a weekly linkup that I had. I contacted all of the bloggers (some were hard to track down, but after reading some posts I’d figure out where their sites were). Then I created a graphic and distributed it to each person whose content was being scraped. It said (in big bold red letters) “This site steals content from other websites! Please report this to Google if you see this graphic on xyz.com”. We also all sent individual emails to the hosting company (listed in the WhoIs) requesting a takedown. A few of the bloggers did go ahead with a DMCA order but not all. The entire site was taken down in about 8 days. I like your ideas and will definitely file them away (or print them out!) for next time. It has happened to me and it just ticks me off!

    • Oh…. to be clearer…. Each blogger created a blank post with the graphic in it, and left it up for a few hours, then deleted it. It was long enough for it to be scraped by the splog, and there were multiple posts in a row on the splog that contained the same image. It was rather funny, actually. :)

  20. Sandy says:

    Robert offers great advice! As someone who has content stolen all of the time, this is a very effective way of combatting scraper sites. I’ve had my original content stolen by a scraper and had a large, legitimate site link to the article on a scraper site dropping my original aarticle down the search results.

    If you also complete the entire Google authorship process this helps to link the article to your site for Google.

    Finally, including a by line on every single article referring to yor original site helps as well.

    Good stuf Robert!

  21. Liga says:

    Thanks for info.

    I think it’s hard to protect your content

  22. Kim says:

    You’ve convinced me to file with Google before filing DMCA’s. Thanks for a great strategy!

    Here’s another tip or two: After a friend filed a legitimate DMCA takedown request, only to have the infringer (in China) file a counter-claim stating (falsely) that my friend gave permission for them to use her baby’s photos on their spam site, I learned a lesson and upped my own game.

    I added detailed terms of use on my sites stating that anyone claiming permission to use my content agrees to prove permission in the form of a certified email from me when challenged. I also add every detail I can think of to my DMCA Notices, because legally, you cannot re-file to add documentation–you must state your entire claim the first time. So I include a statement in my notice saying that I am in possession of the original Photoshop and/or photos with embedded EXIF data proving that I am the source of the images, along with pointing the host of the infringed content to my terms of use page.

    So far, I’ve had super-fast results with this method and a 100% takedown rate and highly recommend the same approach to photographers and artists, in particular.