Well, when you’ve got scrapers who manage to outrank you on Google, you absolutely have to act before you end up getting a reputation with the search engines as the one copying someone else’s content. With that in mind, I’m chronicling my escalation against a particular scraper – and providing it as an example or guide to dealing with this kind of scenario.
Its pretty rare that a scraper manages to get the pagerank they need to get ahead of the original author, but it does happen occassionally and if you’re lucky, an email or two is all you need to fix the situation.
To find an email address for the scraper’s site, the first step is to check their DNS registration. Every domain has an email address on file somewhere, so unless they’re using a private domain registration service, you can get in contact with them quickly. Actually, a lot of hosting providers do offer cheap or free domain privacy services, but that just means you’ll have to skip the polite steps and head straight to the legal options available. Check out Network-Tools.com to get all the information you need about a domain, IP address, or whatever.
Here’s an example of what one might say, particularly the email I sent to the email address listed as the domain’s contact:
My name is John and I run a small blog about college scholarships & financial issues, and I’ve noticed that a lot of my articles end up being copied and pasted on to your scholarship forum. The user who is posting these articles is known by the handle “creative” and here are some examples:
<snip – no links for the scraper>
All of these posts were originally written by me and published at FreeCollegeBlog. While I appreciate your efforts to advance education and the interest in my content, I must insist that every single one of my posts is removed immediately. A problem is developing with Google’s index and since your forum does not display links to spiders, my search engine reputation is in trouble.
Normally, I would not mind if someone reposted my content – so long as the links remained visible to the search engines. Since this is impossible with your forum’s configuration, I must insist again that all FreeCollegeBlog.com content is deleted from your domain as soon as possible. Otherwise, I will have to do whatever I can to protect my site’s traffic and SEO – I hope you understand the situation this puts me in and can help me out…
Ah, but there’s no response yet a few days later. Luckily in this case, the forum itself has communications enable among users, so I was able to send a message to the forum’s super admin and the sub-forum’s moderator. Likewise, forums have “report post” buttons that allowed me to report the plagiarism specifically and internally.
My name is John and I have noticed that every post from my blog is being copied and republished here in such a way that there is no attribution to the original source. In fact, because of the way links are hidden from search engines, there can be no attribution. As such, it is important that all articles stolen from FreeCollegeBlog are deleted immediately.
I have tried to contact the administrators of this forum through the domain’s DNS contact and through post reports, but I have not heard back. My patience is running low because this plagiarism is starting to effect search engine rankings, and therefor my own traffic and income. The situation cannot be tolerated any longer, so my next efforts will be to contact your hosting provider, Adsense compliance, and Google’s spam team with DMCA takedown notices.
Here are just a few examples:
<snip – no links for the scraper>
This is only a small sample of posts that have been republished by Creative during the last few months and I must absolutely insist that they be deleted immediately.
After the second polite request, I would normally wait a day or two – give them some time to realize what’s going on and discuss it among the admins. While the site is primarily scraped content, the publishers are still trying to maintain an image of legitimacy, so I’m trying to stay light on the threats and more on the amicable side of things.
Will it work thought? Probably not. Its already been five days since the first email was sent and there’s been no reply and no posts have been removed. In the next steps, we’ll have some fun with the scrapers and then bring the hammer down!