Sploggers Are Stealing Your Blog Content Here’s What We Can Do To Stop Them

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Almost every post you publish is stolen by people who use it to sell everything from pills to vacations to guns. These people are called “Sploggers” or “Blog Scrapers“. The blog scraper who stole my “Weekend Update” post and published it on his site (screenshot above) is a freak named Mike Hiliok. Until now there was nothing we could do to stop them… or at least what we could do was time consuming and difficult.

But I think I have a solution.

Here’s what they do… they start a website using a blog theme, most times from one of the WordPress themes. They then look for keywords in your RSS feeds… they look at the tags you use, the categories and the words in your post. Once they key on something like “S3roquel” (3=e) your link appears on their page surrounded by ads for pills.

If a blog scraper is gathering content that is copyrighted material, it is a violation of law. In addition, there are a number of more practical problems that blog scraping causes for the person or business who owns the blog.

If they have an archives in their sidebar their latest month will be in the thousands of posts.

The first time I realized people had been stealing my blog content was almost as soon as I started blogging. Almost every time I posted I’d get a “pingback” from a “blog” where the post was simply the headline from my post with a link to my site, with a few random words surrounding it… so something like “Gabriel… has written an exciting post on My Little Brother Is Alive Today Because Forty People Forced A Plane To Crash In A Field In Pennsylvania check out more of this funny and informative post here”.

Then the entire page would be surrounded by Google Ads for Halloween costumes. My most intimate thoughts and ideas were being used to sell cheap plastic costumes and the money was going to some random bastard who may, or may not, be using the money to fund his kiddie porn collection.

Then a few months ago I started getting “link-backs” on my WordPress stats page from sites which were using entire posts of mine to raise money for their free-crack-for-children empire. Entire posts… photos and all, photos of mine with big freaking RED copyright notices. Photos of my family, of my friends, being used by these people to make money.

So I’ve had more than enough of this bullshit. They are Stealing from you, they are stealing from me, Google refuses to do anything about it and I’ve had enough of it…

The solution I have only works, however, if there are a lot of us willing to do a simple three step process, once a week. Most sploggers and blog scrapers register their splogs under their real name and use their real email address. Actually they pretty much have to…

So what if there was a place to send the URL addresses from the pingbacks and the Incoming Links coming from these splogs we receive almost every time we post on our blogs? A central blog to collect and filter the information… then publish the splogger’s email address and registration information…

And this is the easy three-step process:

1) Once a week we copy the list of sploggers provided on the central blog;

2) Insert the splogger list into an email containing a form letter saying “You’re a splogger, we know it, stop doing it”, then;

3) Send email to sploggers

Imagine a single splogger receiving 100 or 1000 emails in a single day from a bunch of pissed off bloggers.

As individuals we have to put up with their crap, but as a group we can harass them until they take our words and pictures off their sites, or until the site hosts take the splogger’s otherwise useless sites down.

Sending a single email once a week to the addresses of a hundred sploggers may not seem like much, but 100 or 1000 people sending a single weekly email to a hundred bloggers might be enough to get them to stop… plus it’s a whole lot more than what’s being done now to protect our blogs. Until now there have been individuals trying on their own to stop them, but the power of blogging comes when we’re in groups.

Just think of how much is done collectively to prevent spammers from pissing you off, Askimet for example works because we’re acting as a group. But Spammers only send stuff and you can either erase their crap or your tech admin can block it… sploggers steal your work, your ideas, and use them to fund their gambling habit.

If you want to try it out, or offer ideas and criticism, leave a message here or Join Us on the join up page… this only works if we get into it together…

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5 responses to “Sploggers Are Stealing Your Blog Content Here’s What We Can Do To Stop Them

  1. plagiarismtoday

    I don’t really have much in the way of a comment, but I wanted to offer my resources if there is anything that I can do to help!

    Thank you very much for creating this site.

    PS: Only word of caution I have is, of course, to never actually link to a splogger. I know, easier said than done but still important I’m afraid.

  2. Definitely, all links to sploggers will be dead when published and the comment area where (eventually) people will leave them will be heavily moderated.

    Thanks very much for… I guess for letting me know this is a good idea, I’ll be taking you up on your offer to help soon… I’ll also be passing around the link to your Plagiarism Today site in an email early this week as an example of someone who decided to fight back, and for the incredible work you’ve already done on this issue. There are so many bloggers, even within my circle, who don’t understand the consequences of sploggers stealing their work. I think a lot of it comes from there being no easy solution to the problem. Hopefully the idea of sending out one email a week per blogger can offer… if not an immediate solution then act as encouragement for those people who can put a solution together.

    Thanks very much for coming over… hopefully this will be the start of something much larger.

  3. Good tips dude! Glad to see you are taking up an initiative for these sploggers! May I recomend though that in addition to the email sending and stuff, do try talking to th host/domain owner and if you tell them the situation they are more than willing to shut the splog/scrapping site down for you. That won’t stop the individual going somewhere else of couse but hey, if they get to suffer and make less money out of it, the better)

    Cheers dude!

  4. I’ve just started blogging and something similar is happening to me. I wrote a post with the same idea of collectively doing something here:
    http://threeaday.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/mint-spectacles-on-spam-blogs/

    but more on lines of a non profit or something that can take these sploggers on.

  5. Thanks for commenting and writing about this issue moonkub. We believe that, with enough bloggers educated about the problem, bloggers can solve the problem.

    Sploggers are, for the most part, themselves ignorant about what they are doing. Many that we have contacted believe they are actually doing bloggers a service by linking to their posts. It’s those Sploggers, as well as Google, that we’re targeting initially.

    Thanks for joining the fight.

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