Rosie over at leaves ‘n bloom recently posted a warning that a pseudo-blog hosted by blogger has been scraping the content of lots of garden blogger’s posts. Why? Presumably because their site is loaded with garden-related adverts that earn them money from click-throughs, and they want to attract lots of traffic. Popular blog posts on relevant topics up their google ranking, pop up in search results, and worse, could convince people they are legitimate. They are stealing the content these bloggers take so much time and effort to create. I say “they” because as far as I can tell I am not currently amongst their number. But – it could be you!
(This is such a depressing topic I just had to insert some gratuitous plant pics just to cheer myself up)
Rosie included lots of useful info. about how to make it harder for the blog scrapers to steal your content, and supplied links to many more. I am not going to repeat all that here, though there will be some overlap because I want this to serve as a useful record for me. However, having poked around a little myself I also found another couple of good sources of advice etc. and thought I would share them, together with – for those of you using WordPress – some good plugins to help implement the advice. For people using Blogger, sorry, not sure what the equivalents are.
For myself, I’ve decided to try and do what I can to deter the scrapers but then try to forget about it. I’ve also decided not to add watermarks to my photographs. I’m not in the same league as some of the amazing photographers out there, and only post small versions of my photos making them of limited value. I hope. Plus I just prefer seeing “naked” photos! I may well change my mind – I tend to about everything else!
- Make sure your blog feed is set to only publish summaries of posts. If you are using WordPress, go to Settings>Reading and select “summary”. This does, however, make it harder for people to follow your blog as e.g. you can’t use a feed reader. At least, you can, but you will only get the summary, you’ll have to click on the links to read the full thing. I’ve actually switched back to full feed for this reason, and am relying on (a) not being interesting enough and (b) the other measures helping.
- Put a copyright notice in your blog feed. Something like “Copyright 2011 (insert your name). All rights reserved.”. There is a WordPress plugin called Simple Feed Copyright that does this automatically. Though this is unlikely to make them think “Oh goodness, I’d be breaking copyright if I scraped this, I’ll leave it alone”. After all, the process is automated…
- Add a footer to your feed, something like “This post was written for (link to your blog) by (your name). At least that way you get linked to if they do steal your feed. By the same token adding links to other posts within your blog when you write a new post will force them to help your stats. Karma… There is a good WordPress plugin called RSS Footer that makes this easy.
- Set yourself up a google alert for your feed footer text – you will then get an email whenever it shows up. Feed scrapers tend to be lazy and so don’t get around to removing footers. At least then you can spot it happening, and if you want to, go after them.
A few links to places I found that had what seemed like good advice, to go with the excellent stuff Rosie has pulled together:
- More useful WordPress plugins
- Copyright advice for photographers
- If you decide to go after the people who have stolen your content, stock letters you could use
So there you go. Fun, huh! Hope some of this is useful to some of you. I refuse to get depressed about it though – the buds on my Magnolia stellata are breaking out. Spring is coming, and I have more interesting things to think about than people stealing my words.