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 Luc Is My Little Brother And He’s 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.
Please try it out and offer ideas and criticism… it’s called “The Anti-Splog Blog” and I’ve republished this post there.