Fighting back against the scrapers

By Kevin Muldoon | Blogging

Aug 31

I’ve caught one or two blogs scraping BloggingTips in the last week or so. Unfortunately, it’s something that is becoming more and more common. Truth be told, there is no foolproof way to stop someone taking your content, if someone is completely committed to ripping you off they will! However, scrapers are by their very nature very lazy people who would rather plagiarize someone elses work than get off their ass and write their own content.

Therefore, by implementing a few deterrents you can discourage the scrapers from ripping off your blog.

Use a partial feed

Only providing a summary of your blog posts in your feed will not please your readers but it will discourage scrapers from using your
content. Probably not the best solution but it’s certainly an option.

Place a copyright in your feed footer

By placing a copyright notice in the footer of your RSS feeder you are letting everyone know that if they are not reading the content through their newsreader, the content has been ripped off from your blog.

For example, I recently added Angsuman’s Feed Copyrighter for wordpress. Here’s an example of the copyright notice it adds to the end of your feed.

Copyright © 2007 Blogging Tips. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal at bloggingtips.com so we can take legal action immediately.

The copyright notice just uses basic HTML so it would also be very easy to place an image in the copyright footer too if you wanted.

Link to your blog posts

Not only is linking internally a great way to distribute Pagerank and promote older posts, it will also hurt scrapers as there are more links back to the authors blog. It would be very timeconsuming for them to remove all references to your blog so most wouldn’t bother. If they leave the links in then at least you will get some traffic in return ie. it’s pretty obvious to readers they are reading a scraper blog if they see tons of references to the same site so they will be more likely to visit your blog instead of browsing through posts in the scrapers website.

Delete their pingbacks

One of the most common ways to find out someone is scraping your blog is through pingbacks. When they publish your post on their blog you will get a pingback to the original post. To be able to catch them using this method you need to make sure you are getting pingback updates via email and you need to make sure you are linking internally in your posts so that a pingback will generate.

When the pingback is generated they get a link to their blog from yours. Don’t let them get any traffic from you, spam (delete) their pingback so that their copycat blog gets nothing from you.

Stop people hotlinking images from your site

Hotlinking is when a webmaster links to images on someone elses website without their permission. This can be a big problem for some websites because it can take up so much bandwidth. Thankfully there are ways to reduce hotlinking and these methods can be used to discourage the scrapers from stealing your content.

To stop hotlinking you need to edit your htaccess file. You can stop every other site on the web using your images or you can specify what sites are not allowed to hotlink. You can also use an image to let everyone know the other person is hotlinking. For example, I could link to your blogs logo from here using the img tag. If you did not like me doing this you could edit your htaccess file to show a warning image instead of your logo.

This is very useful against scrapers because any images you use in your posts will automatically be copied to the scrapers blog. You can have some fun and make all your images appear as donkeys on their blog!!

Here are some hotlinking tutorials which will help you stop blog scrapers :)

Stop Hotlinking with htaccess
How To Stop Hotlinking and Bandwidth Leeching
Hot Link Checker

Respond Legally

From my experience scraper blogs don’t last too long. The blogs I caught scraping me two months ago are no longer doing so, I suspect that most scrapers get bored and move onto something else.

However, if you have one or two people scraping your blog on a consistent basis, it might be worthwhile going down the legal route. Legally, hosting companies need to remove websites from their server which have illegal or copied content.

Check out the 3 steps of a legal response by Advanced Business Blogging.

  1. Legal response 1.0: email and letter to offending party
  2. Legal response 2.0: direct your complaint to the offenders host/ISP
  3. Legal response 3.0: consult with a lawyer

You can read the complete guide for the above steps here.

Video blog more often

The Gypsy Bandito thinks the best way to stop scrapers is to do video blogs instead of writing posts.

Overview

Having your blog scraped can be really frustrating but a few easy steps can discourage content stealers from trying to rip off your blog.

I hope that blogging platforms will start to include features will stop or reduce blog scraping but until then, we will have to deal with these idiots ourselves.

Good luck :)

Follow

About the Author

Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity and Social Media on his personal blog and provides support to bloggers at Rise Forums. He can also be found on Twitter @KevinMuldoon and .

Comments are closed