Stop Scrapers From Stealing Your Content

Stop-Scrapers-from-Stealing-Your-Blog

Imagine for a moment you’re a Blogger.  You have an idea for a project.  You’re going to make a wood flag for an upcoming patriotic holiday.  You can’t wait to create the flag and share it with your readers.

You drive to Home Depot and purchase the wood, nails, and glue you need to make your flag.  You drive to Office Depot and purchase the star stickers you’ll use as a guide for the stars.

Make-a-Pottery-Barn-Inspired-Flag

You stop by Michael’s and buy the paint you’ll need to make your flag.

You come home, eager to get going.  Before you get started you spend some time online doing research to make sure you build it correctly.  (Image from Wikipedia)


Then you get to work building and painting your flag.  You take lots of photos of the flag-building process along the way so you can share the steps with your readers.

Make a Pottery Barn Inspired Flag
By the end of the day, your flag is finished.  (Tutorial post can be found here:  Make a Pottery Barn Inspired Wood Flag

Make a Pottery Barn Inspired Flag
That evening after dinner, you spend a few hours going through all the photos you took, looking for the best ones for the post you’ll be writing.  It’s late and you’re tired, so you turn in with plans to write your post the next day.

Morning arrives and you spend several hours going through your photos, editing and cropping them as needed.  Then you resize your photos so they are the optimum size to load to your blog.   You spend some more time putting them in the correct order to make sure the tutorial will make sense to those who will read it.

At last you’re ready to write your post.  You upload all your photos and spend the next several hours creating a detailed tutorial post explaining every step involved in building the flag.  Once the post is finished, you spend another half hour proofreading it, correcting grammar, spelling, typos, adding in more details and making your tutorial as clear as possible.

At last it’s ready!  After two days of hard work, your post is ready and you can’t wait to share it with your readers.  You look the post over one last time, hoping you haven’t left anything out.  Satisfied it’s ready, you hit the “publish” button and it goes out live to the World Wide Web.

Only this day, it turns out to be more like the Wild Wild West.

No, scratch that.  It’s really more like the Land of Oz.  Within minutes of hitting publish, an evil website swoops down like a winged monkey escaped from Oz.

Stop Scrapers from Stealing Your Blog Content

Click for source

It ravages your post, scraping all your beautiful pictures and your carefully written content. In the blink of a newt’s eye, it loads all of your content into a post that’s immediately published on this most wicked of sites.  We’re pretty sure we know who runs the evil site because she was caught on one of those web cams celebrating her latest stolen content victory

With a patriotic holiday just a few days away, 500 people sit down at their computers that evening and Google, “how to make a flag.”  Google routes them straight to the wicked site since it ranks much higher than your blog.  It ranks higher because it’s filled with lots of great content, thousands of wonderful posts stolen from hardworking bloggers who have no idea they’re being robbed every time they click, “publish.”

You would hardly recognize your post if you saw it.  It’s now filled with tons and tons of spammy text links, links that once clicked make the evil site lots of money, money earned from the sweat of your brow.  The folks who Google for flag tutorials will never find your tutorial because you don’t have the Google rank of the evil site that’s been stealing hundreds of your posts (and others) for months, maybe years.

In the meantime, while you’re hard at work on your next post, the winged monkeys and the Wicked Witch are glad you passed up that vacation this year and invested in a good camera and photography classes, instead.   They really enjoyed the trip to Hawaii this summer with all the money they made off the text links they loaded into your posts.  Keep up the good work…they’re working on a trip to Italy next.  (Image of Manarola, Italy is available for download HERE)


Nice, huh?  And it’s happening every. single. day.  I know because I was a victim of massive content plagiarism very recently.  Well, actually it’s been going on a long, long while and I just hadn’t realized it.

How did I find out?  One day I checked my analytics and in the process, I clicked on the referrals section to see where some of the BNOTP visits originated that day.   One link caught my eye so I clicked on it.  What I found did not make me happy.

A wicked site had stolen/scraped pretty much every single post I had ever written for the first 2-3 years I’ve been blogging.   The abuse appeared to stop when I began watermarking my photos.  Take note of that, watermarking apparently does matter.

I counted 75 of my posts published on their site in just one month of their archives. Seventy-five in just one month!  And they weren’t just stealing from me; they were posting hundreds of posts each month and none of it was original content.  That is a lot of stealing.

Software Makes It Easy for Content Scrapers to Steal

It’s pretty easy for the bad guys to steal your hard work.  They could manually scrape it from your blog but often they just use software that’s been created to do it automatically.   That’s why within minutes of clicking “publish,” your content can show up on their blog, scraped straight from your RSS feed.  Nauseating, isn’t it?

I didn’t even try to count how many of my posts they had stolen in total.  After finding 75 posts in just one month of their archives, I stopped counting, but I could see tons and tons of my posts in every month of their archives.

I think the visitor who clicked over to BNOTP from the evil site found BNOTP  via another link I had put in the post linking back to a previous post.  Apparently, they clicked on the link and it brought them to BNOTP.  Wonder what they thought when they found themselves on an entirely different site?

The REALLY Disturbing Part
As bad as all that sounds, here’s the really disturbing part.  Whatever the reader had originally searched for, ended up leading them to one of my posts on the bad site and NOT to that same post on BNOTP.  They only found BNOTP by accident.  So the evil site was getting all the visits (Google juice) for that particular content.  Gotta wonder how many times that’s happened over the years.

So what do you do to stop the winged monkeys and the Wicked Witch of the West?  How do you stop Content Scrapers from stealing your blog posts? 

If you Google you’ll find LOTS of information on ways to try to prevent this from happening to your blog.  A few basic things you can start doing right now are:

1.  If you aren’t already, watermark ALL your pics, starting today.   It appeared the evil site stopped stealing my content when I started watermarking my pics.  There were a few watermarked pics on there from another site.  I’m guessing their “automated” system scraped those not realizing the site had started watermarking.

The program I use for watermarking is Visual Watermark.  You pay $20 one time and it’s yours.  You can watermark a gazillion pictures in seconds because it can batch watermark.  You can even upload a custom watermark.  Any watermark you create or use can be saved so it’s there and ready to go each time you need to watermark pics.  I’ve been really happy with it and I don’t get paid for saying that.  Just sharing the program I use and love.

2. If you blog on WordPress, there are several plugins you can use that will allow you to add a message to the bottom of your feed.  Your email subscribers will also see it.  The plugin I’m currently using on my WordPress blog is Tentblogger’s RSS Add Footer.  You can make your message say anything you like.  If you read BNOTP via RSS feed or via email, you may have seen the message I recently added to the end of my feed.  It says:

“This post is from the blog, Between Naps on the Porch. If you are not currently reading this via e-mail or an RSS feed from BNOTP, then sadly this post has been stolen or scraped from the Between Naps on the Porch blog.  Stolen content can be reported HERE .”

At least if your content is being scraped via the feed, that message will appear at the end of every single stolen post.  That ought to put a little damper on their content stealing party.

3. Include a few back-links to other content you’ve written in your posts.  That’s a good way to let someone who finds your post on a bad site know something isn’t adding up.  That’s what ultimately helped me find this awful, evil, horrible, mean, ugly, nasty, vile, despicable, site.  I’m not bitter or anything, though.

Update:  A lot of the scraper sites are using a program to steal posts that removes or voids any links it finds in the post.  So sometimes having back links in a post won’t help you.  Hopefully a savvy reader will recognize that those useless back links indicate they reading a bad, scraper site.

4. You can use absolute links instead of relative links.  Huh?  That’s what I said, but John at Tentblogger explains it in THIS post.  It’s definitely adds more work to creating a link, but perhaps the scraper will be less interested in stealing your content if they see some of these in a post.

5.  You can opt to truncate your blog posts, which means you’ll just be showing an excerpt of your post in your RSS Feed.  The feed will alert your readers that you have a new post up and they will be able to click on the title of the post to visit your site for the full post.  Since scraping from feeds is a common way the bad guys steal posts, this may be the best way to thwart future problems with stolen content.  The bad guys can’t steal from a truncated feed.     Update:  I now truncate my feed, the bad guys left me no choice.

Have you noticed it’s usually the house on the street that doesn’t have the security system that gets broken in?   Nothing is fool proof, but I’m guessing the content thieves would rather steal from the easy pickings than bother with a blog that has a “security system.”

Have You Been a Victim of  Winged Monkeys Plagiarism?

There are a number of ways to find out if you’re content is being pilfered.   Here are a few some folks have used:

Copyscape
CopyGator
Dupli Checker
Google Alerts

Update:  You can do a search under Google Blogs for your blog name.  I found more of my content stolen and posts on other blogs via a Google Blog search.

What To Do If Your Content Has Been Scrapped or Stolen

1.  You can start by attempting to contact the thief and ask them to remove it.   Most bad sites do not have a “contact” method listed because they aren’t interested in building relationships or rapport with their readers.  No, they are in the business of stealing your content to make money.  If you do see a contact method, I doubt seriously you’ll get any response.

2.  You can report them to their web hosting company.  Most hosting companies have a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) form available or some form of contact.  If you can show them proof it’s your content, which is normally pretty easy to do, they will remove the site.

Lucky for me, the evil site that had stolen hundreds of my posts was a Blogger blog.  I filled out the DMCA form HERE with Google (who owns Blogger) and within just 3-4 days, the site was G.O.N.E!   Yay, Google!

Here’s a short video  from Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team.  I thought it was a good listen.

 

Finally, I found this article from WPBeginner to be very helpful….definitely worth a read. (Hover over image to Pin.)

Stop Scrapers from Stealing Your Blog Content

Image from WPBeginner

 

Update: Stolen Content 
Want to see how stolen content looks?  I found yet another site stealing hundreds of my posts.  This time I took some screen shots to share with you, so you can see how the bad guys “use” our work to make money and how they hide their illegal activity by striping out links we have included to our previous content.  You’ll find that post here:  Stolen Content: This is How It Looks

Please feel free to pin this post to refer back to later if helpful.  You’re always welcome to pin pics from BNOTP.

You’ll find additional Blogging Tips here:  Blogging Tips and Tutorials

Stay safe this weekend and watch out for the Winged Monkeys!




Comments

  1. What a lot of work you have put into this post, thank you so much for warning us, I would love to know the website itself but as you have integrity, unlike the scrapers you have left this out.

    I write a post each week sharing discoveries on the internet, recipes, interiors, crafts etc , but I never copy content, they are just an image and a link back to the post for my readers to go to the original source to read. I also ask permission. I am shocked that someone could do what they have done to your blog but not at all surprised. I had a lot of visits recently from a site I had not been aware of, when I went to look at it they had taken a post of mine which featured the makeover of my bedroom and basically taken all the post and photographs without asking my permission. Thank you for the tip about watermarking my own images, I intend to do this from now on.

    Thanks again for all the work on this post to make us aware.

    Lee :)

    • Lee, it wasn’t one you would recognized. It had a very general name and looked pretty spammy. I’m just glad Google took care of removing it so quickly. Sorry you’ve experienced this problem with a post. I know it’s really upsetting when it happens.

  2. OH.MY! I’m so sorry that this has happened to you! I’ll try to be more alert when looking at different blogs. You mentioned your footer–I don’t see it on this post. I appreciate all your hard work, it really shows on each post!

  3. Wow! I am stunned. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Glad that you took action and the evil site is gone. Thanks for taking time to tell us about this and include all the helpful links!

  4. Mary from Virginia says:

    I am glad you posted the outcome to all that mess and stealing. I swear you are the smartest girl out there finding all this information. It makes my head swim having to be a detective! I am certain your warning will be a such a help to other bloggers.

  5. What a horrible thing to go through! Thank you for this post . . . this will help many of us. Your blog and pictures are wonderful, and I feel so sorry that you had to deal with this.

  6. Good job on rooting the creeps out and excellent job on constructing this posting. I don’t think the average reader grasps the amount of time and effort you put into your blog. Proud of you for using you talents to expose theft! and your blog continues to be superb!

  7. Thanks for the great information and the links. Your blog has beautiful photos. I enjoyed looking at them. Come over for a visit at toddlersthroughpreschool.com. Love to have you drop in.
    Cathie J

  8. Susan, thanks for making us aware of this problem, and I’m so sorry that it happened to you. You go, girl, for taking them down! You are my blogging hero!

  9. Thank you a million times for the hard work you put into your blog every time you post, but especially for this post.

    You have always been so helpful and willing to share your knowledge with the rest of us who are not as savvy tech-wise, and we all appreciate you so very much.

    This “scraping” is absolutely an abomination! I use a Mac, and the iPhoto program does not provide a way to watermark photos. I did discover that you can put on a caption with PicMonkey, but I don’t know if that is the same thing.

    Kudos to you for getting that site shut down! I have saved this post to refer back so that when I have more time this weekend, I am going to look carefully at each one of those sources you provided. Blogging for me is not a business, just a fun hobby and a way to share ideas and make new friends with similar interests. Even though I am not doing it for profit, I still don’t want my content poached!

    What would we all do without you?

    Ellen

  10. Michele from Finch Rest says:

    Thank you, Susan.

    You must feel absolutely violated – it is a weird form of rape – sorry, gross but is how I feel.

    I cannot even imagine how you must have felt.

    This post is extremely informative and helpful, thank you so much.

  11. Susan how awful …. Your blog I thought had the most views and why would someone want to do this..
    Blogging is supposed to be fun.. Would you share that evil blog with me so I will know if any (I doubt) of my posts have been pilfered. Where would I check on my own blog ( at the stats)????

    • Linda, it’s gone now…thank goodness. You can add Sitemeter to your blog, that’s where I noticed it. You can also add Google Analytics to your blog but that involves adding some code to the template. Don’t do that unless you are completely comfortable with it. Otherwise, just pay a web designer/developer to do it for you. But Sitemeter is super easy to add to any blog.

  12. Doreen Krajzel says:

    I absolutely LOVE your blog!! Read it every day. I don’t blog so I had no idea there was such evil out in cyber space. Please keep up your good work, I enjoy it soooo much!!

  13. Dear Susan,
    Your footer shows on my email feed and I will monitor for you. I did get some BNOP posts in my spam filter I did not deliver to my in box. You had just started to post your warnings. Blogland is grateful to have you. You are an educator in the finest sense of the word.

  14. This is a wonderful post and I will be working on adding some of these features to my site. I don’t have as big of a following as you, but these are very worthy points to try to do. I wish we didn’t have to worry about such things as bloggers. You never think as you are linking up to your own blog that others are taking it instantly! Whew! Thanks for the very descriptive and helpful directions!

  15. Amazing!
    I just checked my google alerts but they all brought me back to my own blog.
    What I find strange is pictures that are not mine on my pinterest page attributed to me.
    Have you checked yours? I think if they are pinned from a meme thumbnail that happens, but I don’t know .
    Enjoy the weekend, Susan.

  16. That is just terrible. I will have to keep an eye out for those monkeys! I wonder if anything has be taken from my blog? I definately have to start watermarking! Thanks for the information.

  17. Marie in Va says:

    Wow! So glad you found out about and were able to shut down the evil site! I will pay closer attention to where I am reading information. Thanks for sharing this–it’s a wake-up call for even us ‘non-bloggers’ :)

  18. What a nightmare! I’ve bookmarked this post, pinned it, tweeted, and gave it a G+! Every blogger needs to read this.

  19. Oh my gosh! I am so sorry this happened to you. Thank you so much for alerting us all to this stuff–I would never think of it on my own. I’m glad google helped you out.

  20. What a wealth of information!! THANK YOU!! I am so happy that you had a good outcome, although I hate that you even had to deal with it! How frustrating!! This is such a great post and important for all bloggers to read!

  21. We need more internet laws. I am a programmer and have had evil hackers from Russia and China break into my code that cost me hours-and-hours to fix. I’m sorry this happened to you, too. There’s no place to report the crime(s).

  22. Susan I am so glad to see your detailed post,I’ve been waiting for this ALERT!…my situation was different!..I had been invaded…INVADED….with SMUT! TRIPLE X!..disgusting por_ websites,I was checking my STATS,after learning of this from you on Facebook,I saw several websites in my traffic source,that seemed to be visiting alot,on one day 35 hits…AND like a stupid idiot,I made the HUGH mistake of clicking on one,HUGH MISTAKE!!!…I have never been so disgusted and mad at the same time,the photo’s that came up were worse than RANK,they were disturbing and seared and scared my brain,I could not get to GOOGLE and complain fast enough….and I immediately DELETED my blog LazyOnLoblolly…I lost everything,everything….I have been so totally upset,because I lost my small following(only 381).I know that ain’t many compared to some blogs with thousands,but I miss them terrible bad.Blogging is fun and enjoyable for me,I didn’t have sponsors and was not receiving any monies,I blog strictly for the enjoyment! I have started a new blog,new title(LoblollyLane),new password,new everything….so far so good,slow and steady,finding my ole blog buddies…wish me luck and come see me @ LoblollyLane.

    • I checked mine, too, after reading this, and lo and behold, I have a porn site hitting me too! The other one is a movie rental site. I would like to know who to report this to, and how to stop it. I cannot find anything on Google where you can actually get a human to respond.

      • I also had hit’s from a movie rental site,I reported the movie rental and the other X rated site to google,I don’t know what they did because I deleted blog…maybe Susan can help with who to report to.

    • Jo, that’s horrible. Do you mean they actually took over your site?

      • Susan, in my STATS/TRAFFIC SOURCE these X rated websites were in my traffic source,they were constantly checking my blog and I did not know it until I read your post on Facebook about the trolls.When I saw unfamiliar website,I clicked on to see who they were,and I was completely devastated,low and behold it was triple XXX porn with disgusting photo’s,I had to put my hand over the computer screen so as not to see,and quickly X out….what makes it so hard for me to understand is why there is just me and one other (Scribbler-(comment-above) experiencing this…..

        • I get lots of spam email to my blog and it goes straight to my spam folder automatically due to a plugin I use in WordPress. I think everyone that has a blog or an email gets that stuff. I just ignore it. I don’t click on the link because I’m always worried about it downloading a virus or something to my computer. Some sights are dangerous to visit. They can download malware and such to your computer. You may want to clear your cookies and run your anti-virus software, just to be safe.

          • Susan this totally answers my question,I should have just ignored it but I just got so mad,I immediately deleted my blog,I panicked!…now I’m starting from scratch…it also messed up my “pin’s” I had pinned in pinterest of some of my personal recipes,my “pin’s” that are pinned on my pinterest to my old blog LazyOnLoblolly …I checked and if I click on my recipe it says,”this blog has been deleted/removed”,so now I don’t know what to do about that.
            I guess it’s good we are discussing all this to help others to know,what to do or I should say what NOT to do….don’t delete your blog just because of undesirable websites in our traffic source/stats.Lesson Learned…thanks for all your help.I do appreciate you!

            • Jo, I found this on the Blogger Help page: If you’ve accidentally deleted your blog and want it back, you can restore your blog within a certain period of time after deletion. Let’s say you have 5 blogs, and you’ve deleted one of them. Just go to your Dashboard, where your blogs are listed, and click the option on the left that says “Deleted blogs” (if you haven’t deleted any blogs recently, you won’t see this option). Your deleted blogs will then appear on your Dashboard, with the option “Undelete this blog.” Click to undelete, and everything will be back to normal.

  23. First let me offer my sympathy for the theft of your work. I am working on my site, yet to be published, and it is not an easy fete. I am also grateful for your thoroughness and the sharing of what to do about preventing theft. Do you suppose that witch will just set up a new site and start all over again? I saw on one site where if you are really savvy you there is a way to program where thieves only get “lorem ipsum” or you can link it back to their site where it replicates until it crashes their site. That would certainly be tempting.

    • Madonna, I would not be surprised, although Google may have banned them from using the Blogger platform. But they could still set up again on another platform. That would be great…if they only got “lorem ipsum”…too funny!

  24. Excellent post! What a shocker it must have been to see your posts copied off like that! There is always someone out there ready to steal from others!
    I still haven’t watermarked anything I post as of yet. I guess it seemed like a lot of extra work. I’ll check out that Visual Watermark link.

    • Liz, I didn’t at first because I didn’t really understand the need. Then once I started, it was a cumbersome process until I started using Visual Watermark. Now it adds about 1 minute to my blog creation process. I LOVE VM. I tried 2-3 methods before I found VM and definitely the easiest I’ve found.

  25. Brilliant!!! Thank you for posting about this!!!!!

  26. Thanks Susan for alerting us of this! Great post, very informative! I am aware of photos being stolen and also blog posts/ideas, without giving credit to the original source . I think that is so bad. I never thought of websites programmed to automatically redirect all your content to their sites and claim them as their own!! And, making money on it too??! Certain people have no boundaries, feel no shame, lack respect for other people and their hard work!

  27. Thank you so much for this article. Who knew?
    Blessings

  28. Elizabeth Burton says:

    Thanks so much for the info. Your blog was the first one I ever read and I absolutely love it. We had the same interests in our porches. I am very new to this blogging thing and my head is swimming. I just hope I can take all of this in and use it to my advantage. I have so much to learn:-/

  29. Susan,
    This is so disturbing.I would love to know who that “BIG” site was.I am new and really don’t know.Were they a follower of yours? When you mentioned watermark.Is that putting your name on the photo right?I have been doing that almost the whole time.But I googled my site and I did see my info on another site.I was not sure what to do.I still don’t know what to do.
    xx
    Anne

    • Anne, they weren’t a site you would have recognized. It was a very spammy looking site…every post contained a gazillion text links. Anne, some of what you saw may be where folks have you in their Blog roll on their sidebar. So check to see if the sites that appear to have your content perhaps just have your site listed in their Blogroll on their sidebar.

  30. Maria Young says:

    Love the movie stills! Kind of cool, don’t ya think!

  31. This is just crazy! I have seen Google and another weird site showing up in my stats….I have to check this out further. I am going to start watermarking all photos. Thanks for this very informative post, Susan, and I am sorry that you were ripped off this way. xo

  32. This gives me a headache! Since I am a new blogger and probably none of are post are worthy of “stealng” I’m probably safe. But damn! This is just too much!! Thank you for posing this information.

    LBDH

  33. What a lot of work you put into this post (and so many others)! So sorry this is going on! What a terrible thing for someone to do! They probably justify their theft to themselves but it is robbery and should be considered a crime! Thanks for all the information!

  34. Great post!!! Thank you for all the links… I have always watermarked, but didn’t know about the plugins.
    xo,
    Shannon

  35. Thank you for all the work you have done to write this post….exhausting for sure!!! And so sorry this has happened to you……not fair I say!!! It doesn’t take much for a little bit of evil to find a way to destroy something good and pure…….good for you for hunting this down!!!

  36. Ugh! I’m working on a watermark now. Thank you for the info. I’ve noticed similar things and have decided to halt progress on my blog until watermarking is ready. Great job on the post. You’ve cultivated another follower because of it. (I found you via Pinterest.)

  37. deborah345 says:

    So who is she – that evil witch – so to say. I have not seen this when I search for something I pretty much get a bloggers blog. I’m sorry that nearly everywhere any honest ethical person goes, reads, or see; the evil, lying SOB’s are laying in wait for the rest of us and that crosses all borders and classes. It is enough to have me thinking of saving my nearly 100 bucks a month and ending all interent.

  38. Great article! I’m thrilled you wrote this because I have had many of my blog posts taken just as you described. After spending hours, and sometimes days, putting together a post, it’s copied on another site within hours. It’s so frustrating and upsetting. The few sites that I know of that take my posts have a link back at the end of the post which comes back as a trackback to me. I’ve put in complaints but since the two sites are in Indonesia, it’s been difficult getting a response. I wish we had more power over our content, but at least you brought more awareness to the issue. Best, Jenna

    • Jenna, I get those trackback messages, too. I haven’t followed any of them back to see where they led. I guess I should look further into that. Kind of afraid to click on them in case I end up with a virus or something awful. Not sure if that could happen or not. Sorry this has happened to you, too!

  39. Great post. Thank you. I recently started watermarking after someone ‘re-wrote’ one of my recipes and used my photo on their blog. Ughhhh… Now I know how to report it.

  40. I am so glad you got them to take down that other site. I know you weren’t the only one whose content they had stolen. That is awful.

    And these are all great tips. I totally agree about watermaking everything, that also helps for those pinterest thieves who make montages of tutorials and link they back to their own sites.

    What a nightmare. I hope that your preventative measures stops anymore scraping going forward.

  41. Thanks a million Susan! So thoughtful of you to not only share this distrubing practice with us, but provide us with links and helpful information. You are a darling!

    Cheers!
    Tina

  42. Great post, thank you for all your hard work in putting this together. Your post is very informative and gives lots of starting points in which to go for our on research for our on blogs. I’m very appreciative of people like who are willing to share your research like this and I’m very sorry this happened to you. You have a wonderful blog.

  43. Good post, Susan! As someone wanting to start my own blog, I thought this was good advice. Like a couple of the others, I would love to know who this crook is. I’ve always thought bloggers should watermark their photos and now I know your content as well can be highjacked. So disturbing! Good work getting this info out to us!

  44. This is so helpful, Susan–thank you for sharing all the good information and tips to prevent scraping. Before I started watermarking photos, I had tons of my garden pictures that were going out somewhere into the internet. I started watermarking, and it helped stop it. My hubby is a writer, and has had content plagerized as well online, and I going to share your post with him as well. I’m going to implement some of your other tips as well as the watermarking I already do. Thank you!

  45. From someone who is considering starting a blog, I am SO THANKFUL that I am researching and that another WONDERFUL blog site pinned this so I could find it. It is SO OBVIOUS that not only do you care about the hard work you put into your own blog, but you care so deeply for others who spend the time on their blogs, who may not even know this type of thing exists. I would have been one of them. May you be blessed 100 fold for those bloggers whose hard work you may have saved!

  46. Thank you so much for the helpful tips. I too have had my pictures, content, even video stolen. I freely let anyone link to or pin from my blog or store, but it is so disappointing to see my photos all over Pinterest without attribution or links. And it’s downright wrong for people to copy my pictures and text in their eBay listings.

    Thanks for the great suggestions to watermark and to check periodically for duplicate content.

  47. Anna Starner says:

    Great post! I wish I knew more about all of this . I am trying to get a handle on all of the behind the scene things before I post more. I will be talking to someone that teaches social networking classes to see if she will help me get a handle on some of the things I need to learn. I have pinned all of the posts to keep content as your own since I have been following many of you. I’m not sure I would have known enough to see the red flag if I got to a sight that had stolen content before I read your post. I will be watching now for fishy things on sites. I followed you from FB to this post today and your watermark did not show on any of your pics. Thanks again for the valuable information.

  48. Wow! I echo what everyone else has said Susan. I’m so sorry this has happened to you, but you’ve come out on top and will surely stay there as long as you please. I just don’t know how some people can do this stuff and still manage to sleep at night. And Max?! Really?!!

    I find it interesting that copyright laws are pretty stringent with regard to photos, but for something like this there is no legal recourse. That has to change.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this very informative post. I’m pinning it and showing it to my tech guy. You’re the bestest!!

    • I guess it happens so much, they would have trouble tracking down all the culprits. Although, if just a few were held accountable (jail time?) it might give others pause before they followed suit.

  49. Thank you so much. I saw this post on Pinterest, and I’m really thankful that it came to the REAL author. HAHA! I really don’t appreciate it when blogs ONLY post other people’s projects, especially when they don’t give credit. I personally know people who have done this, and I think it’s very unfair for all the reasons you listed above. There is a right and wrong way to share! I will be tweeting ALL my posts from now on thanks to that Google video.

  50. Reading this has left me feeling literally nauseated. I am not naive, or unaware that evil that lurks on the www, but to steal content that is personal–even about your own pet! I wonder what they are doing with posts about blogger’s children??! I have friends that urge me to blog, but it gives one pause to consider such issues as you’re dealing with!
    I’m so very sorry that your hard work was pirated, but I’m so impressed and amazed at the work you have obviously put into tracing and blocking the despicable culprits! You have done a great public service in providing such thorough information.

  51. Lena Templin says:

    Susan, I don’t have a blog but I enjoy looking at your blog (it’s one of my favorites) and other bloggers websites and I have to tell you I appreciate all the work ya’ll do to make such beautiful blogs. I truly enjoy surfing the blogs and it is a shame that people scam ya’ll. Again thanks for all your hard work so I can enjoy so much eye candy. Have a great weekend. Lena

  52. Oh, Susan!
    I’m so sorry this happened to you! These kind of stories make I am (sometimes) scared of the internet!
    (Even though I don’t blog myself!) Oh my, we really live in a sick world!!!
    But, Susan, my friend, do you know, what’s really sad?
    Those ugly monsters are impudently enjoying the fruit of their CRIMES, and really imagine themselves are safe!!!
    I bet they have never heard the quote: “God’s mills grind slowly but surely!”
    Someday… Somewhere… Somehow…

  53. It is so disheartening to know that there are people out there that “steal” the hard work of others for their own monetary gain…they should be prosecuted like all those you commit crimes…for this is such a crime…

    Thank you for sharing your experience to us all….and how to avoid this…you certainly have “opened our eyes”..

  54. OK, you got me. I just taught myself how to watermark. I was thinking once my new grandkids come if I post any photos of them, they should be watermarked. If I decide to post them at all.

    Lori

  55. Susan, how dare they touch Mr. Max!!!! A pox on them!!!! I have been tempted to begin a blog, but goodness knows when I read things like this, I am glad I didn’t. Sorry they hit you, but you are savvy enough to realise this and hit them back. There should surely be a fine for these scrapers and scammers.
    Hopefully you have stopped them regarding your blog and I hope your message reaches out to other bloggers unaware of this deceitful practice.

  56. Thank you so much for this post! I totally pinned it!

  57. OK, OK call me a blithering idiot, but I do not understand all this…I have forever wanted to write a blog, now I’m kinda afraid. I need help. Is there someone to go to for help with all this stuff or should I just wave the white flag and forget about it?

    • Claudia, sometimes the best thing to do is just dive in and start. You’ll figure it all out as you go. Don’t try to overthink it right now…just get started if you do want to blog. Also, there are blog designers you can hire to set up your blog. Email me and I’ll be happy to share the ones I’ve used for various things like banners and buttons, etc…

  58. Thank you for all of the hard work you put into this post! I still can’t believe how many posts the evil witch stole from you. So glad google took them down!!!
    Enjoy your weekend.
    XO
    Kristin

  59. I found this article on Pinterest. Thank you for the amazing work and effort it took to put together such a thorough resource!

  60. Thank you so much for all of this useful information and thanks for taking the time to share it. I had no idea this was going on. I’m so sorry that it happened to you.

  61. Oh Susan, sorry this keeps happening to you. I saw your porch featured on a site and wondered if you gave them permission to use it. Here’s the link:
    http://www.front-porch-ideas-and-more.com/screen-porch.html

    • Judy, yes that’s Mary and Dave’s site…they’re good folks! :) They did asked permission and linked back to BNOTP, so all is well. Thanks though for watching out for me and letting me know. You are a sweetie to do that!

  62. Shannon @ Cozy Home Scenes says:

    Thanks so much for this post…..it literally came at just the right time for me as I just found one of my pictures on Facebook with the URL directed to a blog that was not mine. I just asked them take it down, but I’m grateful to know the steps to take if I need to go farther with this.

  63. Shannon @ Cozy Home Scenes says:

    Thanks for this post. It came at just the right time for me. Yesterday, I found one of my pictures on Facebook that was directed to a blog URL that was not mine. I’ve asked for them to fix this, but if they don’t, I’m grateful to know the steps I need to take.

  64. Thank you so much for all the work you’ve put in to this post and for warning us about this horrible practice. I am so disgusted that people stoop so low, but I guess that there is lowlife in every area of life. I will definitely follow your advice! Sandie

  65. Dear Susan, You are amazing! How generous of you to spend so much time and energy to help your fellow bloggers. You have done it before. And we are all grateful.
    I have noticed that you place your watermark at the bottom and to the right of your photographs. Have you had anyone crop your watermark and use the rest of the photo?

    • Thanks, Gina! I’ve wondered if someone might do that, but the content scrapers mainly use automated software and I don’t think they have software that will cover-up/remove a watermark, at least I haven’t read or heard about any. They are usually looking for the fast, least-labor-intensive way to steal your work, so most scrapers probably wouldn’t take the time to manually crop out a watermark. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is working on a software to remove watermarks. Some folks watermark their pics across the center of the photo. I really don’t want to do that, don’t like how that looks.

  66. What a great article. It’s not something I probably need to worry about, but I will be more aware in the future. What a horrible shock that must have been for you to find so many of your posts on another blog. It’s almost enough to make me glad that my blog isn’t hugely popular, and that I don’t post anything worth stealing. laurie

  67. Excellent post. I have many visits from odd referring sites and many images that have been viewed so many times it makes no sense in light of the number of page views I’ve gotten on those posts. I wouldn’t have thought they would steal from my site, but I guess you never know. I only watermarked images a few times because I didn’t want to take the time, but you have opened my eyes to the error of my ways! Thanks so much for all the work you put into this.
    Liz

  68. Dear Susan, I understand why you don’t want to place your watermark in the middle of your photo. However, cropping watermarks and using images on e-bay and for other purposes has been reported. I fade mine to suit the photograph and move them to wherever they don’t interfere too much with the picture.
    Again, thank you for your help which you are always so willing to give.

  69. I am shocked and so sorry this happened to you. I am so naive and trusting – stupid me. Thank you so much for this post and all the information. I will further investigate and start using precautions now.

  70. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge which is far more vast than my own!

  71. I adore your tutorials and how-to’s – you are just amazing! I had no idea there were people who stole content like that – so sorry this has happened….thanks again for keeping up your wonderful BLOG and for your willingness to keep us informed of both the good and bad that goes on in BLOG land.

    Catt from Kentucky

  72. I discovered someone was stealing my content and using it in their money-making videos on wedding planning. I got REALLY ticked off about it! That’s when I started watermarking all of my photos in BIG letters across the area of the photos that would render them useless. I even went back and added a watermark to all the previous posts’ photos. Adding it did seem to shut her down because within 2 weeks I was no longer seeing her name as a referrer or whatever…I don’t really understand all the lingo. I am going to read word for word the information from WordPress that will help stop pirating and apply it to my blog. I work on this stuff TOO hard and invest WAY too much money to have someone steal from me!!! Thank you for the reminder that we should all be vigilant!

    • I so agree, Alycia! I wish I could watermark all my old pics…just too many posts to do that. Would be nice if someone created a plugin that would watermark existing pics on a blog, post by post.

  73. Thank you for this post. I had no idea this was happening! So sad what some people do to make money. I’m pinning this so I don’t forget all the steps. :) So sorry this happened to you.

  74. Hi Susan, You have no idea how much I enjoy your blog. So many of my family & friends have thanked me for letting them know about this great website ~ you are an inspiration to us & we are blessed to have you as our online friend! Have a wonderful week!

  75. Thank you for all of your hard work in researching this problem. It’s too bad that there are so many scum bags around. Jane and I will take your tips. We’ve already found some of our stuff on some of these sites.
    Thanks again.

  76. Thank you so so much for this. I had no idea this even happened and, as a blogger, makes me mad and scared. I appreciate you shedding light on this dark topic and sharing simple ways to protect our hard work.

    ~ Ferly

  77. Thanks for your wonderful post on scrapping. You have some excellent tips that I will have to check out for my own blog. I don’t think any of my content has been scraped yet but one can never be too careful.

    Did you know that you can do a search on Google that will show you who is using your images? All you do is go to http://images.google.ca/. Then click on the little camera in the fill box in the middle of the page. Paste in your image URL and it will show you where your image has been used in the past. I don’t know if it catches all images but it can’t hurt to check it out once and a while, especially for popular photos.
    Thanks again for sharing,
    Carrie

  78. Oh. My. Goodness. If that happened to me, I would be SO ticked. Thanks for sharing your tips. I guess I better start water marking….boo. :(

  79. So sorry this happened to you…Do you think is is necessary to WM photos for Facebook also? I have often wondered about that.

  80. Wow. This is terrible. I don’t have a blog yet but was victim of this once already. I was invited to a bridal shower for a girl I barely knew because her brother dates my daughter. My primary role for the shower was advice for tablescaping and menu planning and to take photos. I took over 300 photos that day for the bride. I shared a decent sized group on Facebook. The next thing I knew, several of my photos appeared on the blog of the maid of honor. She never asked my permission to use them, and didn’t acknowledge my work. Needless to say, I now also watermark all my photos.

  81. So glad you posted this. I went through someone stealing my images & passing my kids off as her own. Stealing content is such a problem. I talked a lot about it here http://www.chichomeschoolmama.com/search/label/Blog%20How-To
    However these methods don’t protect against what you talked about here so I will be watching closely. I can’t believe these blogging platforms have not come up with a way for us to better protect our content. Hope with all of us posting complaints about it they will realize they need to do something.

  82. I didn’t read all the comments (there are so many!) so I don’t know if anyone else mentioned this.

    If you use wordpress, go into your settings, then reading and click on the Summary button where it says “For each article in a feed, show”. It’s good in 2 ways. It will stop the scraper sites from stealing your feed since it’s only a portion of the post and it will cause people who are reading in a reader to actually come to your site to read the article which is what you want anyway.

  83. I love love your site. It is soooo informative. There are so many things that I did not know about either. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for sharing. I want others to find you, I put your button on my page:) AWESOME!!

  84. Thanks for all the info….I am spreading the word to come read your words. I thank you again.

  85. Wow. Thank you so much for alerting us to this with so much detail. I followed a link here from a blogger in my feed who is moving to truncated feeds because of this (along with a bunch of others…). I am sad about that and see that there are other things you’ve listed that may prevent that. Are you using partial feeds, or just the footer info at the bottom? I’m just trying to figure out if a partial feed is really necessary, as I personally know of a lot of people who will unsub from blogs that go to partial feeds. I’m curious to your thoughts…?

  86. Your work is so good…that is terrible that someone stole it… this is such helpful info. I love your blog but would have missed this excellent post if it were not for an email from Beneath My Heart. Thanks for all your hard work here.

  87. What a fantastic post. thank you for opening my eyes. By watermarking photos, do you mean having your name written on them? I’ve just started doing this using websites like picmonkey.com or ipiccy.com.
    I saw other bloggers doing that and thought I should be doing it too. It does take time but it’s worth it.

  88. GREAT post Susan!! Awesome, and I learned something myself! ;)

  89. Thanks so much for this! I was completely unaware they could steal your content that easily! I have been lazy with watermarking lately…only doing it on tutorials…I will definitely be sure to do it now!

  90. I was also unaware. Thank you so much for this post and all the helpful links.:)
    -Revi

  91. Wow – who knew.
    This is so sad. Thanks for all the information.

  92. Thank you so very much for your wonderful post. I have learned so much by reading your post. By the way, I love your writing style :)

    Kelly

  93. What a great post, packed full of tips & insights. But, I am truly sorry you had some evil B* that did this. I’m glad their site was taken down, but still curious what site it was?

    Watermarks are a great tool, but it can also be handy to include your name/blog name in the file image name too. Sadly, all images on blogs automatically end up in Google Images which does nothing to try to discourage people from copying images from this source, even if you have a copyright protected statement on your blog/post! While not perfect, the file name combined with Google Alerts can help spot an image getting used where not approved.

    SewCalGal
    http://www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

  94. Totally unaware of this horrible practice until I read about it on the House of Smiths blog and she directed us here! Thanks for taking the time and effort to post and give all of this information. I just began truncating as a result of your posts although I began watermarking photos about 6 months ago. So thank you for your help and information!!

  95. Thanks so much for the heads-up on the RSS feed footer plugin Susan. I just added it to my site :~) I’m hoping this helps rather than truncating since that seems to be such a touchy topic with bloggers & readers alike at the moment. Glad you were successful in getting the scraper site taken down!

  96. You did a great job illustrating what it takes to put out great content. Readers (non-bloggers) probably have no idea how long it takes to get a post up from start to finish. Very informative, thank you for taking the time to educate others and protect yourself.

  97. It’s easy to stop someone from scraping entire blog posts in Blogger. (I’m sure there is a similar option in the other popular blog platforms) From the Blogger dashboard, click ‘Settings’, then click the ‘Site Feed’ tab. The first option on that page says ‘Allow blog feeds’. Click ‘Short’ from the drop down box to allow bots and search engines to only grab a few sentences at the beginning of a post instead of the whole thing. By doing this, blog readers don’t have the inconvenience of having to click ‘continue reading’ to catch up on their favorite blogs.

  98. Susan, I just clicked on this Becca person who said “Stealer is everywhere…” and it is a LINK TO A SPAM SITE!!! The crappy English tipped me off. You might want to remove it.

    I don’t have a blog, but I’ve been trying to put one together. Thank you for all of this info. — Min

  99. OMG, this JUST happened to me! A reader on the ‘evil blog’ followed one of my links back and emailed me a heads up! It too was a Blogger blog and DMCA took it down lickety split. I’ve never seen that before and now I’m seriously pissed. I’ve had party photos lifted before, but never entire posts! Thanks so much for this post and all the comments are so helpful!

  100. Thank you for this informative post. I am a new blogger and am trying to learn as I go the ins and outs of blogging. I don’t want to steal anyone’s info, so I have a question. If I try a recipe I find on Pinterest, is it okay to blog about it and share the link to the original recipe? Is this good practice in the blog world? I’m not trying to steal their glory, but rather commenting on and sharing their work with my readers. Thanks!

  101. Thank you for this! I just got scraped for the first time. What a pain! Now I’m wondering if they got it off my RSS feed. I also got lazy on the post they scraped and only watermarked half my photos — probably didn’t help! The scrapers also hotlinked my photos, which steals bandwidth from site and puts my site at risk of being shut down by my host. Just another thing to think about. I installed a WP plug in that stops hotlinking of my content. It is just such a pain! And the best part — their host requires a DMCA notice filed by CERTIFIED MAIL! So now I have to PAY to send in a complaint!! That really annoys me!

  102. Thank you so much for providing this – I literally read through all of your posts on scraping, and it was a HUGE help. Thanks again so much!!

  103. Thanks so much for sharing this valuable info – I had no idea.

  104. Wow! I’m so glad you posted this information! Being new to blogging, I’m so glad you mentioned the watermarking…I had not thought of that. Thanks!

  105. Yep, I’m brand new to this too, and also read every word. Awesome post! Thanks a zillion!
    *off to create a watermark for my two piddly pictures…lol*

  106. My Mother always put the fear of God in us and she let us know if we broke the law we would be punished. She said work hard and be proud of you accomplishments, take pride in what you do. What goes around comes around and I hope it bites these thieves in the butt. I love your blog, so sorry someone had the audacity to steal such beautiful work. You are so talented it’s a shame how someone could stoop so low and not think twice about it, I’m passing this information on to all my blogging friends.
    I took a blogging class but you have taught me so much that was not taught in class. I hope someday my blog will be half as good as yours. Thank you so much.

  107. Thank you for the site! I have started watermarking my original photos using Lightroom because they were being shared so frequently by friends and family. I’m not worried about them, but who knows where it may end up down the line?

  108. Good morning Susan,
    I received a message this morning from a fellow blogger, Ruth – Antiques and Teacups – she said it has my blog name and has pirated her photos and content as well as others.
    I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress, purchased my name, site etc…I am wondering if through Blogger that counts? Also I have directed Ruth to read this post to begin figuring out what to do. I suppose reporting this blogger to Blogger may start the process. Not exactly the way I wanted to start my day! Thanks so much for sharing your experience – I have a lot of reading to do. Any more advice would be most greatly appreciated.
    God Bless,
    Kathy

    • All you can really do is if it’s a Blogger blog, fill out a DMCA form and report them and they should remove the blog. If it is not a Blogger Blog, you can contact their hosting agency. I did that once with a blog that was using a lot of my photos and never heard back from the hosting agency. They basically don’t care.

  109. This makes my heart sick – scrolling down and randomly clicking on months – this Scraper is stealing from a lot of people!
    http://adelightsomelife.blogspot.com/

  110. Thanks Susan,
    I really do appreciate you. I have found a number of my blogging friend’s posts on this site and have alerted them – I’ll also share with them your posts – You’ve done such a marvelous job putting this together.
    I hope you have a blessed day,
    Kathy

    • Thanks, Kathy. I hope it’s a Blogger blog because they will remove it. You have to work at it sometimes to get it done but they will ultimately remove it. I know it’s awful to see your posts on another blog and to know they are potentially making money off all your hard work. Let me know if you are able to get it shut down.

      • I am so excited to share with you that Google has removed the offending Blogger site. It was a rough and rocky road for my dear blogging friends, Bernideen, Judith and Ruth. They worked for hours to submit posts to show their authorship; at one point Bernideen was denied – 54 posts! They kept working on it. Ruth contracted a Trojan virus from this Scraper’s site – just now got her computer fixed. I also sent a malware report because there were links in my stats from this site and searches that were related to the Porn ads connected to this site. We are so excited that we can face this window with this particular chapter in our blogging history closed. We are doing all we can now to protect ourselves – we greatly appreciate all you’ve shared – the good guys must stick together! God Bless,
        Kathy

  111. Thanks Susan, I just finished filling out the form and have emailed Ruth, Gena, Judith and Bernideen, the ones I recognized so far- this is a Blogger account and if well all send reports, perhaps they’ll act on it quickly – once getting all the reports from each.
    Gracious! This is my one day off this week and I had such high plans for our beautiful, sunny Georgia weather! I am going to have a Delightsome day and hope you do too! :D
    Kathy

  112. I’ve got two scrapers stealing my blog posts. One leaves in any links to other pages within my blog. The other changes the links so that they get paid by AdFly, then the person is sent to my blog. For that scraper, they also list my blog at the end of the post, but again, the link goes through AdFly so that they get paid for it. *_*

  113. I run a big site and I can tell you that it will never stop. I have filed hundreds of DMCAs. The thing is new websites crop up. Try using Authorship from Google which is structured data. I am thinking about doing away with RSS together. I don’t see the benefit and hate spending all the time writing to have it stolen. The other thing is that Google Images and Google Search work differently. Thus, you could get scraped on one, but outrank the scraper on another.

    • I’m sure you’re right…that it will never go away. I do have the author-rel set up and I hope it at least tells Google I’m the real deal. Definitely think that’s a good idea and recommend it. I have truncated my feed, too. I felt like I really had no choice. Those who subscribe via email to the feed at least get an email letting them know that a new post is up, so at least it serves that purpose. It also gives them a direct link to the post in the email. That’s about the best I can do.

  114. Thanks a lot for such an informative article. It’s very helpful since I recently started my own blog. For the moment, I only experienced spam comments, we’ll see about the theft…

  115. I started my website http://www.leatherboundtreasure.com in 2003 with name and logo as it still appears today. Rcently I found this video on Youtube (youtube.com/watch?v=k-M5_BKE5Ws) and it is clearly a ripoff of my site’s name and logo. I contacted YoutTube who is owned by Google and they replied a couple days later saying they “do not recognize my claim to the trademark”. Google and the sites it owns do not care about content or rights thives. All Google cares about is making more money. Google though it’s Adsense program is also the world’s biggest creator of spam so its really no surprise.

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