Friday, April 1, 2011

Why You Should Care About Plagiarism

I recently found four more sites that had taken text directly off of my website and put it on theirs without credit. I think that's called "plagiarism."

Why should I care, you ask? Well, regardless of what the junk mail that I get from web marketing "gurus" says, my website is always ranked pretty high on all the search engines when I check. Google, of course, is the grand poobah of search engines, so for your business where you rank on it does matter.

Now recently we've been hearing about how google is going to start cracking down on duplicate posts online. That means that websites and blogs that consist mostly of articles and photos from other sites won't rank as highly, or so they say.

That's great, but what happens if someone plagiarizes your site, then google's robots decide that YOUR site is the one that stole the content from the text thief? It can block your site, that's what.

When I wrote to the four plagiarists, two took the pages down, one wrote back to say that she was figuring out how to do it (sure), and one didn't respond. After not getting a response, I wrote to the offender's ISP and field a formal complaint with the DMCA official form.

The ISP is SUPPOSED to take down pages when they receive a formal complaint, or at least look into it. The response that I got from this one particular company was that they were not responsible for it, and that they're perfectly within their rights to host the site even if there's copied content. When I sent them the actual law with the relevant sections highlighted (in case they were the only ISP in the world who had never heard of this) they stopped answering my emails. I found the company's owner on facebook and emailed him directly...still no response.

Soooo...What to do? I assume that they figure that I won't hire an attorney and sue them, so they don't need to do anything. They might be right about me not wanting to deal with that, but guess what? Thanks to the My Baking Addiction blog and her experience with the same thing, I just found out that you can file complaints directly with google.

If google has anything to do with the site, including adwords, blogger, or any of their picture sharing sites, they will investigate and remove the content. Thank you, google!

So this morning I'll fill out my form letter one more time and send it to google. The site that won't take my content off has adwords sitting right next to the stolen text, so there you have it. I might also be filing a complaint with the BBB in Knoxville, TN to register the lovely treatment that I received from the ISP, too.  I don't need to hire an attorney to do that.


 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

4 comments:

adozeneggs said...

I can't even believe people take entire posts (and multiple posts) I've had photos taken and no credit given, but a whole post? That's just crazy. So scummy...

Kara said...

It's bizarre to me, too. I was at a presentation once where the speaker was talking about doing ghost blogging, and he said it was really easy. "Just go read some blogs, take something from this one, something from that one, put it together and you have a post." I just about blew a gasket.

monikapaprika said...

I just read Jamie's, from MBA, post. How did you discover that you were being plagiarized?

Kara said...

You can either put phrases from your website into google and see if anything comes up, which I've done before, or use www.copyscape.com. It gives you some free searches per month then you pay a little for each one after your free tries are used up, but it's very effective in finding copied text. You put in the url of the page you want to search for, and it looks to see if other sites have used text from that page. I was shocked as how many it found, so it's well worth using it. Choose pages from your site that are text-heavy, they're the most likely to be stolen.