The iGizmodo splogger rant

Filed as News on March 28, 2007 4:54 pm

The blogosphere is rightly filled with discussion about the whole issue surrounding death threats on Kathy Sierra, and there are far bigger names than I reacting to it, so instead I’ve decided to air one of my current rants.

I’ve got better at holding back just a little before writing, but I’m getting fed up with one particular site at present. iGizmodo.com (no link love from me).

I’ve written about them in the past, but omitted to name them. Until now.

Of course, they’re not unique in what they do, but what irritates me about them is that, to the casual observer, they appear to be quite professionally designed. Glance at their stories briefly and you don’t notice the collection of inline links pointing to the original sites they’ve scraped content from – so lazy are they that they can’t even be bothered to remove those traces.

What irks me is when other sites report on stories that I, or my colleagues, have written, and quote iGizmodo as the original source. Now, I don’t hold a grudge against the reporting site, though it’s always good to spend another 30 seconds or so digging for the real original article. Oh no, I blame iGizmodo.

Even the name is a rip-off, surely? I had to double-take the first time I saw the site linking to one of my stories, as for a moment I thought “what the hell is Gizmodo doing ripping my story?” I’m sure these sploggers named their site explicitly with this in mind.

My latest email to them does appear to have caused them to stop scraping content from the three sites I named. I don’t know if they responded to my email this time as I sent it from a ‘dead’ account. I wasn’t going to put up with them trying to convince me that they were doing me a favour by linking to me. Not this time. (bad neighbourhood, anyone?)

But all the old content is still there – and these thieves are so lazy (remember they don’t alter any of the feeds they scrape) they’d probably never lift a finger to delete old articles, particularly as they appear to be making AdSense money from others’ work.

I’d file a complaint with Google, but somehow it always feels like it’s the victim who has to jump through hoops and spend time and money in order to get the articles removed, or at least get the ads taken down.

They scrape content from Techfresh, PC World, TechEBlog, Gizmodo, Uberphones, Think Geek, Everything Home, Tech Digest, Shiny Shiny, HDTV UK, Everything USB, MobileWhack… well you get the idea. I’m sure a lot of it’s just keyword based.

They even scrape from other scraper sites, which is ironic. Why care? It’s keyword-rich material, after all.

Rant over. Anyone want to help push this site into the gutter where it belongs?

Update: It appears that the Google AdSense ads have been removed, either voluntarily or as ordered by Google. At least, I can’t find them in the source code.

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  1. Andy Merrett» Blog Archive » My iGizmodo rant goes publicMarch 28, 2007 at 5:14 pm
  2. Elaine Vigneault » Blog Archive » The A List and The Pink ElephantMarch 28, 2007 at 5:43 pm
  3. By Ian posted on March 28, 2007 at 8:03 pm
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    I don’t get it. iGizmodo is severely violated the trademark of the real Gizmodo.com. 1. It copied the name. 2. It scrapped content, making the real Giz looks bad.

    Also, couldn’t those guys just send an email to the register and get them banned? This should be relatively easy since Gizmodo is obviously not a obscure blog.

  4. By ploop posted on March 29, 2007 at 2:43 am
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    This is theft plain and simple. In the offline world there are lawyers who would have this ironed out very quickly. Something tells me the blogosphere is still something like the wild west and there are benefits and problems with that.

    Benefits: creativity and news reporting can be stronger when it’s done by people closer to the story
    Problems: Thieves like iGizmodo stealing articles from bloggers to make themselves money.

  5. By Andy Merrett posted on March 29, 2007 at 2:57 am
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    Interestingly, the splog hasn’t been updated since MArch 25th. I wonder why?

  6. Web bullying: actually I do care - why my song is “Please don’t let me be misunderstood” at The Blog HeraldMarch 29, 2007 at 3:31 am
  7. By Tiago posted on March 29, 2007 at 8:05 pm
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    The same thing happens in my blog, and iGizmodo isn’t the only splog doing this.

    Here is a “solution” to make you happy: since they are hot-linking images, replace one of your images with a red background + white text saying: content ripped off from “yoursite”.

    Another thing that could be done in these kid of situations is interlinking every post, so at least you will have some hits from the copied content.

    Sending a C&D letter to their host and warning other blogs involved about this shit is also a nice idea.