Tracking Scrapers Together Through Trackbacks

Filed as Guides on September 2, 2008 7:37 pm

A blog post linking to one of my blog posts has been scraped dozens of times. Recently, it was scraped by eight different sites in the same day. The eight trackbacked sites turned out to have a single owner/webmaster using their auto-blogging scraper across multiple splog sites. I’ve let the blogger know – after the second time it happened – and now that it’s happened multiple times, it’s time to change strategies.

It’s now time to work together.

Have you received multiple trackbacks over time from an blog post with a link to yours and the investigation finds that it isn’t the original site but a scraper? What do you do?

When a trackback to a blog post shows up for the first time in my Comments Panel, I check it out to see what they are saying about my blog and blog post. Trackbacks are a great way of learning what others are saying about what you say, connecting us all together within this so called “web” world we live in.

The second time a trackback appears that looks like the first, I’m suspicious. While we are all known to be redundant from time to time, I don’t think we are that bad at it. I check it out and if it is not on the original site, I check the article for intrasite links to the original source. It only takes a few seconds to spot a fake.

An intrasite link is any link to the original blog that the blogger put into their post such as a link to a reference article they wrote or a direct link to their own blog’s URL, which some WordPress Plugins for feeds and copyrights inject automatically into blog feeds. Including at least one intrasite link in every blog post is a good habit to get into, even if it is to reference another of your blog posts and increase exposure of your own blog posts. It also helps track trackbacking scrapers.

If I find an intrasite link, then I assume that the blogger has received a trackback and will take care of the matter of the copyright infringement.

If a third, fourth or more trackback appears from the same or multiple splogger/scrapers, then I notify the blog author that their content is being ripped off and ask if they need help responding to these copyright infringements.

Most of the time, the authors are either working on responding and taking action, or welcome the alert, thrilled to be warned.

When the tenth or more trackback appears over time, then I start responding myself in the comments requesting the scraper remove the copyright violating content and warn them that the original author has been contacted, and forward the new scraper site URL to the original author.

Why Bother Warning Fellow Bloggers?

Jonathan Baliey of Plagiarism Today, my friend and fellow blogger here on the Blog Herald, and I agree that we have to all work together to stop copyright infringement and the abuse of our content by scrapers and sploggers using auto-feed scraping tools to take our blog posts and put them on their income generating sites without our permission – or a piece of the pie. If we all work together to educate and stop the abuse, and to control the usage of our content, the web will be a much nicer place.

I warn fellow bloggers because I know I would want to know. I also warn them because I know we can work together to stop copyright infringement. I also warn them because it’s a great way to get to know fellow bloggers.

By reporting scrapers, I’ve met some wonderful bloggers I wouldn’t ordinarily have time to meet. Over time, some have even become friends. We trade war stories, tips for blogging, and even have guest blogged on each other’s blogs. Overcoming adversity is a great way to build relationships.

It’s also a good practice. It’s nice. It’s kind. It’s also supportive.

Wouldn’t you want to know if someone is abusing your content? Do you?

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  1. By dinu posted on September 2, 2008 at 8:44 pm
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    I have seen this thing before, and even wrote about splogs :) now, we need a collective action, need to form a team , or a group for this…. I am ready to help, as much as possible

    Reply

  2. By Brian Carnell posted on September 2, 2008 at 9:39 pm
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    If I actually took the time to deal with every Splog scraper, I’d spend all my time e-mailing hosts and issuing DMCA notices instead of blogging. Just not worth it in the big scheme of things.

    Reply

  3. By dinu posted on September 2, 2008 at 10:14 pm
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    @ Brian Carnell

    that’s where the need of teamwork is .. :)

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  4. By Rob posted on September 3, 2008 at 4:39 am
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    Since all comments to my blog are moderated, if I spot a scraper’s trackback, I just delete it. He can send traffic my way all he wants, but I won’t reward him by sending traffic back to him.

    Reply

  5. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on September 3, 2008 at 10:01 am
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    @ Brian Carnell:

    I do take time to deal with every scraper I can find. Trust me, it doesn’t take that long. :D In the big scheme of things, if everyone thought like you…sigh.

    I applaud those who take the few seconds to help out a fellow blogger by letting them know their site has been ripped off. I cheer for those who take the time to educate their readers and others that it is better to ask first than take without asking. What a world it would be if we all took the time to live by that rule. :D

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