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March 30, 2009

What Gets Copied: A 3-Week Study

Three weeks ago I signed up my blog for a beta service by Tynt called Tracer in an attempt to both test the service and get a better understanding of how people are using my content.

The service works by having users embed a line of JavaScript code into their site and it tracks when users select or copies text and images from the site itself. Tracer also adds an attribution line to every copy that includes a special link Tracer can track, thus letting you know when people visit your site from copied text.

The information provided by Tracer is only aggregate in nature, there is no information about what an individual user did with your content, and Tracer does nothing to prevent copying, thus it is not a DRM solution. All Tracer does is analyze how users interact with your content and which pages are the most “active”.

To do that, Tracer follows four metrics: page views, selections (meaning when someone selects objects), copies (actually copying the work) and generated traffic (clicks on links generated by Tracer).

After over three weeks of running the service, I’ve gotten some pretty good data on my site and the results more than surprised me. Here is what I learned. read more

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