Jason Calacanis has proposed a different way of combating the increase in content theft: dobbing the thieves into the ad networks they rely on.
The best practice right now should be to call these people out and use our collective leverage with the advertising networks (adbrite, google adsense, tribal fusion, burst, etc) to hit these guys where it hurts: their paypal accounts.
The only reason people do this is to make money from 3rd party ads’€¦ if every time this happens 20 publishers call a 3rd party adserver and say ‘€œwhy are you paying this person to steal our content’€? we will see some action.
Follow the money and freeze the assets’€”Elliot Ness style. You carry a badge, you carry a gun’€¦ and don’€™t go bringing a knife to a gun fight.
Imagine your the CEO of one of these ad networks and an email comes to your desk with 20 of your top publishers saying ‘€œWe support X publisher in their effort to protect their content from the following website which is stealing content.’€? When you’€™re an ad network your main cost of doing business is signing up publishers, and your publisher relationships are all you’€™ve got.
I think the notion is noble, but I have two concerns: the first is that Google won’t listen, my experience with Google and communications has been poor to say the least and I have no confidence in the company responding to complaints about content theft. Secondly, the pursuit of these people takes up time and effort that could be better used in other activities: i.e. what’s the opportunity cost of pursuing content thieves? I’m willing to give it a go, but I can remember similar initiatives against comment spammers a couple of years back, at the end of the day the flood became so great most of us switched from attacking strategies to defensive strategies.