I learned a big lesson with that one incoming link. One you need to learn, too.
It was posted on a blog subtitled An Iranian Woman Bloggerm which added a thrill when I found I was included in the list. To know that I’m making an impact in a country where women suffer so much, my throat started to close and my eyes tear a bit as I read through the article. The comments about each woman blogger were wonderful and included some fellow bloggers I didn’t know. The beautiful words made me want to get to know them.
I eagerly copied the link and a blockquote to my text editor to compile a blog post for my blog. There have been a lot of articles highlighting women bloggers, but the way each one was described and recommended, it was truly from the heart and distinctive from all the rest of the articles. This one I wanted to honor on my blog as it celebrated the achievements of women bloggers.
After writing up the post in my text editor, I went back to check the article for any last minute things I could add. I also wanted to say thank you for my inclusion in such a powerful list of female bloggers and show my appreciation for introducing me to some I’d not heard of…when I found David’s comment.
He warned the blog owner to remove the content as it was a copy of his own.
I was embarrassed, humiliated, then outraged. I’d almost featured this copycat plagiarist.
I want to thank David Peralty for leaving a comment on a blog post that informed the owner that the article was a copyright violation of his blog post. It saved me from linking to them. It also saved me from serious embarrassment and humiliation.
I was puzzled. If it weren’t for David’s comment, how would I have known? The blog looked legit. It looked personal. The writing wasn’t spammy. It was lovely.
The article honored me among one of the fifteen and included a link to Lorelle on WordPress. That link triggered a listing in my incoming link referrals, leading me to investigate.
There were no tell-tale signs of a scraper with “Abraham Lincoln wrote an interesting post today…” or stuffed with ads and other clues that this wasn’t their original content. The design, layout, post content, everything on the blog told me that this was original. There had to be a clue other than David’s comment. I got out my mental magnifying glass.
I spotted the second clue I’d missed on the first time through. I re-read the reference to me:
Lorelle VanFossen and I work together on the Blog Herald, but its her own blog on WordPress.com’s hosted solution that draws in her astounding audience…
I don’t know who this “Iranian woman blogger” is, but I certainly don’t work with her. I work with David, which verified his claim, too.
That’s how hard it can be to tell the legit from the illegitimate bloggers.
Help Bloggers Know This is Your Blog Post
Education will help stop copycats and plagiarists, but we have to do our part, too. On Lorelle on WordPress, I have a signature on every blog post that includes several links back to my blog. I also include links to other blog posts within almost every article I write. These create trackbacks and incoming link referrals that I can investigate to see who is stealing my content. Since I can’t use a WordPress Plugin on a WordPress.com blog, I do this manually.
There are many ways to alert yourself that someone has copied your blog post, but also to warn others that this is a copy, not the original, so they don’t make the mistake of featuring your plagiarized content.
- Include a link to your blog within the post content or in the footer “signature” which can be done manually or with a WordPress Plugin.
- Include a link to your blog and/or blog post within your feeds, which can be done manually or with a WordPress Plugin that injects the information into the feed automatically.
- Include full, absolute links to your blog content from within each post, citing at least one article to your blog.
- Put your copyright statement within the post content area, which can also be done with a WordPress Plugin.
- Check your incoming links and referrer links frequently and investigate unfamiliar links.
- When you find your content has been scraped or plagiarized, leave a comment. This warns the plagiarist and future visitors that this is not original content. And take action to stop them from plagiarizing you and others.
- Include the name of your blog or some descriptive keywords to every blog post and set up a Google Alerts for email alerts of posts with those keywords. This helps uncover many plagiarisms.
- If you find someone has linked to plagiarized copies of your work, tell them, and ask them to link to your original work, giving credit where credit is due.
WordPress Plugins that can help include:
- Owen Winkler’s AntiLeech WordPress Plugin
- Better Feed WordPress Plugin
- Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin
- FeedEntryHeader WordPress Plugin
- Feed Footer WordPress Plugin
- WP_RssSticky WordPress Plugin
- Simple Feed Copyright WordPress Plugin
- PostLocation WordPress Plugin
- Better Feed WordPress Plugin
- Disclosure Policy Plugin
- DGE_InlineRSS WordPress Plugin
- ©Feed WordPress Plugin
- Angsuman’s Feed Copyrighter Plugin
Keep track of your incoming links and check to see what others are writing about you – or if they are abusing your writing.
Before you start writing about a blog post, check the article for verification that this is an original not a copy cat:
- Check links for references to “I” that make sense, and references to links which say “recently I wrote about” to see if they link to that blog or another.
- If the majority of the links within the post link to a specific blog, not a variety, check that blog and search for this content. You could be looking at on-site links not off-site reference links.
- Check the comments to see if someone has left a warning note to the author that they have plagiarized their work.
- Look for signs of scrapers or splogs.
Give credit to those who deserve it, not steal it.
It’s no longer an issue of content theft out of control. It’s a point of honor and integrity. I don’t want to be a blogger who links to plagiarized and scraped content. Do you?
For more helpful advice and information on copyright, copyright violations, content scraping, and content theft, see:
- Content Theft and WordPress
- The 6 Steps to Stop Content Theft
- 5 Content Theft Myths and Why They Are False
- The Five Worst Ideas in Content Theft
- How To Provide Attribution in the Blogging World
- Protecting Your Content From the Spinning Spammers
- Who’s Talking About You and Your Blog
- Plagiarism-Fighting Network Tools: Part One
- Following up on a Cease and Desist
- A Content Theft Tale
- How to Find Free and Legal Content For Your Blog
- How to Write an Effective DMCA Notice
- How to Stop Plagiarism Cold
- How to Detect Plagiarism and Content Theft
- Reporting Blog Content Thieves
- How to Stop Content Theft: The Best Tips
- Stop Content Theft Buttons and Badges
- AntiLeech Splog Stopper: Fighting Back Against Content Thieves
- Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft
- Copyright and Translation : Help Your Community Yourself
- How To Spot a Splog
- Reporting Spam Blogs – Splogs
- Finding Stolen Content and Copyright Infringements
- What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.