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Saturday, May 16, 2009

I've Been Scraped

Until today, I had no idea what "scraped" meant.

I have a Google Alert set up to search for certain keywords, like when my name or book is mentioned out in the ether. But every once in a while I find one of my blog posts copied almost VERBATIM on another blog with no information as to who the blog belongs to or why it exists.

With no way to contact the blog owner, I was forced to allow the piracy to continue. The occurrences were rare and random and sometimes they appeared to have been translated to another language and back to English. Surprisingly, this last one inadvertently gave me credit as the author, but only because my name was listed within the article.

Today I found out there are scraper bots that harvest information off blogs and re-post them on other blogs. According to BlogCoach these are completely robotic operations.

I generally delete my old Google alerts, but I decided to check out the most recent capture. I checked out the link yesterday morning and did some minor sleuthing.

I didn't get far but I promised myself I'd dig deeper when I got back to my computer that afternoon.

On my return, I discovered the blog was suspended. Hmm...

I will be keeping a much closer eye to my alerts from now on. I suppose it is a backhanded compliment that someone wants to steal my content, even if it is a robot. There's gotta be a human behind the curtain somewhere. I will be on the lookout for him from now on.

BlogCoach gave some good suggestions to dissuade these thieves which I will start to implement.

The one protection device I will not use is to truncate my blog posts. These show up as a headline or a short paragraph. To read the rest you have to go directly to the blog. I absolutely HATE this. I don't like being coerced to visit a blog. If you want people to read you, put it out there.

I put blogs on my Google Reader for my convenience. If you make it inconvenient for me you'll lose a reader, not gain one.

I'm sure people do the partial feed to protect themselves, but BlogCoach had much better ideas for that. From now on after every one of my posts I will place a copyright statement and try to add more links that come back to one of my older posts--at least for my favorite posts.

I'm glad people like the information I share, but please link back to it. There's no honor in stealing.

How about you? Have you had content stolen? Have you done anything special to protect yourself?

It's us against the bots and their despicable owners.

*****
Copyright © 2009 Maria Zannini -- http://mariazannini.blogspot.com/.

12 comments:

Marianne Arkins said...

I had no idea that is what "scraped" was...and was very worried by your title in the beginning,lol.

I HATE the "read more" feature on blogs and, like you, will seldom visit them.

I haven't noticed that I've had anything stolen, but my google alerts are set up with my name and book title... hmm... I wonder if I should JUST use my name for one? But, I'm a little afraid of getting bombarded by alerts.

Will visit that site to see what they have to say.

Mike Keyton said...

I have a google alert on my name, but more often or not I keep getting alerts on the latest exploits of 'baby keyton' the apple of someone else's eye, but not mine. I'm sure he's very nice.

But my bottom hasn't been scraped yet.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Marianne!

I would do an alert for your name alone and also one for the way it appears on Twitter just to cover your bases.

Scraped was completely new to me. I wondered why I occasionally found such odd posts of mine. It wasn't until I found BlogCoach that I realized what had happened.

Maria Zannini said...

ahh, Mike. See what happens when you don't have a nice unusual name like mine?

I'm sure you're the apple of Bernadette's eye. *grin*.

Since you write so many stories about your past, you might need to set up Google alerts with keywords of specific locations.

catie said...

Never heard of "scraped" until today. It still boggles my mind that people steal blog content. How low can they go?

Maria Zannini said...

It was news to me too. I didn't put two and two together until I read the article on BlogCoach.

Shelley Munro said...

Maria - I'd never heard the term either. My Google alerts haven't turned up anything yet. I just get pirate alerts and they're just as annoying!!

Maria Zannini said...

the first time I found one of my posts elsewhere, I thought it was some sort of archive. I've found other sites where all they do is store links to blogs with excerpts of specific posts.

I don't have a clue what's going on. Who reads these things?

Suzanne McLeod said...

'Scraped ' was news to me too, Maria. Thanks for that gem :-)

As for the read more ... feature, I have it on my blog, but use it more when I've got 'routine' bits and bobs like rules to contests etc to add in, or attach it later to some of my older, longer posts more so that anyone visiting can skim over and just look at what interests them, without having to scroll down too far.

[And now you're laughing aren't you, as I'm not known for overly regular posting *g*] I hadn't realised people use it to encourage others to visit ... umm will think about that one :-)

Maria Zannini said...

Suzanne: You use it on Blogger or LJ? I don't think I ever noticed it on Blogger. If it is, then for some reasion my Google reader shows the whole post. But you are right--you are pretty atrocious when it comes to blogging regularly.

Bad girl! LOL!

Suzanne McLeod said...

I am suitably chastised *hangs head in shame* LOL!

Rochita said...

I only learned about google reader at CW. One of the best new things to learn about as it now allows me to follow blogs not on lj on a regular basis :)

I'm glad to read you are doing well. Warm regards from The Netherlands.