Profitable Tools

Someone Is Stealing My Client’s Blog Posts! What I Recommended

9 min read
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Introduction [00:00]

Content theft is a growing concern for website owners and bloggers who invest significant time and resources into creating original, high-quality content. In this article, we’ll explore a real-life scenario where a client discovered that their blog posts were being scraped and potentially plagiarized. We’ll discuss the challenges of content protection, the importance of maintaining a positive user experience, and provide practical solutions for detecting and addressing content theft. From conversion rate optimization tools to plagiarism detection services, we’ll cover a range of strategies to help you safeguard your valuable content while ensuring your website remains user-friendly and engaging for your audience.

Rebel Love’s Issue [00:27]

In this section, we’ll delve into the specific problem faced by the client, Rebel Love, and explore the initial steps taken to identify and address the content theft issue.

Discovery of Content Theft

  • Conversion Rate Optimization Tool: Rebel Love was using a conversion rate optimization tool, specifically Microsoft Clarity, to monitor their website’s performance. This tool provides screen recordings of user interactions, which inadvertently revealed the content theft issue.
  • Screen Recording Evidence: Through the screen recordings, Rebel Love observed multiple instances of users selecting and copying entire blog posts. This behavior raised suspicions of potential content scraping and plagiarism.
  • Recent Content Targeted: The client noticed that even their most recently published content, released just a week prior, was being targeted by these potential content thieves.
  • Mailing List Connection: Interestingly, Rebel Love identified that some of the users engaging in this behavior were subscribed to their mailing list. This information was gleaned from UTM parameters in the recordings.

Initial Concerns and Questions

  • Blocking Options: Rebel Love’s first instinct was to explore ways to block these users from accessing their content. However, they quickly realized that completely blocking access to the site might not be a feasible solution.
  • Unsubscribing Suspects: Considering that some of the potential content thieves were on their mailing list, Rebel Love contemplated unsubscribing these users as a preliminary measure.
  • Identifying Culprits: The client recognized the need to narrow down the list of suspects by analyzing email click data from the day of the UTM-tagged visits, which fortunately included date information.
  • Existing Tools: Rebel Love mentioned that they had previously considered implementing a tool to address this issue, but it didn’t work as expected. They were seeking guidance on why it failed and what alternative solutions might be available.

Emotional Impact

  • Frustration and Concern: The client expressed significant frustration with the situation, emphasizing their dislike for people stealing their original content. This emotional response highlights the personal investment content creators have in their work.
  • Seeking Expert Advice: Recognizing the complexity of the issue, Rebel Love reached out for professional guidance on how to protect their content effectively without compromising their website’s functionality or user experience.

What Not To Do (Wreck the UI) [02:19]

In this section, we’ll explore the common pitfalls and misguided approaches that website owners often consider when trying to protect their content. We’ll discuss why these methods can be detrimental to the user experience and ultimately counterproductive.

Avoid Blocking User Interactions

  • Right-Click Blocking: One of the most common knee-jerk reactions to content theft is implementing right-click blocking on the website. While this may seem like a quick fix, it significantly hampers the user experience for legitimate visitors.
  • Text Selection Prevention: Some website owners consider disabling text selection to prevent copying. However, this approach severely limits users’ ability to interact with the content naturally, potentially driving away engaged readers.
  • Impact on Majority Users: It’s crucial to remember that the vast majority of website visitors (estimated at 999 out of 1000) are not there for malicious purposes. Implementing strict anti-copying measures affects these legitimate users negatively.
  • Reduced Functionality: Blocking standard website interactions can prevent users from performing simple tasks like looking up unfamiliar words or sharing meaningful quotes, diminishing the overall value of the content.

Maintaining User Trust and Comfort

  • Psychological Impact: When a website feels overly restrictive or behaves differently from standard web experiences, it can create a sense of unease or distrust among visitors. This psychological factor can significantly impact user engagement and conversion rates.
  • Analogy to Physical Spaces: Consider the parallel between a restrictive website and a house with multiple locks on every door. Just as such a house would make guests uncomfortable, an overly locked-down website can make users feel unwelcome or suspicious.
  • Balancing Security and Usability: The key is to find a balance between protecting your content and maintaining a user-friendly, welcoming online environment. Prioritize solutions that don’t compromise the core functionality and ease of use of your website.

Ineffectiveness of Client-Side Restrictions

  • View Page Source Workaround: Even if you implement client-side restrictions like disabling right-clicks or text selection, savvy users can still access your content by viewing the page source. This method exposes all the text content, including HTML markup.
  • Easy Text Extraction: Once a user has access to the page source, it’s relatively simple to copy the content and strip out the HTML markup, leaving them with the plain text of your articles.
  • False Sense of Security: Relying solely on client-side restrictions can provide a false sense of security while actually doing little to prevent determined content thieves from accessing your material.

Focus on User Experience

  • Prioritize Engagement: Instead of implementing restrictive measures, focus on creating an engaging, valuable user experience that encourages legitimate interaction with your content.
  • Encourage Proper Attribution: Make it easy for users to share your content through proper channels, such as social media buttons or embedded citation tools, to promote legitimate sharing and backlinks.
  • Educate Your Audience: Consider adding a brief, friendly note about content usage and attribution policies to encourage respectful use of your material without resorting to technical restrictions.

Check For Duplicate Content With Copyscape [05:03]

In this section, we’ll explore how to use Copyscape, a powerful tool for detecting duplicate content across the internet. We’ll discuss its features, pricing, and how to effectively integrate it into your content protection strategy.

Introduction to Copyscape

  • Purpose of Copyscape: Copyscape is a specialized online tool designed to help content creators and website owners detect instances of plagiarism or unauthorized use of their content across the internet.
  • Proactive Monitoring: Unlike restrictive measures that can negatively impact user experience, Copyscape allows for proactive monitoring of your content without affecting your website’s functionality or usability.
  • Wide-ranging Search: Copyscape scans billions of web pages to find potential matches to your content, helping you identify both partial and full copies of your work.

Using Copyscape’s Free Version

  • URL-based Checking: Copyscape’s free version allows you to input a URL of your web page or article. The tool then scans the internet for any matching content, providing you with a list of potential plagiarism instances.
  • Immediate Results: After entering your URL, Copyscape quickly processes the request and displays the results, showing whether any matches were found and where they appear on the web.
  • Limitation of Free Version: While the free version is useful for occasional checks, it’s not suitable for regular monitoring of multiple pages or frequent content updates.

Copyscape Premium Services

  • Monthly Monitoring: Copyscape offers a premium service starting at $5 per month, which allows you to monitor up to 10 pages regularly. This is ideal for smaller blogs or websites with limited content production.
  • Scalable Pricing: For websites with more content, additional pages can be added to the monitoring service for a quarter per month per page. This scalable pricing model makes it accessible for websites of various sizes.
  • Weekly vs. Daily Checks: The $5 per month service provides weekly checks, while a more expensive $20 per month service offers daily monitoring. The frequency of checks can be chosen based on your content production rate and risk assessment.

Implementing Copyscape in Your Workflow

  • Regular Content Audits: Integrate Copyscape checks into your regular content audit process. This could be weekly or monthly, depending on your content production rate and the level of risk you perceive.
  • New Content Verification: Make it a habit to run new content through Copyscape shortly after publication to catch any quick attempts at plagiarism.
  • Budget Considerations: Factor in the cost of Copyscape Premium as part of your content marketing budget. The small investment can potentially save you from significant losses due to content theft.
  • Result Analysis: When Copyscape returns results, carefully analyze them to differentiate between legitimate uses (such as quotes with proper attribution) and actual instances of plagiarism.

Alternative Tool: Grammarly

  • Plagiarism Checker Feature: Grammarly, primarily known for its grammar and spelling checks, also offers a plagiarism checking feature that can be used as an alternative or complement to Copyscape.
  • Free Option Available: Grammarly provides a free plagiarism check option, which can be useful for individual articles or occasional checks.
  • Limitations: Unlike Copyscape, Grammarly doesn’t offer automated monitoring or URL-based checking. You need to manually input the text for each check.
  • Dual-Purpose Tool: If you’re already using Grammarly for proofreading, its plagiarism checker can serve as a convenient additional layer of protection without requiring a separate tool.

File a DMCA Takedown [09:00]

When you’ve confirmed that your content has been plagiarized, filing a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice can be an effective way to have the infringing content removed. This section will guide you through the process of identifying the hosting provider and filing a DMCA takedown notice.

Identifying the Hosting Provider

  • Use Hosting Checker Tools: Utilize online tools like hostingchecker.com, whohostethis.com, or hostingadvice.com to identify the hosting provider of the website that has plagiarized your content.
  • Simple Process: These tools typically require you to input the URL of the infringing website. They then provide information about the hosting company responsible for that site.
  • Example Usage: For instance, using hostingchecker.com with facebook.com reveals that Facebook hosts its own content. This information is crucial for knowing where to direct your takedown request.
  • Multiple Tool Options: It’s advisable to cross-check the results using multiple tools to ensure accuracy, as some hosts may be more difficult to identify than others.

Contacting the Hosting Provider

  • Direct Communication: Once you’ve identified the hosting provider, the first step is to contact them directly. Inform them that content on one of their hosted websites is plagiarized and needs to be taken down.
  • Provide Evidence: When contacting the host, be prepared to provide evidence of your original content and the plagiarized version. This may include URLs, screenshots, and timestamps of publication.
  • Response Expectations: Reputable hosting providers usually take these matters seriously and will investigate your claim. They may remove the infringing content or, in severe cases, cancel the hosting account of the offending website.
  • Follow-Up: If you don’t receive a response or action within a reasonable timeframe (usually a few days to a week), be prepared to follow up or escalate the issue.

Dealing with Unresponsive or International Hosts

  • Self-Hosted Challenges: In cases where the infringing website is self-hosted or hosted in a country with different copyright laws, you may face additional challenges in getting the content removed.
  • Escalation Options: When dealing with unresponsive hosts or international jurisdictions, you may need to consider more formal DMCA takedown services or legal assistance.

Using DMCA.com Services

  • Professional Takedown Services: Websites like dmca.com offer professional services to handle takedown notices on your behalf. These can be particularly useful for complex cases or when dealing with unresponsive hosts.
  • Service Tiers: DMCA.com offers various service levels, including:
  • Free Quote: Provides an estimate of the cost and process for your specific case.
  • Monthly Subscription: For $10/month or $100/year, you get access to takedown tools and resources.
  • Per-Site Fee: A one-time fee of $199 for DMCA.com to handle the entire takedown process for a single site.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Consider the impact of the plagiarism on your business when deciding whether to invest in professional DMCA services. If the stolen content is significantly affecting your SEO or revenue, the cost may be justified.

Understanding Google’s Role

  • Duplicate Content Detection: It’s important to note that Google’s algorithms are sophisticated enough to often identify the original source of content. This means that in many cases, plagiarized content may not rank well in search results.
  • Original Content Priority: Google typically prioritizes the original content in search rankings, which can mitigate some of the SEO impact of plagiarism.
  • Monitoring Rankings: Keep an eye on your search rankings for key terms related to the plagiarized content. If you notice the infringing content outranking your original post, it may be time to take more aggressive action.

When to Take Action

  • Assess the Impact: Before investing time and resources into takedown notices, assess the actual impact of the plagiarized content on your website’s performance and visibility.
  • Ranking Monitoring: Use SEO tools to monitor the rankings of both your original content and the plagiarized versions. If the copied content starts to rank for your target keywords, it’s time to act.
  • Frequency of Occurrences: If you find that your content is being plagiarized frequently, it may be worth investing in ongoing monitoring and protection services to streamline the process of identifying and addressing infringements.

Key Takeaways

Protecting your valuable content from theft and plagiarism is an ongoing challenge in the digital age. While it’s tempting to implement restrictive measures to prevent copying, it’s crucial to prioritize user experience and maintain the functionality of your website. Here are the key takeaways from our discussion:

  1. Avoid Restrictive Measures: Don’t implement methods that hinder user experience, such as disabling right-clicks or text selection. These tactics can drive away legitimate users and create a negative perception of your site.
  2. Use Monitoring Tools: Leverage services like Copyscape to regularly check for duplicate content across the internet. Consider investing in premium services for automated, ongoing monitoring of your content.
  3. Implement Regular Checks: Make content verification a part of your regular workflow. Check new content shortly after publication and perform periodic audits of your existing content.
  4. Identify Hosting Providers: When you find plagiarized content, use hosting checker tools to identify the website’s hosting provider. This information is crucial for taking action against content theft.
  5. Contact Hosts Directly: Start by reaching out to the hosting provider of the infringing website. Many reputable hosts will take action to remove plagiarized content when presented with evidence.
  6. Consider DMCA Services: For persistent issues or unresponsive hosts, consider using professional DMCA takedown services. Weigh the costs against the potential impact on your business.
  7. Understand Search Engine Behavior: Remember that search engines like Google are often capable of identifying original content. Monitor your rankings to assess the true impact of plagiarism on your SEO efforts.
  8. Educate Your Audience: Consider adding a friendly note about proper content attribution to encourage legitimate sharing and discourage plagiarism.
  9. Balance Protection and Accessibility: Strive to find a balance between protecting your content and keeping it accessible and engaging for your audience. The goal is to safeguard your work without compromising user experience.
  10. Stay Vigilant: Content protection is an ongoing process. Stay alert to new threats and adapt your strategies as needed to keep your valuable content safe.

By implementing these strategies, you can protect your content more effectively while maintaining a positive user experience on your website. Remember, the key is to be proactive in monitoring and addressing content theft without resorting to measures that could alienate your legitimate audience. With the right approach, you can safeguard your intellectual property and maintain the integrity of your online presence.

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