Image: Mitchell Luo
My recent problem with stolen content seems, for now, to have stopped. No, Google hasn’t stopped the crooks from scraping my blog, or the dozens of other sites these people attack daily. Google hasn’t even responded to my request for help. And the scraper’s sites are still packed with freshly stolen work.
Just not mine. For now, at least.
In case you missed the previous post, the reason these particular scrapers are such a problem, is they’re able to steal my work, AND get it submitted for indexing by Google in seconds.
Their scraped copy of my work was then selected by Google as canonical (the original version). My original work was regarded as a copy and wasn’t indexed. This means it can’t appear in Google Search Results.
Scraping my content by RSS feed
It’s a bit drastic, but I’ve had to remove my RSS feed, which the criminals use to steal my copyright protected posts, publish them on their sites and stuff them with ads (yes, Google Ads).
There’s a big downside though. Without an RSS feed, there’s no easy way for people to subscribe to this blog via feed reading services like Flipboard or Apple News.
I tried several less severe alternatives, but these people use very sophisticated software, which bypassed all the solutions the various experts I spoke with were able to suggest.
Google indexing scraped content is a huge issue, which very few victims (original content producers) are even aware of. They certainly see that they get way less organic search traffic from Google.
But most will have no idea why. They won’t know that none of the content they’ve written (since they were scraped using this ultra effective scraping software) can appear on Google Search.
Content scraping is easy money
Google pretty much owns search. So there’s little or no motivation on their part to finally start taking content scraping seriously. The problem has been here for over a decade.
Yes, Google asks people not to scrape sites. But Google do very, very little to proactively stop ranking the stolen work. The processes involved in reporting stolen / scraped content is, at best, arduous; especially when there’s a lot of content to report. And even if successful, Google will not ban the scraping site. You have to keep on filling in forms… which is why many victims simply give up.
Whilst there’s little motivation for content producers to keep on reporting the criminals, the content thieves have huge motivation to carry on. They can set up a site, pack it with scraped content and Google Ads, and literally make money automatically. They don’t have to do anything once it’s set up, other than watch the advertising revenue flow into their bank accounts. Easy money is an understatement.