Battling Content Thieves

Battling Content Thieves

Battling Content Thieves

You work so hard at your business. You’re out marketing, making phone calls, visiting companies, and shaking hands. Is it really fair that you should have to create original content when there’s so much out there already? Why not just swipe it from someone else? After all, if it’s on the Internet, anyone can use it, right?


Recently, I learned about a new and nefarious Internet Villain: a scraper. A blogpost I wrote was scraped. Scraping means that someone took the content, without permission, and posted it on their site. I discovered it through a pingback on my blog. By the way, I’m not sharing the crook’s name with you.

What to Do if Your Content is Stolen?

That made me wonder…what can you do if your post is scraped? First, I asked some of my friends. They were outraged on my behalf, but also thought that it was a result of being successful. One said that the more you write, the greater the odds of being scraped. Next, I went to Google and did a search. And Ginny Soskey’s wonderful Hubspot article came up on how to fight back if people steal your content. Luckily, I could skip the first step–I already knew it had been stolen.

Is it Worth the Fight?

Soskey asks this question, and comes up with some instances when fighting isn’t worth the effort. For me, the answer is yes, since I’m delving more deeply into this subject, and writing about it here. But you could ask yourself how much time it will take.

Take Screenshots

I took screenshots of the offending scraped material, created a folder, and saved it.

Contact the Offender Directly

Asking people to remove your content

Asking people to remove your content

Although I contacted the offender three different ways, apparently they weren’t listening. (Ironically, the title of my blogpost  was “Twitter as a Listening Tool.”)  I commented on the material, asking them to remove my post. No response. Then, I tweeted to them directly. Still no response. Some of my followers retweeted my tweet, too. Then I emailed then. Still nothing! I wondered if perhaps Twitter wasn’t the best platform for them!

Has Your Material Ever Been Stolen?

What happened and how did you choose to handle it? Please leave a comment! Thank you.

P.S. There will be another update to this story! Stay tuned!




  1. Great tips. – I especially like the screenshot idea.

  2. Kim Stebbins says

    Oh, Carol! I hope you get that resolved. I found that website, even though you didn’t mention it because I am am uber-sensitive to thievery of any kind and the Nancy Drew in me kicked in. I noticed they did place a link to a source (way down at the bottom) that curated it from your site (I hope B2C had your permission!) but that’s not enough attribution and I think that is is still theft. Their website is very ad-driven and it appears that none of the other articles are original either.
    Btw, I commented that they should have asked for permission from the author–and I didn’t do it anonymously.

    • Hi Kim (aka Nancy Drew)!,
      Thanks for going to the trouble of figuring out the puzzle. To answer your question, yes, B2C had permission to use the post. There was a pingback, but no permission.
      We all go to a lot of trouble to get the “look and feel” of our posts, and I was very unhappy to see mine couched in ugly, spammy ads.
      I commented, too (not anonymously), but replies are curated and as far as I know, never accepted.
      Thanks for taking the time. I am impressed and should I ever need a private detective, I’ll keep you in mind!
      Carol Stephen

      • Kim Stebbins says

        Though I am sorry this happened to you (and I agree that having your post couched in spammy ads is not a good thing!) I am glad you posted this warning. I had read that Hubsopt article you referred to and even ran our blog through the Copyscape plagiarism checker they recommended, but then promptly forget about it. Your article was a good reminder and now I have Copyscape on my toolbar to remind me to do a quick check everyday–it only takes a minute.
        Thanks for all your good advice, love your blog!
        “Nancy D”

        • Hello Kim,
          If the post helps someone else, then it will be worth having written it! I love your idea of putting Copyscape on your toolbar, too. There are so many details to remember about blogging, aren’t there? Thank you for the comment and the great tip, too!

  3. I had this happen to me right after it happened to you! I was so irate I posted on their Facebook page, my personal page, and our business page. Lucky for me, within minutes I saw a post from Elizabeth Potts Weinstein, an internet savvy attorney. and she said don’t go off the deep end about it and do what I had already done. She hadn’t seen what I’d done, it was a stunning coincidence. I got the message and quickly deleted everything and wrote a calmer email to the owner of the web site. She was very apologetic, saying her web designers had done it without her knowledge. I let her continue to use it IF she would attribute it to me, and like to our web site…which she did. i am so grateful I saw EPW’s post! And, her next 30-minute webinar was on this subject, so I am now well-informed.

    • Hi Taru,
      Yes, I had to take quite a few deep breaths before being able to decide on an appropriate reaction. That’s great about seeing EPW’s post on what to do. I will have to find that and watch it, too.

  4. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around onn Yahoo News.

    Do youu have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!


  1. Battling Content Thieves, Part 2 | Women of Technology says:

    […] might have read my first post about content thieves and what you can do to battle them. The first steps were relatively easy, but I have to admit […]

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