Updated: December 27, 2005: The wholesale blog plagiarism is a much wider problem than most of us realize. In the past few days, as we tried to get one site shut down, many more examples have come to light that are simply ripping the content, and repurposing it for making Ad dollars. I can list many a few names here, but why give them the traffic. Some suggest no-more-full feeds, which has sparked off a whole different debate. I am not cutting off the full feeds because of some people are not doing the right thing. That doesn’t mean I am not worried about this whole trend. I turned to Dick Costolo, CEO of Feed Burner and asked him if he could do something. Dick replies…
We do have the ability to throttle these kinds of things IF they are identifying themselves. Frequently, these kinds of sites use a tool that masks their identify by just requesting the feed with a blank user-agent string (for example, instead of sending up “FeedDemon/1.0″ or “Googlebot”, they just send up nothing). The problem with banning a blank string is that there are a bunch of perfectly valid home grown RSS readers out there that also send blank strings, and finally, these guys usually bounce around from IP address to IP address.
Clearly, these sites ONLY exist because they can make money from Google AdSense. The issue is important enough for Google to step in, and do something. Everett says, in the short term it may not be a bother for Google. Jeremy Pepper points out that while the splog sites are doing this to make a quick buck, how about the aggregators etc, who are repurposing the content and making money off that.
One commenter writes, “Scrapper sites may soon become the Achilles heel of google adsense program and trigger massive advertiser withdrawal, like what happened to banner advertisements of Web 1.0 era, when many sites started to reload the page every few seconds to get billions of ad displays and advertisers lost millions.” Meanwhile there has been a lot of behinds the scene conversation, that cannot be blogged right now.
Last week, Mike over at Crunch Notes was complaining about Josh Stomel, who was making slight changes to Mike’s posts and reposting them as his own writing. Well, at least Stomel made some effort. This morning, Andy Abramson sent me an email about this website which is lifting and reposting the posts from GigaOM wholesale, images and everything.
These guys who call themselves a magazine network are so dumb, they even took the categories. Apparently, these people are not just ripping my content, but also the content of other bloggers. The design seems to be inspired by “Weblogs Inc” and clearly, this site is created to make money off other-people’s work. Think of this as a new kind of a splog. All right folks, I need some suggestions on how to make this shit stop. The domain is registered to someone in Texas, and the email address on the domain registration information goes to RezGlobal, a wholesale luxury travel agency. Global company, which has a website, but no executives.
Update: Thanks to reader suggestions, some aggressive reporting by Dave Burstein and Andy Abramson, along with a quick response by the said site’s host, the xb90.com has been shut down. Thank you all for moral and technical support.