Posted by:on October 25th, 2007
In addition to the other hassles of running a semi popular web site, some lowlife is taking content wholesale from Skate and Annoy and reposting it without credit in order to populate a web site with skateboard related Google ads and dupe people into helping him/her make money. It’s a blog template that hasn’t been updated and still has “Company Name” and “Company slogan” as placeholders. It’s kind of flattering to find out some dirtbag thinks your content will help him make money. They are using our RSS feed and randomly sticking in the words “skate”, “video” or “DVD” to get search engine hits from people looking for skate videos. Now there are other scumbags that pull RSS content and pretend it’s theirs as well, but most of them pull bits and pieces from a multitude of sites instead of just copying everything from one site. So I apologize to our RSS feed readers (apparently, there are some legit ones) for the general funkiness of our feed in the last few days. I’ve been trying to combat the content thieves. If you are so inclined, you can find out how after the jump.
The web has quite a few stories of people ripping off RSS feeds and reposting wholesale. They often start with a highly indignant post about how the author contacted the web site and got no reply. I contacted the registrar of Official Skate Site, and of course, got no reply as well. The records are probably filled out falsely to begin with, so Wardell Gates probably isn’t a real person anyway.
I did a quick search on how to combat RSS thieves, and eventually came across a plugin called sig2feed that lets you add a signature to your RSS feed with a link to your site or whatever. I employed it with this:
Â© SKATE and ANNOY – DIE RSS CONTENT THIEVES!
Which is nice, except it might offend people who are legitimately reading the via RSS feed. Also, this particular thief has disabled the links and as you can see, randomly inserts key words. Also, if the post is long, the copyright notice gets cut off.
It would be cool if the plugin had the option to insert the signature at the beginning of the post.
Another thing this guy was doing was calling my images directly from his web server. Every time he gets a visitor, it gets charged against Skate and Annoy’s bandwidth. This was easy enough to fix. You can turn off images, which is what I accidentally did for a while, to the irritation of a few of our readers. Then I remembered some simple server configuration you could use to refuse such requests, or more humorously, automatically replace them with another, which is what I did for Official Skate Site:
This worked for a while, but I think he’s got the images turned off now. Another thing I’ve tried is harassing the offending sites with “knock it off!” comments, but they soon wise up to that and block them. Official Skate Site seems to run a day or two behind live content, so it will be amusing to see if it is 100% automated. If it is, this post will get picked up, which will be amusing, but won’t solve anything. To add insult to injury, I’m now getting Google alerts about the offending sites with my own content highlighted!
Short of turning off my RSS feed for a week, I’m not sure what to try next. If anyone has any ideas, that would be swell.
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