Duplicate Content And Article Theft

I read a post today on duplicate content and Google’s possible reaction to it and it got me to thinking.  I thought that the consequences of having duplicate content on your blog goes way beyond what Google thinks  and has everything to do with what your readers think about it. I’m not talking about those of you who have multiple blogs that duplicate their own articles. Heck, even I do that as it’s added exposure and it is also interesting to see the reaction it gets on each blog. Having said that, I do try to add additional content, whether it’s in the form of an introduction or just something new that came to me when transferring the post.

I don’t even have a problem with bloggers who copy and paste entire articles as their post, apart from the fact that I think they are going way beyond being what I consider to be a lazy blogger. What I do have a problem with is when they do not mention that the article is not their own thereby letting their readers assume that it is actually original content. This goes beyond plagiarism as it can only be considered content theft.

I prefer to link to an article that I really like rather than taking the easy way out and just doing a copy and paste. The benefit to this is that it allows me to add my own thoughts to the  article I am linking to resulting in my own original content, something that I believe many readers prefer. You could also do a direct quotation from part of the article as long as you give attribution to the original author. You should never, ever post an article leaving others to believe it is your own because when you are found out, and you will be found out, you would have ruined all your credibility as a professional blogger.

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 53 Comments

  1. That is so true. If you keep copying other people’s content the blog really ceases to be your own.

  2. Sire,
    Thanks for the linkback. Honestly I have not been monitoring if people have been stealing my posts as I just don’ t have the time. I think such people never really cared about credibility when they do this. Tell me do you really track such going on if people are using your articles this way. There are ways that we can do this, but I’ve never started doing so. But I may give it some thought.

    Peter Lee

    Peter´s Last blog post..Blog Carnival of Link Building, Blogging Tips,Traffic Secrets

    1. I don’t know if Sire monitors, Peter, but I don’t really monitor. However, I always know when my site has been scrapped because it shows up in my WordPress stream, and often I get a trackback. I always delete it because I don’t want to give it any credibility.

      One thing I do, though, is put my name into the search engines every once in awhile to see whether articles I’ve written are on other sites. And, as I said, as long as I’ve been given attribution, for the most part I’m not upset. As long as no one is representing themselves as me, that is.

      Mitch´s Last blog post..Leadership Scruples “Game”

      1. Actually Mitch, I get those useless trackbacks all the time and I always follow it to it’s source and delete it if there is no credibility to the link.


        1. Twitter:
          Same here, Sire; we’re like minded individuals, which is probably why we’re so evenly matched in chess.

          Mitch´s Last blog post..Worst January In History?

          1. Funny that, I was just thinking the exact same thing. :lol_ee:

            Sire´s Last blog post..Desperate Housewives Not As Desperate As Sunday Mail Proof Readers

  3. Hi Peter, when I wrote this article it wasn’t because I found someone was pinching my articles, perhaps they are but I have never thought to look. No, this all came about after reading a post on another fairly well known bloggers blog. I left a comment but I just felt that the writing style was completely different from the bloggers normal posts so I just did a quick check only to discover that he had poached the article from somewhere else and pretty well posted it as his own. I have since found that this is not the first time he’s done this.

    He has now lost all credibility with me and I will no longer be following his posts.

    Sire´s Last blog post..Desperate Housewives Not As Desperate As Sunday Mail Proof Readers


  4. Twitter:
    Hi Sire,

    I only write original articles for the blog that has my name on it. However, for some of my other blogs, I have recently started importing articles from AMA, and giving them a minor re-write … just add additional content when I don’t have time to write anything of my own. I don’t stress too much about the duplicate content, as there’s really no such thing as a “penalty” … that particular duplicate article might not get ranked (unless I get more links than the original), but the updated content will bring the bots back, and help them find my original articles.

    Todd

    Todd´s Last blog post..Reverse Fate

  5. Hey Todd, it isn’t the “penalty” aspect that concerns me. It’s like I said I have nothing against using other peoples articles as long as you give them credit for being the original author.

  6. The cruelest thing about this activity is sometimes the theft’s blog position get better rank in SERP than ours for own our original articles.

    SEO Blog´s Last blog post..Permalink Migration Plugins To Permenantly Moved Ugly Permalinks Into Pretty Url

    1. Yeah, that certainly is a bit rough especially when the person who actually wrote the article in the first place fails to get the common courtesy of even a link back. Any blogger that does this is pretty low in my book.

  7. I think due to the heavy drilling of reference your sources during study (history and law teacher love references) I am in a habit of when writing a solid article to reference all my sources.

    However I have come across some scrapers and the such and I rather they quote and link back then copy the whole article.

    Also rss footer plugin; very useful if you are scraped…you get some nice links back if you cannot/do not bother to act against it.

    Donace´s Last blog post..Free SEO Tools

    1. I remember going through the same thing when I was at school, but I think that those who do this do it intentionally and not out of ignorance.


  8. Twitter:
    Sire, this is a little off-topic but involves this post. I use Google alerts to keep up with certain key words and one of those is ‘Extreme Ezine’. I just received one that shows this post and your Top Commentators are being indexed:

    Google Blogs Alert for: “Extreme Ezine”
    Duplicate Content And Article Theft | WassupBlog
    By Sire
    Top Commentators. Ben@Make Money On… (3) · Mitch (3) · Yan@Review (3) · Brian D. Hawkins (2) · Brian (2) · Coco – Kennewick … (2) · Peter@Work At Hom… (2) · S B (2) · Dalirin (1) · Dennis Edell (1) …
    WassupBlog – http://wassupblog.com/
    This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google.

    Brian´s Last blog post..Pack Your Feed’s Bags, We’re Moving In With Google

    1. Now that was a interesting bit of information Brian, especially as you hadn’t commented on this post yet. Perhaps it was trying to tell you something. :wink_ee:

  9. Duplicate content can have it’s place. From time to time (but rarely) we’ll write an article and copy it a few times. Then change the title to capture different search queries. For instance, in real estate we would want to atract folks looking for movers in case they might need a real estate agent. If you search for ‘kennewicck wa movers,’ or ‘richland wa movers’ or ‘pasco wa movers’ etc., the articles are exactly the same but different titles. ;)

    Coco – Kennewick Real Estate´s Last blog post..I Love Jesus But I Drink A Little

    1. That is being smart and like Mitch said, it’s all your own content. I only have exception to those inconsiderate bloggers who use other peoples material without giving them credit for it.


    2. Twitter:
      At least you wrote your own article originally, Coco. I’ve altered my own articles to use elsewhere, and that’s fine. Quoting news that’s everywhere else is fine also. But taking someone else’s work and using it as your own without attribution,… nope, not cool.

      Mitch´s Last blog post..January Statistics Report – Getting Better

      1. Yeah, my husband did that article in response to a debate that was going on in a real estate forum about duplicate content. My husband’s position was Google will sometimes index duplicate content articles. He won that one! Since then we’ve only done it a few times as I’m certain Google will more than likely only index the article it feels is the most relevant.

        Coco – Kennewick Real Estate´s Last blog post..I Love Jesus But I Drink A Little


  10. Twitter:
    Of course I fully agree with you on this one, Sire. Man, with the output that I have, it would be easy to find other stuff to use that I didn’t write on my own, but it wouldn’t have my personality then, and therefore it just wouldn’t be for me to do.

    Mitch´s Last blog post..January Statistics Report – Getting Better

  11. That’s right Peter, and if it’s your property then you should receive whats coming to you, even if it’s a simple link back.

  12. I think that violation is a great word to use when someone takes something that belongs to you and claims it as his own. What did you do when it happened to you.

    BTW, you may have noticed that I have edited the Keywords you used instead of your name. I’ve done this basically because I would prefer to answer to a name rather than a keyword. You may want to read my Comments policy. I hope that this does not impose too great a hardship and that you return and comment in future posts.

  13. Certainly copying someones articles like this is purely plagiarism and should not be tolerated!!

    At least give credit where it is due!!

    Taris Janitens´s Last blog post..The Importance of Posting on Other Blogs

    1. What do you reckon we should do Taris, get the virtual whip out and give them a cyber flogging? :devil_tb:

  14. I agree, if it is not your work, acknowledge the writer and add a link to original source if you can. If It is my duplicated copy it is my intellectual property.

    Cheers,

    Peter

  15. I think you should be more concerned about a cut and paste job. It’s possible that the thief could rank for that content and you could drop out of search results. Google doesn’t monitor who was the original source – or sometimes gets it wrong. Happened to me recently. Really feels like a violation.

    Self-Publishing Review´s Last blog post..The Past, Present, and Future of Ebooks

  16. It’s amazing that people will just lift an entire article with almost no reference to the original author or site. I had a situation with a foreign blog that translated one of my articles and took the photographs and translated it word-for-word. Luckily, I could make out the language and they had contact info on their site so that I could e-mail them. Unbelievable.

    Gennaro´s Last blog post..Things To Do In NYC (For Free)

    1. That’s really interesting, and what did they have to say for themselves when you approached them with the fact that they stole your property?

      1. @Sire

        The guy claimed he was trying to support my site. He did have a link on the bottom to the post (not in easy eye view), but it was the wrong website name. His name was at the author spot. No credit on the photos.

        I told him that if he wanted to “support” my site: ask for permission and use part of the post and tell reader to finish reading at my site. At least give credit. He did agree to remove my stuff.

        If he actually asked and gave credit, I might have liked to have one of my articles translated and posted elsewhere.

        @Donace

        It was in Spanish. It was a word for word translation and it was written well. Not just a quick babel fish or Google translation.

        Gennaro´s Last blog post..Venice Carnival: Masks And Malvasia

        1. well ‘technically’ speaking then as it was translated to Spanish and as you said it was good spanish…therefore a word to word translation is improbable.

          This would actually give rise to a separate type of copyright issue. Though that point in it self is worth an essay :p

          However what I don’t understand is why just didn’t link back :p

          Donace´s Last blog post..Free SEO Tools

          1. Granted it was 100% word for word because no two languages do that, but it was 98% with the exact links I used in the article to give others credit for my research. It was also a personal account of a trip. How in the world would another person have my account of my trip :) with my girlfriend!

            They were also my personal photos which were used without credit. The photos on my site had a copyright symbol. Again, with credit (my name and cpoyright) I’m sure I’d be fine with my photos being used.

            Gennaro´s Last blog post..Rock Climbing Over Rice Paddies

        2. I don’t suppose you took a copy of it before he deleted it. It would have been nice to have a well written Spanish version of the post, which you could have linked to elsewhere. At least that way you would have gained something for all the hassle.

          1. Naturally, you do whatever you feel comfortable with, but as far as I’m concerned he lost all rights to it when he lifted your copy. Heck I would even make a post out of it encompassing a link to the original post.


        3. Twitter:
          At least you could do the translation to know your stuff had been taken. I’d be clueless, as would most people, if any of my stuff was being produced in another language.

          Mitch´s Last blog post..The Sense Or Nonsense Of Captcha

    2. That is actually interesting; what language was it? and was it direct word to word translation like google translate etc or rewritten in that language?

  17. I’m not talking about those of you who have multiple blogs that duplicate their own articles. Heck, even I do that as it’s added exposure and it is also interesting to see the reaction it gets on each blog.

    Sire buddy, this is actually the worst kind according to Google so be careful. They tend to look at it as trying to manipulate the rankings.

    Dennis Edell´s Last blog post..Free Backlinks: A Traffic Experiment via Commenting & Promotion

    1. How so Dennis? What’s the difference of submitting an article to heaps of article submission sites and duplicating it on you own blogs, complete with added content?

      1. I don’t have time to look now, but there’s something in their guidelines that specifically states about “duplicate content across the same domain”…something like that.

        It’s regarding bloggers that post the same articles on multiple blogs they own to manipulate SERPS.

        I’m not saying you do this, but I doubt Google stops to take the time to distinguish, ya know?

        Dennis Edell´s Last blog post..Free Backlinks: A Traffic Experiment via Commenting & Promotion

        1. Either way I reckon I am safe as my blogs are on different domains. Anyway, what is Google going to do, take away my PR? Man, if I have to lose my PR because of I choose to run MY blogs in a particular fashion, so be it.

          1. Different domains but the same line. Like I said, I don’t remember exactly how they put it. Nor do i recall if it’s just PR or a complete deindexing….always best to keep up with the guidelines anyway. :)

            Dennis Edell´s Last blog post..Free Backlinks: A Traffic Experiment via Commenting & Promotion

          2. Weird, because last I heard Google had nothing against duplicate content. Oh well, if the hammer falls it falls, I ain’t worrying about it.

          3. They don’t for the most part, but from what I’ve read (from them) they look for that the most due to the SERP manipulation factor.

            It’s one thing if they allow Joe to beat Bob with his own stolen article, but they really don’t like people trying to screw THEM lol.

            Dennis Edell´s Last blog post..Best Blog Review Winners!

          4. Lucky for me I don’t worry all that much about Google, otherwise it would spoil my blogging experience.


  18. Twitter:
    @Gennaro,

    I understand the feeling of being “violated” when your content is copied. However, in the case of a translation … and especially with at least the attempt of a link back to your site … I’m not so sure that you wouldn’t have been better off letting it stay up.

    Google is probably going to view the Spanish version as unique content, so realistically there’s no chance of it outranking your post for the same search terms. And, unless you’re doing translations yourself, the target audience isn’t even the same … ie, spanish language readers are unlikely to ever make it to your blog on their own.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but I think in your situation I would have just asked for a couple of good anchored links crediting the writing and photos.

    Just my three pennies …

    Todd

    Todd´s Last blog post..Do You Promote Your Comments?

    1. @Todd

      I agree to a certain extent. My problem was mostly with the fact that credit wasn’t initially given and he didn’t request permission. I probably would have said yes to a Spanish translation and the use of the photos as long as the proper credit was given.

      I also wasn’t happy with his initial response to my e-mail, which I didn’t mention. I had to be more forceful in my language with a second e-mail.

      It is what it is. It was an annoyance more than anything. It’s not like the post was the Magna Carta or The Iliad.

      Gennaro´s Last blog post..Hawaii Hotels Empty: Deals?

  19. I doubt those who plagiarize (read:steal) care about credibility at all and those who care certainly won’t copy without giving credit back to the original content.

    Then again plagiarism is the highest form of flattery. I care less as long as all the links are intact. It happens to me most of the time. The more they do it, the more backlinks point my way.

    Yan

    Yan´s Last blog post..Twitter T-Shirt, Anyone?

    1. @Yan

      I agree that, in the end, there is something flattering about someone liking a post enough to use it. Backlinks are great too. That being said, I believe your credibility is gone once you steal a post with proper credit or link.

      If you are not trying to deceive then you make it clear where the post comes from and give the link.

  20. Actually Yan, whilst I believe assumption to be true for some of them I believe others do it in the false belief that they will get away with it. Fortunately it is only a matter of time before they are found out and are dealt their just desserts.

  21. I’ve had this happen a few times. Once it was after I did a review of a session at a conference, the speaker reproduced almost my entire review on his blog. Then just the other day I saw someone took about half a blog post and put it on his own blog. In both cases I was given credit (which is the only reason I even know about it), but in the second case it wasn’t clear how much was actually taken.

    I think it’s great to refer to other blogs and other people’s thoughts, but it’s much better etiquette only to post a part of it, and then refer people back to the original post.

    Andrea Hill´s Last blog post..How the iPhone is Causing Web Design to Go Backwards

  22. That is so true Andrea, and by posting only part of it and actually filling the post with your own unique content shows that you have your own opinions and thoughts on any given topic.

  23. I agree; you should never copy+paste an article into a post and pass it off as your own. I suppose even if you have an article and give credit to the original author, there’s really no “you” in it. I think it’s best for a blogger to add their own opinions before/after the article; what they thought and why. Stuff like that.

  24. Thanks for your input Flint, that made a whole lot of sense.

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