31 March 2011

Blog Scraping

I'm really an idle blogger: I don't expect to make money from my blog (nor do I want to), I'm not running it as a business, and I don't really do anything at all to publicize it. I started my blog as a way of maintaining both a running diary, accessible by friends at home, as a storage place for pictures and information for myself, and as a way to meet and chat with folks with common interests as a new expat in Germany. I had gotten good advice and learned things of interest while wandering through other people's blogs, so I chose not to make my blog private.

I've maintained an interest, for the most part, in the blog, with ups and downs dependent on my outside interests and activities (and those of my family) and since I set it up, haven't changed it very much, after a quick flirtation with Wordpress which still lives out there, just in case.

One of the widgits I installed was Feedjit, which allows me to see some information about who visits my blog. Not very much, because I use the free version: I don't market so I don't need to granularize the information.

But I do look at the information, because I find it interesting to see who comes by (and in the case of friends, I may recognize their city) and what key words or searches are used to get to me.

So I was really surprised to see someone coming to me through a blog called ExpatAngels. When I went to look at it, I discovered that a post from by blog had been scraped and was sitting there in all its glory (joke). At least my name and link had been left,but I was confused: no one had ever asked my permission to use my post, notified me of the use, nor did I remember joining the site, which might have given them permission to use my words.

So I shot them off an e-mail to ask them why my post was sitting there. I never got a response, but what I did get was quite quick removal , as you can see on the left.

That made me curious, so I did a quick and non-tech search and was able to discover that blog-scraping seems to be quite common, if even my tiny and quite unread blog can be scraped numerous times: here's another one, with my post still sitting on it. Once again, it's linked, so I think I'll leave it here. But I'm just amazed that people do this: it's stealing words and photos, isn't it? And using it for commercial purposes, as these blogs seem to be money-making (or attempting to be so) entities.

For those of you with a stronger interest, or who want to make money on their blog: I wonder how many of our posts are sitting on someone else's sites, with or without attribution?


Frau Dietz said...

Hello :) Wow. I had no idea. Thank you for sharing this!!

Helen said...

Ughh. Sorry that this has happened to you.

As far as I can tell - I am scrape free:)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you shared this. I blog for much the same reasons you mentioned. I use Wordpress's free version and don't get that many visitors either, but I do get lots of pingbacks, which as far as I know I can't do anything about. They've always been directly linked back to me, so I don't mind. Only once I had someone "scrape" me (I didn't know what it was called). In that I shot them off an email asking them to cease and desist. After I reported them they disappeared completely. A WIN for all of us.

Unknown said...

Hi there!
I fear that once you are in public domain with a blog, you are then liable to any unscrupulous bird of prey picking up a tidbit or all of your writing. Is there a recourse against this? I don't know since "public domain" is so huge a territory.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks for sharing. I realize this happened to me once, but I didn't know what to call it. After I reported it, it disappeared pronto--along with the whole blog site out of Czechoslovakia or some such exotic place. I blog for much the same reasons you outlined, with a free wordpress site. Hence I don't have huge numbers of visitors either.

Anonymous said...

No blogger should put up with this in the least.

If you see your work stolen and stuck on another site, work to get it removed.

And if they're sticking Adsense ads next to your stuff, they're in effect making money off you for free.

Google is good at shutting down their Adsense accounts. Here's a short how-to:

G in Berlin said...

Thanks, LHTY. I will follow up this week- interestingly, there's no way to contact this second blog. I have left comments asking to have my post removed, but no response. I'll go through your steps this week and see if it goes away.