Was Your Blog Content Stolen, Too? *UPDATED*

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Estate Shows

Screenshot of Stolen ScoopWelcome to my 400th post on Active Rain.  (Public count is different, don't get excited.)

Yesterday Copyscape informed me that someone had duplicated the content of my outside blog, The Putnam Scoop.  When I checked out the site, it had my Scoop posts listed under Real Estate West Virginia, so I knew this was someone from Active Rain taking my stuff.  I haven’t mentioned real estate at all on the Scoop, aside from in the names of some sites in my blogroll.

Digging in a little further, I found several other Active Rainer’s outside content duplicated without their names or sites credited, only a small link to “This page” for original post.

I wrote to the site owner and told him to TAKE MY STUFF DOWN.  He wrote back and said he would (thank you) but wondered why I wouldn’t want the extra exposure, especially as his site gets more hits than mine.

Well, isn’t that part of it right there?  I don’t want him to get hits that might have led someone to my actual site.  My site is more personal, with local pictures and a hometown feel.  It’s just not the same experience to visit a site like his.  I want local people to find a local site run by someone from HERE.  We’re a small state that isn’t always appreciated for all it has to offer.  I love this place and visiting my site gives you a little of the experience of being here.  I want my readers to feel the pride we share in living here.  You don’t get that from his site.

That wasn’t a real estate site that he used, it wouldn’t have done what he wanted anyway.  He didn’t ask.  He used my words, signature and pictures of me – and he did the same to people I consider friends.  The link hidden at the bottom didn’t make it all better.

And I checked him out a little.  I found stuff I didn’t care for and wouldn’t want to be associated with.  He thought I’d be flattered and assumed I was hungry for business and would be thrilled.  I have enough business that I don’t even use my site for work, but for the joy of where I live.  I care about who my name is associated with and would prefer to have a choice in the matter.  And perhaps I just don’t get it, but how would my hits going to his site instead help my business anyway? 

If you can explain to me how this was a benefit to me, please do.  (Just be nice!)

UPDATE: A friend pointed out that he's not "linking" to Inman, homes.com or Realtor.com, just us "smaller" bloggers.  What if I got express permission from Teresa Boardman to use one of her photographs, or from Lenn Harley to use one of her maps?  (Hey, it could happen!)  It would then have gone directly to his site, without their permission.  

I would hate to see what might happen then.

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Rainer
59,603
Krista Fuchs
Prudential Fox & Roach - Exton, PA
Chester County Realtor - (484) 459-8025 - Home Buying and Selling
I bookmarked this so I can go back and read the comments because I think you explain how you caught him.  I'm very new to blogging and still need to learn how to protect what I write and how not to hurt others...not that I copy and paste written materials but I'm always worried about pictures.  So far I've been making my own but for localism things I'd like to use photos that are out to but I don't know how to yet. So I'll be back, thanks for posting!
Dec 12, 2007 01:23 PM #69
Rainer
229,290
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV

Krista - There are clip art services you can use so you don't have to worry about where you're getting your pictures.  There are also places you can make up fun pictures like ImageChef.com.  If you search in AR you should be able to find some good sources.  They way I discovered this was through Copyscape.com.  I also have some Google Alerts set up to let me know when key phrases are used online.  Google Alerts are free, Copyscape is about $5 a month.  You can also spot check by copying a phrase out of one of your posts (grab something that doesn't sound "generic") and paste it in a search engine, see if that sentence pops up somewhere else.  That's a quick easy way to check.

Chrissy - Thanks!  It's feeling very "wild west" around here lately!!  I've learned even more through Twitter conversations about this.  There are some great links out there and I love it when people share!  I'd like to do a post on copyrights and how we can protect ourselves, but I'm sure it's already been done better than I could do.

Dec 12, 2007 08:31 PM #70
Rainer
62,574
Nick M.
Certified Residential Appraiser- West Palm Beach Real Estate - West Palm Beach, FL
Realtor-Appraiser in West Palm-South Florida Real Estate Appraiser

Sara, wow, they really stole yer stuff.!! I would be fuming..! luckily, my stuff sucks :) haha!! who wants some bald guy on their blog? no one :))

I took a look at the site, and even the credits to the creator of the template for the site were removed. That's WPdesigner.. aka Small Potato.  oh well, to each his own.. some create and some 'borrow'.. (also known as stealing).

take care Sarita, my best. :)

Dec 13, 2007 08:10 AM #71
Rainmaker
658,930
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645
Congratulations on the 400 milestone.  i just hit it in the last week also.  That is a lot of writing.
Dec 13, 2007 09:10 AM #72
Rainer
110,262
Linda Scanlan
A Fan of AR - Burleson, TX
Sarah, that's disgusting! I think I would have turned him into anybody I could find to turn him in to!
Dec 13, 2007 10:14 AM #73
Rainer
229,290
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV

Linda - I gave him a chance to remove my stuff and warned the other people I found.  Some people seem to like him duplicating their stuff for his profit, so I guess I'm not to say.  Different strokes for different folks, huh?  Personally I didn't like that searches that might have led to me could have gone to him.  Yeah, I was MAD.

Randy - Congratulations, Randy!  :o)!!

Nicky - I thought nobody would want my stuff either, it's all just little local stuff.  Some people just have no taste, huh?  I prefer to create and help out and fight if someone tries to take my stuff.  :).

Dec 13, 2007 10:54 AM #74
Rainer
161,638
Christina Bennani-Persechini
Keller Williams Realty Boston North West - Lexington, MA
Realtor - The House For You
In recent months I have realized what a problem this is. It's not that hard to write your own content, just use your imagination. Good for you for calling him on it.
Dec 13, 2007 11:17 AM #75
Rainer
85,703
Deborah Burns ~ Seattle Real Estate Agent
Realty Executives -BRIO - Seattle, WA

Yippeee!   Congratulations on your 400th post Sarah!  WoW, that is really something, just think back to your first post and how 400 posts would have seemed so far, far away!

Bad, Bad, Bad plagiarizer!  What could he be thinking...it's STEALING!

 

Dec 13, 2007 04:20 PM #76
Rainer
229,290
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV

Deborah - Lol!!  I think when I first started, TEN blogs seemed far away!!  Did I really have that much to say?!  I really did not think so.  Surprised myself a little!  

Christina - No, it's not hard to write your own content, is it?  But when we go around taking out own pictures too, and we do spend time putting it all together ... well, there is a bit of work and time involved.  I hate it when someone thinks they can just come along and use it for free without even asking.  

Dec 13, 2007 08:32 PM #77
Rainer
16,197
John Fariss
Fariss Appraisal Services - Bakersfield, CA
Appraiser - Bakersfield, CA
The nerve of some people. If he maybe just did an intro with a link to your site, then it might be beneficial. Thanks for the post, I'll have to check out Copyscape.
Dec 16, 2007 05:04 AM #78
Ambassador
3,671,815
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital
Sarah, I just checked the link and looked at the DC site.  I was crushed to see that he did not steal any of my posts!  But I just emailed my buddy, James Downing, whose posts are showing up there.  I love the little copyright disclaimer where they say they'll copyright it.
Dec 16, 2007 11:56 PM #79
Rainer
229,290
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV

Patricia - Don't feel bad, he was really picking strange things.  My posts weren't even about real estate.  He was just slapping together stuff that he thought would get him some ad revenue.  I don't feel like helping him earn money by taking away my traffic.  Ugh.  (Thanks for letting your friend know!)

John - An intro with a link wouldn't have upset me at all.  I do get those and appreciate them.  But to steal my entire blog and then tell me how it was to my benefit that he take my traffic ... well, I think you know how I might feel about that, huh?  :)  Copyscape is wonderful.  I feel like my blog has a guard dog.

Dec 17, 2007 12:00 AM #80
Rainmaker
316,201
James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move
AHHH !!!  This butt head is stealing my content as well!!  Where is Lenn Harley when you need her?!
Dec 17, 2007 01:25 AM #81
Rainmaker
316,201
James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move
Good thing - he took my stuff down - I am sure he will be lurking out there looking for others to steal.
Dec 17, 2007 05:02 AM #82
Rainer
229,290
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV
James - There are actually people who have asked him to post their stuff for them.  I have NO idea why, but apparently some people would prefer to send their traffic elsewhere first.  I'm glad you found it and put a stop to it.  Lenn can't do it all -- go get Copyscape!!  :o)
Dec 17, 2007 07:36 AM #83
Rainmaker
76,403
Natalie Langford
Realty Negotiations - Winchester, VA
Winchester, VA Real Estate
Sarah.  It's great you found out what was going on and nixed it - for now.  I did have a difficult time following the conversation, as I'm still working on my blogucation.  I did pick up on the fact I need to learn about copyscape.  Pat Kennedy said you are one of her fave's, so I'm going to have to check out all your other good material! 
Dec 19, 2007 12:16 AM #84
Rainer
17,612
Cody Sperber
Clever Investor, LLC - Chandler, AZ
Real Estate Investing Education

Blogging for points is already bad enough...now the good posts are being plagiarized!  Thats really too bad and good for you to take action!

Dec 19, 2007 12:23 AM #85
Rainer
229,290
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV

Cody - Points are pointless, really.  And thanks for thinking my posts were good ... but I didn't really think they were going to help him any!  Especially that one pictured, which was just me babbling.  

Natalie - Pat is FAR too kind!!!  :o)  Copyscape is a wonderful thing.  It's already helped me a few times.  Most of the time it alerts you to people being nice to you, but every now and then you find out someone is stealing from you.  For both, it's worth it.

***To those of you following this, the splog has been shut down and his profile is gone from AR.  I don't know if either of those are permanent conditions or not, but there it is.***

Dec 20, 2007 08:17 AM #86
Rainmaker
220,039
Lupe Soto-Realtor
Colonial Realty Group - Los Angeles, CA
Listing, Selling, Feng Shui in San Fernando Valle

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Happy Holidays from Burbank CA

Dec 20, 2007 05:58 PM #87
Rainer
45,237
Ginger Wilcox
Sindeo - San Francisco, CA
I have been splogged and it is making me MAD!!
Jan 27, 2008 06:14 AM #88
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