Sploggers Don’t Deserve to Get Laid

Have you ever read an article somewhere and realized that it looks too familiar?  That’s because you probably wrote it a year or so ago, or read it on someone else’s blog.  “Splogs” are usually fake (and some legitimate sites) blogs that harvest your blog’s content via script, then mirror it on their own sites in order to boost pagerank and ad revenue.

Honestly I was unfamiliar with this term until a few months ago when I started getting emails about my posts ending up in various places on the Internet.  Some people were accusing me of stealing, others were just looking out for a fellow blogger and letting me know that my boobs weren’t the only thing going around the web.  I think the act of someone’s website being duplicated around the Internet is like web herpes — it spreads around and you can find it all you want, but there’s no stopping it.

When it comes time that you find one of your posts lingering on an unfamiliar website, don’t just ignore it!  My first brush with splogging was back in April when a ton of my tutorials ended up on some web development site — no credentials, links, or anything.  When I tried to contact the author I pleasantly found out that the blog contained no contact information or even so much as a contact form or ‘about’ page.  So, I did a whois to find out who the guy was and he obviously denied stealing the content stating that he runs a feed site that wasn’t crediting articles properly.  A load of bullshit, but it brought up a good point.

So what can you do?

If you notice that some lowlife is stealing your posts, the first thing you should do is call them out on it.  I’ve gotten more in the habit of leaving comments on the blogs with a link back to my article, and by the time the site owner is able to remove it, the credibility of their site is already ruined.  If you’re not the blatant confrontational type and the idea of content stealing doesn’t horribly disgust you, try contacting the splogger privately. While most blogs will have some kind of contact page or obvious way to get ahold of whoever owns the site, splogs usually do not.  This is because splogs are usually not maintained by actual people, but rather scripts that spider around the internet and collect content.  If that is the case, you can try to contact them in other ways, or get the site shut down:

  • If the blog is hosted with a blog service like Blogger or WordPress.com, you can flag or report the blog as spam or questionable.  Most services will immediately remove splogs
  • You can do a whois on the domain name, which may contain the splog’s owner and contact information.   Since most registrars provide domain privacy and domain owners can easily fake information, the information you get may not be reliable.
  • Find out who hosts the site, and email their abuse or legal department.  You can find out who hosts almost any site by going to whoishostingthis.com .
  • If all else fails, run a whois on the IP address of the site, which will usually give you the collocation provider who owns the IP space so you can complain to them

Most all hosting providers (usually hosts in the U.S.)  have strict policies against copyrights and plagiarism, so don’t be worried that your complaint will not be taken seriously.  Since splogs are also considered as spam, most hosts will be happy to get rid of them as they are just a waste of space and bandwidth.

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