I have been running ThinkComputers since 2002 and over the years we have found many instances of people stealing or copying my articles. Most of the time it is content farm type sites that just rip entire articles, or they just rip our RSS feed and call the content theirs. In other cases it has been review sites that steal our content and put it off as their own. You wouldn’t think that it would happen, but believe me it does. I’m sure if you run any type of content site it has happened to you at least once.
There are some ways to stop it. You could disable access to the RSS feed for the specific website that is pulling it. You can block their IP using .htaccess. If you know someone is stealing your content on a regular basis you could send them a DMCA takedown notice and send one to their ISP as well. In some cases, I’ve seen people even disable right click on their website to stop people from stealing content.
Over the past few years though I’ve noticed that much of this plagiarism and copying has stopped. I think the last time I found a site that was ripping my content was well over a year ago. A few days ago, someone on our site pointed out that they came to our site because they wanted to buy an AeroCool Touch 2000 LCD Fan Controller from Frys.com and they noticed an “odd ending to the description”. After doing some searching they found our review of the product. They said that Frys.com copied our introduction word for word. Here is a screenshot of our introduction.
I was a little skeptical that a company like Fry’s would blatantly copy content like this so I went to their website and found the AeroCool Touch 2000 product page and there it was, our content copied exactly. They even left in the “read on further to find out”. Here is a screenshot of that product page.
Normally, this would not be that big of a deal to me, but honestly it made me laugh more than anything. I mean I assume someone gets paid to write these little descriptions right? Not only are they too lazy to write their own description, they are not smart enough to leave the “read on further to find out” section out of the description. That part makes it pretty obvious that the content was taken from somewhere else. I mean wouldn’t you like to get paid to sit around and copy and paste all day?
Even if they decided to copy the introduction to our review, the least they could do would be to link back to original review as many online merchants actually do. This is a great way for their customers to see a real review of the product. In any case, there was no link back to ThinkComputers or even a mention of ThinkComputers in the description.
I went ahead and sent this e-mail to Fry’s:
To Whom it May Concern,
One of our readers on ThinkComputers.org pointed out to us that you have blatantly copied our original content on your website. The URL in question is: http://www.frys.com/product/6046368?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG. It uses our original written content that was originally posted here: http://www.thinkcomputers.org/aerocool-touch-2000-lcd-fan-controller-review/. Can you please take down this content or change the description as it was directly copied from our website, it is especially apparent with the “Read on further to find out”.
Whoever does your site copy-writing should be fired because he/she is just copying content off other websites.
I still have yet to hear back from them.
*Update – Fry’s has removed my content from their Aerocool Touch 2000 sales page. No word on whether their copywriter got fired.