scraper blog screenshotMadly off-topic, I know…

but I’ve really got to have a rant — followed by some truly useful links, I promise! — about the Vile Pond Scum known as Scrapers.

Scraper blogs are those ad-splattered automated blogs that steal content from the RSS feeds of hard-working real human bloggers, slap on some Google Adsense ads, and churn it back out again with flagrant disregard for law or ethics. They’ll even hijack your illustrations — so you pay for the hosting space and bandwidth, the Pond Scum Scrapers flash your pretty pictures to make their blogs look deceptively genuine…

Pop Quiz:
Which would you rather do?
(a) enjoy a cool bevy on a sunny riverside patio with friends,
(b) stare a computer screen for hours, tracking down a blog content thief and filling out official forms to try to fight back?

I thought so.

Yep, those scraper blogs have finally ticked off the mild-mannered Domestik Goddess enough to make me drop the oven mitts and fight back.

They’ve cost me money, created confusion, sucked up my high quality crafting and gardening time, and (worst of all) spoiled much of the idle socializing that I’d had planned for this past sunny spring weekend.  

Where’s the Beef?

(Why are scrapers a problem?)

Let’s say you’re an independent artist… *analogy alert* … with a studio full of stunning collages, all beautifully framed.

You put hours into creating these works — thinking up fresh new original ideas, collecting the precious raw materials, arranging the elements to match your vision, putting on the final polish, selecting the frames, assembling the finished piece…

This Rant is My Rant

If you read this anywhere but at, you may be hanging with a slimy kind of crowd, babycakes! Just saying.

But that’s not the end of your Labour of Love.

Those paintings aren’t going to get up and go out and sell themselves to he art-loving public who’ll treasure them forever!

No, you still have to tote your portfolio around to galleries and Arts Council meetings, trying to negotiate with agents and curators to look at your work, get a toes in the door and just pray that they’ll take an interest.

But there’s a lot of competition out there…

And one day, you waltz yourself into a brand-new gallery with a brand-new original collage under your arm, full of optimism, chin held high. You’re sure that today’s the day you’ll break through into the big-time art world… but shock! The gallery walls are already covered, top to bottom, with perfect copies of your original work!

“Why would I want to offer your collages to the public?” asks the gallery owner, “when this charming fresh new artist, Admin from Indonesia, has given me exactly the same thing?

“Sure, according to long-standing international copyright agreements, what’s protected in one country is protected through most of the civilized world.

“And true, even in the US (now the the Digital Millenium Copyright Act has been enacted) any original work — whether it’s in pictures, music, writing, anything; yes, even blogs — is automatically copyrighted as soon as it’s created.

“Sure, we all know that stealing is just plain wrong…”

Don’t relax just yet!

“Tell you what,” the gallery owner says, “if you think this guy might be copying your original work and passing it off as his own, all you’ve got to do is prove it — and I’ll be happy to stop selling his work (eventually). Of course, there’ll still be copies floating around on the market for years to come… but hey, it’s only art, right?

“And if you want to make a living, forget that creative stuff! Why not join the 21st century, get yourself a couple of nice scraper blogs…

“Oh, that reminds me — here’s Admin’s bill. You’re hosting them, so you’ve got to pay the price of getting his pictures up on my gallery wall.

“You have a nice day, now!”

Whatcha Gonna Do?

So I’ve been wasting far too much of a lovely sunny weekend here:

  • tracking down that ubiquitous Pond Scum Scraper named admin
  • writing the required “Cease and Desist” letters, asking Pond Scum sooooo politely to please stop stealing my stuff, pretty please, if it’s not tooo much trouble?
  • filling out DMCA forms to get web hosts and domain registrars to take action against the scrapers they serve, not to mention the advertising folks who make a Pond Scum Scraper’s life worth spending the 3 whole minutes it takes to set up yet another fake blog…

Because I’d hate for you to have the same degree of sunshine-wasting hassle, if the scrapers hit your blog — here are some handy resources to help you squish the bottom-feeding scraper-blog operators like the repulsive cockroaches they are:

And if all else fails, you can always go straight to advertisers. I’ll bet these big reputable companies would prefer not to have their corporate brands used to pad the pockets of Pond Scum content theives, if it were only brought to their attention.

Squeaky wheels, baby, squeaky wheels…

Now, go get ’em, tiger!

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Hot Gym Girl

    Thanks for all the great links. My lastest scraper is using both Host Gator and Godaddy, so that helps me go one less click. I have a feed scraper, and yes, he/she’s stealing my posts with all pics intact. it pisses me the hell off. This is the second time i’m going through this. This one has been scraping me since February, and I just happened to find the duplicate content while checking my keyword results.
    I work hard to be original, and these dummies copy me just like they did back in high school. Lazy, cheating asses!
    It’s a pain to track back and get all the copied materials, and then fire off all these letters, but ya just gotta do it. You have to! These idiots benefit from your hard work and SEO, and then jeopardize your page rank, etc in the process. Makes me SO mad!

    I just learned about setting my post feeds to summary instead of full, so that should at least put a crimp in his copying style. We’ll see.
    Scrapers really just need their asses whooped. Wish I could get to ’em! ;)

  2. domestika

    “Conditional responses based on the IP of the request,” you say?
    Lord Matt, I think I’m in love.

  3. Lord Matt

    When some one started scrapping one of my sites I cheated. He was pulling it by feed so I fed him a spacial version. This special version declared his site to be full of stolen content and while he was at it he also published lots of affiliate links for me (wasn’t that nice). Of course he also ended up with content that blatantly violated his adsense ToS (because I “fed” it to him) and then I reported him right where it hurts – the income stream.

    I also tracked down the other people that were having their content stolen and dropped them a fat hint.

    Funnily enough a few weeks went buy before he noticed that his site was full of stuff that did not pay but by then it was in the Google cache for the next three to six months.

    Had he not got the hint I had a nice list of vulnerabilities to his website that I was going to cause him to publish. I think he probably guessed though because… well we technical enthusiasts need some secrets. There were a whole bunch of “dark side of the geek” things that I refused to do but I did not they could be done.

    The power of being a geek. ;)

    It’s a good post and a good collection of resources. To pull the separate feed for the scum trick ask your nearest web geek about conditional responses based on the IP of the request.

  4. For some reason my computer let me visit via your tweet link yesterday, which I couldn’t find this morning but then remembered I’d saved this page in my favourites … fantastic! I love Domestik Goddess and I really enjoy your writing.

    Sorry to hear you missed out on sunshine and so much of your weekend, and that your lovely plans were ruined! :o(

    Thank you for sharing such great advice and some excellent resources.


  5. beadinggem

    I too have been a victim of scrapers. I now put in my website signature inside the post itself, at the end – a tip from a technology blogger. It seems to help. The signature clearly shows the source of the article. Some of these scrappers try and pass off the article as theirs so this way, the reader will know it didn’t come from them.

  6. Arachne Jericho

    I hate scrapers too. Often they do feed back to me one way or another, with RSS footer that I added, but sometimes not.

  7. Great list of resources, Jen, and I feel your pain. This happens to me all the time, but I don’t have the time to track down every single one. I wish I could hire someone to handle all the paperwork, while I get on with being a WAHM.

  8. Shelli

    This has been a source of great frustration for me. I have asked them to stop. I have blocked IPs and ranted and raved about it to anyone who would listen. Thank you for this. I have checked back on these blogs that have stolen my stuff from time to time and in most cases, the blogs weren’t around after a week or so. Probably because of people like you. Thank you again.

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