Update: It is no longer recommended to use the method described in the article. The best approach as it stands is to sent DMCA takedown notices to operators and web hosts.
Every webmaster operating a blog will sooner or later notice that there are some websites out there that do nothing else than to copy content of other websites and post them on their own. This is usually an automated process done with a script and RSS news feeds. The script checks the feeds periodically and post new articles on the website as soon as they get published by the site owner or one of the site's authors.
Opinions about those sites differ from letting them do what they want with your content to contacting lawyers and suing them. Clever webmasters can use content copying websites to their advantage if they play their cards right. Since most of those websites use RSS feeds to automatically post the copied contents they include links in those posts automatically. Some even post tags or related posts of the original site as well.
This means that every link that you post in the original article will be posted by them as well if they have automated the process which in turn means free inbound links to your website. It gets better. If they do link back to your site as they should they usually use the title of the article to do so. This means free targeted inbound links to the article on your website.
There are some sites that copy your content but do not post links at all. Experience has shown that contacting the site owners directly asking them to either remove the content or add a link using the article titles will be successful in most cases. There is not an easier way to get free targeted links than this way.
Here is one of the emails that we send out usually to offenders who do not link back to our site although they use our content on theirs:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I'm writing on behalf of the technology blog ghacks.net. It has come to our attention that a blog located at http://***/ is publishing articles without authorization.
We are asking that the person responsible either
a) gives credit where credit is due by linking to the articles properly and visible using the title of the article as the link anchor or
b) removes all content that has been taken from ghacks.net
This is usually enough to receive a response in less than 48 hours. All that have been contacted so far have added title links to the original articles.
How To Find Content Copying Websites:
There are several ways to find websites that copy your content. You can copy a passage of one of your articles in a search engine or use services that will list most of the sites that copy the content. Some of the services are Fair Share or Copy Gator.
Fair Share does offer an RSS feed that lists all the websites that have been using at least 20% of the words of an original article on their website displaying if the copycats link back to the original post or not. This makes it easy to identify those sites that do not link back and contact them.
Options if the site owners do not comply
Webmasters have a few choices if site owners do not react at all to the request. They could contact the hoster of the domain, lawyers who take matters from there or even advertisement companies who display their ads on those websites.
While some webmasters do not want to see their content at all on other websites others can take advantage of the fact that content copying websites exist by getting free, valid links from those sites. These sites might also send in traffic to the original site. The number one site that is using our contents is sending more than 3000 unique visitors per month our way.
Webmasters should not worry to much about search engine positions as search engines usually do a very good job of identifying the original site and the copycats. Duplicate content penalties will hit them and not the original site.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.