Great content isn’t cheap. So, when you invest in the best, you don’t want some other app developer to swoop by, take what belongs to you, and capitalise on your hard work and monetary expenditure. Bots and other hacking tools make it so easy for those without a moral compass to scrape content that belongs to others and use it for themselves. How can you find other apps, websites, etc. that are stealing your great content? More importantly, how can you bring those perpetrators to justice?
Tools to Detect Plagiarized Content
Copied content will not rank as well on searches, so plagiarism hurts your own search ranking as well as the theft’s ranking.
Copyscape is an online plagiarism checker that can be invaluable in tracking down copied content. Using Copyscape, you can keep your own developers and writers out of copyright trouble as well as protect your own content. A free version is available, which allows you to view the top 10 results. For a deeper, more detailed analysis and report, various pricing structures are available depending on the amount of content you need to manage.
Check Any Traffic Referring Back to Your Content
Another great way to track who might be out there scraping your stuff is to use your inbound link building tools to track sites that point back to your content. Your marketing department will call this “referral traffic” and will almost certainly have a tool for tracking this particular metric. If a site is referring back way more than your marketing team knows is normal, it’s a good idea to check out their site to look for your content.
Use the Pingback Feature of Your CMS
Most CMS (content management systems/software) have a pingback feature that allows you to view what sites are linking back to your content. As with refer backs, lots of pings could mean the other site is scraping and using your content.
Use Available Online Alert & Monitoring Tools
Alert and monitoring tools like Google Alerts, Topsy, HubSpot Social Inbox, and others can track content on websites as well as what is shared via social media and other means. None of these tools alone can give you a holistic view of where your content might be used elsewhere, but together these tools can present a pretty clear picture of who might be scraping your content and where it is ending up.
Check the Content Manually
It might not be glamorous, and the results aren’t quite as reliable as some of the other methods listed here, but the manual way works too. Simply copy a chunk of your content (a sentence or two is usually sufficient) and paste it into your browser search bar. The search engine algorithms are constructed to bring back the closest available match first, so you can simply scan the first page or two of results to see if identical content shows up on any other sites. The problem with this method is that app developers who regularly post dozens or hundreds of new articles, pages, etc. would never have the time to check all their content to see if it’s been stolen or plagiarized.
What to Do if You Discover Someone is Plagiarizing Your Content
Taking the time to get a copyright for your content can help you prosecute cases of content theft.
Although plagiarism is not, of itself, a crime, intellectual property theft and copyright infringement are crimes. The first thing to do is determine who owns the site or app where your content is posted and request that they take it down. If they refuse, report the plagiarism to Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other search engines.
Search engines work hard not to rank sites that are doing bad things, and will blacklist a site that’s breaking the rules. A blacklisted site may still be up, but they are almost impossible to find, so they get no traffic. You can also discuss the issue with your legal department. Your lawyers might have even more tools at their disposal to get the content theft to stop.
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