Content scraping and the negative impact

As a lifestyle blogger I strive to inspire my readers with fresh, new content that they may genuinely enjoy and find useful.  In the five years that I have been blogging, Twin Dragonfly Designs has been the target of Content Scraping a number of times.  What I have realized through this journey is that many people have no idea what Content Scraping is {neither had I until I started researching this epidemic} and the negative impact that it has on bloggers and readers alike.  My hope in writing about this topic is that we can bring awareness to the issue and help to curb the traffic that Content Scrapers are receiving.

If you love and follow bloggers please read on and share…

So what is Content Scraping?
Content Scraping is copying content that is owned by a blogger and reposting it to another website without permission.  Often blog scraping is done by an automated program where content is copied to a spam blog.  The sole purpose of a content scraping site is to collect advertising revenue or to manipulate search engine rankings.
Check out the definitions for scraper site and blog scrapping from Wikipedia.

In layman’s terms content scraping is theft pure and simple.  These website operators are profiting off of stolen content.  Stealing is illegal, against the law.  Just because it happens on the Internet all the time does not make it okay.  

There are some fabulous content sharing sites that follow standard blog etiquette.  Genuine bloggers who ask permission to share one photo from a post and link back to the blog.  These are the kind of sites where reciprocal links are welcome and appreciated.

Most recently a recipe of mine was stolen.  This is the first step in how I responded {find more ways to respond to content theft below}.  A few of my friends saw the post on Facebook and shared their support ~ thanks girls!

How it impacts bloggers and readers.
Scrapers often copy the most relevant material of a blog post, that which includes key words to improve their site ranking.  This can negatively impact the original blogger in a number of ways.  By duplicating content the original post is no longer as relevant and has a reduced rank on search engines, the original post can become hard to find and cite, scraped content can be copied to any type of Internet site including ones with adult content.  Imagine photographs of your children creating a craft, stolen and placed on a site that also shares adult, x-rated content.

Content scraping can be frustrating for the reader because often the information in the post is incomplete and finding the original source can be difficult and time consuming.  Recipe scraping sites are particularly bad for this.  For example you may have pinned a dinner recipe that looked delicious but when you go to find the ingredients and directions you are directed to a scraper site that has copied only the photos from the post.  You may never find the original source for that recipe.  Facebook sharing sites are also notorious for copying recipes and posting them directly into a feed.  Often the photo linked to these recipes does not even relate to the meal.  This too is theft under copyright law.    

Scraping is not a form of flattery.  Sure the scraped post may bring traffic to the original blogger but only a fraction of what the scraper site would receive.  What surprised me in the most recent theft of my content was some of the negative comments {obviously not my friends} that were made on the Facebook thread.  The majority of us just don’t know about content sharing etiquette.  These comments inspired me to do more research and write this post ~ so, thanks… I guess?

What can we do?
If you are a blogger and have found that your content was stolen you can follow the steps as outlined in my How To Protect Your Intellectual Property post.  Share this post with friends and relatives.  Most of my friends are pretty web savvy now as I stand on my “blogging etiquette” soapbox more often than they may like.  Only “like”, “share” and “pin” posts or articles from the ORIGINAL SOURCE.  Be sure when sharing from Facebook pages that the content is original to the author.  You can do this by scrolling down the recipe or content to find a link.  Click on the link to be sure that it goes to the original content and not a scrapper site.  When pinning an image to Pinterest be sure to find the original source, click on the title of the original post and pin from there.   

Some more recommended reading:

12 Things to Avoid When Pinning from Deborah at Taste and Tell
Content Scraping by Jakk at Technology Blogged
Some Blogging Etiquette from New England Multimedia

Thanks so much for reading and allowing me to stand on my blogger soapbox for a sec.  
Do you have more tips?  Please share!

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  1. Gina @ Kleinworth & Co. says

    After having my kids pics stolen from my site & used to create a fake life on Facebook for some freak – I’m so passionate about protecting my content. What is wrong with people to defend this sort of behavior??!! WOW! I really can’t understand the mentality that if it’s out on the internet then it’s for any & all to just take. I’m so glad you are talking about this- I will be sharing.

  2. Bonnie Way says

    Wow, some people are sure rude! I can’t believe those comments you got. Thanks for sharing this! As a blogger, I think this is VERY important. We work hard on our content – it shouldn’t be stolen! So I’ll try to be more careful about what I share too. 🙂

    • Heather Painchaud says

      I truly believe that the majority of Internet users are just not aware of blogging and content sharing etiquette. At least I hope that is what is happening rather than intentional theft. Thanks for sharing Bonnie!

  3. Crunchy Frugalista says

    Thank you SO Much for sharing this. I have tried to explain to my family and friends WHY this is stealing, and they STILL don’t get it. I’m a blogger as well, and it’s makes me so mad that people feel entitled and say things like “if you don’t want it “shared” don’t put it out there! Great post!

  4. Emily Thompson says

    great article…. I’m so annoyed by those facebook pages with hundreds of thousands of fans that share the whole recipe. How can I work so hard and only have a fraction of the followers…. and all my content is REAL!! That’s so hard for me. Those comments are awful on your facebook! YIKES!!

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