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Blogging Tips

Did Someone Steal your Blog Post? Here are the Exact Steps you Need to Take!

Ugh, I’ve had a hell of a week! Early last week, I was minding my business cruising one of the FB groups I’m in when I noticed a member dropped a link to a blog post. The blog post title looked very familiar to me…so I clicked on the link and it brought me to a website that had stolen an entire blog post & photos from my blog MelasmaDiaries.com.

After a lot of research, I came across this article which tells the story of exactly what is happening to my site and apparently dozens of other sites that publish information for the chronically ill. It’s disgusting that spammers would do this.

The entire process of reporting the stolen content to the appropriate agencies and the removal of the content was about 48 hours. The longest 48 hours ever if you ask me!

What Happens When Someone Steals your blog Post:

Google *can* penalize your site if someone steals your content. Google has a penalty for what is known as “duplicate content”. Duplicate content is when ‘exact word-for-word’ content appears on multiple sites. Spammers use duplicate content to get their spammy websites up and running and Google doesn’t like that so it usually penalizes sites that have the same content as other sites.

Because Melasma Diaries has been doing so great in Google search, I was terrified of anything ruining that….and the fact that this website was stealing my content could be the exact thing to ruin it! So I quickly took action and did the steps I’m about to outline below. Note…Although the first 3 steps are the most important, you’ll want to do ALL 5 steps in order to prevent it from happening again!

Below I will share with you the step-by-step process.

steal-blog-content

1. Contact the Webmaster

The first thing you want to do is find out who the website owner is and send them an email asking them to remove the stolen content. In my case, there was no contact information available at all on the blog. So I went to Whois and did a search for the website. The results revealed the webmaster’s contact email and the host’s name (GoDaddy in my case). These are the two bits of information that you will need.

Once you have their contact information or have found the contact button on their blog, send them a DMCA email. Here’s a great example of it. I sent the email but did not wait to follow onto the next steps because I knew in my case, my emails would go unnoticed because this is apparently part of a big sting operation.

2. Send a DMCA to Web Host

Your next step is to send an email to their Web host. Web Hosting companies take copyright very seriously and usually have teams dedicated to combatting this issue.

Here is a list of some of the direct links to DMCA Takedown Request forms for some of the more popular hosting services:

Unfortunately for me, GoDaddy (of whom I’ve been a long time customer) has not been very efficient in handling this matter. The day after I found the first pirated article, I found another one and thus submitted another claim to GoDaddy. Instead of getting an email saying they were working on it, I received a chastising email saying,
“We ask that you do not submit duplicate complaints. Submitting duplicate complaints only creates unnecessary work and delays our response time.”

When I pointed out to GoDaddy that there were indeed separate blog posts, they responded telling me that I should have created one ticket with both URLs…which is exactly what I would have done, had I found both of them at once..but I didn’t. I found the other article 24 hours later. Annoying!

3. Send DMCA to Google

Next, up you will want to file a DMCA claim with Google. You’ll want to visit this link and fill out all of the information & click every single checkbox, otherwise, your claim may get rejected.

Here’s what I clicked on: 

  • Web Search
  • I have a legal issue that is not mentioned above
  • I have found content that may violate my copyright
  • Then proceed to fill out all of the information

Now this has proven to be the most frustrating step for me. Most people online say that Google is vigilant about removing content from the web, however, in my case, I received an email that said,

“Hello,

Thanks for reaching out to us.

It is unclear to us whether or not you are the authorized copyright agent for the content in question. Only the copyright owner or an authorized representative can file a DMCA Infringement Notice on his/her behalf. Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys’ fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights.”

This was pretty frustrating considering that if you just looked at the URLs of the images you would see the link back to MY site. Anyway, I sent a courteous email with more details of why I WAS indeed the copyright owner. Luckily, I did hear back from Google and they assured me that the web page HAD been removed from Google Search.

3. Send DMCA to Facebook

Because I had originally found the copycat article on Facebook, the next thing I did was file a DMCA with Facebook. You can find out if your pirated content has been shared on Facebook by doing a search for the title of the article in the search bar. If anyone has linked to an article with that title, it will show up in the search results.
If you find that the stolen content has been shared on Facebook, then you’ll want to file a DMCA claim there as well. You can file a DMCA claim with Facebook here. In that form, you’ll want to make sure that you include the direct link to the Facebook post where you found the offending post.

Luckily for me, Facebook had the quickest response time and removed the pirated content within a few hours.

4. Change your RSS to “Summary” instead of full post

Most of these spammer sites are getting an RSS feed of your site and then copying and pasting it into their site. You can curb this by changing your RSS feed from “Full Summary” to “Excerpt”. In order to do this you’ll need to go to your WordPress Dashboard and click on Settings -> Discussion and change the RSS feed to Excerpt.

Now the spammers will only get a partial feed of your blog post. This will do one of two things. It will either deter them from copying your content or it will force them to visit your site to get the rest of the content. Which we will handle in the next step.

5. Disable Right Click on your blog

Now to prevent spammers from coming to your site and selecting, copying and pasting your content, you can disable the right click option on your blog which will prohibit them from copying ANYTHING on your blog. I personally installed, WP Copy & Protect to disable the right click on my blog.

I hope that this blog post helped you get the stolen content down from the thief’s website. If it did, I would appreciate it if you would share this blog with anyone else who might need it.

stolen-blog-content

Chrystie is a mom of 3 kids and wife to one. She's sold 4 blogs in the last 10 years and now helps other women start their blogging empire. Her love for really bad reality TV is only trumped by her love for margaritas without salt. Her other addictions include spray painting everything gold and embarrassing her kids at the bus stop. #thatmom

This article has 34 comments

  1. Jody

    Ugh! Seriously?! What a week! Blog and IG. 😔 Jerks! Thank you for this info though!

  2. Sam

    Oh my goodness I’m so sorry you had to deal with all this and then to be treated so junky. Thank you for the advice I’ll be working on this stat!

    • Chrystie

      It’s been a pain! Hopefully it doesn’t happen to you..but at least you know how to deal with it if it does :)

  3. Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

    That’s terrible! Glad you’ve been able to resolve the issue. Thanks for sharing the process – I’m sure it will assist others.

  4. Lisa | Drop The Sugar

    This is great info Chrystie! I also deal with theft, constantly, especially with my recipes and photos. Some of the info you mentioned I had been trying to look for – so thank you!

    I also wanted to mention two things I had discovered to try and prevent theft:

    1) PubSubHubbub WP plugin – this plugin will pin other services when you update. Essentially, even the search will know you wrote the post first BEFORE it’s pirated. Helpful.

    2) Disavow backlinks – I use this in Google webmasters to rid links, even from stolen content, to get rid of links from other blogs that could hurt my site/SEO. You can download a report in Google Webmasters, and submit a report to get them removed.

    Thanks!

    • Chrystie

      Lisa..thank you for sharing! Those are two MORE great tips! :)

      • Lisa | Drop The Sugar

        Anytime!

        I tried step 4, Change your RSS to “Summary” instead of full post – but I could not find a way to change my RSS to excerpt. I didn’t see RSS mentioned at all. :( Do you know what the actual mark is?

  5. Shanetta

    Sorry to hear this happened to you. I know how much time it takes to produce awesome content and how devastating it can be for someone to just take your hard work. I know you just stumbled upon it, but I wonder if there is a way to automatically search for duplicate content.

  6. Haylee

    Wow this is crazy! I’m so happy you were able to get everything fixed. Thankyou for sharing and passing this information along.

  7. Corina

    So frustrating! Thank you so much for sharing your steps. Pinned this. By the way, do you have any blog posts about how to copyright your blog?

  8. lauren

    This is crazy!! (and how random that they are dropping the link in the same group as you!!) This was a great explainer on what to do!

  9. Stephanie Tait

    I am bookmarking this post ASAP, especially since I often write to the #spoonie community as well. Thanks for keeping us up to date on how to protect our hard work!

  10. Mal

    You are seriously such a bada**!!! I’m exhausted just reading about the process but you don’t take any crap from anyone and I love that so much about you!!! Thank you, as always for sharing this info with us!!!!

  11. Kristy

    How terrible! I hope that you do not encounter this issue anymore. Thank you for breaking down the process you took step by step. I will now be looking into the WP Copy & Protect! Hope your week gets better!!

  12. Vivianna

    I can’t even imagine but thank you for sharing! So sorry this happened to you!

  13. Danielle

    Ugh, how incredibly frustrating! So sorry that happened!

  14. Justine Y @ Little Dove

    I am so sorry that happened to you! thank you so much for this information though! I’m on WordPress and trying to find the RSS feed, but I don’t see it under Settings > Discussion. I basically only see stuff about comments in there… what am I doing wrong?

  15. Anna nuttall

    Great tips, I had people stealing my professional SEO blog post I’ve written for client which is SOOOO annoying. Thank you for this. xx

  16. lesley sullivan

    Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry that happened to you! Every bloggers nightmare I’m sure. Thank you for bringing awareness to this situation, I hope you resolve the matter soon :)

  17. Jacki Q

    Wow this is alot of great information. Hopefully I will never have to go through this, but thank you for the tips! I’m so sorry this happened to you!

  18. Corde the Writer

    That’s awful and would have certainly made me extremely pissed.

  19. Sumer

    Wow! That is really sad that someone would do that. Several years ago, I was a wedding planner and owned my own business. I, too, had someone steal ALL my content right off my website, so I definitely know what this feels like. So sorry, mama! What a pain to have to deal with!

  20. Nicole

    Omg I am so sorry this happened to you so scary! I will definitely be implementing these tips. I use Go Daddy too for my site and I agree not great customer service luckily their home office is in Scottsdale. I would be matching down there in person if they gave me that BS! Also when I went on that site it shows you liked her/him/it Facebook page?

    xo, Nicole

  21. fiona

    Thank-you so much for this post – it has saved me hours of time figuring out what to do as someone just stole my blog post yesterday. It totally sucks! But your brilliant post and list of actions has helped me no-end – Much gratitude!

  22. Aisha

    This is so helpful! Bookmarked it. ❤

  23. Josh Martin

    Solid instructions and advice!! It’s never fun when someone steals your hard work. When you count the number of hours you’ve poured into your content, it really is a disappointment to see someone has stolen your work.

    The only thing that I disagree with on your list here is disabling right click. While it seems like a great way to keep the shady people away, it also drives your dedicated readers and followers bonkers. I used to use the same technique until I found out that my readers were wanting to print my blog posts for future reference. They were right clicking and selecting “Print.” Once I took away right click, they got pretty upset! Yikes! Regardless, you have solid advice here and the DMCA Takedown notices usually get you in good shape.

  24. Therese

    Great article although I’m sorry for the hassles you encountered. I’ll be saving this for future reference. Thank you.

  25. Maggie

    Thank you Chrystie.

  26. Bekah

    This is so helpful thank you very much! I just installed WP copy protect on my blog.

  27. Cherry

    I wanted to use the wordpress plug-in but I wonder if it will discourage readership since they can’t right click to save the page for later use? Also, is there a good plug-in to protect pictures? Thank you.

  28. SEO

    I love the tips for studying and will be sharing with my students. Thank you so much!

  29. charly paz

    And how i know exactly which hosting provider is using the web site?

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