If you are SERIOUS about Protecting your eBook and download pages, then jump in!!

38 replies
To protect and secure your eBooks and protected files from getting indexed in Google and other search engines, follow the steps:

1. Create a separate folder for the files you want to protect on the web server in the public_html directory. You can place eBooks, reports, videos and other downloadable stuff in that folder. Let us call this folder 'download'.

2. It’s time to protect the index page of the folder we created. We create a blank html file and save it as index.html and upload it to the 'download' folder on our web server.

Now, if somebody tries to access the 'download' folder on our web server, all they will see is a blank screen.

3. Now, when we upload books, reports, etc to that folder, its name should be kept descriptive and its name should be succeeded by some random characters.

Eg.: Suppose the name of the book is 'Affiliate-Army'. When uploading to the web server its name should be changed by adding some random characters at the end like 'Affiliate-Army-1xr98.pdf

Adding random characters at the end will make it impossible for thieves who try to steal by guessing the name of the eBooks in the URL.

4. Similarly, rename the download page so it would become impossible to guess.

Eg.: download-5g6h3.html
thankyou-b125pk.html

5. Add the following code to the source code of the download page after the <HEAD> tag.

The content should look like this:
<HEAD>
<META name="robots" CONTENT="noindex, nofollow"> (This line is to be added.)
<TITLE>.......</TITLE>
</HEAD>

This code tells the search engines to stay away from your protected stuffs.

6. Delete any old download pages from the web server. The only place to have the eBooks, reports, etc and the download page is the 'download' folder we created earlier.

7. Now, the last part is to add a robots.txt file. Create a new text file and name it as robots.txt

Type the following in the file:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /download/ (this is the name of the folder we created)
User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /*.pdf$ (this is the extension of our eBook or reports)

Save this file and upload it to the root of your web server.
The location of the robots.txt file should be as follows:
http:// yourdomainname.com/robots.txt

This robots.txt file tells the search engines to stay away from your 'download' folder and the pdf's.

You are done now.

Before using the new setup, test it by placing a test order to make sure everything runs smoothly.

The above setup can prevent most of the thefts.

But this system is still not fool-proof. The theft might continue with people sharing your eBooks with others by uploading it to file-sharing sites or by giving put your download URL. But this is the least we can do to protect our hard work.

Other solutions to prevent thefts are:
-- Password-protecting downloads pages.
-- Password-protecting eBooks.
-- Zipping pdf's into zip files as zip files are not indexed by search engines.

If you haven't followed the above steps, chances are that your download page and eBooks will be indexed sooner or later.

You can check to see if your eBook or download page is indexed by typing the following code in Google:
site: yourdomainname.com

This setup might look very basic to some but there are many others who need it and will benefit from it.

Edit: If you have some money, buy DLGuard or similar scripts. It will make your life much easier and will secure your data much better.
#download #easy #ebook #pages #protect #steps
  • Profile picture of the author craigbrown
    Thanks Bruce.

    Been meaning to study up on this issue, but you've laid it all out.

    I've bookmarked this thread.

    Cheers

    Craig
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  • Profile picture of the author YourProfessional
    Thank you so much for this - as I want to start offering PLR articles & e-books, I was looking for a solution to this.

    Your post gave me all the information I needed
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  • Profile picture of the author LivingCovers
    Thanks for this. Not too long a process and should get the ball rolling when it comes to info product privacy.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    There is a MAJOR HOLE in this method. I wont post it here because Id say half of this forum will begin a mad scramble to fix their sites. Id rather not cause panic.

    BUT....If you are serious about your business and want to protect your content, then be sure to check out DLGuard. Im not affiliated with this product in any way, I just think its one of the best solutions available to secure content.

    I use it myself, as do many others here.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mo Faisal
      Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post

      There is a MAJOR HOLE in this method. I wont post it here because Id say half of this forum will begin a mad scramble to fix their sites. Id rather not cause panic.

      BUT....If you are serious about your business and want to protect your content, then be sure to check out DLGuard. Im not affiliated with this product in any way, I just think its one of the best solutions available to secure content.

      I use it myself, as do many others here.
      Hey ramone,

      I have pm'ed you on this issue of Major Hole in the method. Would be great to hear from you.
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  • Or you could put your product in a directory not accessible through the web and generate a temporary copy with a random name for one download only to one user who only gets the link after their payment is processed. (I think this is pretty much what DL Guard does, though I do it with Ubercart.)

    Works well for me. Try to directly navigate to my download products or the directory where they're stored and you'll get "Access Denied." Purchase and you get an e-mail with a long, random link with two chances to click. Technically, I guess you could download two copies, but that's it.

    Of course, once somebody downloads it, they can do whatever they want with it. I think the key is create products that are so good that people want to pay for them out of gratitude. (YeahRiiight!)
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  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    Doesn't matter
    someone will just pay for the book, then share it

    Been through this a thousand times with graphics. Without tracking and the willingness to do what it takes to enforce copyright, 'they' always seem to find a way.

    (fatalistic, I know... sorry)
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    • Originally Posted by DogScout View Post

      Doesn't matter
      someone will just pay for the book, then share it

      Been through this a thousand times with graphics. Without tracking and the willingness to do what it takes to enforce copyright, 'they' always seem to find a way.

      (fatalistic, I know... sorry)
      You said it better than I. So maybe you want to think about putting up-sells and cross-sells within your product so that it's a good thing when people share it.
      Signature
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    • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
      Originally Posted by DogScout View Post

      Doesn't matter
      someone will just pay for the book, then share it

      Been through this a thousand times with graphics. Without tracking and the willingness to do what it takes to enforce copyright, 'they' always seem to find a way.

      (fatalistic, I know... sorry)
      "X" has an ingenious system that dynamically generates a unique
      Ebook for each buyer, with identifying keywords sprinkled throughout,
      like a fingerprint. It's kind of extreme, admittedly.

      A wise approach is to build-in extra bonuses mentioned in the
      ebook for registered buyers only, and upsells too. Build your
      business model not around selling ebooks, but around acquiring
      customers.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
        Originally Posted by Loren Woirhaye View Post

        A wise approach is to build-in extra bonuses mentioned in the ebook for registered buyers only, and upsells too...
        And affiliate links!
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  • Profile picture of the author GoingSomewhere
    Originally Posted by Bruce_Richards View Post

    2. It's time to protect the index page of the folder we created. We create a blank html file and save it as index.html and upload it to the 'download' folder on our web server.

    Now, if somebody tries to access the 'download' folder on our web server, all they will see is a blank screen.
    You can do a "redirect" on the download folder's index.html to a sales page where he will be reminded to buy.

    Any time he tries to access your download folder, he will be forced to read your sales page which leads to payment page
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    I have questions regarding this:

    7. Now, the last part is to add a robots.txt file. Create a new text file and name it as robots.txt

    Type the following in the file:
    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /download/ (this is the name of the folder we created)
    User-agent: Googlebot
    Disallow: /*.pdf$ (this is the extension of our eBook or reports)
    a) Why only Googlebot in the second "user-agent" line? Why not [*] = meaning all

    b) re: /*pdf
    The robottxt.org site says clearly that you can not use such lines...
    Note also that globbing and regular expression are not supported in either the User-agent or Disallow lines. The '*' in the User-agent field is a special value meaning "any robot". Specifically, you cannot have lines like "User-agent: *bot*", "Disallow: /tmp/*" or "Disallow: *.gif".

    Source
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  • Profile picture of the author Mo Faisal
    @ Istvan Horvath : I have pm'ed you on this issue..
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Sorry, disregard my questions.

    Digging deeper I discovered that the robotstxt site did NOT update their info regarding a new feature of Googlebot:
    Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Improving on Robots Exclusion Protocol

    It seems while the rest of the bots don't understand wildcards, the big G. does
    In the light of this it makes sense why only Gbot and why the wildcards only there!
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  • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
    the meta tags and robots.txt only apply to those bots or programs (wget) which honor them. Its rather easy to write a bot that can read them, then intentionally examine those directories you've asked them not to!

    While there are some good tips - its like locking your car or door - it keeps opportunistic thieves out of your stuff; but if someone wants your stuff they'll get it.

    As others have said - most stuff on torrents find their way there by people buying the item and then refunding the price and uploading to the torrents or sharing as they see fit.

    Unless you're releasing a viral ebook - take some precautions, but don't spend forever trying to stop the bad guys.

    A good post none the less-thanks,
    --Jack
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    • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
      Originally Posted by jacktackett View Post

      the meta tags and robots.txt only apply to those bots or programs (wget) which honor them. Its rather easy to write a bot that can read them, then intentionally examine those directories you've asked them not to!
      Very good point, Jack!

      All the spammers, hackers and other bad guys will not honor them
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    • Profile picture of the author Mo Faisal
      Originally Posted by jacktackett View Post

      the meta tags and robots.txt only apply to those bots or programs (wget) which honor them. Its rather easy to write a bot that can read them, then intentionally examine those directories you've asked them not to!

      While there are some good tips - its like locking your car or door - it keeps opportunistic thieves out of your stuff; but if someone wants your stuff they'll get it.

      As others have said - most stuff on torrents find their way there by people buying the item and then refunding the price and uploading to the torrents or sharing as they see fit.

      Unless you're releasing a viral ebook - take some precautions, but don't spend forever trying to stop the bad guys.

      A good post none the less-thanks,
      --Jack
      Well, Jack I have already mentioned that this method is not fool-proof.

      I know many books end up being shared on torrent sites and file sharing sites. But thats a part of doing business online.

      But we should atleast take some precautions from our side. And this is the least we could do to protect our downloads.
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    • Profile picture of the author costos gohdohb
      Originally Posted by jacktackett View Post

      the meta tags and robots.txt only apply to those bots or programs (wget) which honor them. Its rather easy to write a bot that can read them, then intentionally examine those directories you've asked them not to!

      While there are some good tips - its like locking your car or door - it keeps opportunistic thieves out of your stuff; but if someone wants your stuff they'll get it.

      As others have said - most stuff on torrents find their way there by people buying the item and then refunding the price and uploading to the torrents or sharing as they see fit.

      Unless you're releasing a viral ebook - take some precautions, but don't spend forever trying to stop the bad guys.

      A good post none the less-thanks,
      --Jack
      Jacktackett!

      I saw that some marketers don't allow refunds earlier than 60 days after the purchase

      And these marketers also say they'll refund ONLY if all their guidelines were followed exactly to the point, but still failed to produce promised results.

      ---maybe this can help minimize torrent uploads ?
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  • Profile picture of the author krharper
    I've been using E-Junkie to address this issue and couldn't be happier for the service for what is a minimal cost. Very easy to set-up and can be used for a number of different payment platforms.
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  • Profile picture of the author petelta
    This is great. Thanks a lot. I have just started to make actual products to sell. I was recently wanting to know how to protect these type things.

    Travis
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  • Thank you. Very useful advise here.
    It's getting more and more important to protect ones work.

    What I was always wondering about is that almost 99% of the images and pictures in the internet are not protected against copying..
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Originally Posted by Bruce_Richards View Post

    It's time to protect the index page of the folder we created. We create a blank html file and save it as index.html and upload it to the 'download' folder on our web server.

    Now, if somebody tries to access the 'download' folder on our web server, all they will see is a blank screen.
    Make the index a PHP page and include the following:

    HTML Code:
    <!--#echo var="REMOTE_ADDR" -->
    A properly configured server will print the person's IP address on the page. Give them something to think about and tell them their IP address has been recorded.

    Usually I just redirect them to one of my sales pages though. Sometimes when I do that it's on one of my other sites. Let 'em wonder about that one.
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    Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

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  • Profile picture of the author innocent07
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Bruce_Richards View Post


    4. Similarly, rename the download page so it would become impossible to guess.

    Eg.: download-5g6h3.html
    thankyou-b125pk.html

    5. Add the following code to the source code of the download page after the <HEAD> tag.

    Regards,
    Bruce..
    Nice tips

    Thankyou-b125pt3qsdf Bruce.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mo Faisal
    @ Dennis Gaskill : Thanks for that awesome tip. Will surely try it out.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by Bruce_Richards View Post

      @ Dennis Gaskill : Thanks for that awesome tip. Will surely try it out.

      Regards,
      Bruce..
      No problem, Bruce. You made a good post, happy to contribute.
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      Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

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    • Profile picture of the author costos gohdohb
      For instance, if I use password-protected folder
      (like locked safe)

      then will it be possible for BOTS to scan the documents of these protected safe-folders?

      or they are ok to use? (even without adding all these codes to my site?)
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  • Profile picture of the author fthomas137
    Guys I do feel your pain. But I have more bad news for you. I currently run a revolving encrypted linking system on my site to protect my downloads and I'm sure that it does stop some theft, but once the person has a copy of your hard work, if they were going to steal it, they will simply post it to a blogger page or such with a link to a freely available downloading service.

    The end result is that the lock will only keep the honest people honest. But remember a thief will still find a way.

    Sorry to say that but it's absolutely true.

    Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author Karan Goel
    According to me, the best way to protect your downloads is to host them on a separate domain that has 1000's of pages (of content/images/crap) so that google shows those pages as well in site:domain.com query.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Silvester
    Hi Guys,

    This process does not stop a person from
    either sharing the product once they have
    it...or even stopping them sharing the download
    link.

    Loading your ebook with upsells, affiliate links
    and all that other junk will not help either.

    Because they will just get that stuff for free too.

    Password protecting your stuff wont help either,
    because the scammers will share the passwords
    with your product.

    The only way is to protect your product by having
    a unique download link for each buyer and to have
    the product watermarked to that buyer. So that when
    you do find it being shared you know exactly who
    did it and bring them a whole world of hurt.

    Take Care,

    Michael Silvester
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  • Profile picture of the author iYingHang
    Great way you shown....Thank you!

    Cheers,
    iYingHang
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  • Profile picture of the author crazyjames360
    Thanks friends
    But I taught of another method But I haven't tried it myself...

    Create a mini site...with some good mini site script
    Save your products in the download section of mini ste
    When any buyer wants to buy your product
    He has to sign Up (During Payment processing ) and create a new account.....
    he can only excess to downloads if he is logged in

    Download pages of mini site are safe from search engines more over they are password protected
    and....
    if you find any user sharing his users name and password you mights delete him after
    seeing his STATS.
    Use some scripts to limit the no. of DOWNLOADS limit it 8 or less
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  • Profile picture of the author Mo Faisal
    @ crazyjames360 : When you try that method, let me know. It seems interesting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Mckenzee
    Thank you! this guide means alot to me!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
    If you're a newbie and about to implement this...be warned. This works as "security by obscurity". In other words, you can't steal what you can't see. This concept doesn't stop people from breaking into houses because they can't "see" the flat screen.

    For a person new to online commerce...this is a barebones step 1 in protecting your downloads.

    Once you have a product ripped off, and you feel that sinking feeling in your stomach up....you'll pony up the money for DLGuard to prevent common theft. This is step 2 in protecting your downloads. For 90% of internet marketers, DLGuard is enough to deliver products securely. If DLGuard is too expensive, check out this solution: Protect Digital Downloads | How To Secure & Protect Digital Downloads & Ebooks from Theft with Expiring Links

    For the remaining 10%, DLGuard doesn't offer a builtin affiliate program...so step 3 will naturally be Nanacast, InfusionSoft, 1ShoppingCart or other upscale solutions that will simply blow your rocks off.

    If your new...I recommend at least making the investment in DLGuard. It will pay for itself with peace of mind. As you progress...check out the other solutions.
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  • Profile picture of the author soniia21
    Thanks for this post!
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    • Profile picture of the author EricThor
      THE best solution to the problem of thieves stealing your links is at http://www.disposablelinks.com/ (I am not an affiliate)

      I've not actually bought it but probably will since they seen to offer the best solution. Is it perfect? No but they sure address many concerns of mine.

      In one alternative they bury the downloader's IP address in the document - at least for .pdf files.

      Has anyone ever used the program?

      Thanks
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