How much is too much?

by rrm
11 replies
To all you article writers, ghost writers, PLR providers and researchers out there, this is a question about checking for plagiarism...

If I am checking my articles using Copyscape or similar thing, what is an acceptable level of copying before it could be considered "too" lifted? Some of my articles show maybe 4% to 6% (meaning that 4% to 6% of my original article is found matching the text on another page), which does not seem like much. In a 500 word article, it would seem that some words will naturally occur in a sequence and surely does not mean (necessarily) that someone lifted your writing.

However, some of my original articles show up on the web anywhere from 30% to 96% identical wording. Is there an "accepted" standard? How much do you think would be too much?

Also, this works in reverse. If I research and write an article from what I've read, I don't want to be guilty of trying to get away with copying as much as I could get away with, but I also don't want to obsess over making sure there are no two words in sequence like someone else may have already written. Advice please.

Thanks mucho,

Ron
  • Profile picture of the author Ross Cohen
    That seems like a high percentage. 96%? Sounds like a copy/paste job with a couple deletes. If you want to find success in the long run, you're truly going to want to not take any short cuts. If you read the content and it doesn't intrigue you, it won't intrigue them. I promise.
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    • Profile picture of the author rrm
      Originally Posted by Ross Cohen View Post

      That seems like a high percentage. 96%? Sounds like a copy/paste job with a couple deletes. If you want to find success in the long run, you're truly going to want to not take any short cuts. If you read the content and it doesn't intrigue you, it won't intrigue them. I promise.
      I think I got some splaining to do because I gave the wrong impression...

      The articles I referred to in the OP that I called "mine" were not written by me. I get people to write articles for me, which I pay for, and in that respect only do they become mine. They ghost write for me. But I don't pay for articles until approved, which requires that they not be plagiarized. I definitely don't want others merely copying text from other sources just so they can quickly come up with articles that they think they can slip by me and expect me to pay for.

      Maybe the answers from other posters apply still. But, I really should explain myself better if I want appropriate answers. Plus, as an added bonus, I would not want folks thinking "I" wrote articles that ended up being 96% identical to other online sources.

      Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
    Banned
    You should be aiming for zero, outside of actually quoting an outside source. Copy/Paste isn't going to cut it online, even if you do mask it down to an "acceptable" level.
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    • Profile picture of the author howinfo
      I would personally aim for 0% as well, as you said some of your articles show 4-6% matching text, then it would only take few changes to make it 100% original. But 96% matching text is as good as 100% copied.
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      • Profile picture of the author cashp0wer
        I would also aim for 0%. This can be very hard to do sometimes, especially for technical articles, which is what I use to write. It is something you should strive for however.
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        • Profile picture of the author sandarr
          Originally Posted by cashp0wer View Post

          I would also aim for 0%. This can be very hard to do sometimes, especially for technical articles, which is what I use to write. It is something you should strive for however.
          That holds true for legal and home security writing too, very difficult to be completely unique.

          Any article that is 96 percent identical, sounds like it was copied exactly, and had a few things changed to lower the percentage. While there are some phrases that can come up as copied, even though they are not, a well researched article should never come up with any measurable percentage and in most cases should be zero.

          Even if you paid for a rewritten article, it should not have a percentage anything like that, in my opinion and I don't really see how it could be useful.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Like everything, it depends. If you use a lot of common phrases you're going to have less originality. Stuff like:

    ...on the other hand..
    ...with all things considered...
    ...here's another perfect example...

    These are all common phrases people use when writing and none of them points to plagiarism. It's when you find unique wording copied that you have to worry. Stuff like,

    Jasmine strapped her antique brass tuba to the canoe and then had Scotty beam her and her cargo aboard.

    You find that anywhere else and you know there's a problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mary Wilhite
    0% should be the ultimate goal. However, because of the common phrases people use this may not be possible. Perhaps an allowance of 5% will be appropriate. I find it reasonable to trace the document that is looking similar to determine the reason for duplication.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Guzman
    I would consider it to be ok if it is below 6 percent because there is so many people in the planet that it is hard to not hit some phrases spot on. Nothing is 100 percent original anymore. I believe that although some people say ZERO that is not possible when there is 7 billion people in the planet. Odds are you will type something that was alread typed. 97 Percent though is too much. You should write it yourself. Also rewriting is considerd stealing, because you are using someone else intellectual Idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author mills
    Maybe the problem is in the definition of the job?

    I don't know how the Copyscape percentage is calculated. But if I was paying for an original article I would not accept any kind of 'rewriting'.

    If I found ANY uncommon whole sentences or longer phrases in the article I'd reject it as copied - because clearly they are copying then simply amending original work.

    'Original' to me means proper research using multiple sources, then writing from memory, notes and/or personal knowledge. Not taking text and rewording it, which results in so called 'unique' work... that still sounds a lot like plagiarism to me.

    So if you find a whole identical sentence/phrase, I'd then compare the rest of the article - and if it's just a rewrite (and that's not what you're really paying for) I'd find a different writer.
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