Law firm visited my site, are they trying to sue me? Interesting case, please help me out

14 replies
Guys,

I was checking my visitors stats and I received a visit from someone with an ISP which belonged to a law firm. In fact, the ISP was named after the law firm, which stroke me as odd.

I could not track what pages this individual saw nor how long he stayed on the site. However, I tracked the location and it is in the same city as one of my competitors. This competitor of mine is a relative big group whereas mine is a hobby blog.

What is even more odd is that this visitor from the ISP of the law firm came through Google and the keyword was a big keyword that my competitor dominates. The odd thing is that Statscounter showed that my site ranked 3rd for this big keyword when this individual clicked on it. For what is worth, I don't compete for this keyword and I appear very far away in the SERPS for this big keyword under normal circumstances (however if I check this keyword when I'm logged into Gmail, I appear as 1st as expected).

This is very odd and the only stuff that I have that may violate copyright is some pictures which I picked from Google Images and which may have copyright. When I started my site I wasn't aware of this copyright thing and I have made it my task to slowly remove the pictures.

Ok, so now that you know the story, should I be worried? In essence:

- Got a visit from someone with ISP of a law firm based in the city of my competitor

- My site appeared as 3rd for a big keyword which I think must mean that this person had previously bookmarked or Google Plus my site in some way (please correct me or suggest as to why I appeared 3rd)

- I have some pictures which may have a copyright license but nothing more. My competitor hates me though cos I'm stealing a share of their visitors (my site is a quality niche site with authority).

Please suggest or give me your opinions, I am not sure as to what to make out of this.

Thank you!
#case #competitor #copyright #firm #interesting #law #site #sue #visited
  • Profile picture of the author Ryan Donrew
    That is indeed an interesting case, i dont think you have anything to worry about as long as you remove or removed the copyrighted pictures.

    What i got from this, that even if you do have copyrighted pictures then they have nothing to do with your competiton, so what are you worried about? :O
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  • Profile picture of the author AustinDigital
    I wouldn't fret unless they contact you. I get random hits all day long from places that strike as odd to me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bisturi
      Originally Posted by Ryan Donrew View Post

      That is indeed an interesting case, i dont think you have anything to worry about as long as you remove or removed the copyrighted pictures.

      What i got from this, that even if you do have copyrighted pictures then they have nothing to do with your competiton, so what are you worried about? :O
      Well, I have also written a few guides on my site which are sort of similar to theirs but which are genuine from me and which I made myself from scratch and my experience. They (competitor) were the first to hit the industry so when I wrote my guides the resemblance was unavoidable.

      I'm pretty sure that my guides being similar to theirs is no copyright infringement territory but still, they don't like me and are seeing how I'm building up against them slowly but surely.


      Originally Posted by AustinTPL View Post

      I wouldn't fret unless they contact you. I get random hits all day long from places that strike as odd to me.
      Yes but come on, the ISP actually belonged to the law firm, I don't know how common this is but I was like WTF. Maybe the person was browsing my site just for casual reading but then, how would I explain my site appearing 3rd for the big keyword?

      I am just putting myself in the worse of shoes, so excuse the paranoia!
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      • Profile picture of the author AustinDigital
        Originally Posted by Bisturi View Post

        Well, I have also written a few guides on my site which are sort of similar to theirs but which are genuine from me and which I made myself from scratch and my experience. They (competitor) were the first to hit the industry so when I wrote my guides the resemblance was unavoidable.

        I'm pretty sure that my guides being similar to theirs is no copyright infringement territory but still, they don't like me and are seeing how I'm building up against them slowly but surely.




        Yes but come on, the ISP actually belonged to the law firm, I don't know how common this is but I was like WTF. Maybe the person was browsing my site just for casual reading but then, how would I explain my site appearing 3rd for the big keyword?

        I am just putting myself in the worse of shoes, so excuse the paranoia!
        There is nothing wrong with SEOing for a certain keyword lol. Chill
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        • Profile picture of the author Elle Holder
          Did you ever consider that some clerk/assistant/lawyer might be interested in your content and is simply logging on while at work?

          Being cautious is good, but why look for giant sized issues when there likely isn't one? Personally, I generally gravitate to Occam's Razor, which is the principle that the theory with the simplest of explanations is usually the correct one.
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      • Profile picture of the author jdkesler
        [QUOTE=Bisturi;6279306]Well, I have also written a few guides on my site which are sort of similar to theirs but which are genuine from me and which I made myself from scratch and my experience. They (competitor) were the first to hit the industry so when I wrote my guides the resemblance was unavoidable.

        I'm pretty sure that my guides being similar to theirs is no copyright infringement territory but still, they don't like me and are seeing how I'm building up against them slowly but surely.

        /QUOTE]

        Did you run your articles through a plagarism site review such as copyscape? No matter how original you feel your content is you might have written content that is almost identical to your competitor. Since they were there first you would be hard pressed to prove that your content was not plagarizing thier work. If you fail the copyscape test it's usually pretty easy to rewrite the articles.

        Also, do you write original content using your own "voice"? Do you have your own unique writing style? Using a style that gives your writing individuality and allows the reader to see things from a different perspective than your competitor will go a long way towards protecting you from claims that you stole thier material.

        For example, Google comes down on people who create duplicate content like a gorilla on roids and they really go after copycats like they have Eau Du Crush Me Like A Bug. If you content is written in a way that is distinct, contributes materially to the topic and is unique in some way you have a better chance to survive any claims that you stole material.

        Notice how that last paragraph had a different "voice" than the preceding ones.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bisturi
    Originally Posted by Elle Holder View Post

    Did you ever consider that some clerk/assistant/lawyer might be interested in your content and is simply logging on while at work?

    Being cautious is good, but why look for giant sized issues when there likely isn't one? Personally, I generally gravitate to Occam's Razor, which is the principle that the theory with the simplest of explanations is usually the correct one.
    That has gone through my mind too, I'm still relatively new to all of this, including online marketing. I have poured my soul into this site with unique and creative contence hence I am rewarded by Google in the rankings. It is my muse and thus I'm quite possibly overreacting.

    However, I know this competitor doesn't like me and has in the past done stuff such as suing or astroturfing to put competitors away.


    Originally Posted by londonwarrior View Post

    Why are you slowly removing copyright images. Given what's happened I think you should remove them very fast indeed. Better safe than sorry.
    Thing is, I would lose rankings if I removed all the pictures in one go. However, I am making it a goal to remove them all and I have almost removed them all.


    Originally Posted by AustinTPL View Post

    There is nothing wrong with SEOing for a certain keyword lol. Chill
    Cool. I know the physical location of my competitor and I get daily hits from this location. I know they are spying on me but that is one of the games to play. I'm just learning as I go.
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    • Did you ever consider that some clerk/assistant/lawyer might be interested in your content and is simply logging on while at work?

      No doubt.

      I can't believe how many visits my ecommerce site gets from government and educational sites during the week. And they typically spend lots of time browsing.

      It's quite disheartening, actually, as a taxpayer.

      fLufF
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      • Profile picture of the author Bisturi
        Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

        Did you ever consider that some clerk/assistant/lawyer might be interested in your content and is simply logging on while at work?

        No doubt.

        I can't believe how many visits my ecommerce site gets from government and educational sites during the week. And they typically spend lots of time browsing.

        It's quite disheartening, actually, as a taxpayer.

        fLufF
        --
        I tend to get a lot of hits from universities, now that I think about it. Unfortunately no .edu links from them!
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  • Profile picture of the author ryansjacket
    Sounds like you got nothing to be worried about. Just do what you already know ya gotta do, replace those pics! Whoever that is viewing your site is more then likely just another customer : (
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    Sounds like you either have a guilty conscious or just worry to much in general.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bisturi
      [quote=jdkesler;6279657]
      Originally Posted by Bisturi View Post

      Well, I have also written a few guides on my site which are sort of similar to theirs but which are genuine from me and which I made myself from scratch and my experience. They (competitor) were the first to hit the industry so when I wrote my guides the resemblance was unavoidable.

      I'm pretty sure that my guides being similar to theirs is no copyright infringement territory but still, they don't like me and are seeing how I'm building up against them slowly but surely.

      /QUOTE]

      Did you run your articles through a plagarism site review such as copyscape? No matter how original you feel your content is you might have written content that is almost identical to your competitor. Since they were there first you would be hard pressed to prove that your content was not plagarizing thier work. If you fail the copyscape test it's usually pretty easy to rewrite the articles.

      Also, do you write original content using your own "voice"? Do you have your own unique writing style? Using a style that gives your writing individuality and allows the reader to see things from a different perspective than your competitor will go a long way towards protecting you from claims that you stole thier material.

      For example, Google comes down on people who create duplicate content like a gorilla on roids and they really go after copycats like they have Eau Du Crush Me Like A Bug. If you content is written in a way that is distinct, contributes materially to the topic and is unique in some way you have a better chance to survive any claims that you stole material.

      Notice how that last paragraph had a different "voice" than the preceding ones.
      Thanks for the advice! I do have my own unique writing style, in fact, I'd love to share my website with you guys but I want to keep this anonymous. My readers thank me frequently on being different and I am building a good subscriber base just because of how I write.

      I have run copyscape on my site before but to find those damn scrapers! My content is 100% unique only that, because I'm playing in a niche, there is bound to be some relationship between my content and their content. No plagiarism, at least I have never purposely tried to plagiarize anyone.


      Originally Posted by ryansjacket View Post

      Sounds like you got nothing to be worried about. Just do what you already know ya gotta do, replace those pics! Whoever that is viewing your site is more then likely just another customer : (
      Hopefully!


      Originally Posted by Eddie Spangler View Post

      Sounds like you either have a guilty conscious or just worry to much in general.
      A bit of both.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bisturi
    While we are at it, any reason for this visitor having my site appearing 3rd for a big keyword when my site is far out in the SERPS under normal circumstances for this same keyword?

    All I can think is that he/she +1'ed my site as I believe when one +1 a site, the site will appear in the first page when you look for keywords related to the +1 site. Correct me if I'm wrong and please suggest any other options (maybe bookmarked?).
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