Some Chick Just Stole My Website

64 replies
I've got a site that makes a good $2,000 per month on it's own. I've done all my content and writing under a pen name.

I just checked the SERPs and saw that someone is ranking RIGHT under me for most of my keywords. Since I'm all for competition my initial thought is "Cool - someone new in my niche. Let's go check them out!".

Well - they stole all the content off my site. They registered their site to a Google Plus account (so now they have Google Authorship) and have DCMA badges all over it :-(

With hardly any back links at all these guys are now ranking right by my site.

What are my options here? I sent this chick (she has the domain openly registered to her name with a gmail address there) a note and she wrote back pointing out her content is copyscape protected and will file a DMCA violation against me if I "harass" her again.

I'm not sure what recourse I have here. My content was all authored under a pen name and by default my domain had privacy on it. I never associated it with a Google+ account or thought to do anything with CopyScape etc..

I naively thought that Google loved unique, fresh original content and not obviously scraped crap.

There is a $200 DMCA takedown notice I can issue but I don't know if those work well or not. Especially since this jerk has DMCA badges all over her site and since I use a pen name on the site.

Pretty sassy chick. Her info looks like she's living in Germany, a country of people I have had no qualms with until today.
#chick #stole #website
  • Profile picture of the author Danny Cutts
    If its your content its your content....
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by williamstraus View Post

    There is a $200 DMCA takedown notice I can issue but I don't know if those work well or not.
    I'd serve a DMCA notice on the site's hosting company, myself, with copies to the webmaster, Google and the domain-name registrar. I wouldn't pay anyone $200 for it, though.

    Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author mrgoe
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      I'd serve a DMCA notice on the site's hosting company, myself, with copies to the webmaster, Google and the domain-name registrar. I wouldn't pay anyone $200 for it, though.

      Good luck!
      Would it work with spun content or only with duplicate content ? I`m really interested to know as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author talfighel
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      I'd serve a DMCA notice on the site's hosting company, myself, with copies to the webmaster, Google and the domain-name registrar. I wouldn't pay anyone $200 for it, though.

      Good luck!
      That is what you should do.

      Good advice Alexa.

      It is not a nice feeling when this happens. Hope you get it resolved and get this person banned.
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  • Profile picture of the author arichardson
    Hi William,

    That is certainly a tough one. What I would suggest doing is the following:

    > Cease and desist order. (There are templates you can find about this, basically says "stop or else)

    > Contact her advertisers - hit her where it hurts most... money. Advertisers like to know that they are advertising on legitimate sites not copyright. If it's google, contact them through adwords and let them know - they're usually pretty good to chat to.

    > Request a ban from search engines. Contact google they're smart enough to figure out dates etc. Under the DMCA that property is YOURS.

    > Finally... REGISTER YOUR COPYRIGHTS

    I hope this helped you out a bit, I did a little bit of research on the topic because this is yet to happen to me but I'm sure some day in the future it will.

    -Aaron
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Silvey
    Dude , The DMCA should validate it is your content just by post/index date. Take your case to Google and CopyScape and put her on the wrack and burn her site down through legal actions.
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  • Profile picture of the author williamstraus
    Thanks guys - so using a pen name isn't a big deal in a situation like this?

    This whole thing was making me rethink my "pen name" approach. I figured out they are hosting with hostgator.

    Ugh - this is ugly stuff. I need a drink before I tackle this ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author arichardson
    It's actually going to be really easy, google is pretty clued on with things like this. It happens a lot apparently. I assume they would just look at post dates etc.

    But a drink never hurt anyone in my opinion.

    Oh and the pen name shouldn't even come into consideration I'd say.

    -Aaron
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  • Profile picture of the author alistair
    This would make my blood boil if it happened to me

    Good luck and hope you keep this thread updated with any results.
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    • Profile picture of the author KateHunter
      Yep do what Alexa said, you don't need to pay, you can do this yourself. The pen name is no issue, you can write under a pen name, and you do own copyright to anything you create even if you haven't registed it, nobody has the right to steal your work word for word. I have a 100% success rate at removing stolen content for my clients by doing what just what Alexa said (if sending email to webmaster first doesn't work), and I'm pretty sure Google can tell that yours was there first (they probably even know what you had for breakfast on the day you wrote it ). When you file the complaint the wording is that you need to be the author or acting on their behalf, so no problems there with your pen name. So don't stress, send the DMCA complaints, and come back and tell us how her site dissapeared overnight.
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      • Profile picture of the author sowens
        This is just an aside to anyone reading the post. This probably does not apply to this issue. Some things cannot be copyrighted. You cannot copyright a recipe which is why chefs may be legally sworn to secrecy. Titles cannot be copyrighted which is why you have unrelated movies and music sharing titles. A title may be trademarked or protected by service mark. there are others on the list that escape me. Just as copyrights are assumed with publication and proof of date, I think even trademarks are now assumed when the name is used in trade across state borders. Under fair use laws, you may quote a portion of someone's copyrighted work as long as you do not quote the entire document and as long as you attribute the work to the author. Newspapers have been getting hammered by this as bloggers aggregate their content without attribution. But they sure know how to swing a cease and desist order.
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  • Profile picture of the author yakim1
    it seems pretty cut and dry to me, I would contant her hosting service for sure. After all your domain has been registered for a while and her domain should be newly registered. I don't think using a pen name would matter.

    Even though your registration is private some information is still available. Hitting the hosting company with a DMCA notice would be hitting her where it counts. Another area to attack would be her domain registrar.

    These two areas would put her out of business.

    I would not be concerned with google. I believe all you have to prove is that you had the content on your site before she did and point that out in your complaint.

    I'm a software developer and I have my software copyrights registered with the Federal government.

    Of course you can't do that with every article you post.

    I hope this has been helpful,
    Steve Yakim
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  • Profile picture of the author twister85
    You got rights for your content. If anyone violate it, You have the right to complain as you're the creator.
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
    William,
    Seems like she's trying to bully you as she knows she's stolen your content! Time to play hardball I'm afraid and do as others have suggested and contact her host and domain registrar. Hopefully they'll remove her from their services.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    Using pen name doesn't matter at all. You have the dates and even if she faked the dates it will still be discovered....
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
    Yes indeed as others have expressed pen names, are legal, if your the UN-adultrated author, sorry pun intended, then go after the hosting company first, (google will not even see your complaint, (they use (allegedly) off shore none English Speaking people to do this stuff)

    So no one will understand what your saying anyway, (got to love Google)

    So hit the hosting company be able to provide proof, screen shots, ect so that you can provide proof that this content is yours and yours alone.

    After that you should be ready to go
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    How much older is your site?

    Can you prove ownership/originality using the Wayback Machine?
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    • Profile picture of the author Adie
      Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

      How much older is your site?

      Can you prove ownership/originality using the Wayback Machine?
      Waybackmachine has are extremely delayed to update sites nowadays... But yes, this is a good idea if there is available record..
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      • Profile picture of the author kazoone2
        I had a PLR site at hostgator and had it suspended without notice because someone made a copyright complaint to the company. The PLR provider stole the content but I got my sites back but hostgator take infringements very seriously.
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  • Profile picture of the author PayOnResults
    Very annoying. Alexa's advice above - would be the way I would go.
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  • Profile picture of the author williamstraus
    It is annoying - and thanks again to the Warrior Forum for the help. Special thanks to Alexa - don't know you at all but your posts have really helped me be more successful online.

    I'm putting the smack down to HostGator and the DNS Registrar.

    So how we do make it easier to protect our content? I think moving forward I am going to use the DMCA WP Plugin and create a Google Plus (for Google Authorship) on my sites.
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    • Profile picture of the author sowens
      Newspapers and some websites use digital watermarking as well as links that follow their content around when it's cut and pasted. I ran out of time to look for a tutorial but perhaps you can find something online. Good luck -- Shelley
      Originally Posted by williamstraus View Post

      It is annoying - and thanks again to the Warrior Forum for the help. Special thanks to Alexa - don't know you at all but your posts have really helped me be more successful online.

      I'm putting the smack down to HostGator and the DNS Registrar.

      So how we do make it easier to protect our content? I think moving forward I am going to use the DMCA WP Plugin and create a Google Plus (for Google Authorship) on my sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author bretski
    I'd send the DMCA to the hosting company and skip any cease and desist order simply because she's being a punk. The only down side is that you won't be able to see the look on her face when her site gets nuked.

    All of this does say something about everyone's views on duplicate content if she did simply copy and paste from your site... just sayin'
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  • Profile picture of the author chasnsx
    If I had a site that was making $2,000 per month, I would seriously consider spending $3,000 to $4,000 to hire a lawyer in Germany to go after this girl offline with an actual infringement lawsuit -- in addition to all that was recommended above. Chances are you won't have to do more than have your lawyer write a threat letter, and maybe file an action against her before she caves in. Stalemating bullies and predators is easy -- all you have to do is show that you won't cave in. However, it takes a real show of overwhelming force to make them surrender and go away.
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    • Profile picture of the author bretski
      Originally Posted by chasnsx View Post

      However, it takes a real show of overwhelming force to make them surrender and go away.
      Why waste thousands of dollars in overkill when all it takes is a simple takedown notice to the host?
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  • Profile picture of the author Brendon Zahrndt
    I was in your shoes with one of my mini authority sites.

    The content thief was a well known Warrior and internet marketer.

    I sent him, his host, Google, and anyone else that would listen a DMCA notice.

    Guess what that high powered marketer did?

    Removed every single infringement.

    Guess when he did it?

    Immediately.
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  • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
    Just a couple questions I have. Is it a .com or other US based domain? You said she is in germany and a DMCA take down will only work for US based hosting and registrations.

    Second, she is using Copyscape he said. Since this is a service designed to stop plagiarism, any issue with them coming to her aid?

    Third, is it word for word copy or did she just spin it enough so that Copyscape looked at it as original?
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    • Profile picture of the author Michele Miller
      I went through the same sort of thing a couple of years back ...only that bitch tried to use my business name as well, which she had not registered, but was falsely using. I have a GREAT intellectual property attorney on call, and he puts a stop to all that bullshit in a heart beat.

      First call of action is what you've heard here - if that doesn't work, let me know.

      Don't stand for that crap.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Find out her host. ▷▷ Who-hosts.com : Easily find out who hosts a web site
    File a free DMCA with her host. Your content should have existed before her content. Explain in the DMCA that you wrote it under your pen name.

    Then report the violation to Google with a DMCA
    https://support.google.com/adsense/b...n_report&&rd=1

    It's your content. There are free DMCA templates all over the place. It's easy and worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author williamstraus
    @OnlineStoreHelp - it's a word for word copy.

    @BretSki - yes, duplicate content and Google is a huge source of confusion and misunderstanding.

    People think "unique original" gets rewarded in search engines but that's not the case. Based on what I'm reading lots of webmasters have been complaining to Google about this stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author Slin
    Be super careful, a lot of times the people who do this kinda stuff are ruthless.

    Just a small tip, people might hate me for this, but whatever, I figure the person who stole your site really deserves this.

    From fiverr buy a huge scrapebox blast, tell them to blast only one keyword (your main one) and blast it at your opponent. Actually buy a few blasts. It should blast them off of the serps.

    Why do this? It's hard for google to know who the original site was, and who is copying who. I've heard horror stories about people who have had sites stolen, and then all rankings stolen, and then slowly watched their traffic and earnings disappear.

    So before anyone hates, i'm just saying, sometimes you need to fight some fire with fire.

    That is is if the DMCA stuff doesn't work.

    Here's hoping it goes just fine man! We are all rooting for you!
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  • Profile picture of the author alvinchua91
    you can report her to Google.
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  • Profile picture of the author opalfx
    if she gave you credit for the articles, can't she still have them? is your income less than$2k a month now because she's ranking beneath you? if not then i dont see going through all this legality for someone who isn't even in USA
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      Originally Posted by opalfx View Post

      if she gave you credit for the articles, can't she still have them?
      How about if she stole the guy's car and put a sign in the back window saying "This car belongs to ..."? That'd be okay would it?

      Or how about if you wrote a book and you went into a bookstore and saw your book on sale with your name crossed out and someone else's written in? Would it be okay if there was a note inside the cover saying "This book was originally written by Opalfx but I quite liked it and decided to publish it for myself"?

      Too many people seem to think that all you have to do is acknowledge your theft for it to be somehow acceptable. It isn't. Unless you have got clear permission to use the material ANY usage on your part, credited or not, is copyright (the right not to be copied) infringement. And that is theft.

      The confusion, I believe, comes from Article Directories like Ezine Articles who do allow you to take content in exchange for a credit - but that is clearly laid out in their terms and conditions. That particular business model should not be taken as applying generally because it most certainly does not.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by opalfx View Post

      if she gave you credit for the articles, can't she still have them? is your income less than$2k a month now because she's ranking beneath you? if not then i dont see going through all this legality for someone who isn't even in USA
      There are many hosts outside of the US that will honor DMCAs and No ... you can't take other people's content and just give a link back without permission.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
        Originally Posted by sowens View Post

        This is just an aside to anyone reading the post. This probably does not apply to this issue. Some things cannot be copyrighted. You cannot copyright a recipe which is why chefs may be legally sworn to secrecy.
        I'm not an attorney, but I have studied copyrights some. I understand what you're trying to say, but I don't think it's quite right. My understanding is, while you can't copyright a list of ingredients, the way you describe how to use the ingredients can be copyrighted. Furthermore, collections of recipes can be copyrighted. If you try taking a recipe book from Betty Crocker and publishing it yourself, I'm sure you'd find yourself in legal hot water as soon as they found out.

        Not trying to pick on you, I just didn't want others to get the wrong idea.
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    • Profile picture of the author williamstraus
      Originally Posted by opalfx View Post

      if she gave you credit for the articles, can't she still have them? is your income less than$2k a month now because she's ranking beneath you? if not then i dont see going through all this legality for someone who isn't even in USA
      No - my income is about $2K per month from the site. It is not purely based on SEO - I build a list and have niche relevant traffic from other sites. I do get a lot of organic traffic from the search engines and this will definitely impact my revenue if my DMCA complaints don't work.

      This person basically copied 5 of my host heavily trafficked pages directly onto their site.

      I guess in some way I should be honored that they spent this much time researching how I write things, what keywords I targeted etc.. etc..

      There is a lot of great advice here. Based on my own research this stuff happens a lot and in spite of a lot of SEO types saying they've figured out how google works and it needs unique/original content that doesn't seem to be the case.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by williamstraus View Post

        I do get a lot of organic traffic from the search engines and this will definitely impact my revenue if my DMCA complaints don't work.
        We're all wishing you good luck with this, William - and hoping that the site doesn't turn out to be hosted on some bulletproof server in Nepal, or whatever, where a DMCA notice may have no effect. :confused:

        In theory they're binding only on US-hosts, but the reality is probably that most "international hosts" will comply with one anyway.

        Originally Posted by williamstraus View Post

        Based on my own research this stuff happens a lot and in spite of a lot of SEO types saying they've figured out how google works and it needs unique/original content that doesn't seem to be the case.
        No indeed - that's definitely not the case! That's just a little part of what people promoting SEO services like their potential clients to believe/expect. :p
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  • Profile picture of the author sam770
    You got some really good advises above,
    My 2 cents (if your site is online quite a while) is to go to Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine
    Since your site is the original one, it was most likely crawled by archive.org in the past, then do the same for the site that copied from you and it will be easy enough to prove that your site is the original one.
    At this point all you have to do is to take a few screen shots that clearly prove your claims...
    Good luck ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author metaarticles
    I feel really sad to hear about this case. I really hope someone can help you get back your site.
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  • Profile picture of the author stefanvanray
    So sorry you are having to go through this William. You have a lot of great advice here to consider for sure. I would definitely contact Google, her hosting, advertisers, everything at your disposal. Use your index dates to your advantage. Don't give up, be persistent and you will work it all out. Best of luck, and here's to your success!
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  • Profile picture of the author MarcelBehrens
    It is yet another sign of disrespect for the hard work people have put into their business. In the long run you will be better off then her. For now, it just sucks and I understand your worries about the traffic. I have nothing else to add to the great advice mentioned in the posts above.
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  • Profile picture of the author onegoodman
    So, first something I can't highlight enough, once you right a piece of content and published online. It is already copyrighted.

    buying DCMA buttons means nothing really.

    Now, if she want to play bully, the first thing you should do,is to stop contacting her.

    Start with her Domain Registrar and her hosting company, if that failed contact Google.
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  • Profile picture of the author KseniaTrushina
    Banned
    Looking forward to the final results.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vikram73
    [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author xxxJamesxxx
    I thought Google had a algorithm to weed out stuff like this?

    Good luck anyway

    James Scholes
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    • Profile picture of the author DeePower
      Just a thought. Is it possible that the chick bought the articles from a freelancer who stole them from your site? I once hired a freelancer to write articles for me on a topic I don't like to write on. I asked each person who was interested to write a 300 word article and I'd select the one I liked the best. I paid a nominal fee for each article. Two of the writers swore the articles were original. However when I copyscaped them they were word for word copies.

      Dee
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      • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
        Originally Posted by DeePower View Post

        Just a thought. Is it possible that the chick bought the articles from a freelancer who stole them from your site? I once hired a freelancer to write articles for me on a topic I don't like to write on. I asked each person who was interested to write a 300 word article and I'd select the one I liked the best. I paid a nominal fee for each article. Two of the writers swore the articles were original. However when I copyscaped them they were word for word copies.

        Dee
        This has happened to me too before.

        Blatantly.

        Even after I specified that I will search for copied content, and that I will only accept unique, original work.
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      • Profile picture of the author williamstraus
        Originally Posted by DeePower View Post

        Just a thought. Is it possible that the chick bought the articles from a freelancer who stole them from your site? I once hired a freelancer to write articles for me on a topic I don't like to write on.

        Dee

        So quick update - I did send a DMCA notice to the hosting provider and forwarded to her. She backed down and is rushing to re-write content. I'm ok with that.

        Could she have outsourced badly? No I doubt it. Just based on the tone and comments in her emails.

        This appears to be a SEO tactic to hijack rankings.

        How I Hijacked Rand Fishkin's Blog | DEJAN SEO

        Anyway - thanks again to the WF for saving my rear :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author shyanz
    that's a painful stuff. Would like to know the outcome of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author kiwikelno1
    We're all wishing you good luck with this, William - and hoping that the site doesn't turn out to be hosted on some bulletproof server in Nepal, or whatever, where a DMCA notice may have no effect.

    In theory they're binding only on US-hosts, but the reality is probably that most "international hosts" will comply with one anyway.
    Any Host worth their salts would/should comply as it would show a sign of good faith to their customers.
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    • Profile picture of the author anwiii
      hey- what's the site? i'd like to copy it too! haha j/k. don't drink too much. you need to be sober through this shit and your head needs to be in the right place.

      i liked all the advice given so i don't really have any to give now after reading the thread. just don't stress over it too much. justice will prevail if you take the appropriate action.

      after you get her site taken down, you might want to consider legal action too depending on where this person lives. usually this type of crap settles out of court if the award you are seeking is fair and has a good chance of being paid back.

      so i guess my only advice come to think of it is hire an attorney where she's from. there has to be someone willing to take on an easy case like this without any fees upfront....call around....

      do you know how long her site with the dupe content was live? also, did you find that with the competing site, your income went down from it(some sites are seasonal so not including that)?
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  • Profile picture of the author Lauryn
    Yeah, hit Google and persist on. Someone stealing your entire website? GTFOH!
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    I Go Hard = "Slanguage" for putting forth a lot of effort.

    Don't be an arse and try to flip something you clearly have no knowledge of against me.

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  • Profile picture of the author tac88
    It will catch up to her!
    I would serve her a cease and desist and then if that doesn't work then I would report the violation to Google with a DMCA along with sending it to her hosting company .

    Google knows who published the content first and is the true owner no matter what your pen name is !
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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    I like to put original content on date-stamped locations, like youtube videos, or article sites so that there' some 3rd-party proof of date of who originated/wrote what... otherwise it can be he-said, she-said, eg what's to prove who actually wrote/published content first? I don't trust what people say. that's why having 3rd-party verification/publication dates is important, on other locations
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  • Profile picture of the author Charanjit
    sometimes things have to get ugly,

    go to fiver buy about 5 spam gigs for the keywords she is ranking for.

    bam, bye bye site, let her have your content.

    Negative seo does work. I did some testing with one of my money sites a year back post panda. All it took was five magic submitter 2.0 modules pointing at my home page for the test key word.

    so if you cant do it the legal way, just bend the rules.

    p.s I have never done negative seo on any ones site apart from my own, I take no responsibility for your actions.
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    • Profile picture of the author williamstraus
      Originally Posted by Charanjit View Post

      sometimes things have to get ugly,
      Negative seo does work. I did some testing with one of my money sites a year back post panda. All it took was five magic submitter 2.0 modules pointing at my home page for the test key word.

      s.
      That thought crossed my mind.

      But I can't do that. Just misspent energy and who needs to start an online war when this issue just may wind down on it's own?

      I think my problem is going away as I type this email. So thanks again everyone!
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