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I have a weird situation. My client has a hardcore competitor that we're trying to outrank. We have been purchasing original articles from TextBroker based on keywords I provide. His competitor is re-publishing articles from a local newspaper. I contacted the paper without naming names and explained that another site was using their articles and I wondered if I could do the same since it was such a great idea! (Playing dumb). He wrote back and said that they do not allow that as it is copyright infringement and he wanted to know which site it was. Do I had their domain to him or ignore his request?
#busting #site
  • Profile picture of the author Capitalist_Pig
    Originally Posted by OKFarmgirl View Post

    I have a weird situation. My client has a hardcore competitor that we're trying to outrank. We have been purchasing original articles from TextBroker based on keywords I provide. His competitor is re-publishing articles from a local newspaper. I contacted the paper without naming names and explained that another site was using their articles and I wondered if I could do the same since it was such a great idea! (Playing dumb). He wrote back and said that they do not allow that as it is copyright infringement and he wanted to know which site it was. Do I had their domain to him or ignore his request?
    Hand it over. Life ain't easy, and business sure isn't - just make sure you've got your ducks in a row, first. Karma will come back and get you if you turn someone in who's doing the same thing as you.
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    • Profile picture of the author OKFarmgirl
      Originally Posted by Capitalist_Pig View Post

      Hand it over. Life ain't easy, and business sure isn't - just make sure you've got your ducks in a row, first. Karma will come back and get you if you turn someone in who's doing the same thing as you.
      I've been very careful about only using original content. We're spending the money to do so, and I've had my client cancel the crappy blog article service he was using (they offer only re-hashed crap articles). So we're definitely not infringing on anyone's copyrights. I've asked the client if they want me to give the competitor's name to the guy, so if they aren't uncomfortable with it, I'm inclined to nail them as well.

      Here's the thing - that was just ONE of the publications they're stealing from. Do I contact them all or wait for them to pull them all once this newspaper calls them out on their copyright violations? The site is 14+ years old and has #1 SERP in Google for our main keyword. Now I'm curious where all of their blog stuff is coming from. I hate to play dirty, but if they're doing something illegal, I guess I shouldn't feel so bad.
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      Eileen

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      • Profile picture of the author OKFarmgirl
        OK, so I found that another competitor is doing the same thing. I looked into Google's DCMA and I'm thinking I should pass this link along to the newspapers involved.
        http://www.google.com/support/websea...l=en&answer=58

        I'm wondering if they DO remove all content, will it still be possible that Google would ban them? Obviously, the newspaper folks would have to take action, and they may not be interested in doing anything with Google, but I think that would be ideal for us.

        Looks like the first site (the main competitor) has over 100 incidences of posting copyrighted material from this ONE newspaper.

        Gah, I feel terrible about going down this path, but you're right, life ain't easy sometimes, right?
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        Eileen

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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          I feel terrible about going down this path
          To me, that sounds about as sincere as the original "playing dumb" comments you made to the paper. It's a path you chose to take.

          Not up to me judge whether it's good/bad, right/wrong. But if you are going to do it - own it.

          kay
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        • Profile picture of the author paulgl
          Forget about it. Don't waste your time.
          You are making a whole lot of assumptions.

          I only care what I'm doing. I don't worry about any
          perceived competition. I rise and fall on my own weight.

          Google is not the internet police, and neither are we. And
          they don't pretend to be.

          Paul
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          • Profile picture of the author OKFarmgirl
            Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

            Forget about it. Don't waste your time.
            You are making a whole lot of assumptions.

            I only care what I'm doing. I don't worry about any
            perceived competition. I rise and fall on my own weight.

            Google is not the internet police, and neither are we. And
            they don't pretend to be.

            Paul
            Google is in fact the Internet police. At least when it comes to what they index. Otherwise, I don't think they'd have a policy about it.

            I'm not making any assumptions. I know they don't have permission based on what the copyright owner has stated. Where is the assumption there?
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            Eileen

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  • Profile picture of the author OKFarmgirl
    Hmmm...now I'm confused. So if a competitor is using copyrighted material that gives them scads of indexing in Google, while my site is paying for original content, I should just shrug it off and say, "oh well!"? I DO feel terrible about hurting anyone's business, but I also think it's important that their site competes with mine fairly. As a writer, I get pissed beyond belief when someone steals my articles, and I'm active in seeing that they remove my content. If I do end up handing them over (I'm still waiting on my client to see if that's what they want to do), I don't feel bad in the sense that they ARE stealing content, they ARE ranked unfairly and they have an advantage over my client as far as web-presence based on piracy.

    So, good/bad, right/wrong, regardless - would you sit idly by while someone outranked you based on pirated material? What if it was YOUR material? Piracy pisses me off, and while I think this is a kind of sideways way to help my client's site, I think it should be done. Is it my responsibility when it's not my content, I don't know. Maybe not. But I'm not sure that I'm the bad guy here.
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    Eileen

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    • Profile picture of the author GeckoTribe
      Originally Posted by OKFarmgirl View Post

      I DO feel terrible about hurting anyone's business, but I also think it's important that their site competes with mine fairly.
      The way I see it, it's like a kid who's been stealing lunch money from the other kids all year. Should you feel bad about telling the principal, since his revenue stream is going to dry up when he gets busted? No.

      If there's a way to get all the pirated content removed from the other site without having action taken against them, you could aim for that if you're more comfortable that way. And in fact, if you notify the publishers they've been ripping off, that's probably what will happen. Litigation is expensive, so nobody's likely to sue them if they respond to demands to remove the infringing content.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        It's not about being comfortable or only about fairness. And bringing up "your copy" has nothing to do with it either. This isn't your copy that is plagiarized.

        An anonymous report giving the url of the competing site to the newspaper you say was violated would have been the logical way to go.

        You didn't do that - you lied to the paper to explain your interest. Why? Because you want to be involved to make sure the results are what you want. It's not fairness you want - it's maximum damage to competing sites. The OP was about one competitor - now it's about other competing sites as well.

        Newspapers have an in house attorney or one on retainer - they know how to proceed.

        If this site does involve a client make sure the client is on board with this. If you become over involved it's his site/rep that will take a hit if it doesn't work as you plan.

        kay

        Edit: I'm not dissing you for doing this - I know site owners use this method when they find competition is using unfair tactics. I see a disconnect between the 'I hate to do this' and the other comments that indicate you want to make sure the outcome hurts the competitors to the max.

        If you want to report these sites - report them. But don't try to be involved beyond that as there can be a backlash from competitors.
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    • Profile picture of the author richinca
      This topic makes my skin crawl as well, but here's my take on your situation.

      1. You're in business working with a client. You're in business to make money, correct? Don't lose focus on this.

      2. Your client's competitor is breaking the law, not some "Google law", but the real copyright law.

      3. Somehow it seems you're confusing "feeling badly" about telling the newspaper with some type of ethics violation on your part. The person with the ethics violation is the company that is STEALING content and using it, not you. They are not only unethical, they are breaking the law.

      4. Your client is paying you for content, but really it's all about ranking and their business success. If your content doesn't generate the results they want (money), you won't have a client for long. Their success is your success, for this assignment, the next assignment, and using them for referrals.

      5. Business is tough and its global. I once sat through a meeting in Asia for a multi-billion dollar company where they were deciding whether to license some code that probably was pirated/copied or license the original code from the creator. I was amazed that there was zero discussion of ethics, they just discussed the cost of licensing the original code versus the cost of licensing the suspicious code times the probability of getting sued times the expected legal/settlement costs.

      The resulting costs: $10M for the original code versus $3M-$4M potential cost if they get sued. They decided to license the suspicious code (note - they eventually did get sued and ultimately settled for about $2.7M).

      The morale of that story is in business you're probably not be competing with individuals who share your sense of value, so if what you need to do to compete successfully is legal(and truthful) - DO IT (or if it really bothers you for some reason, find another line of work).

      In terms of your present situation, I would try this -
      - Charge your client extra for doing this non-writing SEO related work on their behalf, after all, you're in business to make money right?
      - Give all the information (site names, Google info, how to do a DMCA, etc) to the newspaper and let them and their attorneys do the dirty work, after all, its their site.
      - Use this opportunity to build a relationship with people at the newspaper and try to get work from them (writing or SEO type of work), after all, you're in business to make money right?
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  • Profile picture of the author HaydenR
    Lol.. If I were you I'd definitely turn them in.. as you said.. its not just unfair to you.. its unfair to the whole industry..
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  • Profile picture of the author SEOSrilanka
    Ill be watching over this thread. Even if you are to complain, do you think even if Google deindexes those pages that has copyright infringement will have a effect on his/her ranking? I do not think so and also i dont think Google will ban their site just like that. Probably it is better you focus your work on SEO rather than wasting your time just for nothing. Just my 2 cents.
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  • Profile picture of the author gearmonkey
    If the newspaper cared about it, they'd already have found it and sent a cease and desist letter months/years ago.

    If you want to tell on them, tell on them. But I wouldn't take it to Google. Let the newspaper handle it.

    I've downloaded music and watched movies on YouTube before the movie was ceased. I'm not one to be on any moral high-ground. If you've done anything online, like download a song or watch a movie on YT, too, then I say let it go. Because you are no better than the website using this content. I know I'm not.
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    • Profile picture of the author OKFarmgirl
      Whew - lots of feedback - thank you! I think I've not been super clear about the progression of this situation.

      My client noticed his competitor doing this reposting and since we've been trying desperately to get relevant content on the site, he wondered if we could do the same. I explained that I thought it would violate copyright and then wrote to the publisher. Granted, I played stupid, but my hope was that perhaps it was possible to gain licensing permission for a fee or something. I didn't give the company or even the business type of my client or their site.

      Now that the publisher has told me it is not possible to reprint under any circumstances, he has asked me for the site's name. I have not responded and will not until my client makes a decision about how to proceed. In no way is my client mixed into this as far as all contact has been made through my personal gmail account.

      I think you are right that I should just give the sites that are violating copyright to the two newspapers affected. I think less people understand how to find their material elsewhere online than you'd think. I know that I didn't know how, and this is a small publication in a small community. I think perhaps I shouldn't include any info about the DCMA and let them handle it on their own.

      The only reason it makes me feel icky is that I don't like the concept of hurting anyone or their business. But as others have said, I'M not hurting them, their actions are. Will it kill their ranking, probably not. But it will eliminate an unfair advantage they have over my client.

      Regarding me getting paid, I get paid the same whether I'm writing an article or doing SEO research and implementation. My client is pleased with the results we have seen so far, and I anticipate my continued efforts will bring further progress.

      So, long story short, I didn't set out to wreck anyone's day, but I do think fair is fair and as a writer, I get irked when anyone's material is stolen.

      And no, I don't use or condone the use of pirated material. I watch my vids on Hulu or Netflix and I buy my software (or use open source apps). Not making judgements, just making sure you don't make one about me.
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      Eileen

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  • Profile picture of the author jonnyhardbaked
    It is strongly suggested that you should hand it over to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author dezchamps
    I think you pretty much had your mind made up, and just wanted some backup from the people here at WF. There will be no bad karma for busting someone for doing something wrong, else all the cops would roast eternally. It actualy should build up your sense of right and fair and justice within yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    If it's not your content don't worry about it, it's not your business & has nothing to do with you.

    Like gearmonkey said, If they really cared about their content they would have already dealt with it, especially If the scraped articles are ranking good in the SERPs.

    It's not complicated to find scraped content with a simple Google search of a sentence from the article in qoutes.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mo Annuar
      I would suggest you to hand it over to the newspaper publisher. Your intention isn't to knock down your competitor, but to save the whole industry especially in preventing copywrite infringement. It might be abit bitter...
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  • Profile picture of the author OKFarmgirl
    I appreciate all the feedback, divided though it may be. Still haven't heard back from my client, but if and when anything happens, I'll keep you posted. Thanks!

    P.S. "I think you pretty much had your mind made up, and just wanted some backup from the people here at WF. " - perhaps you're right.
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    Eileen

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