Globalization of Content Theft - A Personal Story - Part II

A few hours ago, before I went to bed, I blogged about someone who stole my SEW column content for their own online marketing blog within hours of its publication. I also commented on their blog and asked them to remove the offending content.

This morning, things look different:

  • The offending entry has been removed and is now a permanent server-side redirect back to my column
  • An apology of sorts was posted on the blog (see below)


The reply starts with an excuse: "my blog has very little content as I am only testing it at the moment" - as if the perpetrator's low readership makes their actions justifiable.

It goes on to say that the blogger "didn't mean to leave your part copied article on the site". That's what a small child might be expected to say if caught doing something wrong.

It further states "I was surprised to see that Google had indexed it". Isn't that why we blog in the first place? If the content was good enough to post on a public website to promote their business, there should not be any great surprise when Google picks it up.

I find all of this in keeping with the original theft of my content and do not view it to be a satisfying explanation.

However, by the end of the response the person had apologized, removed the stolen content, and promised not to do it again.

Here is what I have done for my part to edit my original post:

  • Removed the URL to the offending website
  • Removed the URL of the stolen blog post content
  • Anonymized the screen shot
  • Edited out their name and city from the public disclosure at the end of the post
  • Cross linked to this follow-up blog post

So what are my takeaways from all this?

  • The Internet is a very responsive medium
  • Public exposure of wrongdoing can be effective at rectifying some situations
  • We have to be okay with everything we do on the public Internet because it is completely transparent
  • Some things can't be undone - there may be electronic echoes of this incident for a long time
  • This type of situation will probably happen again and must (unfortunately) be monitored for continuously

About the author

Tim Ash is CEO of SiteTuners.com, a landing page optimization firm that offers conversion consulting, full-service guaranteed-improvement tests, and software tools to improve conversion rates. SiteTuners' AttentionWizard.com visual attention prediction tool can be used on a landing page screenshot or mock-up to quickly identify major conversion issues. He has worked with Google, Facebook, American Express, CBS, Sony Music, Universal Studios, Verizon Wireless, Texas Instruments, and Coach.

Tim is a highly-regarded presenter at Search Engine Strategies, eMetrics, PPC Summit, Affiliate Summit, PubCon, Affiliate Conference, and LeadsCon. He is the chairperson of ConversionConference.com, the first conference focused on improving online conversions. A columnist for several publications including ClickZ, he's host of the weekly Landing Page Optimization show and podcast on WebmasterRadio.fm. His columns can be found in the Search Engine Watch archive.

He received his B.S. and M.S. during his Ph.D. studies at UC San Diego. Tim is the author of the bestselling book, "Landing Page Optimization."

Read more of Tim Ash's columns at ClickZ.