A few days ago, I discovered my blog on the internet.
Except it wasn’t my blog. Just my blog posts. Every single one of them, all the recent ones anyway. All copied word-for-word on some other site. Scary.
What happened was, I was checking through the stats to see what interesting searches had brought visitors to the blog. And I saw an unusual one so I clicked on it to see which blog post it had brought them to. But I clicked the wrong search by mistake, I clicked the one above the one I wanted to check. The one I clicked was something like “devil girl on Fremont Street.” I didn’t need to check that one, I knew that that would bring them to my post here.
But that turned out to be a fortuitous mistake. It took me to a Google image search and to one of the pics in that post. But I could tell it wasn’t linking that pic to my blog. It was linking it to another site. Ok, no biggie, if some other blog had borrowed my pic, I don’t mind. I’ve been known to “borrow” pics from other sites myself, ahem. And this was one of the few pics on the blog that I’ve actually taken myself, and didn’t borrow.
But the site it took me to was not just borrowing that pic. It had the entire blog post I linked to above reprinted, word-for-effing-word. With both pictures I used. The title was the same too.
I went to the first page of this rip-off blog and saw my current post right there, again, word-for-word the same as on my blog. It even had all the hyper links I had put in. At least those links—on this rip-off blog—linked back to the links on my blog, not on that one. So if someone came upon that “blog” and clicked the link, they’d find me.
Unlike my blog, it was using the Wordpress platform (I use Blogger, of course). And there was no name associated with the blog or as “author.” All the posts were signed, “admin.” The name of the blog? It was simply “Twit Holes.” And the URL was “twit.hol.es.” There was little “about” information, other than that this was a Wordpress blog.
Oddly, I noticed that all of my posts they had on it were printed twice, one right after the other. And when I went to the oldest pages, I saw some other material that wasn’t mine, but after the first page, it was all mine.
Unlike this blog, there was no way to leave a comment for any post. But under the “about” page, there was a place for comments, so I left one, politely asking them to stop stealing my posts. Of course, it didn’t get published.
It sure looked to me like this whole thing was automated. I doubt anyone was really doing any work, other than to set up a bot to go out and reprint my posts as soon as I posted one.
The thing I couldn’t figure out about it was…what was the point of it? There were no ads on the site, none. So I don’t see how they were making any money stealing my work. What was the purpose?
I started researching what to do about it. First thing I needed to do was find out who was hosting this blog. My first attempt didn’t work, the site that was supposed to tell me who was hosting just offered to sell me a domain. Nice.
So I put it on the back burner for a day or two and then, after making another post, I went back to it. And sure enough, my newest post, just hours old, was reprinted word for word on this rip-off blog. Twice.
I thought of doing a post that would say, “Hey, you’re reading this on a rip-off website!” It would explain that the site this was on was ripping off the material of robvegaspoker’s blog. I actually thought this would be kind of funny. Of course, I would have to post it on my own blog and then see if it was copied on to the phony blog, but I assumed it would be, because, as I said, it didn’t look like any actual person was really doing much if anything on this fake site.
But before I did that, I made another attempt to find out the host. This time I found a second website that seemed to give out host identities. This one lead me to hosting24.com or one of its affiliates. There was a link for reporting abuse. I sent them off an email explaining the situation. To their credit, I received a response back in less than ½ hour saying they had removed the offending website! And sure enough, they had. So kudos to hosting24 for their excellent service.
I see that if you do the image search “devil girl on Fremont St.” you still get my pictures with the link to the now defunct fake blog. But if you do a web search, you easily find my blog. I suppose I should try to get Google to fix the image search, but I dunno if it’s worth the effort. Hopefully it will eventually self correct.
I still can’t figure out what the purpose was. I suppose there may be other rip-off blogs out there, stealing my content (or yours…..or yours) and I’ll just have to be on the lookout for that from now on. If anyone has any experience with this, or if you have any theories about what the ultimate goal of these crooks are, please let me know.
Since this is a short post, let me change subjects. I am famous—or infamous—for not liking baseball caps worn backwards. You can read my first rant about it here.
Well, since there is some dispute about the proper way to wear a baseball cap, I found the above picture illustrating exactly how a baseball cap should be warn. Please study this picture and memorize it. You will see that the young lady is wearing the cap 100% perfectly. Really, this should be your guide.
In fact, she is wearing the cap so flawlessly that it took me at least 15 minutes of careful study to even notice how pretty the woman’s face is.