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Content reproduction proliferates

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday April 8, 2008 )

Do you write original content for your site such as useful articles and tutorials? Chances are your content is earning money for others – without your knowledge and permission.

Attributor, a content monitoring and analysis service, recently published a report on ad serving technologies and as part of their survey involving millions of domains found an average of 20 different copies for each article they track.

A disturbing result was 57% of the copies they found do not link back to the original sites, yet 64% of the copies have are accompanied by ads. Attributor states that most republishing is on sites with over 1 million monthly unique users.

While some of those non-linked reproductions are likely legitimate, many likely wouldn’t be, depriving the original author a) ad revenue and b) link love – an important factor in search engine rankings.

Unattributed articles and articles without a link back to my sites has been a thorn in my side for years – I very nearly went nuts trying to keep on top of it. I really think it’s not too much to ask for a link in return for something that’s going to make the site reproducing it cash or valuable content for their readers.

At times, the unauthorized reproduction may not be the site owner’s fault; particularly if it’s site that accepts user generated content – blogs, forums etc; but regardless, they and/or the user responsible for publishing it have a legal responsibility to either a) comply with reproduction guidelines or b) pull the content. It’s a copyright/plagiarism issue.

An easy way to find content of yours that may be out there without your permission is to run a query on each of the major search engines for an uncommon phrase within an article you’ve published. It’s important to run the same searches on Google, MSN and Yahoo as all engines have differing abilities and timeframes for how they deal with duplicate content. In most cases, an engine *should* push the copy of your article down in the results or drop it altogether; but that isn’t always the case – it depends on a variety of factors.

Suggestions for action to take after finding unauthorized reproductions I provide in my article on 302 Pagejacking – Pagejacking is a different issue, not all that common these days, but it’s just another form of copyright infringement, so the follow up actions are pretty much the same.

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