Category: Blogging

What to Do When Someone Steals Your Online Content: Dealing with Copyright Infringement

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If you write online content, someone is going to steal it sooner or later…

There are a lot of dishonest people on the Internet who want to make money from a website without putting in the work to create original articles themselves — they are called, “content scrapers.” Someone might reproduce a few of your paragraphs without citation or even scrape one of your articles in its entirety without your permission. This has happened to me more times than I can count. It’s a real problem in the freelance and blogging world.

I hate when my content gets stolen, especially when parts are reworded poorly and my name is left as the author. When your content gets scraped, it can be damaging to your online reputation. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to try and get the offending articles taken down.

1. Write an Email to the Website Owner Explaining the Situation

The first thing you should try is to politely ask the website owner to remove your scraped content. Simply explain that it is against the law and you don’t want either of you to suffer the consequences. Be careful not to be rude in your email because that’s a quick way to get ignored. Some people truly do not understand copyright law and they will remove your content if you ask nicely.

Carol Tice has a nice copyright infringement email template I like.

2. Send a Second Email to the Website Owner Threatening Legal Action

After you’ve sent the first email, wait a few days for a response. If the website owner is willing to take down your scraped content, great! If you get no response, you can try sending a second email that is a little more strongly worded than the first. Make sure you point out the specifics of copyright law for online content and threaten to take legal action against the website. Sometimes the threat is enough to scare the website owner into complying with your wishes. I also find it helpful to leave a comment on the scraped article requesting it be removed.

3. Report the Copyright Infringement to the Website’s Host

If you can’t find an email or contact information anywhere on the website, your next step is to contact the website’s host. You can (hopefully) find this by doing a WhoIs Lookup. Most hosting companies have policies against plagiarism and copyright infringement and can get the offending website taken down. They may even have an easy DMCA form you can fill out. Of course, the website you report typically has to get several reports before any action is taken.

4. Just Forget About It

If you’ve completed steps 1-3 without success, you should just forget about it. I hate telling people to give up, but sometimes it is the only way to save your sanity. It isn’t truly worth your time or money to hire a copyright lawyer over one article because you won’t recoup your costs.

Keep in mind that most websites that scrape content don’t get very much traffic and many go out of business quickly. This is because search engines are now smart enough to recognize these websites (duplicate content penalty) and take them out of the search results. So, the problem might solve itself if you wait it out.

Has your content ever been stolen? What did you do? Leave a comment below.

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3 Reasons Why You Need a Blog Posting Schedule

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All major bloggers have some sort of posting schedule. However, it varies from once a week to more than twice a day. If you want to be a successful blogger, you need a posting schedule, and here are three reasons why.

1. It Keeps You Motivated to Create New Content

Content is still the most important part of a blog. Without it, readers have no reason to visit. That’s why you should be creating new content all the time. Having a blog schedule will help you do this because it makes you accountable and helps you stay motivated.

Of course, when it actually comes down to creating a blog schedule, there is a lot of debate about the best time to post and how frequently. For instance, according to Kissmetrics, blogs get the most traffic on Mondays, but the most comments on Saturdays. This might affect when you make your posts go live. Ultimately, your blog posting schedule should be based on what works best for you. Aim high and then adjust your expectations after you know what you can produce. In general, the more you’re able to post, the better.

Having a blogging schedule will help you stay on task, but it shouldn’t interfere with the quality of your posts. That’s why James Chartland of Men with Pens says to ditch your blogging schedule. I don’t think you should kick yourself too much if you miss a day or too, but a schedule does help you create new content on a consistent basis. If you’re having difficulty sticking to a blogging schedule, a better solution is to reduce the amount of articles you want to produce in a week or month.

2. It Helps You Stay Focused on a Specific Theme

Another advantage to having a blog posting schedule is you can create weekly themes. For instance, if you have a food blog, you can write about breakfast on Monday, lunch on Wednesday, and dinner on Friday. Just choose a theme or keyword and then schedule to write about it on a certain day of the week. This makes it easier to come up with blog post ideas, too. That’s what Kelly Kautz of One Woman Marketing tries to do on her blog.

3. It Tells Readers When to Check Back for New Posts

Creating a strong readership is important because it helps spread the word about your blog. One way to help you establish a good following on your blog is to post articles frequently and on a schedule. This tells your readers when to check back for more. Of course, you want to be careful not to overload your readers’ email boxes with updates because this can cause them to unsubscribe. Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion says he doesn’t want to slam too much information down his readers’ throats, which is why he only aims to post two times per week.

The important thing to remember when creating a blog posting schedule is to keep your readers engaged. If the quality of your content is suffering because you’re pushing yourself to create too much, your readers will be able to tell and this will damage your reputation.

What is your blog posting schedule and how did you come up with it? Leave a comment below.

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