Protect Your Most Valuable Blog Resource, Stop Content Scraping and Plagiarism

September 17, 2010 | 8 Comments

There’s a very popular saying amongst bloggers, and it goes: content is king. As a blogger, your content is your most precious resource. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to let sploggers and feed scrapers take that away from me. Not if I can help it. Not if you can help it. How?

Label your feeds with copyright notices.

Add your name, website, and URL (site URL or post URL) to your feed so that when it is read elsewhere, others will know where it really came from.

Recommendation: FeedEntryHeader Plugin. Many feed customization plugins exist, but I like this particular plugin because it affixes the necessary information before the content of the post rather than after, as feed scrapers usually truncate the content. And if you can help it, spell out the URL in plain text to your website or blog post rather than link to it using HTML. Scrapers will definitely want visitors to think they didn’t steal someone else’s content.

Feedback: Do you use summaries instead of full feeds because you don’t want scrapers to access them? Or do you provide both?

Block questionable visitors.

If they can’t find your blog, they won’t be able to take advantage of it.

Recommendation: AntiLeech Plugin. This plugin ideally stops potential scrapers from accessing your website content and instead feeds them fake content. You can enter either IP addresses or User Agent strings that identify the scrapers. Read more about AntiLeech here.

The tricky part is figuring out who your enemy is. They will have to scrape your feed first for you to know about it, right? You can use ©Feed to figure out who is reading your feeds, but more often than not they actually send trackbacks to your post once they’ve scraped it, so you can get their IP address from that as well.

Feedback: Where do you find your IP address blacklists?

Disable hotlinking.

Hotlinking is a term that describes how other people use your content with your own server bandwidth, which is how much data your server transfers over a period of time. Every time someone loads your website, all those files that get loaded is equal to a certain bandwidth. So if people keep hotlinking your photos, music, or videos, your bandwidth quota for the month (or quarter or year) gets used up. Now hotlinking may not be an issue for you—if you have lots of bandwidth, and don’t care about attribution or who uses your content. Normally it is; it’s bad netiquette. If you do care, you need to stop people from hotlinking.

Recommendation: Hotlink Protection Plugin. Enter the file location which you want to protect, and if an external website loads any image from it, a different image will be displayed (which is customizable). Since images are the most common target anyway, this plugin will suffice.

Feedback: Do you host your own images or do you hotlink them from sites like PhotoBucket?

*Note: What the plugins can accomplish can also be done in less straightforward but more flexible methods like PHP programming, .htaccess editing, cPanel configuration, web applications.

Take action.

Protecting your content isn’t just about setting up defense mechanisms. You should be vigilant enough to find out if you’ve been scraped or plagiarized and then do something about it.

Recommendation: 6 Steps to Stop Content Theft. These are six long and tough steps, but if you value your work, you will be thankful when it gets you through:

  1. Detection
  2. Preserving the Evidence
  3. Contact the Plagiarist (if Practical)
  4. Contacting the Advertisers (optional)
  5. Contacting the Host
  6. Contacting the Search Engines

Feedback: Do you think Filipino bloggers stand a chance in a battle against plagiarism, with all these (US-biased) steps that need to be accomplished?

Feedback: Do you know that Creative Commons Licenses like the CC Attribution 3.0 License have been ported to play nicely with Philippine copyright laws?

Sugod mga kapatid!

Right now, fighting plagiarism especially in the form of sploggers and scrapers is very tedious. Hopefully things get easier in the future, but for now, at least we stand a very good chance against it.

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Blog Action Day on Feb. 25: The Real Heroes of EDSA

February 24, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Blog Action Day: The Real Heroes of EDSA

The Kabataan Partylist is inviting everyone to participate in the Blog Action Day this February 25, in commemoration of the EDSA Revolution that took place 24 years ago. More specifically, it celebrates the people who participated and made it happen, hence the title “The Real Heroes of EDSA”.

We may have been too young then or were not even born yet, but we can ask them to recount their tales of real-life heroism to us. What prompted them to join the uprising? What were their thoughts and feelings? What did they wear, eat, chant? How did it feel to be able to be surrounded by overwhelming unity and patriotism among millions of other heroes marching in the streets on those three historic days.

Blog Action Day posts linking to the announcement will be posted as early as 12 noon on Thursday. It’s interesting to see a partylist spearheading an online mass action this time.

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Vote and score tickets to the Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards

September 23, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards

Nuffnang has launched the first regional blog awards in the Asia-Pacific. It’s going to be a glitzy whole-day affair in Singapore on October 23, where over 400 bloggers will walk down the red carpet, eat sumptuous dishes, and enjoy famous acts from the region.

Vote for your favorite blogs here: there are 60 finalists under 12 blogging categories, including the Philippine blogs of Jim Paredes, Luc Melgar, Bryan Boy, and more.

You can also score tickets to the awarding ceremony by writing two blog posts, the mechanics of which are detailed here. Over SGD$5000 worth of prizes are to be given out.

Don’t forget to follow them on Twitter for instant updates.

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WordCamp Philippines theme and plugin developer profiles

June 19, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Calling all Filipino WordPress theme and plugin developers! WordCamp Philippines is compiling a list of developer profiles and plans to feature them on a special section on their website.

As part of our activities running up to WordCamp Philippines 2009, we’d like to feature you right here. Wouldn’t it be great to have a section on this site containing all Filipino contributors to the further development of WordPress? Once we have enough of you guys in the database, we’ll publish a Philippine WordPress Developers section on WordCamp.ph.

Tangkilikin ang gawang Pinoy! This is a great next step in strengthening the local WordPress community. Sign up here.

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Matt Mullenweg’s “the way I work” Interview: Filipinos treated him like a rock star

June 15, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Check out this interview by Inc. Magazine with Automattic chief Matt Mullenweg on how he spends his day working on WordPress. That includes working from home (they’re a virtual company but have an office in San Francisco), tuning out all distractions through music, and traveling around the world—mostly to attend WordCamps.

He then shares a neat little anecdote about his trip to the Philippines last year (check it out on page 2):

In the Philippines, people treated me like I was a rock star. After the camp was over, I spent two hours taking pictures and signing autographs. People were like, “Will you sign my laptop?” “Will you sign my badge?” “Will you sign my body part?”

(Yes, we love you that much, Matt!) It’s nice to know us Filipinos have made that much of an impression on him. But really, it’s also about how far WordPress has come—now on its 6th anniversary, this publishing platform is absolutely huge and adored by everyone.

For WordPress, we’re trying to set up a community that will be around 10 to 30 years from now, that’s independent from the whims of the market. I feel like the nonelected benevolent dictator: It’s my responsibility to meet as many users as possible and direct the software project in a way that reflects their interests. Last year, I probably met 2,000 or 3,000 people who make their living from WordPress. We want to be like Google, eBay, Amazon — they all enable other people to make far more money than they capture. And that’s ultimately what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to create a movement.

My mom started a blog a couple of weeks ago. Six years into this, and we finally made it easy enough for my mom to use.

Here’s to 6 years more!

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PinoyCentric

February 6, 2009 | No Comments Yet

PinoyCentric

PinoyCentric is an online magazine that celebrates Filipinos and their achievements throughout every corner of the world. From the stylized Sampaguitang kampupot logo to the Yakan digital weaving background, this Chicago-based publication is out to shine the light on “all things brown and beautiful”.

Search the Terra diaspora map, visit the gallery, join their comics caption contests, and contribute essays and literary pieces. There’s a wealth of information in here, and surely this is just the tip of the iceberg as to how much Pinoys have accomplished day to day.

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Matt Muellenweg’s favorite WordCamp was in the Philippines

November 11, 2008 | 2 Comments

A WordCamp Buenos Aires particpant writes:

There was a pool between the stage and the public, bats flew all the place, the Mic was a Karaoke machine.

It looks like Matt was referring to the event that took place in Davao, not the big one in Manila. Still, I’m glad Filipinos have made such a great impression on him. First it was the WordCamp Philippines t-shirt design, and now this.

(Via Winston Almendras)

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