Sorry this site requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser. See the following guide on How to enable JavaScript in Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox and Safari. Alternatively you may be blocking JavaScript with an advert-related or developer plugin. Please check your browser plugins.

The Michigan SEO company admitted to stealing content. Maybe it’s emotions...but it feels like the WORST violation to see my content ripped off, from a blog post we poured ourselves into. Making things worse, the human modification tactic is enough to fool Google into ranking the post. Barf, Ick, Yuck...

Judge for yourself and, if you believe this sort of behavior is a violation of our social media heart, let’s let Trademark Productions know it’s NOT OK to scrape content, change a few words and add a paragraph or 3. (They’ll be getting the C&D letter on Monday)

Original aimClear Blog Post:
http://www.aimclearblog.com/2008/09/18/think-seo-before-you-name-your-new-company/

Trademark Productions Blog Post
http://www.tmprod.com/blog/2008/think-seo-before-naming-your-company/

indexes for search for "SEO and Naming Your Company" above the original post. Ick, barf, yuck...
Comments34 Comments  

Comments

Avatar
from bwelford 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 3

That is so flagrant.  They even have probably a self-created comment suggesting that it’s good to use Trademark if you’re starting up a new company.  What they really should do is issue a public apology with a link to the real goods.  Thankfully for many variants of the search phrase your original article comes up above them, Marty.  However that’s small comfort.

Avatar
from jimhedger 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 2

It is NOT legal Marty but what are we to do about the problem. Splogging IS copyright infringement but it happens so often you can drive yourself crazy and spend hours each day trying to chase after the bastards. I think a group of smart kids like us should be able to figure out how to fight them without the endless searches, and reporting we have to do now. I know we have allies at the engines who want to help but they appear to have no idea exactly how to deal with the problem either. As I said, we’re a group of pretty smart kids so...Hope to see you in Vegas. I’d love to talk about this together and rant about it publically.bestjim

Avatar
from aimClear 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@Barry: I appreciate your perspective and support. This Trademark Productions certainly has an interesting little publication going, with all 8 subscribers.@Jim: Yup, well said friend. I see splogging every day and it never bothers me. Google seems to know the original source and it seems rare to see a splog post rank above the original. However in this case, they took pains to make it JUST unique enough to fool Google. That’s insideous as hell.I’ll take you up on the PubCon Rant, and it’s good to see you in this thread.

Avatar
from deanTM 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 0

<font face="Arial" size="2">Marty, I sent you the email below but wanted to apologize/explain publicly as well for this unfortunate incident.  I have pasted the content of my email to you below for your readers.</font>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<font face="Arial" size="2"></font><font face="Arial" size="2">Marty,</font> <font face="Arial" size="2">Thank you for bringing this duplicate post to our attention. I assure you that it wasn’t intentional and has been removed from our blog.  We outsourced some of our content writing during our busy season and the individual who wrote this post apparently copied your article to make a quick buck and I will deal with it personally on Monday.  We will also analyze the couple of other posts that we’ve had written for us by others to make sure this is a sole occurrence. </font> <font face="Arial" size="2">Thanks again for bringing this to my attention and all apologizes for this unfortunate incident.</font> <font face="Arial" size="2">Kindest Regards,</font> <font face="Arial" size="2">Dean</font><font face="Arial" size="2">Project Manager, Trademark Productions</font>

Avatar Moderator
from toddmintz 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I think Ian Lurie’s solution to this problem would be quite effective:  http://www.conversationmarketing.com/2008/10/stop-plagiarism-in-3-easy-steps.htmI don’t like this sort of thing but I view this type of plagarism like flies at a picnic...there ain’t much that really can be done about it.

Avatar Moderator
from Jill 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 3

The ole "we outsourced it" excuse...seen it a million times.  BS.

Avatar
from ChironEleven 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 3

if ultra-cheap, overseas outsourcing for stuff like this didn’t exist, it wouldn’t be a decent excuse. 

Avatar
from aimClear 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@deanTM: Step 2: Now go to Google/Webmasters, veriify your privatly registered (yup, a blind) domain and request that Google remove the former URL from the index. Dude, in this business there’s very little room for such poor managment..or the type of company you keep. That would SURE make me comfortable if I were a Trademark Productions Michigen SEO client...

Avatar
from aimClear 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@ toddmintz: Actually in this case, the flies were chased away...the sh*t still stinks though. Wait...it was a picnic analogy, sorry :)

Avatar
from aimClear 2087 Days ago #
Votes: -1

For those interested in this particularly offensive human-modified splog crap:Heres theremoved URL scrape and bake from Google’s Cache’  http://www.aimclear.com/scraped-post.txtLink to original post above.  While we’re talking, who the hell is SEARCHMARKETINGVOX, biggest SearchEngineLand thief on earth ???

Avatar
from TMPROD 2087 Days ago #
Votes: -1

@aimClear Yes, I am embaressed. Yes, I am sorry. The post has been requested to be removed as you asked and I also put up a comment on the post that redirects people over to your site- where the origional content is posted. You are correct in your comment that this practicve is very unprofessional and the management of what was being published was poor. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Avatar
from JohnHGohde 2087 Days ago #
Votes: -9

I do NOT need any more drama in my life.

Avatar
from aimClear 2087 Days ago #
Votes: -1

@JohnHGohde, well thanks for sharing that with the group :).

Avatar
from ChrisCree 2087 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Pretty lame "explanation". The professional thing to do would be for them to simply take the post down. The "I paid someone for it (so I’m leaving it up)" thinking doesn’t fly. I know I sure wouldn’t hire an ad agency that sells plagarized copy.

Avatar
from Rhea 2086 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Gotta agree with Jim on this one. It’s annoying, but is difficult to manage after a certain amount of traffic. Rather than fighting one post at a time you have to conquer from the top down. If you haven’t already, make the bastards work for you by adding copyright info to your RSS feed along with a link back to the original article, your bio and your homepage with optimized anchor text (source: Michael Gray).As far as smart kids putting their heads together... Google can haz feedz and vericationz. While they sort through all that nerdy math stuff I’m going to be a smart marketer and realize that my scraper friend probably isn’t getting as many backlinks as my authority post. If I’m not getting any backlinks then there’s a bigger problem than scrapers...

Avatar
from streko 2086 Days ago #
Votes: 3

@JohnHGohde shut up sucker of the lame sauce.in my opinion - yes this shit sucks, just luckly it was some one who is responding to you and from the states. If I had a nickle for each page of content that had been scraped from one of my sites - i would not be here telling john to suck lamesauce on a sunday night. Best advice i can give, use the plugins for wordpress that add different links in your feeds & rotate them monthly (hat tip to Graywolf). Besides that just make sure you link as much as possible in the article so if its a bot scrapping atleast you get link love.

Avatar
from aimClear 2086 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Rhea: "If I’m not getting any backlinks then there’s a bigger problem than scrapers..." That’s exactly right, and perhaps the most important point made here. I was bothered, in this case, because even though our post had some cool links and the scraper did not, Google saw the scrape as as unique.@streko: Right, We’ve been making sure that scrapers pass link love in all their scrape-ness (hat tip to graywolf as well) What annoyed me most about his instance was the combination of human edited scraping. Thanks you guyz...see ya’ in Vegas...

Avatar
from Rhea 2086 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Marty - my comments were pretty generic for "most guys" situations, but yours was certainly unique. With so many quality and presumably natural backlinks as compared to their one Sphere link there shouldn’t have been an issue. I really want to dive deeper, but desparately need to finish some work. Let’s discuss at Vegas.Side humor - gotta love the comment from "Craig" on their dupe post. It’s one thing to steal content and something else when you have to comment on your own blog and pimp your services.EVEN BETTER!!:http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3631586vshttp://www.tmprod.com/blog/2008/what-obama-really-spent-online/or...http://www.tmprod.com/blog/2008/google-yahoo-scrap-proposed-search-deal/vshttp://www.mediapost.com/publications/index.cfm?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=94011&art_type=13(gotta log in, so for everyone’s benefit, it’s a dupe)Short and sweet - outsourced my ass.

Avatar
from DarkMatter 2086 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I checked a few random articles and those aren’t the only scraped posts.

Avatar
from iBrian 2086 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Someone may need reputation management here. ;)

Avatar
from aimClear 2086 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@Rhea: I agree. I try not to spend time on stuff like the but for some reason, this bugged me worse than usual. See ya’ in Vegas. :). @iBrian: Looks like Trademark Productions SEO Michicigan might have a bit of a problem...you’re right, this is not he kind of attention a blog would want.

Avatar
from ChristinaGleason 2086 Days ago #
Votes: 1

As the person who directly oversees content creation for We Build Pages, I know that plagiarism is something we have to be vigilant about.  That’s what Copyscape is for; responsible companies will run EVERYTHING through Copyscape to make sure even "outsourced" writers aren’t infringing on other people’s intellectual property rights.

Avatar
from dsemmler 2086 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Marty, I can see how it would bug you a little more than usual - as the act of scraping the content and then adding just enough additional content to pass under the radar is nasty.  While it would seem that they were being stand-up people to come here and remove the link, apparently they have "outsourced" more than just a few articles based on some of the other links.

Avatar
from StephenCronin 2085 Days ago #
Votes: 0

At the risk of spamming you all and related to the issue of scrapers in general rather than this specific case, if you’re running WordPress, you might like to check out my Feed Entry Header plugin. There are other plugins which do something similar as well. Using one of these will hopefully a) get a link back to your original article and b) let people know they aren’t reading the original (which is why I put the message at the top - people won’t bother switching to the original site when they’ve finished reading and see a message at the bottom).

Avatar
from aimClear 2085 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Here’s a little ditty to add the the fracus: Splogs, Copyright Infringement, Sphinn Power and the Trademark Productions Smackdown

Avatar
from sockmoney 2085 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I battled a site last year that had copied over 10,000 pages of content from my site.  It was brought to my attention by a competitor who was also being scraped.I wrote a program that would crawl their site, pull the dup URL, and report on it against the matching page on my site.Now keep in mind, my site is 10 years old, the scraper site was less than one year old.I filed my report as a DMCA violation with Google (my crawler was only able to match 6,000+ pages copied, so that is what I sent to Google in the format they required).Google contacted the site owners, they countered and said they have broken no copyright laws.  Google said we cannot do anything else, sorry.  In my mind, Google should be able to see my content was there first, and they do in most cases, so why can’t they assign a scraper penalty to the site(s)?  Instead, they choose in this case to let their site continue to grow "acting" like a legit site with legit content, but all along they were simply existing off our content.My only option was to hire an attorney.  I was advised that copyright law is a Federal law, and that it would require going to Federal court, which would cost me a minimum of 30-50k in legal fees.Needless to say I had no leg to stand on anymore.The system is clearly broken when scraper sites can get away with theft and no one can afford to do anything about it.Granted these guys were eventually busted by Google for black hat seo link farm spamming, and booted from SERPs ... So justice was served... but who’s to stop the next scrapers from doing the same thing?

Avatar
from marketposition 2085 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Hey Aimclear,I’m glad that you were able to get some resolution to this. Site scraper/reposters are annoying...I remember that I sent something similar to you earlier this year, remember this?:http://www.ask-kalena.com/category/dumbasses/

Avatar
from monitis 2084 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I don’t see how to stop this.  I was using some plagiarism checkers to find if our websites’ content is being duplicated. <cite>www.plagiarism-detector.com</cite> and <cite>www.plagiarismdetect.com/. </cite>We didn’t see much of it happening with our site, but once one of my collegue complained that her profile is copied by someone. 

Avatar
from aimClear 2084 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@marketposition: Yup, I remember, that’s why I thought of Sphinn.

Avatar Moderator
from incrediblehelp 2084 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I have been scrapped many times and also hate it.  I do know the guys at TM (Dean/Dwight) and both are good guys.  I have worked with them in the past on a few small SEO projects.  I was surprised to see this happen however.

Avatar
from seobro 2083 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I went to plagiarismdetect.com - it is free and it finds many instances of copy/paste. These boys and girls are experts at control - C.

Avatar
from Kalena 2082 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This is very similar to the Web Propeller incident: http://sphinn.com/story/35217. It’s really difficult to believe the "it was an accident" excuse. My ’site scraping bastards’ Googlebomb worked a treat in that instance Marty: http://www.google.com/search?q=site+scraping+bastards&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGGL,GGGL:2006-34,GGGL:en  perhaps you can give it a whirl?

Avatar
from aimClear 2081 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Kalena, yes, I remembered the incident and was my inspiration to bring it to SPhinn :).

Avatar
from copywriterplus 2013 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The president of TM Prod has been at this for some time now. This is not the first time he has been sighted for misrepresentation... and I’m sure it will not be his last.Originals:http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-177418249.htmlhttp://www.crainsdetroit.com/section/twentiesCorrection:http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcs.dll/dcce?Site=CD&Date=20080331&Module=10&Kategori=twenties&Class=101&Type=2008Winners&ID=1031686&Selected=1&nomdcache=1Enough said...

Upcoming Conferences

Search Marketing ExpoSearch Engine Land produces SMX, the Search Marketing Expo conference series. SMX events deliver the most comprehensive educational and networking experiences - whether you're just starting in search marketing or you're a seasoned expert.



Join us at an upcoming SMX event: