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Proud to Showcase YOUR Work: Sploggers Turn Dopplebloggers

Max Power’s article, “You’ve Heard of Splogs. Meet Dopplebloggers”, is a must read if you give any thought about the “good side” of content theft as well as the bad side.

Recently, it has come to my attention that there is a new type of insipid blogger. Unlike splogs which are created to promote commercial websites and contain mostly garbage text, these new blogs look polished and contain seemingly pertinent content of value.

The problem is, the text within has already been published by someone else. I name these plagiarist’s doppelbloggers.

Max Power goes on to explain that a doppleganger is a “double or lookalike of a living person”. Thus, someone who steals your content creates a lookalike or “double” of your content. Therefore, “a doppelblog is written by a doppelblogger”. I like that term.

So why do they do it? Why do they copy your work and use it as their own, even if they do take time to give you a little link back to your original content, which isn’t normal though many are doing so, justifying that the link means “everyone knows it came from you, so it counts as Fair Use.” NOT!

Max Power explains that the motivation of a doppleblogger might be to use your content to promote themselves or their product, and/or to make money through their website’s advertising or services:

By appearing as an ‘expert’ they hope to gain prestige and build up their reputation as someone ‘in the know’. Doppelblogger’s may also be motivated by money — they gain more traffic as people begin to value their contributions. Again, with more traffic comes revenue via advertising systems such as adsense…

…Doppelbloggers find it easy to get content for their blog. Their exists a superabundance of seemingly faceless websites that provide content to web readers, everything from small websites to super-sites like wikipedia. All a doppelblogger need do to create web content is to search through sites such as wikipedia for relevant content to the web users they are trying to attract. Once found, they simply cut and paste it into their own site.

The article covers a wide range of issues regarding confronting dopplebloggers, including these wise words regarding confronting a doppleblogger using your content as their own, link or no link:

Sometimes, they are careful to observe the appropriate copyright uses and acknowledgements of the original work by placing a small link to the original work or even just naming the source…

…Lets be clear: the right thing to do is confront a doppelblogger. Once confronted, they often plead innocence and ignorance and offer to remove the offending content. I call this the ‘accident-on-purpose’ defense. From the point of view of a doppelblogger, its easy to remove something you haven’t written to appease an angry plagiarism victim as more content is only a few clicks away.

Doppelbloggers can also be very passive aggressive about the way they operate. Remember, plagiarists copy and paste to prop up their own status and gain traffic to their site. A doppelbloggers rep would seriously suffer if it was found out that their content contained mostly plagiarised work. In order to avoid this, they remove or change the offending article such that it is no longer easily recognisable as a plagiarised work. They then respond to allegations of plagiarism with accusatory and legal threats trying to intimidate or scare the original content creator into doing nothing.

The issue of content theft and your well-written and insightful content being used on other sites to help promote their own site is on the rise.

Why?

It’s easy. And you bloggers don’t care. You don’t have time. You don’t know how. You think that there is nothing you can do. You think it’s a compliment to have others think your work is good enough to steal. And they know it, so you make their work so easy to do. There is nothing to stop them because you won’t stop them.

Again, this fabulous Max Power article tackles this very subject beautifully:

I firmly believe that doppelbloggers think all other bloggers must be stupid, after all why write content when you can just take it? What they fail to realise is that most website owners are smart enough to be web savvy even if they don’t have enough time to police the internet looking for infringements of their work.

I hope you all are web savvy enough to make the time to look for infringements. If we all work together on this, we can put an end to our hard work benefiting others, driving traffic to their site.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

4 Comments

  1. Peter
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Mind you, if they keep within the law about referencing the work and not quoting more than what’s allowed (2 paragraphs or something?) then there isn’t much you can do.

  2. Posted May 1, 2006 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Quoting from your post content isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about total duplication of your entire post content. There is a BIG difference and plenty you can do. Plagiarism is not legal.

  3. Posted December 22, 2006 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorella,

    Fantastic blog – very useful for a newbie like me. I have just one query as I am still unsure quite where you stand on this issue.

    Are you saying that taking down a news story, correctly attributing and crediting it and the author, then commenting on what is written is Doppleblogging?
    Do you regard this practice as plagiarism?

    I hasten to add that I am put this query in a gentle, enquiring voice seeking information, not as an aggressive riposte to your comments above. I don’t see myself as a plagiarist nor am I seeking aggrandizement – I just don’t want to be ‘at the party’ wearing a stupid sign across my forehead that I cannot see. I get the point, just looking a bit closer – got me?

    [I ask the question because that is essentially what I do with my blog. I use my blog as a form of 'crew-room' running across similar subjects that would crop up in conversation with my colleagues. Using news-feeds provides topical subjects to talk about.]

    Al the best, Norman

  4. Posted December 22, 2006 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Duplicating entire content is plagiarism if done without permission. Copyright’s “Fair Use” policy though says you can copy bits and pieces and use them to make your point, called “blockquotes” in web speak, and not violate copyrights. Fair Use is vague, unfortunately, but on average 200-600 words are considered “fair”, unless those 200-600 words represent the entirety of the content. Then that’s content theft.

    Look at the many articles on this blog where I quote folks. I highlight the quote in a distinctive format so everyone should “know” that this is a quote and not my words. I give credit, when credit is possible, with a link to the site and the author/site name along with the title. This creates a trackback with WordPress and the site owner gets a notice from me that I’ve included a link to them. They can then visit, and if they don’t like what I said, or how I made use of their content, they can let me know and I can fix it. Another benefit of using WordPress to blog.

    A splog takes full feeds from blogs and uses it as a REPLACEMENT for any content on their site. They typically have no original content anywhere on their site. Some even take the stolen feed content and use programs to stick in keywords about their splogging crap they are selling to make it appear like it’s their own, trying to fool search engines. It’s still your content and you have every right to protect it and stop such illegal use.

    Some splogs are now using feed excerpts instead of full content use, so they are trying to get around the copyright rules of Fair Use. That’s a harder thing to define but you control how and where your content is used, so you can also help to stop these sites, too.

    It’s a good question you asked and one that challenges and confuses many. Thanks for asking and you can find more information on this in What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content, One Year Anniversary Review: Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging, and How To Spot a Splog.


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Lorelle points to this article that names the process of content use without payment: Recently, it has come to my attention that there is a new type of insipid blogger. Unlike splogs which are created to promote commercial websites and contain mostly garbage text, these new blogs look polished and contain seemingly pertinent content of value. [...]

  2. [...] Proud to Showcase YOUR Work: Sploggers Turn Dopplebloggers [...]

  3. [...] Proud to Showcase YOUR Work: Sploggers Turn Dopplebloggers [...]

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