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Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft

In an attempt to help bloggers track down content theft and copyright violations, MaxPower.ca has created the Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin for full version WordPress blogs.

The plugin injects a “digital fingerprint” manually into your posts which is seen only in your feeds, not in the post itself.

Install and activate the Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin as you would any other WordPress Plugin. It adds a tabbed panel to your Manage panel. The first time you access it, an error will be reported at the top reminding you that you haven’t created your unique digital fingerprint. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and enter some unique text into the digital fingerprint section.

The Digital Fingerprint Detecting WordPress Plugin works by adding unique content to your feeds. If your feed content shows up on any blog that is patrolled by Google BlogSearch, Feedster, IceRocket, BlogPulse, Sphere, Google, Yahoo!, and MSN, the Plugin searches for the unique phrase and displays search results with that phrase in the Digital Fingerprint panel.

Unlike a barcode or some assigned number, the digital fingerprint you set in the Plugin is a combination of words, letters, and/or numbers that doesn’t quite look like “normal” searchable text. Maxpower explains the digital fingerprint in “Choosing a Digital Fingerprint That is Right For Me”. Since the text will appear in your feed, what should it be? It needs to be unique, distinctive from other phrases people are likely to use in their blogs, while not looking too strange.

For my example here, I’ve used the following:

[copyright feed content de Taking Your Camera on the Road - no commercial use permitted]

The use of “de” as the Spanish “from” in combination with the other words makes the statement readable, but also not a typical combination of words. Here are some other examples to help you customize your digital fingerprint text to your own needs:

  • > > Feed content from My Blog Site – Copyright and License 3451234
  • [Feed copyright My Blog Site and My Name Smith, Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.]
  • Cheer up and dance while reading the copyright protected feed from My Blog Site – boogiefunhere
  • M¥ B£09 $173 – (“My Blog Site” in Leet/L337 Speak)

Come up with something unique that when searched, would only result in your blog being found and enter it in the digital fingerprint form and update the settings.

While I wish every post going out from my site would automatically have this unique digital fingerprint inserted just before the post text, you have to manually add it to your posts. This means past posts have to be edited to add the digital fingerprint as well as adding it to new posts as you blog.

In the Write Post panel, a new button will appear to insert the digital fingerprint code which is:

<--fingerprint-->

Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin examplePut your cursor at the end of a sentence or paragraph in the top section of your post content, in place that makes sense if someone is reading the feed, but close enough to the top to be picked up by search engines which may only scan the top third of your web page content into its database. Click on the fingerprint button and the comment code will be inserted.

Save the post and test this by viewing the post on your blog. You should see nothing in the spot where you inserted the digital fingerprint code.

Check your feed and you should see the text inserted automatically into the feed. (Highlighted in image)

Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin example of use in feed

In a week or more, check in with the Digital Fingerprint panel to see if your post content shows up where it shouldn’t be. If you find a bunch of unrelated posts showing up with your “unique” phrase, it’s obviously not unique enough. You may be lucky and never see your writing illegally published, but with the recent scam of bitacle.org, the likelihood of your blog’s content getting scrapped through its feeds increases.

Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin examples

This is not a fool proof method of stopping content scrappers, plagiarists, and content thieves, but it does help your blog post pop up in search results to you can keep track of your posts just in case they do pop up on a search engine or directory.

One of the neat options the Plugin features is the ability to add your digital fingerprint to Google Alerts, so Google will automatically send you an email whenever your digital fingerprint phrase shows up in their search engine results.

You can do this manually without a WordPress Plugin. Just type in some unique phrase consistently into your post content that doesn’t interfere with your readers’ reading, then search various search engines and/or Copyscape once in awhile to see if your posts show up in other blogs. You could use the popular Angsuman’s Feed Copyrighter WordPress Plugin to automatically add a copyright message of your own design to your feeds from your WordPress blog, or the Better Feed WordPress Plugin by FrenchFragFactory allows you to add text and other elements to your feeds.

While fairly easy to add unique text to your feeds, it’s much harder and more time consuming to search through all the various search engines, directories, and blog search services to find your unique phrase. The Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin makes the process much faster and easier.

I’ll be talking about some other copyright protection efforts you can take to protect your blog content soon, so stay tuned.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

16 Comments

  1. Posted September 30, 2006 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    This technology is… not new.

  2. Posted September 30, 2006 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Of course not. Did I say it was? The Plugin, however, is, and it does make it easier and faster to monitor the various search engines and directories. I’ve been using this same technique manually for years, as described at the end of the article. This process speeds things up wonderfully.

  3. Posted September 30, 2006 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Lorelle, I have to teach myself not to comment when I’ve had a few to drink.

    This plugin is very useful, and I’ve passed it on to a few people.

  4. Posted September 30, 2006 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    how to deal with the content theft found?

  5. Posted September 30, 2006 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content

    It says it all.

  6. Posted September 30, 2006 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    Thanks for the feedback regarding the plugin. I’ll try and add the option to automaticly insert the fingerprint in every post you publish for the next version. The tricky part would be determining where it should be inserted everytime (start, middle, end, after first paragraph?).

    Another brand new anti-splog plugin for wordpress also deserves mentioning, Antileech by Owen Winkler. It serves up fake content to splogs when they come to ‘borrow’ your content. Its the first plugin that I am aware of that actually fights back against plagiarism and splogs.

    Cheers!

  7. Posted September 30, 2006 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Oh, that would be excellent. And I recommend adding the text, if possible, BEFORE the post. So the feed would feature:

    Post Title: [Feed content copyrighted and some unique blather here] Regarding the story I was telling you about yesterday....

    That puts it at the top, pulls it out of the post content so it doesn’t interfere with reading, and is pretty simple, I hope. ;-)

    Oh, another thing. In the Digital Fingerprint panel, the example of the unique text used is shown in the text as:

    “A good Google Alert search that incorporates your digital fingerprint and prevents you getting alerted to stories you publish on your own site would be: “[example of unique blather]” -site:www.example.com

    As if the site address is part of the result in the feed. I rewrote my “digital fingerprint” to then say something like [...report illegal use to ] thinking it would then produce: [...report illegal use to -site:www.expample.com]. It didn’t. That’s confusing. Also, a good Google Alert search that “prevents” you getting alerted…I think you don’t want the word “prevent” in there, do you? You might want to fix those minor details on the panel.

    I’m thrilled with Owen’s Plugin. I’m going to promote it heavily as soon as I get an answer to a question I asked him about it. Bitacle has proven more difficult to thwart than originally thought as they are changing their IP and playing games to still try to grab content. As soon as I get a little more info, the world will hear plenty about that plugin from here. Thanks!

  8. Posted October 4, 2006 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I answered your questions via email. Pony up.

  9. Posted November 27, 2007 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I love the idea and plug-in, but will never remember to add the code to each post (or want to go back and add it to old posts). What about adding the necessary code to a plug-in that automatically adds code to each post such as the HitTail Plugin?

  10. Posted November 27, 2007 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    @Scott Ficek:

    I don’t understand. It adds the “code” automatically. Any post grabbed through feeds gets the “code” injected into the feed. If they are getting your content otherwise, like manual copy and paste, this Plugin won’t work.

  11. Alex Anderson
    Posted December 12, 2007 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    One way that you can find where or how your content is being used online is to type one or 2 of your unique phrases “in quotes” into google and see what comes up. If you find other sites that are indexed with your content – content them and say “NO NO”!

    If your content doesn’t show up – it means that it’s not indexed in Google and won’t be found (or read) by anyone via Google anyway.

  12. Posted December 12, 2007 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    @Alex Anderson:

    Well, not exactly. I explained this technique in What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content and Finding Stolen Content and Copyright Infringements, among other techniques, but just because it’s not indexed in Google doesn’t mean that it isn’t getting found elsewhere.

    And it does not make copyright violations right. Google isn’t the end all and be all.

  13. Posted January 17, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I think Fingerprint Detecting Content plug-in is a good idea, it makes life harder for content thefts

  14. Irony
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, so I’m new to blogging and found your article to be interesting and informtive. I decided to google for one of your fingerprint examples just to see if this site would come up. For some reason, a different site came up instead as the sole search result. It seems to be some kind of a wiki, but it looks like that post was copy/pasted without any mention of you as the original author.

    http://grassroots.wikia.com/wiki/Digital_Fingerprints_Help_Track_Blog_Content_Theft

  15. MackDamage
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Can this work for BLogger?


25 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Lorelle shares a useful WordPress plugin that injects a “digital fingerprint” manually into your posts which is seen only in your feeds, not in the post itself. The Digital Fingerprint Detecting WordPress Plugin works by adding unique content to your feeds. If your feed content shows up on any blog that is patrolled by Google BlogSearch, Feedster, IceRocket, BlogPulse, Sphere, Google, Yahoo!, and MSN, the Plugin searches for the unique phrase and displays search results with that phrase in the Digital Fingerprint panel. [...]

  2. [...] Durch Lorelle wurde ich eben auf ein interessantes WordPress-Plugin aufmerksam. “Digital Fingerprint detecting content theft” von Maxpower.ca fügt an frei definierbarer Stelle im Artikel einen Text ein, der dann im Weblog selbst ausgeblendet wird, jedoch im Feed erscheint. [...]

  3. [...] I’ve been reading about  a few WordPress plugins that have been written to combat content theft and have decided to add them to my blog.  If you are insane enough to read my writing by RSS feed (insane because its ME – why subscribe to this drivel. LOL) then you’ll notice one difference (actually two) and the other, you’ll see if you ever visit a splog that has stolen my content to make money with. [...]

  4. [...] Source and Hat tip: Lorelle.wordpress.com In an attempt to help bloggers track down content theft and copyright violations, MaxPower.ca has created the Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin for full version WordPress blogs. [...]

  5. [...] Thanks to Lorelle, BLaM, and Plagiarism Today for providing valuable feedback to make this tool better. Keep the ideas coming! Bookmark this story with:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  6. [...] I wrote about the Digital Fingerprint WordPress Plugin a few days ago, which puts a unique searchable phrase into your feed content and displays search results on your WordPress Administration Panel to help you track if your content shows up in search engines via splogs or scrappers, content thieves. [...]

  7. [...] Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft [...]

  8. [...] The Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft by Maxpower is similar and also tracks which sites are using your feed content by allowing you to insert customizable and searchable content into your posts and feeds that is only seen when viewed as a feed. It was recently updated with an option to insert the digital fingerprint into every post on your site automatically. [...]

  9. [...] In a future post, I will be talking more about what you can do to help put a stop to scamming splogs like bitacle, but for now, check out What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content, The Growing Trends in Content Theft, and Finding Stolen Content and Copyright Infringements to help you get started. If you have a WordPress blog, check out Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft and/or AntiLeech Splog Stopper: Fighting Back Against Content Thieves. [...]

  10. Stopping (Or helping to curb) Blog Content Theft

    If you’re a WordPress user, you might be interested in this….
    Digital Fingerprints is the launch of a new plugin for WordPress aimed at tracking blog content theft. It won’t prevent people from copying and pasting material directly fr…

  11. [...] here here and here it is! Well actually here they are. But one of my favorite pages is this one by [...]

  12. [...] Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin (Review by Lorelle) applies a digital fingerprint to your [...]

  13. [...] Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft [...]

  14. [...] Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft « Lorelle on WordPress [...]

  15. [...] مان كه به سرقت رفته اند، و موضوع بسيار بسيار جالب «اثر انگشت ديجيتالي» (Digital Fingerprint) براي وبلاگ ها و ده ها موضوع ديگر در همين رابطه نوشته [...]

  16. [...] این وبلاگ پلاگین جدیدیو برای وردپرس معرفی کرده  به اسم “اثر انگشت دیجیتالی” برای  جلوگیری از انتشار مطالب کپی شده در سایت ها و وبلاگ های دیگه.با این پلاگین اثر انگشت دیجیتالی شما در نوشته های وب لاگتون وارد میشه که در پست ها دیده نمیشه اما در فید این اثر دیده خواهد شد. [...]

  17. [...] more about this plugin here and full [...]

  18. […] Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft […]

  19. […] Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft […]

  20. […] Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft […]

  21. […] Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft […]

  22. […] Splog Stopper and Digital Fingerprints WordPress Plugins (my reviews of these options) can be used to track content thieves by inserting digital […]

  23. […] Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft […]

  24. […] You can read more about how these splog-stopping WordPress Plugins work in my reviews on AntiLeech Splog Stopper: Fighting Back Against Content Thieves and Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft. […]

  25. […] Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft […]

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