If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

Summary: Article spinning is quite popular in SEO. Read this to find out what article spinning is, how it works, and how I will DESTROY those who steal my content!

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TOPICS: Google, Legal, Patents
87

"DESTROYING THE COMPETITIONS!"

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an industry rife with individuals who just loooooove to thieve content, what with content supposedly being king and all. The more on-page copy a person can populate a site with, the better in terms of rank-ability. Yes, it takes more than just populating a site with copy for it to rank well, but it certainly does help tremendously in most circumstances.

Because of that -- and because people know that Google is ever-increasingly getting better with identifying (thus, ranking lowly) duplicate content -- there's a popular practice for generating would-be unique content from a preexisting article, called "article spinning." By definition:

Article Spinning: Taking a written body of work and manually or automatically modifying it using synonymously equivalent words and/or restructuring its contents; then, posting the modified body of work on the Internet as though it is unique and original content.

Stepping back for a minute, as a writer, it doesn't get much worse than someone stealing your content and pawning it off as their own. Whether it's someone copying your content verbatim and posting it with their name, rewriting your content instead of writing a custom piece based on it, scraping your content and not linking to your original article, or otherwise, there just aren't enough anger management techniques out there to prevent a writer from wanting to absolutely destroy someone who thieves their content!

Back to spinning articles, the important thing to note is that it's a practice rarely utilized for anything other than generating topical/relevant content to help a page rank. In other words, these articles aren't generated for the sake of human consumption; they're generated for the sake of appealing to search engine crawlers. And with the advent of programs that tirelessly do all the laborious work for you -- everything from scraping content (that is, gathering relevant content on its own per your specifications) to processing, modifying, and saving the end results -- spinning articles has become an incredibly fast and simple task. If you want to see one of the most popular sites that's chock-full of spun content, check out EzineArticles; a site used primarily for article marketing.

Now, if you're wondering what the title of this post has to do with what I've written so far, the time has arrived to delve into that. Keeping a long story not quite as long, I like to perform searches related to my blog to see where I rank, who's saying what, etc. Recently, I performed a search in Google for zdnet seo. Though it's currently located at the top of the second page of results at the time of this writing, this soon-to-be-destroyed Web site showed up as the 8th result on the first page of results. I clicked on it and, well... I had a conniption.

Only kidding.

I didn't have a conniption, but I was certainly astonished to see a veritable cornucopia of spun versions of many of my articles which read quite humorously due to the synonyms the software they used replaced many of my words with. For instance:

My Original: Questions/comments/concerns? Speak your mind in the comments section below! (Link to article)

Spun Version: Questions/comments/concerns? Talk the mind in the notes section under! (Link to article)

You can click on each of the links to compare the articles in-full, but as you can see, synonyms don't always keep a contextually-relevant flow; so it's quite common to end up with oddly-worded gobbledygook when using programs to spin articles. And although Google may see the spun article as unique content, it's still close enough to the original for me to report the site to our intellectual property peeps here at ZDNet which should, in turn, be enough to circumnavigate matters of ranking by hopefully getting the faux articles removed. Less spam is a good thing.

Anyway, the main point of this post is to give those of you unaware, a glimpse into the process of spinning articles. Sometimes, it can get quite complex -- such as when people pay others to take an article and re-write its contents from start to finish. The end result is a completely unique article that says the same thing in a completely different way. As such, those types of articles are very difficult to spot and are virtually impossible to claim infringement with.

Yes, those are destroyers and they're coming for YOU if you're stealing my content!

Yes, those are destroyers and they will DESTROY YOU if you're stealing my content!

In the case of my articles with this other site, perhaps I was supposed to just be happy that they included a mangled version of my blog post signature?

Regardless, the next time you think of stealing someone's content, just make sure it's not my content. If it is, then just be aware that my content is actually ZDNet's content and ZDNet has an intellectual property division consisting of lawyers and all kinds of other fancy pants who know the ins-and-outs of acts like OCILLA and can take legal action accordingly. As for me, personally? Well, let's just say I know all kinds of individuals who like to DESTROY the evil-doers of the Internet! Watch out, or else you just might have to deal with THIS guy!

Note: Of course I'm not literally going to destroy anyone, but I really will send our intellectual property unit a note of anyone I find stealing content. THAT is all. :)

Topics: Google, Legal, Patents

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87 comments
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  • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

    Isn't this just another word for plagerism? I'm sure more could be done than just having the articles dropped, especially if the spun article is on a website housed on US soil.
    KBot
    • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

      @KBot Yeah, I don't know what all the rules are exactly, but I guess it all depends on the extent you want to pursue an individual/Web site. Removal is enough many times (at least in the situations I've had to pursue), but anything more than a take-down request probably starts to hit you in the wallet, I would assume.

      -Stephen
      StephenChapman
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

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    • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

      @KBot
      the word is spelled plagiarism
      dhays
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @dhays <br>I would suggest that you should have written, "The word is spelt plagiarism". If it was "spelled", then a witch or warlock would have cast an incantation over it. Same as the word "spellchecker", which is idiotic. None of us are witches or warlocks and so we don't need our spells checked; however, we may well need our "spelling" checked and so we should use a "spellingchecker". ;-)
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • Actually...

        @ptorning "Spelled" is just fine in this case. You've cited one of the uses for "spelled," but there are others -- one of which includes dhays' usage. He should have stated it the following way:

        The word is spelled "plagiarism."

        And while we're all getting all grammar nazi-ish, commas (along with periods) reside inside of quotes; not outside of them. ;)

        -Stephen
        StephenChapman
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @StephenChapman
        "And while we're all getting all grammar nazi-ish, commas (along with periods) reside inside of quotes; not outside of them."
        Nope, wrong again. A comma or full stop is used outside of quotations UNLESS it forms a direct part of the quotation. That is the reason why I left the fullstop inside the quotation above; because it forms a direct part of the quotation. It makes no sense to be liberally adding commas and fullstops inside quotations, as if they are part of the quotation, when they are not. ;-)
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @ptorning Spelt is also a kind of wheat, so "spelt plagiarism" would suggest either crop thieving or a GMO.
        Vesicant
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @Vesicant <br>Yes, spelt is ALSO a type of wheat, and it makes the nicest, nuttiest bread that I've tasted. It is well worth trying if you have not already done so. And I do like your joke. :-)
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @ptorning
        Punctuation inside the quotes has always grated on me. It just makes no sense to put it in there if it isn't part of what is being quoted. I don't know what the rule actually is, but my guess is that 99% of people put all punctuation inside. It is not unheard of for someone reading something I wrote to tell me that periods and commas go inside the quotes. I stubbornly resist, and will continue to resist until someone proves to me, with at least three reputable grammar references, that they should indeed go inside the quotes. At that point I will probably say something uncomplimentary, and continue to do it the logical way.
        MasterBillyQuizboy
    • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

      Plagerism is widely spread in all domains. Copying is much easy that creating. We live in copy-paste era. http://www.handyortungkostenlos.eu/Prepaid-Handy-Orten/ | http://www.handyortungkostenlos.eu/Handyortung-gratis/
      Ibiossa
  • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

    Did the production company "De Laurentiis" give you the rights to copy their movie's artwork with that link to a pic of Conan the Destroyer that's stored on a zdnet server?

    "Don't steal my content, but here is a pic I just stole" doesn't make a lot of sense. =-)
    cybr2th@...
    • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

      @cybr2th@... Fair play. I've now linked to where I found the image instead (Amazon). But in the spirit of debate, there's a huge difference between ripping a full article and calling it your own vs. linking to a movie poster in the context I did. I don't think there are too many people out there who would think I had anything to do with that, but by matter of technicality, I've covered my bases now -- supposing "De Laurentiis" gave Amazon permission to use that image; a matter out of my hands (unless the link goes dead, ha). :)

      -Stephen
      StephenChapman
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @StephenChapman
        Well played, Sir.
        And for the record, I agree with you. Creating *anything* original then having someone switch a few words around and call it their own is totally lame.

        I have heard this said before but I'm not totally sure I agree with it.
        "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal." They should still give credit where credit is due though.
        cybr2th@...
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @cybr2th Yes, I agree with you in not agreeing with that statement. Giving credit where credit is due is only fair, you know?

        I'm typically very good with sourcing imagery and providing abundant references to articles I write about, but I get ahead of myself and slip up at times. I don't mind owning up to those times, because I'm a well-intentioned person and I certainly hold others to the same standard. With that said, I appreciate you calling me out. hahaha. :)

        -Stephen
        StephenChapman
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @StephenChapman And just because Amazon has permission to use it does not mean having it display as part of your web article presentation is legal. You are using that image in your article. If you just linked to it then it would all be on Amazon. But because it displays as part of your work you are using it without permission. A printed copy of your web presentation used in a court proceeding would include the image. Would be very hard to argue that your page was not illegally using the image at that point. Further by using the image in your article which is work for ZDNet you have effectively included them as a possible defendant.

        Going out and sounding the battle cry "I will destroy you" is really asking everyone to look closely at you. Consider this some more before posting articles with clear violations in them.

        And technically we all should be calling out that ZDNet and Amazon are registered trademarks of the respective companies. At least when we use them in our articles and comments.
        SimEngie
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @StephenChapman Exactly, one is called fair use... And the other is called plagiarism.

        Sim: This is covered under fair use, you should familiarize yourself with the term. It's covered under fair use: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

        Reading the legal guidelines and the fair use test:

        1. The intention is enrichment of knowledge unrelated to the content of the movie. The use of the image is neither derivative nor in the context of being the whole article, thus it is transformative... Meaning he's using it in the context of commentary (which incidentally may or may not be related).
        2. The nature of the public work is such that it's promotional, and thus meant to be distributed.
        3. Stephen's article isn't based on that picture (I.E. we could substitute any other film with "The Destroyer" or "Thor" or any other big destructive force).
        4. Effect on the work's value: I don't think including promotional material has any effect, but if it does, it's probably more positive because it means more people have heard of Conan The Destroyer.
        snoop0x7b
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @SimEngie Yes, I knew this topic would put me under the most scrutinous of microscopes, and I think it's great. I enjoy people's input -- even if harsh -- so long as it is valid input.

        The image cybr2th was initially referencing has always been linked; not displayed. The difference was -- as I do with just about all of my images -- I linked to the image as it resided here as opposed to on Amazon where I initially found the image.

        As for everything you're saying in terms of legalities, it is something I will have to research further. Using a printed page in a court of law seems a bit outdated and not inclusive of the whole story. I would think source code being provided from the time would be more relevant than just a printed page. At that, how would you explain a page full of Google image results? What pops up are images linked on Google's servers initially.

        Most of what you're saying is logically sound, but legally, I'm not sure how on or off the mark you actually are.

        -Stephen
        StephenChapman
      • RE: If you steal my articles and I find out, I will destroy you. That is all.

        @snoop0x7b Thanks for chiming in. :) I was just starting to look around for some data on this. I appreciate you doing the leg work on that. I used to be much more familiar with these things and this discussion has made me realize I should touch up on it all again.

        -Stephen
        StephenChapman