Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
October 10, 200611:11 AM

Those Scraping Bastages

It sounds almost as good as that classic movie line, "you fargin bastages" from Johnny Dangerously. This whole notion of scraping has really got under my skin.

For those not in the know, scraping is when someone captures data from one website and reposts it on another. The problem is there are many unkind souls out there that are scraping Blogs (like mine) and reposting them on their own unique domains and adding in Google AdSense to generate revenue from the paid text links. They're doing this all without permission. They are also known as Splogs - Spam Blogs.

How uncool is that?

It's happening a lot and I am not the only victim. You become a victim too. I was doing an egosurf last week and saw that there were a handful of sites (mostly from European countries) that have scraped my Blog and they are now ranking pretty high in Google if you search for keywords related to me, Twist Image or the industries I serve. So instead of getting my Blog as I have it up here, you're getting a pretty primal (and ugly) version of it, and all of the links are driven by ad or affiliate marketing revenue from these non-Mitch created Splogs. You're getting to my page, without it truly being "my page."

On one hand I can ask them to not re-publish my Blog (that is, if contact information on the Splog can even be found) as there must be some kind of copyright infringement. I'm not a lawyer, but I am guessing that it's not legal to scrape a Blog without the owner's permission. On the other hand, I may (or may not) be getting new found traffic to this Twist Image Blog that I never would have found. I may be able to share my marketing insights with a greater, more international, audience.

Should I pissed at the fact that I was scraped without permission or thrilled about the new readers and links back to my Blog?

Lastly, if you take the short-term benefit of new traffic to a Blog from a scrape-created Splog and look at how this will eventually affect all Google results (re: they'll suck because the lot of them will just be scraped websites), it gets scary. My guess is that Google is going to have a tougher and tougher job in the coming month as scraping takes hold. And trust me, once people start seeing click revenue and how easy it is to scrape, this will become a huge issue.

Those scraping bastages!

By Mitch Joel