Getting in Touch with Blog Content Thiefs


I felt special yesterday. It was the first time someone has ripped my blog's content and tried to use it for personal gain by pasting it on a different page surrounded by AdSense ads. Somehow it always happens to the big guys, but not to your regular rank-and-file blogmonkey. But now I felt flattered - the guys even pasted "MIT Advertising Lab" across their clone. Since I don't publish a whole lot of original thinking and rely mostly on re-blogging other people's work, seeing my own contribution's value in filtering and organizing instead of production, I normally wouldn't mind a whole lot. I got peeved, though, because I didn't get a single courtesy link back from the guys, and decided to let them know they needed to play nice.

There was no contact email, naturally, but I figured that if these guys run AdSense, they probably follow their revenue stats quite closely. The page was new and its Page Rank still at zero, so it was a safe bet that the page's daily traffic was in double digits at best. The way to say hello was obvious.

I grabbed the Auto URL Refresher, set it to refresh the guys' page every five seconds, and went to a class and then to a date (well, I made the date part up. Nobody dates at MIT.) In the evening, the gentlemen must have seen the interest in their work peaking at 5000 page views, all coming from one IP. For the morally queasy bunch, this is not a DoS attack that sends multiple requests knocking the page offline; this is more like calling someone every five seconds and then hanging up. While the refresher does nothing bad to the page itself, it hits where it hurts most - it dilutes the AdSense clickthrough by pumping up clickless impressions. After a while, Google pulls the badly performing ads off the page altogether.

Today, the page was gone and replaced by a generic linkfarm. I am not gloating, really. I do appreciate that the matter was resolved so quickly. I also imagine someone will give me the taste of my own medicine; oh well, I'll take solace in being original.
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