From behind the WorldSnowboardGuide
Tales of independent publishing

Thieving scumbags

Yesterday was interesting. I got back from my part time day job (developing sharepoint applications in case you’re interested) and checked the site activity on the worldsnowboardguide.com. The stats were way up on what they should have been, and when i looked deeper into it there was a huge number of page views from a specific IP address which wasn’t one my many recognised search engines that hammer the site. The browser user agent didn’t have anything to suggest it was a bot, but in 45 minutes they had hit over 11,000 pages on the site. It didn’t seem to be a denial of service attack, but there was very few repeated pages in the log.

I did a whois lookup on the IP address on cqcounter.com for the offending IP address 81.153.117.51 and have sent all the info to the host BT and we’ll see what comes back. I’m now spending my Easter weekend, doning¬† my Coldfusion hat and changing the code, so that in future it can detect and prevent this kind of stuff. If i get the chance i’ll try and package things up nicely and stick onto sourceforge.net as i couldn’t find anything that did such a thing.

This kind of thing isn’t that unusual, but what came next was, and turned me into a screaming nut job and I am so angry about this. Part of my googling around trying to find a Coldfusion component that could detect these attacks I stumbled upon a blog on sitepoint.com that talked about a website called Copyscape.com which basically searches for copies of your content. All you do is stick in a URL and it tells you if any of the content on that page has been used on any other website. So i did this with a few URL’s of some of the more popular pages on the site and found some small sites and forums that had quoted some excerpts, most of which linked back to WSG and on the whole i’ve got no problem with this kind of thing as it gives us traffic. However one site kept on cropping up, skoarder.com and upon visiting their site, i flipped out.

Every single one of the resorts they cover includes a big chunk of the review from WSG, and it doesn’t stop there. Resort statistics seemed to have been copied and finally the ultimate proof, they’ve stolen a stack of photos. There is no mention of WSG, they haven’t asked permission, it is blatent theft and i’m not having it.

Here’s their review of St.Anton below (copied content shown in orange) and compare that with our St.Anton review and tell me if i’m paranoid.

Copied content of St.Anton

I then picked a really obscure resort i visited a few years back in Poland called Bialka and guess what … Again take a look at our review of Bialka and compare to theirs

Copied content of Bialka

This time not only have they copied some of the text, but this time also a photo I took of Pete.

Talk about caught red handed. So what do I do next? I’ve obviously written a pretty strong email to the owner and explained in no uncertain terms to remove the content immediately and i’ll be contacting own-it.org about starting criminal proceedings, so stay tuned to see what their response will be.¬† Copyscape.com do have some great advice about what to do next, and it’s certainly a site i’ll recommend to anyone who wants to see what thieving so and so’s are out there stealing your content.

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7 Responses to “Thieving scumbags”

  1. That sucks mate and I wouldn’t stand for it either. You’ve invested a lot of time, effort and money in making WSG what it is and scumbags like these ripping off your property is not right. Take them to the f**king cleaners…

  2. Scum. Hope they get shut down ASAP. I hope you’ve nofollowed your links to their site in your blog post though – else they are acutally benifiting from their crime!

  3. I had this with a client’s site, with the scale of the infringement i.e lots and not single articles, i’d recommend looking at the way back web archive site to establish roughly how long this infringement has been taking place for and then get the lawyers on them.

    Obviously you can get them to remove content but there are direct losses to consider not least potential google ranking and potential ad revenue, before you obviously get on to the theft element.

    To get them to take down the content is a good first step but even if they do with the nature of your site I’d still go for damages for the infringement period.

    One or two pics and articles is naive, this is blatent, Good luck dude,

  4. that sucks steve, but they surely don’t have a leg to stand on? hope you get it sorted quickly, maybe we can post a defamatory blog on huck
    cheers
    steph

  5. That sucks. However know that the more you post about these sites, the more popular you making them. I never heard of them before, nor would I ever hear of them if it was not for this post. One of them, i think skaorder seems to have no traffic at all according to a9 and statbrain. These sites will die if left alone. They have no originality. The more you waste your time with them, the more people you make aware of these sites existance.

  6. Yeap, no such thing as a defemation of bad publicity. Listen to this. When I was in college i was to work for the large travel agent. Two blocks from our office, this guy opens a small travel agent on the 3rd floor. He names it a similar name to ours, copies our color and font, makes the same business card layout and even prints the same damn flyers. So my boss in enraged, and rightfully so. So he starts calling this guy (no emails back then) saying he will sue his ass off, etc. Of course this guy in not moved as he knows that even if it goes to court, at worst, he will just need to change his name, but it would be the best advertising he can receive. Being a loud mouth that my boss was, he started talking (negatively) about this guy to everyone he knew and did not know. So this guy who as Steph puts it above has no leg to stand on and he was an uknown, starts getting known in the community and starts getting a few customers. So my boss gets even angrier and sends a letter (not a law suit) thru his lawyer. Now listen to this. This guy, takes the letter to a local newspaper, pretends to be from our office and passes it off as a news release from our office. The paper runs a story and this guy goes from rugs to riches. People are curious and just had to check him out to see what is all the fuss about.

    • Whilst i agree that no publicity is bad publicity, if i fail to do anything about this then it sends out completely the wrong message and will encourage other comapnies to do exactly the same, no matter what clever stuff i’m able to do try and detect and prevent it. Even if this website suddenly comes into peoples awareness and WSG loses some of its visitors, then that to me suggests that WSG site needs to improve and adapt to try and recover that audience. Competition has never bothered me, and pushes me to improve. Maybe i’m naive, but you have to be confident in what you are trying to do and believe that an audience will follow if its good enough.

      Alex is spot on when talking about the technical side. WSG has a great ranking on Google, and part of that is down to its exclusive content, as soon as the same content is show on other sites then it will affect where it apears in the search results.

      I certainly won’t be providing any more links to their site or anything to encourage people to visit their site, but i will be pressing on with things and there already has been some very very interesting developments, but that’ll be in the next post.


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