Whether you wish to call it an autoblog, spam blog, scraper blog, content scraper, autopost or auto updating blog, this technique is used to take content from other sites in order to automatically fill a web site with new content every day.
We are seeing more an more autoblogs being added to web every day due to the introduction of several “content building” plugins available for WordPress. These plugins pull content in from other web sites and publish it on the autoblog site. Many of the tools have the ability to publish the content almost as fast as it is posted on the original site.
Why would someone want to build an autoblog?
Mostly because some site owners are looking to build content quickly, do not speak English or have poor writing skills. Many of the site owners live in countries where there are no laws covering theft of content on the Internet, and due to their geographic location, prosecution is almost impossible. Plus, there is a monetary incentive for spammers to build these spam blogs. Most autoblogs are used to derive income from pay-per-click adverting. It can be an easy way to earn money in countries where it is not easy to earn a good living.
Almost all duplicated content web pages are filtered out of a search engine’s results pages over time. That time can be weeks or months. In the meantime, a spammer who is stealing content from other sites may see their web pages temporarily rank well, which will pull in visitors through the search engines. The trick to staying ahead of the game is to continually add new content to a site. Autoblog plugins can be set up to add dozens or perhaps even hundreds of new articles to a web site every day. Some of these sites utilize article spinning programs to alter the articles so that they are not easily caught by duplicate content filters or owners of the original content.
Does an autoblog violate copyrights?
If the content does not come from a site that approves the republishing of content, it is a violation of the site’s copyright. When content is taken from a site that does not explicitly allow other sites to republish their work, it is content theft. The source of the content and the rules set forth by a site owner determine whether or not a copyright is being violated.
It would outrage any hard-working site owner if they found out that another site was stealing and publishing their content. The problem is that it is up to each individual site owner to periodically check to see if another site is stealing their content, and when content theft is found, the site owner must try to pursue a resolution with the offending site. If a site owner cannot be contacted or is unresponsive, sometimes the issue can be reported to offender’s hosting company. Many–but not all–hosting companies will shut down a site if it is found to be stealing content.
If the offender is unresponsive, the site can be reported to Google as a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Most search engines have a method for reporting violators. While this does not shut the offender’s site down, it can cause the site to be removed from a search engine’s index, which effectively cuts of their traffic and their income from pay-per-click advertising.
How do I prevent my site’s content from being stolen?
You can’t stop it entirely. All web sites should have a copyright notice posted on every web page. While technical you do not need to post a copyright notice, when a notice is missing many spammers mistakenly consider the content to be in the public domain, which means that anyone can use it.
There are numerous spiders called spambots that continually search the Internet looking for content and articles to steal. If you can identify the spider, it can be prevented from further access to your site by blocking the IP address. There are spambot traps called “honeypots” that lure a spider into a special area of a site and then automatically block its access. If you need one of these systems for your web site, we can install one for you.
Google advises adding links to web pages that either point to that page or to another page in your site. We have found that most of the autoblogs and content thieves tend to leave links in place in the content. These can be used to identify the offending web sites. You will find that we use reference links in many of the articles in this site that point to other articles that we publish just so that we can identify content thieves.
Is having an autoblog a good idea?
Not in our opinion. Setting up an autoblog is a temporary proposition at best. When enough duplicate content is identified in a web site, search engines start actively penalizing the site. Some of the telltale signs of penalties include the de-indexing of a site (removal of the site from a search engine’s index) and removal of Google PageRank from all of the inner pages.
So the answer to the question is: No, in our opinion it is not a good idea to build a site that is doomed to eventual failure.