I cannot believe it happened and it was a bit of a shocker to see my very carefully crafted content appearing word for word, page for page on somebody else’s website. My home page text was there, then my main ‘What I do’ page, which was linking to my individual services pages. All with a different logo and a a freebie off the shelf theme. They had even taken one of my blog posts and re-purposed it for their home page!
I now understand why people get so upset about copyright, it is theft plain and simple. It is a complete liberty and blatantly unethical to copy and paste text from another website. I felt really upset, it is not personal of course but the content is mine and they have no right to take it and use it as their own.
I know exactly who they are too – I know his business, his home address and his personal Facebook page. So I am guessing we are not dealing with the brightest button in the box!
Duplicating content from another website is marginally bonkers because Google is very good at finding duplicate content and the thieves risk having their website removed altogether from Google search. Once I had got over the bare faced nature of this whole thing it occurred to me that Google might actually knock me from the rankings for duplicate content, even though my content is considerably older than that of the thief.
Then I started to look around the internet, searching chunks of my text and I found my home page introductory text on 7 different websites! What are people on? Can they not write their own original introductions?
I think in truth this is always going to happen to a greater or lesser degree so I think the time has come to refresh my content. When Google says it recommends that people refresh and update content regularly, this could well be one of the reasons why.
What I Did Next
It did cross my mind to rewrite all of my content and stick with the quiet life but why should they get away with getting a whole website written for them for free? There is no way that should happen, what they have done is steal and they should not be rewarded with keeping the content.
I absolutely dread and hate situations like this but I had no choice but to report the criminals to Google via the copyright infringement process, here»
Google removed the copied pages from search within one week, so they definitely take action and they do it quickly.
I recommend that you copy chunks of your content every now and again and paste them into Google search. I hope you will not see lots of results but if someone has stolen your content and Google has yet to penalise them, you might well see other websites listed. If you do, take action and report them!
There are also some great tools for checking for plagiarism like Copyscape I am going to update my content and then subscribe to Copyscape so I can keep track of any duplication of my content in the future.
Thieves must be stopped!