A few months back, Evan Porter had a rough morning.
Over his mornin’ joe, he was doing topic research for his blog and came across another blog with some great content.
A little TOO great…
Evan found another blog stealing his exact content. Word for word. Showing ads. Without his permission.
Although I sincerely hope YOUR blog content never gets stolen, one never knows.
In this blog podcast & podcast interview (with Evan!), we’ll take a look at what you can do when you find another website stealing your content.
Spoiler alert: It’s not as straightforward as you’d hope!
You can listen to what Evan did when his content was stolen:or listen on Apple Podcasts \ Google Podcasts \ Spotify
Let’s dive in.
1 – Contact your hosting provider ASAP.
And your ad network (if you have one).
Even though this won’t likely result in the other website taking down your stolen content–you’ll want to clue your host in anyways.
For one, they might know your next steps!
For two, a hacker/bot may have inserted some code in your website files that allow them to steal your content.
Either way, contact your hosting ASAP, tell them what happened, and ask them for any tips on what you should do next.
2 – Reach out to the robber’s website directly.
It may seem odd–why would somebody who’s stealing your stuff just TAKE IT DOWN on request?
Because the site owner might not actually be the individual stealing your content. They may have hired a freelancer/agency to produce their content.
This is what eventually worked for Evan!
- Try to find a contact email or form on their site
- Reach out and explain the situation
- Include as many details and proof as possible
- BE RESPECTFUL.
Nothing will shut you down faster than sending an email w/ more F-bombs than a Tarantino movie.
How can I check to see if any of my content has been stolen?
There are tools for that!
Copyscape is the most-recommended I’ve seen. Simply copy and paste in your content, and it should scan the internet to look for duplicates.
Also, if you can’t find a contact email, you can try a WHOIS lookup using a tool like https://whois.domaintools.com/.
3 – Reach out to the robber’s hosting company.
You can use a tool like BuiltWith to dive in behind-the-scenes and figure out what hosting provider the website is using.
If you find one, try reaching out to the hosting company (explain like you would have in the previous two steps).
4 – Send a DMCA TakeDown Notice
DMCA = “Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”
Per Wikipedia, this DMCA is a law that “criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works…In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.”
In other words, this is the “official” thing you do if you find your content has been stolen.
Pro Tip: Your content is technically copywrited when you publish it!
I discuss this, and a lot more legal issues, in my “How to Blog Legally” post–but your content is actually yours from a legal perspective as soon as you publish it.
Of course, you CAN file on Copywrite.gov for additional protections.
For more info, go read that post above.
Though this didn’t quickly work for Evan Porter’s blog, this is still my official recommendation.
Aside from being what the government wants you to do–this also appears as more “legal,” if that makes sense.
It appears legit.
The Kinsta blog has a fantastic takedown template you can start with here.
5 – Get the stolen content taken down from Google
Full disclosure: I’ve personally known at least three people who have tried this, and none were successful.
But still, it’s worth a shot.
The LAST thing you want is your own content OUTRANKING YOU–from somebody else’s site.
That’d be weird. And maddening.
Last, don’t freak out.
It could take a while to get that stolen content taken down!
It could be two days, or two months or more.
- Take a deep breath
- Proceed methodically and respectfully
- Be patient but firm.
Hopefully, you never have to use any of this 😉
Got any more tips?
Drop a comment below!
It’s horrible if all your works and content are stolen by bad guys. I lost my site some years ago, and when building the new site, I decided to apply a good protection method on my site. You can try a plugin called Password Protect WordPress. It does help.