Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blog content scraping is lazy and unethical

I just discovered that someone is scraping content from one of my blogs. I've had this happen before to this blog, and it really annoys me.

I know that a lot of the time content scraping doesn't matter that much. The worst these plagiarists can do in most cases is to steal a little bit of your traffic. And quite often they lose their hosting accounts because of complaints from annoyed bloggers. (I think that happened to the guy who was nicking content from here.) But it's the laziness and dishonesty that I find really galling.

Of course, people who do this rationalize their actions by saying, "Well, there's nothing new under the sun and you can find the same information and ideas all over the internet. The blogger whose content I'm scraping is probably rehashing what he's read elsewhere. He's not being original himself, so why should I? And what right does he have to complain about me?"

There are two arguments against this attitude. One, he might not be rehashing what he's read elsewhere. He might have tried something out repeatedly and is expressing what he learned from actual experience. Doing this takes time and effort and gives the information added credibility.

An if he is rehashing something, he's still writing it in his own unique way, and also probably combining it with other information, which adds a little value and insight. Again, time and effort.

When the blog content scraper simply steals someone's unique writing and takes credit for all that work it's just not right.

Basically, if you are going to use someone else's observations verbatim, that's fine. You should just make it clear you are quoting them, with clear attribution and a link back to where you found them. Then the originator still gets the credit, as well as the SEO benefit from the backlink.


  1. What is scraping?
    This series of posts is dedicated to executives taking charge of projects that entail scraping information from one or more websites.

  2. Interesting is the way you are talking but its quite necessary after all. What if lazy? Laughing…