RSS stealer, thy name is revenge.
October 14, 2011 5:43 AM   Subscribe

A couple websites are taking my RSS feed, placing it on their website with their own ads, and of course doing this without permission. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (backlinks, right), but it sure as heck isn't welcome. I want to send the webmaster a very clear message - taking my stuff without asking is wrong.

Let the record show a DMCA complaint was filed with Google; Chitika was contacted, and another one of their advertisers was contacted with a complaint.

(I'm reasonably certain the same person is behind the two websites, as they both deal with the same exact RSS feeds on two different domain names).

I like what this guy did (, but he doesn't give enough details on how to do it yourself. Assume a middling level of intelligence (I've customized my own WordPress blog and am comfortable mucking about in the code), and lay it out as you would to your spouse or teenager.

Alternatively, give me a solution that will taint an RSS feed to a certain website or IP address (I have both), but not disrupt wonderful readers or other legitimate sites.
posted by chrisinseoul to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd recommend letting it go unless the site is vastly bigger than yours, and maybe even then. Here's why:

--I've never seen an RSS-scraping site with lots of traffic.
--I've never seen them last very long.
--I had hundreds scraping my biggest site at one point. I don't have the time to even figure out who is the biggest culprit, much less go after all of them.
--Google knows who's been naughty and nice. It knows which site had that content first. It knows that the RSS scrapers have links to and from the other scammy, scummy sites that their admins also run. It knows that the content is disjointed and unnatural.

In short, it's not worth your time. They're simply not doing themselves much good or you much damage.

That said, I have occasionally complained. I believe I only ever had a single response or action in reply, but it was from a guy who had a name and a face in the real estate business -- we probably had acquaintances in common.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:50 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Agreed with Mo Nichols - it's not worth worrying about. You checking on them probably represents about 20% of their traffic.
posted by COD at 6:04 AM on October 14, 2011

I did a WHOIS for a site doing this and blogged the result. I'd also searched on the guy's name and other businesses so was 100% sure he was doing this. A couple of years later after he had taken the sites down but while still had a record he sent me emails demanding I remove his name as it was all a lie. I declined the opportunity and all his bluster came to nought. The posts are still online, his name is still there and it amuses me greatly that people leave comments on the post saying they are glad they found out through a search that he was/is a slimeball.
posted by episodic at 6:06 AM on October 14, 2011

Similar to episodic's above; I was going to suggest periodically posting a general announcement (once a day, once every other day, not too much) that just announces that "attention: [name of blog doing this] is stealing content from my own site, and I have complained to the authorities. If you are reading [name of blog doing this], be warned that the content is not originating with that site's creators." And then just keep doing it every other day or so, so he'll be stuck with those periodic announcements on his own site that he's stealing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:13 AM on October 14, 2011

If you care about Google rankings, the one thing you should worry about is whether or not Google is viewing your content or the scraped content first - Google hates duplicate content, and will only index the same content once.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:47 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback - as far as I can tell (e.g. several different searches), the original content shows up first. A DMCA complaint with Google scored a direct hit on one post. It's a little unnerving, though, and has caused me to consider whether I should letting anyone be copying posts for their websites and put their advertising on them.
posted by chrisinseoul at 7:18 AM on October 16, 2011

Response by poster: Clicking resolved on this one, thanks mainly to a WordPress plugin entitled RSS Footer. This lets you customize your RSS feed's footer with links to your homepage, the post, and anything else you like - they haven't stopped taking my feed, but they're now getting the short feed with plenty of backlinks to yours truly.
posted by chrisinseoul at 10:02 AM on November 16, 2011

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