By in Writing

YCN Writers We Have Had Our Content Scraped

I know quite a few people here used to write on YCN (Yahoo Contributor Network), and I found out yesterday that many of our articles from there have been scraped and republished onto 2 other sites.

The links have been removed from these articles, but it's easy to see from the titles and content that they are ours. Many of my fellow writers mentioned me in their articles, and my name shows up on these as well as on my own ones.

So what can we do about this?

Firstly, we need to find out what articles of ours are on these sites.

The sites are superitchy-dot-com and beefycow-dot-com - yes silly names, but that's what these cheaters do.

You can see what has been indexed on google by typing in search "site:{site name}". Each of these has over 160,000 pages indexed on Google! You can see the extent of the damage.

If you add a space then a keyword to this search (for example your name, YCN id, or a word like "honeymoon"), it will bring up all matching pages on their site. I found a poem I wrote for Father's Day in memory of my Dad, and also one I wrote about my honeymoon.

Secondly, we need to send a DMCA notice to Google.

A DMCS notice is a request to Google to take down a page(s). If we stress enough that there are many pages that are stolen, hopefully Google will pull the plug on the sites in total.

The link to report this is: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-dashboard

Thirdly, we need to take away their revenue.

The people who create these sites hope to earn a lot in a short time (before the sites are taken down) on Adsense.

I reported them last night, no ads are now showing. First blow to us :) Google take days (sometimes weeks) to remove content from their index, but the Adsense team seems to always work fast with violations.

To report Adsense violations, click on the icon to the left of the "X" at the top right of a Google Ad on an offending page, scroll to the bottom of the page that opens, and report the site for breaking the Adsense rules.

Fourthly, cross your fingers...

Hope that Google reacts properly and promptly to take these sites down, and also tell anyone else that you know whose contact has been stolen by them. The more people that report violations the better.

More Things You Ought To Know

Report a site to their host

If a site is unethical, it's often possible to get their hosting company to take it down. Sometimes the people that create these sites have dozens (or hundreds) of domains, and the content is all created by scripts, so it's no big deal for them if they lose a site. They can quickly register another one, and even move hosts.

However, if they have 50 domains on a hosting account and it's proved that a number of these are doing illegal/unethical things, a host will sometimes just take all sites down for that account. Ouch :)

To find the host for a web site, use this link: http://whois.domaintools.com/

Hosts usually have a link/email address where you can report abuse.

Finding A Copy Of Your YCN Pages To Prove Copyright

Unfortunately, all our YCN pages have now been taken down, so when you file a DMCA report with Google, you can't provide them with the original url.

However, you hopefully have taken a copy of your articles on your hard drive, so you should have the url and content.

There are sites that have cached backups of web pages going back years, and you can submit these to Google and prove that you had those articles published on YCN.

One such site is: http://web.archive.org/

Type in the url to your YCN article, and they will show you the cached copies from various dates. Pick the one you want, display the page, and then you can use that url to send to Google.

For example, one cached copy of my YCN Profile Page is: http://web.archive.org/web/20130310152955/http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/718627/tony_payne.html

This lists 200 of my 700 articles on YCN, so that page itself is like gold dust.

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I hope this helps, let's get these sites taken down.

You can also use this information to report other sites.

I don't guarantee that the information I provided here is 100% accurate or necessarily the best. If you find any errors, or feel you have better recommendations, please drop me a line or leave a comment and I will get this post updated.


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Comments

AliCanary wrote on October 7, 2014, 5:39 PM

This is maddening! I am so glad that you have let us know, not only that it happened, but what we can do about it. Thanks so much for reporting these scoundrels.

paigea wrote on October 7, 2014, 5:39 PM

Wow, these plagiarizers are rampant in the internet. That is great to have let people know!

Feisty56 wrote on October 7, 2014, 6:28 PM

I'll do my best to spread this post far and wide. It is tiresome and perverse what the cheaters are able to get away with, but thanks to your information former YCN writers are empowered to strike back.

MegL wrote on October 7, 2014, 6:35 PM

It's so annoying to find someone stealing your work! I hope you get them shut down.

bestwriter wrote on October 7, 2014, 9:12 PM

I am not a participant. But surely there has to be some restraint put on these guys.

LoudMan wrote on October 8, 2014, 7:17 AM

Whoo-boy. Well, I'll make sure and share this with whoever I can, who might listen.

poddys wrote on October 8, 2014, 2:25 PM

My pleasure to try and help, I just hope Google does something about it.
The Adsense division usually respond promptly to abuse reporting, but when it comes to getting sites removed from Google's index, they often seem both slow and reluctant to do what is right and necessary unfortunately.
Still, the more of us that report our content and show our displeasure, the better our chances.

poddys wrote on October 8, 2014, 2:26 PM

A fellow writer let some of us know, and I am just passing the word on.
Some people know how to report plagiarism, in face it's almost become automatic for them because they have been scraped so often, but most of us only do it rarely, or have never done it, so it can be a bit daunting.
I hope we have a good result here.

poddys wrote on October 8, 2014, 2:27 PM

Thanks. The more of us that know and that report this the better.

poddys wrote on October 8, 2014, 2:27 PM

I hope so too Meg, thanks.

poddys wrote on October 8, 2014, 2:31 PM

Well, unfortunately Google doesn't always react as well as we would like and remove their sites completely from their index. Why? I don't know, since they are supposed to be trying to rank quality sites highest.

Hosting companies sometimes react when sites hosted with them are doing dubious things, but quite often they just ask you to contact the site owner.

What good does it do to contact a site owner who frankly doesn't give a damn and will laugh in your face!

So unless Google and the hosts don't act, we are fairly powerless. The best power we have in this case is that there are hundreds of us who have had our content scraped.

Actually, I just thought that I need to look on Yahoo. It was our content on there in the first place. Whether they would do anything I don't know.

poddys wrote on October 8, 2014, 2:32 PM

Thanks. You never know what might work. We really need some way of getting sites like this rendered worthless and quickly when they are found.

AliCanary wrote on October 8, 2014, 5:57 PM

Yeah, one of my pieces got ripped off by someone on Blogger, and I was confident that Google would whack it because I have an AdSense account and am also on Blogger. Unfortunately, it seems that they just warned the woman, who rewrote it a bit, but not enough to keep from making it REALLY obvious that it was still stolen from me. I complained again, and they said they weren't going to do anything further and I could pursue it myself, if I wanted to. That's not cool.

In the past when I have found my content was stolen by someone using Blogger, one complaint and they would remove not just the content, but the entire blog. I don't know why this case was different, but it made me pretty mad. I did check out these two sites, and there aren't any ads at all, so at least their revenue has been pulled. I even saw a piece called "A Poem for AC", so it's pretty obvious that they just pulled everything with no thought to it.

bestwriter wrote on October 8, 2014, 7:17 PM

This is disturbing news really. Bubblews is another good example. Scores of posts copied from elsewhere. And nothing is done about it.

poddys wrote on October 9, 2014, 3:21 AM

It seems to me the best solution, since Google won't always act on Blogger or Search violations, is to go for the jugular - Adsense! That side of Google always seems to respond fast, and they seem to act on all reports of Adsense violations.

poddys wrote on October 9, 2014, 3:23 AM

It is actually surprising that Adsense is still intact here, but maybe Google also take into account the age of the site etc.

bestwriter wrote on October 9, 2014, 3:29 AM

I did not know persona is still qualified.

poddys wrote on October 9, 2014, 11:24 AM

Sadly it's not, which is bizarre. I was referring to Bubblews... amazing they still have it, but I guess it brings Google in revenue, although you might hope that quality clicks would lead advertisers to spend more.

BarbRad wrote on October 9, 2014, 7:48 PM

Thanks for putting together this information, Tony. It is very useful. I'm going to pass on the link.

poddys wrote on October 10, 2014, 3:29 AM

Thanks Barb. I hope it does some good.

I had a reply from Yahoo overnight regarding one of the sites, so hopefully they will take action as it is content that was theirs. Still waiting to hear from Google or to see anything change.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 11, 2014, 9:47 PM

Thanks for the heads-up, Tony! I checked both sites through Google and didn't find any of my content there. But it's always good to know about cases like these.

poddys wrote on October 12, 2014, 3:57 AM

Very true. Most times my content hasn't been scraped, but this time these sites seem to have gathered a huge number of pages. Still no action from Google gggrrrrhhh...

poddys wrote on October 20, 2014, 1:57 AM

I DON'T F'ING BELIEVE IT!!! Not only has Google not taken action to remove this site from it's index, they have given it Adsense back! What an f'ing shambles Google is (excuse my French...).

Just reported them again to Adsense. Now I have to go through and do it all again and report all of my pages on there one by one.

So instead of writing new material, I have to spend hours protecting my old material.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on October 23, 2014, 4:45 PM

I had never thought about reporting to Adsense. Thanks for the tip.

HappyLady wrote on December 1, 2014, 2:07 PM

I think having content reused like this is one of the biggest fears of any online writer. I did not write for YCN, but the information you give is helpful for any such event.

scheng1 wrote on December 7, 2014, 8:48 AM

It's a bit late for DMCA since YCN site is no longer around, and you cannot prove that you are the original writer.

crowntower wrote on December 10, 2014, 1:12 AM

While our heads are being bloody bleed in here to write and to earn they just copy and earn quickly. ANyway with so much prayer I know God will discipline them. Thank you for the warning and thank you for taking action. God bless the works of your hands.

crowntower wrote on December 10, 2014, 1:14 AM

Ooops! I forgot to tag my comment in here I'll tag the it is great to come across your page, I have learn something that is really alarming, thank you again for taking action in behalf of PERSONA.

WordChazer wrote on December 26, 2014, 11:32 AM

Good luck with this! Makes me very glad that I didn't write for YCN, as I know many people who have been inconvenienced by this lunacy. It's about time the big boys stepped in and made alogorithms to do the job of taking down every spam site on sight.