29 June 2010

A blog called "Cake Today" is stealing my content

I noticed this some time ago when a post I wrote showed up at this other blog - horribly mistranslated.  It seemed as though it had gone through two or more translators finally ending up back in fractured English.

I posted a comment on the blog asking what was happening.  I received no reply, and I see now that my comment wasn't even posted there.

Virtually everything I post is showing up there, and instead of a link it has a "read more" link that goes to Amazon cake sales page.  The amazing thing is how fast it happens - just minutes after I posted the "Mail Train" item below it was on "Cake Today" with the mangled text.  So it's a bot rather than a human that's processing the posts.

It doesn't "hurt" me in any financial sense, but it pisses me off.  What do I do?


  1. well, since it's a blogger site, you could always attempt to report them. go here...


  2. When I clicked through the Blogger help section re piracy, I wound up seeing this:

    Is a Blogger user copying your content? Please note that Blogger is not in a position to arbitrate issues regarding ownership of content; however, Blogger does comply with the United States Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). For more information on how to file a DMCA complaint with Blogger, please click here.

    -- which then goes to a complex form and filing process.

    For the moment I'm going to start by making people aware that this rogue site exists. I know it's stealing from others, and I tracked down another victim and notified him. There must be hundreds more.

  3. Since you don't administer the server on which your blog runs you don't have much technical recourse.

    If you did you could attempt to determine what IP they were using to grab your content and refuse connections from it.

    They may be using your rss feed to check for updates. You could move or delete your rss files (not sure if that is possible in blogger's interface) but if you did you would seriously inconvenience users like myself who view the site through Google Reader.

  4. Post something on par with an "Aristocrat" Joke, but make it white-on-white 0 point font. They will bot grab the text but reformat it.

    Or is scatology makes you blanche then at least put text that would hure cake sales. Perhaps something about insect parts baked into cakes sold on that site. It could even be true.

  5. Adjust your template and feeds to inject the requesting IP near the top of an article and see if you can hunt down the specific IP pulling your content.

    Once you do, take advantage of the fact that you now have the ability to publish to their site, serve up custom content written just for them.

    The specific content you choose to cause them to re-publish could vary depending on your sense of humour and your ethical limits.

  6. I've experienced this before. Report it to Google. They'll probably delete just the "offending" blog posts (which, yes, is all of them). By the 2nd or 3rd report (each time asking them to delete the blog entirely), they'll probably just delete it. At least, this is what happened to me.

  7. This, however, is just brilliant: http://cake-today.blogspot.com/2010/06/blog-called-today-is-stealing-my.html

  8. These 'blog' sites are popping up all over; I first started seeing them about a year ago. Their goal is ad redirects, and the owner's only desire is to get you to think it's a legit site when they do a search. You click, thinking it may have just the LCD TV review you want, then you see it's nonsense text...but...it has such an interesting looking ad for TVs you decide to click it. And they make money. Adjectives fail me.

  9. crs - that did work out nicely, didn't it?

    I did think about posting twenty such items in ALLCAPS but it would despoil TYWK's own appearance, and I doubt that any human monitors that site anyway (or cares).

    But it might help alert other bloggers who check to see who is linking to them...

  10. Posting stupid stuff so they republish it is pointless because nobody is reading it. It's been re-translated to make it look like original content to search engines. Blogger ranks fairly high on Google, and it's purely there to create incoming links from what is perceived by Google's spider to be a blog.

    Report it. Google have a strong interest in making Blogger as free as possible from spam blogs and in making their search algorithm as free as possible from their interference. They'll fix it.

  11. I asked one of your fellow bloggers (Ed Kohler of The Deets) if he had any thoughts...

    "Sounds like a case of black-hat SEO where the 2nd site is leveraging original content to pick up some traffic. Since Google will generally only rank the primary version of content high in their search results, he's using a clever workaround that goes something like this:

    1. Subscribe to the RSS feed of Site A.
    2. Auto-translate each post as it comes in into a different language using something like Google Translate.
    3. Auto-translate it back into English (it's possible that they could do additional languages on the way back to English. It's not really any more work for them).
    4. Auto-post the "rewritten" posts to a new site with copy that's different enough to possibly be considered original, thus not filtered out for being duplicate.

    Since the content isn't really meant to be read (just draw traffic from search that can then leave through ads) it doesn't matter if it's particularly legible. Also, he could publish additional sites in additional languages. Again, not really any more work other than setting it up.

    It's pretty crafty, but still tweaks original content creators who hate seeing their work so easily poached.

    Since the scammer is using Blogger, Minnesotastan could contact them to explain the situation. They may be willing to shut it down, which may or may not get them to move on to scrapping different sites instead.

    Hope that helps.

    - Ed Kohler"

  12. They even reposted this post about them stealing your posts. It's like a weird MC Escher thing...

  13. Write a post about how Cake Today is will infect your computer, and that anyone reading articles on that webpage has already been infected with malware.

    See if it continues.

  14. I have reported it to blogger as a spam blog.
    If enough of your readers do this, perhaps blogger will look into it.

  15. even the image is stolen-- look at the swirl watermark!

  16. Reported. I hate this kind of abuse. Especially for what is, by and large, one of the more intelligent blogs on the net.

  17. I think you should post several things in a row such as "THIS IS DANGEROUS, VIRUS-SPREADING BLOG!"
    and then wait for the auto-bot to put in on their site, then delete it from you own...

  18. What should you do? My advice would be to to not worry about it. It's just like an internet echo. The people who care about your site are reading it here, so nothing is really lost.

  19. I had my first and so far only instance of stolen content just a week or so ago. I had written a satirical piece, and then discovered that a commenter called "bullit" on another site had taken my piece and re-phrased it as if it was a conversation between himself and a colleague.

    When I visited the other site to make my own comment comp-laining about this, I found I had to register and join as a member before I could comment. Didn't want to do this so at the moment there's nothing I can do.

    What amazes me most about this is the sheer brazen-ness of the thing. Would this guy walk up my drive and steal the plants?

    Very probably.

  20. I went to the site after crs and Tamara Rose posted the link and got this: "Leider wurde das Blog unter cake-today.blogspot.com entfernt." (Paraphrased: "this blog has been removed.")

  21. No more Cake Today, but I enlarged your screenshot, and found it hilarious!

    I find this a LOT in my job. I often check for originality by copying an entire sentence and pasting it into Google -usually when I suspected someone of copying text from Wikipedia, or when someone's English improves dramatically after the first paragraph, or sometimes when I just plain recognize the text. Only last week, someone submitted a familiar-sounding article to Neatorama, and I found that it was copied word for word from a story I had written three years earlier -for Neatorama! Lesson: don't submit a stolen story back to the site you stole it from. We got real laugh out of that one.

  22. Sucks dude. Glad to hear that the offending site has died a deserving death.

    I love reading your blog and frequently re-post your posts on my blog with links back to yours.

    Hope you don't mind. :)

    Red Dirt Nurse


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