Blog scraping can be defined by the act of copying content from one blog and passing it off as your own. What truly defines scraping is copying the content exactly. As long as you are using your own words to detail facts, the act frees you from copyright infringement. This is aside from the fact that search engines such as Google are working diligently to remove “scraped” content from appearing high in search rankings. What labels one as a blog scraper?
1. Copy and Paste – Previously, a scraper would essentially copy content from a website and paste it into his or her own. This would allow the website developer to create a mass amount of data in a very short amount of time propelling the site higher in search rankings. Blogs were not the only sites that were copied in this fashion. Have you ever noticed how many forums have developed the same comment stream? This happened from scrapers trying to develop a meaningful site of useful information in the hopes to grow revenue from ad placements.
2. Defending the Content – Although some would rather to elect to do nothing about their content being “stolen” in this fashion, others have taken steps to enact lawsuits and disparage additional scraping in the future. Since search engines are penalizing sites that are scraping the content through various algorithms, this act may become obsolete in the near future. Between immediate measures that can be taken by the author, security applications implemented on websites, and the active role search engines are taking, scraping could be as outdated as keyword stuffing content.
3. Collection of Facts – When you pull information from other websites in order to write your own blog post, it’s not exactly the same thing as scraping. Instead of copying the content verbatim, you are wrapping the facts around your own choice of words and style of writing. While some may view it as a grey area for content, it’s a practice that has been in existence since humankind first put words to thought.
4. Factual is Not Copying – When you write an article regarding any bit of information you like, the facts remain a constant. For instance, making a list of foods that are high in protein will always include those that fit the description. Whether you pulled this information from the Internet or a book, the facts remain the same. This is not the same as scraping for information in the traditional sense. If you copied the entire post from someone’s blog and pasted it into your own, that would be plagiarism as you did not develop the content yourself.
5. Millions and Millions of Blogs Can’t Be Wrong – As time progresses, many try to develop unique content that can attract visitors. This is getting more difficult as one blog is developed every half of a second. Eventually, blogs will begin to read the same although each one had been developed individually. There is only so many combinations of words in order to describe a topic. Even the popular Copyscape isn’t infallible as it may trigger content that is legitimately created as being copied from another source. However, adaptations are being developed in order to display a percentage of the content that has been “copied.”
6. Methods to reduce the scrapers from gaining content have included: disabling the right-click or copy command on a website through HTML code, truncating blog content, and disabling specific IP address through the HTACCESS file of a website. Unfortunately, the technology that protects our information remains in constant challenge by those who have nothing better to do with their time. Every day, methods to obtain that which is hidden are constantly being developed in order to circumvent security measures. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop blogging. It is just a nature of the Internet that you need to accept. All you can really do is take measures to ensure your data is protected and hope for the best.
As long as you’re not copying content straight from a website, you shouldn’t worry about being labeled as a scraper. Collecting information from other blogs in order to fuel your own is no different than reading through books and writing your own content from facts. Knowledge is constantly passed down from one individual to another whether it is by choice or not. Remember to keep your words your own and base your post around the facts of a topic.
Ken Myers is the founder of Longhorn Leads & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.