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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Scranton Blogs: Content thief?

We're always on the search for local bloggers to link to from NEPA Blogs.  There are lots of blogs out there, and new ones getting started all the time.  One of the ideas behind NEPA Blogs is that if we create the right degree of linkability - many blogs linking to a central blog which links back to all of the other blogs - everyone will benefit.  The little blogs will benefit from being linked to by a site that is linked to by the big blogs, and the big blogs will benefit from being linked to by a site that is linked to by lots of little sites.

The structure of NEPA Blogs is designed to encourage posting activity.  The most recently updated blogs appear at the top of the sidebar, if those blogs are equipped with an RSS or Atom feed.  The more often you post, the more often you will be at the top of the sidebar, and the more easily readers will find your site.

We find blogs in all sorts of ways:  People can send them in, or we can come across them accidentally, or find them on another NEPA Blogger's blogroll.  Sometimes we go out and do brute-force searches on terms like "nepa blogger" or "wilkes-barre blogs" or "scranton blogs."

One of those last returned a hit for scrantonblogs.com.  It advertises itself as "A Blogging Network For Scranton Bloggers!"  Great, I thought, someone else is doing the same thing.  I'll just link to them and...

The content on Scranton Blogs looked a little familiar.  Very familiar.  Heck, I had written a lot of it.  And so had NEPA Mom, and Mark Cour, and Stephen Albert, and Andy Palumbo, and...

It was pretty unnerving to open up someone else's blog and see my own work looking back at me.  And it's not like someone was saying, "Oh, here's an interesting post from anothermonkey.blogspot.com." If it weren't for the fact that I had coded in a slug at the end of my posts during an aborted attempt to set up reposts to Facebook, no one would have known that I wasn't a blogger writing for a site called Scranton Blogs.

So who is responsible for this?

Heh, that's the fun part.  There's no "About Us" for Scranton Blogs.  There is, however, a little note at the very bottom that says "Copyright for all content is attributed to the original author, and their respective websites."  Not that they go out of their way to point to the original authors or their respective websites.  Clicking on my name points to http://scrantonblogs.com/members/d-b-echo/ - making me look like I'm a "member" of Scranton Blogs who writes for them.  (I am not, and I do not.)  Clicking on the post title for my most recent post points to http://scrantonblogs.com/2011/05/10/weekend-update/, rather than to http://anothermonkey.blogspot.com/2011/05/weekend-update.html.  So the copyright thing at the bottom is just lip service.

Fortunately, a whois search turned up some answers:

Registrant:
Artz Group Inc.


515 Center St.
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503
United States


Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: SCRANTONBLOGS.COM
Created on: 13-May-09
Expires on: 13-May-12
Last Updated on: 30-Apr-11


Administrative Contact:
Group, Artz dns@artzgroupinc.com
Artz Group Inc.
515 Center St.
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503
United States
+1.5702908301


Technical Contact:
Group, Artz dns@artzgroupinc.com
Artz Group Inc.
515 Center St.
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503
United States
+1.5702908301


Domain servers in listed order:
NS2.BIOMEGATECH-HOSTING.COM
NS1.BIOMEGATECH-HOSTING.COM


Registry Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Registry Status: clientRenewProhibited
Registry Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Status: clientUpdateProhibited


I think I'll have a word with them. Though those email addresses don't look very functional.

In the meantime, I'll cross-post this on NEPA Blogs and Another Monkey.  And if this works the way I think it does, this post will automatically be displayed on the Scranton Blogs site as well.  Let this be their top story for a while.

UPDATE, 5/12/2011:
Now my posts aren't displayed there anymore, but the other bloggers' posts are. I've already let several of the other content theft victims know, and I can just work through the rest of the list.

The proper thing to do, if the person running Scranton Blogs wanted to do something like this, would be:


- Post excerpts from blog posts, rather than repost the whole things
- Include links to the original posts, both as a title and a "Read the rest here..."
- Give full attribution to the bloggers and blogs from which these posts are being taken
- Remove any language or architecture that gives the impression that the blog authors are actually working for Scranton Blogs


Not that it should be necessary for anyone to explain all that to this person. But apparently he still doesn't get it.

2 comments:

hedera said...

The email addresses are perfectly functional: dns@artzgroupinc.com is a valid email address. What's incorrect is the "friendly name", Group, Arz. That should be in double quotes, and the actual email address should be in angle brackets. However, you should be able to send email to dns@artzgroupinc.com. Whether it would bounce or not is another question.

Harvey44 said...

Looks like you got em shut down. Nice work.