Tuesday, December 05, 2006

UPDATE: Content Theft!

Okay, the issue of illegal mirroring has been sorted out. Here's how:

  • On discovering the illegal mirroring of my wordpress blog at byindia, I wrote an email to both byindia and web2corp, a US based company that recently bought byindia.

  • Within a couple of hours, I received an email from no less than the CEO of web2corp, expressing his concern and desire to fix the problem.

  • I pointed out the mirrors to my site, as well as the mirrors of bothack, my treasure and ekawaaz - bloggers like me who faced the same problem.

  • Within an hour of my second email, the offending mirrors disappeared and I got another email from web2corp saying they'd identified the problem, and I quote - "a script, a webbot spyder, that in fact was attempting to scan content of bloggers and create accounts in ByIndia. That is also the reason it was so canned looking (ie. carlin, cala, cais, etc.) and why they were new blogs in ByIndia. The only possible reason here is sabotage assuming that bloggers such as yourself would be angered by the activity and bash ByIndia verbally. We have immediately patched the platform to reject such auto-posting. ByIndia's blogs are not new, as they were established in early 2005 and have always been the most popular aspect of the product before our involvement just a few months ago." He goes on to add that he will hope me and other Indian bloggers will visit ByIndia as they're proud of the products and hope it wil become a destination they will be proud of in years to come.

Okay, so we give them the benefit of the doubt - that they did not realise this script was running amok in their system. let's say we'll believe the sabotage theory that some external force (competitors) managed to slip this into their system to anger us bloggers. And let's just appreciate the fact that they responded so quickly and efficiently to fix the problem - and leave it at that.

Though I would double-check every new and existing blog on ByIndia (which incidently I hadn't even heard of until yesterday!) to see if it isn't a Mili Vanili!

So back to my role as Noshtradamus (the real one), let me sum up the learnings here:

  • It's very easy in this day and age for content to get ripped off, so you got to keep your eyes and ears open - also enlist the help of online support/protection groups such as Creative Commons

  • Do a web/blog search on your own subjects every now and then to scan for plagiarism and as I discovered - blatant rip offs!

  • If you have a problem, spread the news, and you'll more often than not discover you aren't the only victim - get together and act!

  • Always contact the offending party immediately and give them the first chance to explain. If they're multinational, or companies based in the US or Western Europe, they will most likely be quick to respond and sensitive to your angst - hence they will do something to help you out (unless they're shady bastards who had done it deliberately).

  • And finally, if you're investing in some company operating half way across the world - do your homework well. Because if you don't do due dilligence, you could just end up acquiring a lot of crap! That's common sense, isn't it?!

Now I can get back to my regular posts, and try to recover the time lost in clearing this mess!



Jonathan Bailey said...

I'm glad that the issue was resolved. I was going to leave a comment to your original post this morning (I didn't get time to do so last night) but it seems that I've been beaten to the punch.

As far as calling this sabotage, it is clear that the people running Byindia are not familiar with the problem.

First, ever free blog service has this problem including Blogger, MSN Spaces and Yahoo 360. The goal isn't "sabotage" but to achieve a higher search engine ranking and generate either ad revenue or search engine credibility for another site.

The problem is that Byindia, like most sites, has inadequate security protections to prevent scripts and bots from posting to their site. Easily broken captchas, simple to abuse APIs and lack of security are all signs of the problem.

This site and this company should have expected this problem from day one, instead of addressing it, all blogger suffer as a result.

Sad, but true.

Anyway, congrats on getting the issue resolved. Please let me know if there is anything in the future that I can do to help!

Idle Thoughts said...

well now it is pretty easy to figure out whether someone is stealing your blog/site's content.

just go to copyscape.com and type in your blog url.

the search engine immeduately seeks out sites with similar content.

noshtradamus said...

Hey, thanks Jonathan! While I've been in the blogosphere for a while, I've never really got a grip on all the scripts, bots and capchas doing the rounds :(

What you're saying enlightens me - and I hope more people read this, especially 'free blog service providers'.

Will keep in touch!

noshtradamus said...

looks like idle thoughts isn't really idle :).

Thanks for the interest, and link to copyscape - it's real cool.

ps. we seem to be in the same business/ecosystem in delhi... have we met..?

jeez! I know who it is! welcome to the blogosphere, buddy. been wondering when you'd show up :)

Idle Thoughts said...

thanks for the welcome.

though i am no way as frequent a visitor to blogosphere as you are.

Manisha said...

It's not resolved! I found copies of my blog and a bunch of others on byIndia. I got the same email from William Mobley. If they knew on Dec 5, why is the copied content still there?