What to do if someone nicks your blog content

Blogs and their ability to syndicate out content are a double-edged sword.

On the one hand it means your blog can be shown on other sites and get to a bigger audience. For example, excerpts from this blog and many others are also shown on Affiliates4U and some other sites, and I get plenty of interested visitors as a result.

However, some  sites will happily scrape your entire blog and claim credit for it themselves.

Here are a couple of things you can do to help yourself out and make sure you benefit from as much traffic as possible.

1) Only show excerpts from your feed.

This will make it a little harder for  anyone to scrape the entire article, or even your entire blog.

If you are using wordpress, go to Options > Reading in your admin panel and you’ll find an option to show eitehr the full article, or just an excerpt in your feed.

This will make it harder for people to read your whole blog posts in their feed readers so check your stats to see if this might affect your reader numbers.

2) Use the RSS Footer from Joost de Valk. This creates links back to your blog from the RSS feed so at least you get some link love back from the creeps.

3) This is my favourite one

Put the following in your .htaccess file that you’ll find in the root folder where you installed wordpress.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?yourdomain.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule \.(gif|jpg)$ http://www.yourdomain.com/replace.jpg [R,L]

What this will do is replace all your images with one called replace.jpg which you can have a lot of fun with. I tend to do this on a case by case basis to screw up people who are using my bandwidth to serve images without permission. A big banner with ‘stolen from stephenpratley.com‘ works nicely.

You can often spot people doing this from the  Incoming Links section on your WordPress Dashboard

Remember though that  spreading your content round the web is what makes blogs so useful as a marketing and communications tool, just make sure you’re the one getting the credit for your hard work.