Here’s a simple truth. Virtually everything that I write online about cars gets ripped off. Whether I publish it here, at Cars In Depth, over at The Truth About Cars, or Left Lane News, I can go to sleep at night safe in the knowledge that I’m getting ripped off by other websites, usually single topic content aggregators. When the site operators are nice, they just excerpt the first paragraph and link back to the originating site. While that’s still a copyright violation (it’s not “fair use” because the excerpt isn’t used for the purpose of commentary or criticism), at least the original publisher gets some traffic out of the situation. Other site operators just go ahead and steal the entire post.
Take just about any post on TTAC, select and copy a complete sentence, drop that phrase in Google and you’ll probably find a plethora of purloining publishers. This site copied Steve Lang’s post about repossessing cars verbatim. Another site, Edwards420.com, does nothing but publish content from TTAC, probably from their RSS feed.
It’s so commonplace that my fellow writers, editors and I have a ho hum attitude about it because there really isn’t much that we can do. In a recursive irony, even this very post will get copied. The bots that the content thieves use don’t quite understand irony.
Unfortunately, the only reason this can go on is because of Google and their AdSense and AdChoice programs. Were it not for Google paying those sites for the ads that Google AdSense runs on those sites, they wouldn’t have a reason to exist and rip us off. AdSense specifically is based on site content, and those sites’ content is stolen. Google doesn’t care.