Scraping Out A Living On The Web, Literally

Move this pile, and then move it backI find it interesting that there are people on the net who literally scrape out a living day to day. I guess that’s what you’d say about those individuals who seem to think the only way to earn money on the web is to copy other people’s content. I just can’t get my mind around that kind of thinking, at least not in today’s era of more algorithmically (yes, that is a real word) advanced search engines.

I was alerted by a commentator yesterday about my post on the Moped niche where a scraper site ranked at the number one spot for a couple of search terms I suggested people look at. However, as I checked this morning, they are no where to be found. The weird thing about this particular scraper site in question is that it isn’t monetized in any way. No Google ads, banners, affiliate links or anything are on this site, yet it consistently outranks me for several of my keywords for a short time and then it’s off into obscurity again. Most splogs like this are monetized in some way, this one is the exception to the rule.

I also see big name bloggers getting scraped on a much more frequent basis. I’ve written a few guest posts for John Chow and won a couple of contests on his blog and every time I get a link from him, in my WordPress dashboard I see links coming at me from probably 10 scraper blogs before I see the links show up from John. It’s amazing that there are that many people who can’t, or won’t, do something original.

I saw a similar thing in an online forum where someone asked for a review of their financial blog and allthough it wasn’t a scraper site, the person had copied every bit of content from financial news and information sites. Every snippet of content I checked by copying and pasting it into Google was from another web site and this person had 20 or 30 posts already. What did they think they were doing and where did they get the idea they could make money long term with a blog built this way?

One of the cruelest things the Nazi’s did to prisoners during WWII, besides the heinous experiments they did on them, was in giving them meaningless work. Nazi guards would one day have prisoners move a huge pile of bricks across a 100 yard field, only to have them move the pile back the next day and and repeat that action again for several days. Or prisoners would be told dig a deep trench only to be told the next day to bury it and again the next day to dig the trench in the exact same spot. Madness soon set in for the captives.

I’m beginning to wonder how far behind the captives these scrapers are. There’s really no end to the work if you think your going to scrape your way to the top. You’ll never get there.

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9 Responses to “Scraping Out A Living On The Web, Literally”

  1. I guess there will always be people who won’t put the work in while at the same time expect to get big results. It’s human nature, I think. Luckily, most of the time they don’t get the payoff they were looking for.

    I always wonder if these people would put 1/2 the effort into creating original content as they do figuring out how to scrape everyone elses they would probably be successful.

    I’ve had scrapers take content from my very little name blog. I guess I should be flattered because they think it is good enough to steal :-)

  2. I couldn’t agree more. I see it alot in the BANS site brigade too. Too many people thinking they can make a quick buck without putting any effort in, they slap up their BANS site, don’t put any effort into their design then copy someone else’s text. You then see them moaning on the BANS forums because they haven’t made anything after 2 weeks.


    (Great blog by the way)

  3. I’ve heard that there are E-books and software packages that actually push the idea of scraper blogs as a viable business. Naturally, this ticks off the freelance writers and bloggers that I know. I’ve been having good luck with a few plug ins that I installed to prevent scraping.

    Funny story: I wrote a review of the cd Jungle of the Midwest Sea (by a Christian Celtic punk band in Chicago). The title song is about the meat packing industry scandal. A travel blog scraped it. There it was, just sitting among pictures of palm trees and ads for cruises. Cracked me up. 😀

  4. I don’t understand how they can be smart enough to figure out automated scraping, and not smart enough to make money without stealing. It’s mind-boggling.

  5. I wish I knew more about how close or not close content needs to be in order for search engines to see if it is duplicate content or not.

  6. Just reading a post from a blog I am following and his post was about how he was dropping his entrecard on a blog and noticed it was his material. Something like doing a report in my old high school days and copying straight from an encyclopedia. In the oral presentation
    I couldn’t even pronounce some of the words…

  7. Copyscape is helpful for catching thieves too.

  8. On the other hand, how about a site such as Fark … taking what is already our there and reporting it in a uniquely original way ( with proper credit). I’ve wondered how such sites have developed such great followings.

  9. Copying one site content is a crime, that was stealing sites privacy.

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