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  1. #1
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    Help with site stealer
    Just noticed that one site has completely stolen one of our of pages. They even left the original tags and are still pulling images and our .css file. I originally thought about displaying a message in the images but was wondering if we can use some script to run as .gif or .css so that the page redirects somehwere else.

    Hate to have our content taken without permission and be ignored when C&D emails have been sent to them and their web host. Darn off-shore companies.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member RWorld's Avatar
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    If you're running apache, just block their IP address using a .htaccess directive and be done with it (google for "IP blocking with htaccess").
    This can also be done at the server firewall level if you have root access and know how.
    <font size="1"><strong>[URL=http://www.thechesszone.com]TheChessZone[/URL]</strong> Chess sets and supplies.<br><strong>[URL=http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=9515]Join our affiliate program[/URL]</strong> Up to 12% commission!

  3. #3
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    Before I mess around with blocking IP's, I think this would only prevent our images to be served on their end correct? What they have done is copy our HTML word for word ANd is serving our images. Is blocking their IP the proper thing to do here?

  4. #4
    Animal Lover
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    This place has some suggestions

    http: // underscorebleach.net/jotsheet/2004/11/stop-image-hotlinking-tutorial-htaccess-apache

    I quite like the idea of having the redirect to the image with the text below saying 'This image is from MYSITE. Feel free to visit <a href='mysiteurl'>SITEANCHORTEXT</a>'

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  5. #5
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    What they have done is copy our HTML word for word
    Other things you can do to nuke 'em include filing a DMCA complaint with Google and the other engines. If they get banned, you and the thief may be the only ones who see that site (DMCA any PPC engines they try to run on, too.)

    They even left the original tags and are still pulling images and our .css file.
    You've still got control of the .css! *rubs hands together*

    (Disclaimer: If you want to use the DMCA method, you should leave it showing as an exact copy, so when Google investigates, they can clearly see that it's a ripoff version.)

    But, when I read that you've still got control of the .css, what I thought was "MAYHEM TIME!" I'm sure you could use the same kind of .htaccess redirect for a .css as for images. So, you can make 'em a "special" .css that only gets served to their version and...

    Switch the .css for one that gives 'em a "super kickass designs" (way ugly!) version!
    Or
    Make "their" .css turn all the type on their site into Font Size 0px, and all the images into 1x1 px dots, so it looks like there's nothing there!
    Or
    have "their" .css pull up a background image that says "stolen page stolen page stolen page (etc.)!"
    Or
    Whatever you can dream up! With the css on your side, that page is in your hands...

    (There should be some kind of security thing you can do to keep the thief from zooming over and ripping off your real .css file

    Also you can switch the images on 'im, too (with the regular image redirect), just for good measure.

  6. #6
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I love it when Leader gets vindictive....
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  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Other things you can do to nuke 'em include filing a DMCA complaint with Google and the other engines. If they get banned, you and the thief may be the only ones who see that site (DMCA any PPC engines they try to run on, too.)
    Also send a DMCA or letter to their hosting service. If they are affiliates, contact their merchants. Last, send the copier a very simple statement about who has been notified and kindly ask that they remove the copied material. Worked for me last year and their site was removed within 24 hours.
    ~Ernie

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    If they are affiliates, contact their merchants
    Oh yeah! How could I forget that?

    It should be Step One

  9. #9
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Hi,

    You didn't say where the site was hosted - if it's hosted in the US then you can send a DMCA complaint to the host (regardless of your nationality or the nationality of the copier). That should get the site taken down by the host.

    To remove it from the Google index, you can send another kind of DMCA complaint to Google. That (usually) works regardless of where everyone else is.

    If the site is hosted outside the US, then most countries will take a site down if you can show that there's a copyright violation.

    In my opinion, when dealing with a MAJOR case of copying, you should just serve a DMCA complaint or equivalent directly to the host. Don't bother contacting the copier for a major violation because they are unlikely to care.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  10. #10
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies everyone. Have been doing lots of reading and testing the mod-rewrite but have no luck so far. Other mod_rewrites work but the image redirect kills all images even when pulled from our own website. We just moved to a new serevr so not sure if some configuration is required to make this work.

    As for the copier website, it is out of the US. It's in another language so I have no idea what their business is about. I think they are a translation company and have stoeln one of our pages and inserted their copy on top on our content. Looks like they are their own web host so not sure if complaining to the web host can resolve this.

    Maybe I am not looking in the right place but can anyone share specific details as to how and where to look for contact info that is going to help in the scenario?

    I haven't altered the CSS yet as I would like our content pulled and altering the CSS may hinder this process. Not sure why the htaccess image redirect doesn't work either. This is driving me nuts.

  11. #11
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    I copied the basic layout of someone's site awhile back and forgot to cut a small iframe from the template I made from it. I went all out to make the page completely different. The person I templated it from was not flattered. Well the guy later put a web virus in the frame...it was only like 1x1 pixel so i did not notice it....

    The site dropped like a fly before i caught wind of it....You live and learn.

    Maybe you can insert code like that in to your page and if they cut and paste from you, at a later point you can puck with them?

    Personally I dont care if people take stuff from me as long as it is not too over the top.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager rhkocatas's Avatar
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    Another motive...

    We had a number of affiliate come in with great looking sites awhile back. At first we thought that we had simply had a good stroke of luck with recruiting.

    Then the reality....

    The applicants had stolen sites in full from high quality legit affiliates in an effort to get past our screening process. (I guess they figured that we would no longer believe that Expedia.com wanted to be our affiliate and we could reach them at expedia@hotmail.com).

    As soon as they were in the fraud came on strong.

    The Moral: You may want to contact your merchants and let them know that you are not affiliated with the rip off site in the event they try to apply to "your" programs.
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  13. #13
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    Maybe we should try to solve the site copying problem and find a good lawyer who can send affordable warnings. Something like a form on the laywer site, with a link to the original content and one to the stolen content and a $25,- PayPal link.

    Maybe this is a good procedure:

    Step1: Ask the copier if he would like to remove the copies. Tell him something like you have spend a lot of time on this content and you don't apriciate it. Nice and friendly. No response or no result > Step 2.

    Step2: A less nice final warning because he doesn't remove. Tell him your next step will be informing his ISP / Host / Search engines / Laywer. No response or no result > Step 3.

    Step3: Contact ISP / Host / Search engines. "Our" laywer will send a message with a possible lawsuit. No response or no result : You have to decide if you want to go to court on this.

    I think this is a way to put maximum pressure on the site copier.

  14. #14
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Well, since the DMCA came into force, all you need to do is send a properly worded DMCA complaint to the host and they are obliged to take it down. The DMCA complaint is a legally sworn statement.

    I have a much shorter series of steps for sites hosted in the US:

    1) If it's a minor infringement, inform the copier ONCE in a carefully worded email or registered letter.
    2) File a DMCA complaint with the web host, if the copier doesn't change the site.
    3) File a DMCA complaint with Google if the host doesn't take down the site.

    Sending the takedown notice to the copier by registered letter (i.e. something they have to sign for) usually makes an impact with the recipient. The last time I did this, the copier's site was completely changed within a couple of hours of receipt.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  15. #15
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies, they got me thinking again.

    The site is not in the US or Canada so will the DMCA be effective? Not exactly sure the details of a DMCA. Can someone send a link to page with some DMCA filing protocols. Would love to read more on this subject.

    The site copier is not an affiliate and is not in the US. Not even sure if a snail mail letter would work but it's still worth a try. Already contacted the web host but no reply. I think the company runs their own servers so the C&D would have simply gone to contact person for setting up the server. In this case, it's probably an employee of the company. I would have to contact their ISP who rents them their lines. Not sure if the ISP's care here.

    Again. What a pain to have to deal with unethical companies.

  16. #16
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    No, it doesn't matter if the DMCA complaint is for a foreign country. Someone from India once copied my HTML learning site and since I got no love from their hosting company, I filed a DMCA with Google. They took care of it within a couple weeks, if I remember correctly.

  17. #17
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    Yeah, I'd say if there's a way to leverage google in the equation, it might scare him a little more. I'm not sure how you could go about that, though.

  18. #18
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    I was just about to create a new post, and saw this recent topic!

    Imagine MY surprise when I saw my entire front page (which contains a LOT of original content) on someone else's "fabulous" site. I just had my legal "team" (friend) send a "remove immediately" email, and will monitor this closely. I also sent a note to one of my affiliates as they had copied their storefront, images and all. Luckily, and thanks to this same forum, my links are all cloaked.. so their site is adding to my clicks (not really the point, I don't work my a** off for someone else to take credit!).

    I guess my question was going to be: do you guys see this often..? I've been told imitation is a form of flattery, but in this case it's really just theft of hard work!

    .. and thanks for letting me vent here.

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    How did you find out that they had stolen your site? Is it possible to find out through a google search?

  20. #20
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    plugging rather unique wording from your site into a search engine might work OK, but does anyone remember the url of the site that helps find this problem?

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    you mean copyscape ?

  22. #22
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Just something to think about here, What if they sent a dmca to google claiming that you are the site copier. They could get your site banned.

    Just a thought.
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  23. #23
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyfalcon
    Just something to think about here, What if they sent a dmca to google claiming that you are the site copier. They could get your site banned.

    Just a thought.
    Could you prove who was there first via Wayback Machine?
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  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Copyscape does work pretty well. I've used it a couple times in the past to do a little checking..http://www.copyscape.com/
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  25. #25
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I use the Copysentry service (part of Copyscape) to check pages automatically.

    As for the DMCA complaint, it's an affidavit made under penalty of perjury. Therefore, making a false DMCA complaint is effectively a criminal act. Also, the person making the DMCA complaint has to identify themselves by name and address.. most site copiers wouldn't want to do that.

    This is why DMCA complaints have to be worded in a particular way.. and why you should research them carefully before filing them!
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

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