Six Steps to Protect Your Blog
easy steps you can do today
I would like to invite you to sit for a moment or two over coffee and tea with me, I’m having coffee – girlfriend is tired. I would like to discuss with you a few quick and easy steps you can take to identify your intellectual property (IP)- your photos and your post text. I want to begin by acknowledging that for nearly three years, my blogging experience has been quite positive. The blogging community I have come to know is honorable, generous and folks I have come to consider friends. Many of you seek to create a spot on this world wide internet that is encouraging and beautiful – that is my goal as well. So, to begin with, don’t lose heart if you find your blog posts to be scraped/stolen. These folks work incessantly and the general consensus is that it is not a matter of if, but when.
Also, if you could, take a moment to encourage three blogging friends who are having to put hours into proving their authorship to quite a number of posts that were scraped (stolen) by an unscrupulous blogger, Bernideen, Judith and Ruth – these ladies are dear blogging friends, valuable to me and I hope will quickly be able to move forward and thoroughly enjoy blogging as we have been doing. This time with a little more knowledge of the treacheries lurking in the world wide web.
As many of you know, Ruth at Antiques and Teacups discovered a Blogger blog using my blog name and scraping complete blog posts from several of our fellow bloggers, she happened to be one of them. I have been learning a lot since and all this is information is floating around in my mind and I realize that we all don’t use the same blog platform -Blogger, WordPress, Typepad and more.
These are the Six Steps You can take today to better protect your blog –
please note – no one or all things will completely protect your blog – scraping apparently is not just a matter of if, but when. These steps can make your blog posts harder and less attractive to Scrapers and they may move on to other targets.
Step 1: Create a strong ID AND PASSWORD:
If you are on WordPress, your initial ID is ADMIN – many people do not change this and scrapers know that – so they use programs that will continually scan for the top 1000 ID’s and PASSWORDS used online. So, your first step is to create an ID specific to you – and a STRONG PASSWORD. You can go HERE to generate a strong password, copy this to a file on your computer – and/or in a notebook – they will be a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. You probably won’t even remember it. The longer, the better.
Step 2: Watermark all photos
If you noticed on this post, all photos have the watermark ©adelightsomelife.com. I created this today, following the steps shared by Mom On Time Out. I followed her steps, save that I made my watermark narrow instead of large and square. All of my photos are resized to 600 pixels wide. So, I made this photo 400 pixels wide and narrow – just enough for the image. The image is transparent and under the ‘symbols’ section on the Picmonkey sidebar you can find the copyright symbol. I chose to do this because the Scraper’s site on Blogger is also called ‘A Delightsome Life. So, simply using my blog name to ID my photos now is not enough – using my website URL clearly identifies it as mine.
Step 3: Personalize Your posts:
One thing these ladies, Judith, Bernideed, and Ruth did that is good and correct, they personalized their posts. You will notice on Judith’s posts, she has a unique signature – Scrapers are just too lazy and/or rely on software and this is not removed. Linking back to other posts works, for the most part. Sadly, they’ve also created software that eliminates these links. Referring back to yourself in the blog – perhaps in a photo, is a good way to personalize your post. This way, if your post is seen on a Scraper’s blog or website – you’re easily identified and you can be notified.
Step 4: add a FOOTER MESSAGE to your post that will show up on all posts – most especially RSS feeds:
How your RSS feed is sent to Feedburner or other such sites seems to be a small debate. Whether to truncate – show only a summary of your blog post where your follower/reader would have to click over to your blog to finish reading your post – or to allow the full post to be published by Feedburner. I haven’t decided yet which position I will take. Until then, adding an identifying footer to the post seems to ba a good idea – since it seems Scrapers are copying the whole of the post – another element to identify your authorship. Users of the Blogger platform can add a custom feed signature. From the drop down menu next to your blog name on your Blogger Dashboard click settings. Now all the way at the bottom click OTHER. In the SITE FEED section click POST FEED FOOTER – ADD – copy and paste the following feed signature in the post feed footer:
<p> © copyright 2012 – All rights reserved </p>
<a href=”http://www.yourblogaddress.com“>Your Blog</a>
Insert your blog address/URL replacing the http://yourblogaddress.com
Step 5: Monitor your Blog Posts:
A. Feedburner – log into your Feedburner account and look at “UNCOMMON USE“. Google’s Feedburner flags uncommon uses of your feed via the “Analyze” tab. After logging in to your FeedBurner account, you’ll see in the Analyze tab: Feed Stats > Uncommon Uses: You can read more about how to do this HERE
B. Sign up for Google Alerts. You type in a search parameter, basically common words used on your blog or a sentence in a particular post. If this shows up on the web, Google Alerts will contact you and you can see whether this is a viable referral or a scraped post. I noted that when I checked – several of the sites shown were actually bloggers who follow my blog and have my latest post showing a summary on their sidebar – you know – Favorite Blogs etc….
C. Regularly do a Google Search for specific phrases you use – something you’ve written in your post.
D. Note Trackbacks and Pingbacks – these are when someone has shared a link back to your blog – for the most part this is good – we do want a certain amount of sharing – called ‘Fair Sharing’ generally when a blogger shares your link, talks about your blog or even through Pinterest – which uses HOTLINKS to share your blog images.
Step 6: Look out for one another.
The way I found out that my blog name has been used in conjunction with my fellow blogger’s posts on a Scraper’s site was through our dear friend, Ruth. When you see and or recognize your fellow blogger’s posts/ content , but the site doesn’t look like theirs, contact them. They may have been scraped.
This is a quick list of things you can do today to better protect your blog. Sadly, there’s no definitive, strong way to completely protect your blog. Becoming aware that this is prevalent and that these unscrupulous people work constantly to steal other’s contents for their benefit, is a first step. Determining to continue, to blog on and to enjoy your blogging experience is the biggest victory. I am going to look into more options and one that I am seriously considering – BRANDING. This is a step that probably will have some cost to it, but to OWN MY NAME – A DELIGHTSOME LIFE – is important to me – to me, it is part now of my identity.
Keep on blogging, you are valuable to us – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
YOU are important to me!