Battling the Blog Scrapers

CNET’s Elinor Mills picks-up on the latest frustration of bloggers – spammers who scrape their content. Her piece looks at some of the ways popular bloggers try to tackle those that have a blatant disregard for their hard work.

[Lorelle] VanFossen has several ways of checking to see if other sites have scraped her posts. She puts full links in her posts to other articles of hers so that when one of her stories is posted on another Web site, it will link back to her story, and she can see the Trackback. Trackback is a “linkback” method Web publishers use to identify who is linking to or referring to their articles.

She has set up Google Alerts with her byline so that she will get notifications any time Google comes across a news site or blog with a reference to her. She also does a keyword search for her name on Google search, Google Blog Search and Technorati. In addition, she uses a WordPress plug-in that allows her to insert a digital fingerprint, a series of unrelated words, into her posts that she can search on in case her byline is stripped.

The Google Loophole: They’ve Used it Before, Now They’re Using it for the GPhone

We’ve found the Google Loophole for their denials they’re building a Google branded mobile phone. What’s the Google Loophole? It’s when Google makes a precisely worded statement denying a rumor, but then turns around and does a variation on it. For example, “we have no plans for an IPO” – at the time they didn’t, but then look what happened.

Anyway, the Google Loophole for the much rumored GPhone is explained by the WSJ. You see, Google’s efforts to get the FCC to allow the connection of any phone to the new 700mhz spectrum, is likely based on its plans to launch a phone. Ah, but they’ve said they’re not interested in building a mobile phone, I hear you cry. Google Loophole!

Extra Extras, August 1

I hear the masses chanting: “Link-y good-ness, link-y good-ness!”

Congress Shields Bloggers

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to extend journalists’ legal shield for protecting their sources to advertising-supported bloggers. CNET reports today that after hours of debating the bill, a voice vote in the House indicated clear support for the measure, despite the Bush administration’s opposition. The bill itself has been before Congress for over two months.

I’m impressed that at least one house of Congress has taken a step toward seeing bloggers as legitimate news sources. But why only advertising-supported bloggers? There are a few arguments on both sides of that issue:

  • Advertising-supported bloggers are more likely to earn a livelihood from reporting the news, and thus have more of a stake in ensuring that they’re seen as trustworthy to their sources—they’re essentially just like a newspaper reporter in that way.

Comparison shopping sites impact on e-tail

In an interesting article at, Eric Enge discusses how price comparison sites might impact the amount of time that customers take to purchase products. He compared data between HealthPricer, a health product price comparison site, and ScanAlert.

A quick analysis shows that customers using HealthPricer tended to purchase much quicker when arriving at the retail site than the customers that ScanAlert studied. In fact, while HealthPricer shows that 87% of the customers it monitored placed orders within an hour, ScanAlert reports that metric at just 43%.

So what does this really tell us about comparison shopping search engines such as HealthPricer? I am afraid that the answer is not much. While it might be tempting to try to draw correlations between the data, customers using price comparison shopping engines are usually much further into the buying process–they have already decided what to buy (through previous use or education) and are just looking for the place that sells it at the cheapest price.

Google Apps Adds New Language Support

No Google didn’t just make up a new language for Google Apps – although Klingon is seriously being considered – but they did just expand its features to support languages other than English.

Several features and components previously available only to English users and administrators of Google Apps are now available in other languages, too

In addition to Google Apps features being made available in other languages, Google has also added six more languages. Among the languages supported, UK English – seriously, is it that difficult to translate US English to UK English? ;-)

Ahoy Me Mateys, Blog Pirates Ahead

The Download Squad has reached that level of success that many a blogger fears and at the same time quietly wishes for – they’ve become so popular that others are scraping their content.

Come on, admit it. The first time your blog was scraped, you had two reactions.

The outward one – “Those B@#$&!! they stole my post and didn’t even link back to me!”

The inward one – “Cool, my blog is finally popular enough that the spammers are stealing it.”

Download Squad compares the practice to 17th century pirates…