The Associated Press to Play Whack-A-Mole with Scrapers




I long ago gave up trying to get spammers to “cease and desist” their scraping of Marketing Pilgrim’s content–I never was much good at playing whack-a-mole.

Well, it appears that The Associated Press loves carnival games as the NYT reports the news organization is determined to put an end to the scraping of its content.

Each article — and, in the future, each picture and video — would go out with what The A.P. called a digital “wrapper,” data invisible to the ordinary consumer that is intended, among other things, to maximize its ranking in Internet searches. The software would also send signals back to The A.P., letting it track use of the article across the Web.

Clearly, The AP wants to monetize the content that it’s worked hard to produce–you can’t blame it for that–but I fear it’s about to learn that its efforts will be futile.

You see, my experience tells me that the number of legitimate content publishers–the ones that The AP can actually hope to get payment from–will either stop publishing AP content, or likely never scraped it in the first place. The vast majority of the sites that are causing AP’s headaches are the spammers that set up dozens of Blogspot.com blogs, scrape vast amounts of content, then hide behind fictitious emails and WHOIS information. In other words, The AP’s not likely to reach these scrapers–let alone get a dime out of them!

Look, The AP is desperate. Traditional newspapers are cutting back, so the company has little choice but to try and earn revenue from those misusing its content. Unfortunately, I think they’ll find that when you play carnival games, the carnival always wins! ;-)

(photo by Kenneth B. Moore)