The Story of My Life

Yes, it’s another post about people who copy my websites. Sorry, I’d be bored hearing about this by now too, but it really has become the over-riding theme of our lives at the moment, and it makes me so angry I just have to keep on venting. Feel free to scroll on by…

So, remember in my last post, when I said I was particularly angry because although we’d successfully managed to get one host to remove Lin Shuideng’s copy-cat websites, there were no other consequences for this person, who would be free to just start up again with another host?

That’s exactly what happened.

Last night, the website I wrote about last week was reactivated, this time with 600 of my posts copied in their entirety.

And so we begin again. Another Friday, another day spent filing DCMA notices and trying to persuade yet another host to stop the same person, doing the same damn thing. And I know we’ll be successful. The host will remove the site. And then next week? Next week we’ll get to start all over again, with yet another host. As this point I feel like we’re going to spend the rest of our days chasing Lin Shuideng around the internet, and I honestly can’t tell you how dispiriting that is.

On the plus side, I guess we’ll end up with a very streamlined process of filing paperwork and having these sites removed. It still just seems wrong to me, though, that I’ll have to file the same notice, against the same person, over and over and over again, when really, someone like Lin Shuideng should be prevented from registering another domain or buying new hosting space ever again. I know that’s not practical. I don’t have any solution to it. I just know that thanks to Google’s awesome work with their algorithm, before they were removed last week, the copycat sites were ranking higher than Shoeperwoman.com for the articles they’d stolen, which means that I was losing traffic to someone who had just blatantly stolen from me. And the more duplicates there are of my work online (bear in mind that Lin had set up two websites, both containing hundreds of my posts, within the space of a couple of days), the harder it will be for my sites to survive. This is why I can’t just shrug my shoulders and ignore this. It won’t just go away: in fact, it will just get worse.

I also know that “Lin Shuideng” (I still don’t know if that’s a real name, by the way. I assume it isn’t, so I’m just using it as shorthand for “The Mysterious Stranger Who is Hellbent on Destroying My Sanity”) isn’t just stealing work from me. Last week, Terry did a bit of digging, and discovered some other shoe blogs which had been targetted by this person, and which now have illegal duplicates of large numbers of their posts online. Of course, we contacted the bloggers in question to let them know about it, but we notice that the copy sites are still going strong, so obviously they haven’t yet been successful in having them removed either.

Oh, and Terry’s detective work yesterday also turned up ANOTHER site, which has also copied lots of my posts, and this one actually has the cheek to have added the line “What do U think, xoxo Shoeperwoman” to each one. I mean, AS IF I would abuse the letter “U” in that way! And honestly: why would you steal someone’s work and then go out of your way to add the name of the site you’d stolen it from to every single one of the posts? WHY?

We’ve contacted the respective hosts of both of the new copycat sites.

We’re yet to receive a response from either of them.

And so it begins again.

I hope Lin Shuideng and everyone else like him/her is haunted by THAT OLD WOMAN from Insidious until the end of their days. Now THAT would be justice.

 

UPDATE: The new host removed Lin Shiudeng’s site on Friday night, in response to our DMCA notice. It was back up on Saturday morning, this time containing content stolen from various wedding websites (some of which, admittedly, appear to be free article sites, which would be legal to reproduce). Lin doesn’t really take a hint.

ANOTHER UPDATE: (Saturday, 2pm) I spoke too soon: just got a Google alert letting me know that Lin has set up a new website, with all of its content stolen from me again. Lots of personal photos on it, plus lots of reader-submitted photos from the Shoeper Shoe Challenge, which is really distressing me, because obviously those people didn’t submit those photos to me so they could appear all over the web. So we don’t even get our one-week break this time, we just go straight from fighting to get the last site taken down to fighting to get this new one taken down. Furious. On the plus side, it doesn’t cost us anything but our time to have these sites removed, but it WILL be costing Lin money to have to buy an entire new server every day…

YET ANOTHER UPDATE (Monday 23rd, 10am): We managed to get the latest Lin site taken down within a few hours. Damn, but we’re getting good at this! Terry’s spent most of the weekend tracking down more sites that are scraping our content… may as well get them all while we’re in “DCMA Mode”!

AND ANOTHER ONE! (Monday 23rd, 1:30pm) It turns out that while we were busy getting Lin’s last site taken down on Saturday (because that’s obviously our favourite way to spend the weekend…) Lin was just as busy setting up another one. With hundreds of posts stolen from me. Since last week, getting rid of this one person’s sites has become a full-time job for Terry. Obviously that’s not sustainable for us: no sooner do we get one site removed than another one pops up, and Terry is now spending ALL of his time having this one person’s illegal copies of our sites removed. How is that in any way fair?


27 Comments

  • Terry says:

    Well that’s our first DMCA filed to Google to have the site removed from the index. Now we just need to file one against the new host every week :(

  • Zoe says:

    I honestly just don’t GET it! I mean, I can kinda wrap my head around wanting to pretend to be you) and then it’s only a small jump off logic leap to get to blatantly stealing your posts because of, what? laziness? Boredom? Misplaced flattery?

    But once you get caught and have the site taken down, why in god’s name would you do it again? What is Lin Shuideng getting out of this?

    • Amber says:

      I feel exactly the same… I could understand if these copy sites were crammed full of adverts or something, which is the reason most content scrapers do it, but they’re not, so I’m having a really hard time understanding what the motive is. Also, moving to a new host every week will be costing the person money, which makes it even stranger to me that they’d want to have duplicates of my sites (and other people’s – it’s not just me, and while I’m obviously sorry that other people are going through this too, at least it suggests that it’s not personal) without getting anything back from them. Bizarre!

  • Minka says:

    I’m really sorry to hear that! Stay strong and know that there is only one true Shoeperwoman for your readers and no copy cat can replace her! Sending good thoughts in your direction… :)

  • Julija says:

    This is getting ridiculous..what is up with the universe?! I’m really sorry, that instead of doing your work, you are busy hunting down the copy cats…
    Maybe you should put some sentence at the beginning of every post – ‘Please check if you are at http://www.shoeperwoman.com, if you are not – it means that the post has been stolen. I would appreciate if you informed me via email about the theft’. I know it is not pretty, but maybe the copy cat would leave you alone eventually?

  • Alison says:

    So sorry this is happening to you Amber. Best of luck in overcoming this.

    Alison

  • This is just the tip of the iceberg Amber. I was presenting a social media law seminar paper this week in Melbourne and listening to stories of corporates using SM to scupper the repuations of their competitors.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if you, as a successful blogger, are being targetted by a competitor who is hoping to use up your energy to stop you posting.

    France is trying to institute a law to cut off serial pirates off at the knees http://paidcontent.org/article/419-french-three-strikes-anti-piracy-law-on-hold-after-data-breach/

    It would be good if Google et al could slice out infringers more quickly. Now that you have gone through the DMCA process once, it will become easier. You have no option but to keep monitoring your business reputation on a daily basis. It’s a total pain in the bum like painting over graffiti but eventually Lin whatever his or her name is will give up.

    • Amber says:

      I must admit, I’ve been wondering if there’s something like that going on, because I still can’t see any motive for it, other than to force me to spend a lot of time and stress fighting it. And one of the sites has actually gone to the effort of adding the name “Shoeperwoman” to the bottom of all of the stolen posts, which seems almost like a red rag to bull, although I guess it could also just be pure stupidity at work: you can never discount that!

      The one thing stopping me thinking it’s something personal right now is the fact that they’ve targetted other shoe bloggers, too, which makes me wonder if we just haven’t seen what the final plan is for all these sites. It could be that they do intend to place ads on them eventually, and just haven’t done it yet, I suppose.

      That’s really interesting about the French law, though: we’ve been talking a lot recently about what could be done to stop these people and I do think there should be some kind of system whereby repeat offenders go onto some kind of blacklist, and are denied service, rather than just being allowed to move their illegal operation to the next host, and the next one, etc. This whole thing is only going to get worse: every day now I’m reading examples of people having work stolen – I guess it’s only a matter of time before it comes to a head, and some kind of law is passed. I really hope so, anyway, it’s such a waste of time and effort for everyone!

      • Shelby says:

        So I’m new to reading your blog(s) but I just happened across this and read about it. I’ll have to agree, I think it’s just to use up your time and energy and stress you out. The ultimate goal of her/his is to probably make you quit. Just know that myself as a new reader and all your other followers are here for you!! We love your content and I’m glad I stumbled upon your REAL page instead of one of the fake ones :)

  • Lea says:

    I’m sure things will have to change. Owners should be responsible for the content of their pages and should face some charges if they copy, threat, support some kind of criminal activity or things like that. I’m not very familiar with this because my boyfriend does that for me but it’s really disturbing that host providers won’t even make sure they do business with real people.

  • Moni says:

    May these impostor people get nasty oozing wounds all over their bodies, a maddening itchy rash where they can’t scratch it and the most nauseating song ever as an eternal earworm!!! >:(

    Stay strong, we’re with you! *hugs*

  • Nikki G says:

    Yes, being haunted by the Old Woman from Insidious would be a fitting punishment for these creeps. Maybe she can play those damned screechy violins from the movie in their ears as well! But seriously, I hate it that you and Terry are fighting a contstant battle against people stealing your property. It’s almost like Sisyphus endlessly rolling his boulder up the hill. I wish you the best in this ongoing mess.

  • Aline C says:

    wow what a headache!!! idiotic people.
    I hope everything works out :)
    Love your blogs, would not want anyone to do anything to them and/or steal from them!!

    xo

  • Angharad says:

    Really sorry that you are still having to put up with this crap, Amber. And such a shame that the penalties aren’t greater for the people stealing your livelihood! Fingers crossed this copycat will give up soon.

  • lila says:

    Maybe they are trying to get lots of fans then reel them in and make them pay for something that they have up their sleeve, maybe this is revenge from the original copier..who knows…if this happened to me, the stress would kill me..maybe you now have the knowledge to set up a website helping others in your situation..hope you don’t get any more copiers, you both must have had quite enough xxx

  • Kerry says:

    What I just can’t comprehend is that even if it is a new competitor trying to bring you and other shoe bloggers down a notch before announcing their *new shining and amazing website that everybody will LOVE*, how do they possibly think that alienating their potential readers is an effective way to do this???

    The mind boggles.

    Much love Amber.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. WE AIN’T GOING ANYWHERE!

  • Abby says:

    Oh My God!!! This is absurd!! I understand your pain…My wishes are with you and I really really hope that these copy cats are brought to justice…Hats off to your strength in fighting this!!

  • Urgh, what a huge pain. The only one small light is that I found from a similar problem that the google algorithm ranks the copycat higher for a small amount of time (something to do with newness) and then they get banished…. Of course, that was last year. The new algorithm may have changed all of that.

    Still, a monumental pain. It does seem a little fishy that you keep being targeted….

  • colormap says:

    Amber, I don’t know if mentioning this is any help, but when I work on a research paper and find content on the internet, a lot of the sites, when copied and pasted into a new text processor, will have a tag automatically timestamp the site information and can not be removed by regular means.

    Another thing that I have noticed is how some tumblr blogs will not permit any text to be highlighted by the mouse cursor.

    Yet another method that I used before is embedding text in Flash or a JavaScript reader app. I haven’t tried this since highschool, so check out some content protection code in JavaScript because it is pretty abundant- at least when we were learning it in my dinky webmastering class at secondary school.

    Hope this helps to give you a jumpstart to finding a real solution to your problem <3 <3 <3

  • Bella Q says:

    Ack, this is sickening. I can’t believe you are forced to deal with this repeatedly. I wish there was some way to stop this!

  • Rach says:

    Really sorry to hear that this keeps happening, it’s really unfair to you. For what it is worth, I’m going to visit your websites daily to provide what traffic I can.

  • Nell says:

    Jeez – this is bad!

    I’ve read all your posts on this – have you tried Copyscape? I use it all the time as an SEO Consultant and find it useful… The paid version is much better than the unpaid – all you need do is upload an xml sitemap and the system does the rest.

    I think the site has a section about how to combat / fight copying, but it sounds like you’re doing a great job of it on your own.

    Anyway, just Google ‘Copyscape’ – I don’t want to post a link in case you think I’m spamming!

    good luck with it all – I wish you the best :)

    • Amber says:

      We do use Copyscape, yes – the problem isn’t so much finding people who’re doing it, though, it’s stopping them once they’ve done it!

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