At the moment my blog doesn’t have all that many posts on it, and I really don’t consider myself a serious blogger. I write when I feel like it, and in whatever tone I’m feeling like writing in at the moment. Odd as it may seem, I’m not normally writing with the intent of being read. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care when people read my articles. It’s especially good to receive comments and engage in discussion, but I’m not motivated to find as many readers as possible. I seldom share links to my blog posts on other sites, I simply write posts and visitors find them on search engines, or don’t find them at all.
Since I don’t consider myself a writer, until now I’ve never really taken the time to reflect on how I may feel if my work were to be plagiarized. Today I was forced to endure the feeling, and it’s not a very pleasant one. Recently I’ve migrated my blog from a Wordpress installation to Jekyll. As a result of this transition I’ve been checking up on my SEO ranking for older artciles. I came across more than a few different copies of my work, published under many different names. The plagiarism varied from sites displaying a complete copy of my article, title, text, and images left unaltered, to significantly reduced versions of an article composed entirely from plagiarized snippets of my original.
Who’s Doing This & What’s the Motivation
My most copied article was Removing the 512MB size limit on All-in-One WP Migration Plugin. The post describes how to remove the imposed size limit on the free version of All-in-One WP Migration. I wrote this post to help others understand that there was a simple constant imposing the upload file-size limitation, and that by redeclaring the constant the limit could easily be increased. I used this technique for quite some time before writing about it, it seemed so simple that I didn’t even think it was worth writing about. I’m glad I did, because it helped so many people who had been searching for ways to do this, but didn’t know how. It felt pretty good to see so many people successfully make the simple modification. I’m really surprised the method has still been working for years after my original post.
Blackhat SEO & Offshore Wordpress Sites
Many of the copies I found of this article seemed to be on sites that published WordPress related content. Their goal is to rank for all WordPress related keywords they possibly can, and earn whatever revenue they can scrape from the traffic they generate. Many of these sites were offshore, and those don’t really bug me that much. I understand the game of Internet marketing, and I understand how other countries do their thing.
What I initially found much more infuriating than the nameless Blackat SEO’s that copied my content, were the wanna be developers that put their own name on my work. I cannot see how comments on stolen work gratify a thief. If you steal someone’s work, you know you stole it. When you made the choice to copy the article, you made the judgment that the article was good, that it was something you wished represented you. You wished you could be seen as the article’s author. Take that motivation to be seen as a writer, and write something of your own. I can’t tell you the difference between actual gratification, and empty gratification, you’ll need to experience that on your own.
Producing my own work, and then stamping it with a date has allowed me to measure how much I’ve grown over the years. If you copy the work of others because you feel you’re not yet at the level of producing that type of work, don’t worry, you can get there. You don’t get there by copying though, you get good enough by actually doing it yourself. This has also been a lesson to me on how to handle being plagiarized, I’m sure my reaction to it the next time will be much smoother.