Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blogger's Corner: Fighting off the RSS feed stealers and content copiers

If you have a website or blog, or publish anything online, I'm sure you have had your bout with "innocent" RSS feed and content copiers. This post is for you! If you are not publishing any content online or not interested in the topic, then please jump to the new photography-priority Photography Soup post, which has just been splogged and it is what triggered this post :)

Here are some things to do to fight off and fend off RSS copycats:

1. Add a copyright notice at the source of your RSS feed
Be sure to add an attribution, copyright link or link back to your blog or blog post at the source of your feed. It is important to do that not just in Feedburner (see below) or any other feed service that encapsulates your original feed, but also at the source of your feed.

This is even more important if you are publishing a full-text feed, since the full text can be stolen and republished.

I am not familiar with other blogging services, but with Blogspot, you can go to [Settings], then [Site Feed] and [Post Feed Footer]. There you can put something as simple as "Copyright (c)" and a link to your blog. You can write standard html, but the editor is picky and puritan on HTML syntax, so use "br/" instead of just "br" for example. This will work only if you are publishing a full-text feed at Blogspot.

2. Add an attribution notice in Feedburner
The Attribution notice is provided by Feedburner and displays this text: "This is from [your blog name]". Doing this is very simple, simply go to Feedburner (, then the [Optimize] menu, then [Feedflare], scroll down to the [Personal Feed Flare] segment in the main column, and paste the url in the [Add New Flare] box. Click on that and then select whether you want this shown on your Feed or Site or both. Then you can arrange the order as usual.

3. Add a copyright notice in Feedburner
You can add this the same way as above, as a Personal Feed Flare at feedburner. Detailed instructions at Internet Duct Tape. Be sure to replace the "yourdomain" with your own blog, and adjust the text to your liking. The example says "2007".

Note that some sploggers may be able to trim the Feedburner copyright notices, so it is important to also add a notice in your original (source) RSS feed. See item #1.

4. Add an Ad in your feed
Believe or not, this will discourage some sploggers from stealing your work, since they don't want other ads to interfere with their own ads. After all, that's the main reason they are stealing other people's work.

These don't have to be commercial, they could be promoting your galleries, your portfolio, your other blogs or websites, a special feature you wrote on your blog, a specially themed gallery, and things like that.

Do note that some readers don't like ads in their RSS feed, but if you are publishing a full-text feed for FREE, that is a very reasonable compromise. Unless of course you have hundreds of people offering to pay a monthly subscription fee for your ad-free feed.

5. Add a "permalink" to your post
This may read a little bit awkward, but you have to do what you have to do. This is a recommended practice by Google Spam Fighting Chief Matt Cutts. You can do something like this:

If you enjoyed this post be sure to bookmark it using the permalink. Or, share this post with your friends.

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