A couple of weeks ago, I was doing a Google search and entered ‘azplantlady’ to see what would come up.

I do this, not because I want to see links to what I have written.  Rather, it is to see what other sites might have say about my blog.  It is a good way to keep in touch with what others want to see and occasionally thank others who link to my blog.

It was during this most recent search that I found a link to a website that had my name on it.  So, I clicked it and saw something that I wasn’t expecting…

At first glance, there appears to be nothing out of the ordinary about this post about freezing herbs. 

That is until you see the post that I wrote…

It was my same blog post appearing on someone else’s blog.

And it got worse…

Every blog post that I had written in the past 18 months appeared on this blog.  

I had become the victim of ‘blog scraping’, which is when the content from a blog is stolen and re-printed without permission.  Blog scraping is often done using automated software that searches for and copies content.

Unfortunately, this is not a new problem and I had heard about it happening before.  But, knowing that it existed still didn’t prepare me for how upsetting it was to find out that it had been done to me.

Why do people copy content from other blogs, you may ask?  Well in this case, the blog linked to a website that sold potting soil.  The blog owner had not only my blog posts, but posts from other gardening blogs as well.  By having so much gardening content, the website came up on various online searches on gardening topics, which then led people to see the potting soil offered for sale.

Like many websites that steal content, there was no contact information available.  

Thankfully, there were some things that I could try to do to see if the copied material could be removed.  But, success wasn’t assured.

The first thing I had to do was find out who the owner of this blog was.  So, I went to Whois.com and entered the blog address.  I found out a lot from their free search.  I was able to get the name and address of the person who was stealing my content – but I wasn’t going to waste my time contacting her because she obviously knew that she was doing something wrong – she purposely left all identifying links off of her blog with no way to contact her.

In addition to finding out who the guilty person was, I also found out who the server was who hosted her blog by visiting Whois.com.  Usually it is either GoDaddy or HostGator, which was the server in this case.  

I went to HostGator.com where I was able to get information on how to file a complaint of copyright infringement (DCMA complaint).  It sounds complicated, but it really wasn’t.  Basically, they instructed me how to write a letter with my allegations, which I then signed and sent off in the mail.

To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes of my complaint being addressed right away, so I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from them 3 days after sending my letter where they acknowledged my complaint.  

The owner of the other blog was given 48 hours by HostGator to reply to my allegations.

Two days later while I went online to search for the other blog, I saw the following…

The folks at HostGator disabled the entire blog!

I was quite happy to say the least because it wasn’t just my content that was being stolen, but that from many other bloggers who probably didn’t have any idea that their writing had been stolen.

I wonder if the blog owner has even noticed that their blog was taken down? The reason I am curious about this is that the blog owner had 18 other domains listed under Whois.com and I suspect that they may be doing the same thing in order to sell their products via other websites.

Well, I am pleased to say that my blog is no longer being ‘scraped’ and so I got my happy ending 🙂

I will be sure to check online now and then to make sure that no one else is taking what doesn’t belong to them.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

7 replies
  1. Dave Gauer
    Dave Gauer says:

    I applaud your taking the time to go through the process to get this taken down and am pleased to see you were able to get such a rapid response!

  2. islandgal246
    islandgal246 says:

    The same happened to me recently and last year. I am now waiting on google to get back to me after filing a complaint. They had copied almost all my post going far back as 2008. Anither way of checking to see who is using your photos without your permission is to copy the photo id from your blog and past it in google search engine. I came accross three sites using my photos and posts.

  3. Aaron Dalton
    Aaron Dalton says:

    Great advice.

    They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flatter, but that was taking things too far!

    (And I guess now we bloggers know how musicians feel when their songs are downloaded and distributed willy-nilly for free. Of course, they're still making money off the concerts. How can we get in on that gig?) 😉

  4. Outside the Box
    Outside the Box says:

    Glad you took action. There is no excuse for cheating and stealing but it seems it is all around us. The baseball doping scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. It takes strength ad moral courage to fight for what is righfully yours.

  5. Gorgeous
    Gorgeous says:

    I'm so glad you went after this person, even though I'm sure your days are plenty busy without adding sleuthing, form-filling and letter writing. Shame on people who steal!

Comments are closed.