Stop Plagiarism in 3 Easy Steps
Ian Lurie Oct 30 2008
I recommend the death penalty for plagiarism. Until that happy day arrives, I’ll share a technique that at least makes life harder for thieving scumbags.
Step One: Trap Your Post
First, you need to add a trap to your blog post. Usually that means an invisible GIF image. Use your image editing software to create a 10×10 pixel image that matches the background of your blog or that’s transparent.
Insert that into your blog somewhere where no one will notice. Use the absolute address for the image. So:
instead of just
Don’t include a height or width attribute.
Save your blog post. You now have a hidden image in your post that, if someone cuts-and-pastes the content, will get transferred to their blog. And the image will still be stored on your server.
If you replace the image with something else, the new image will show up, full size, on the thief’s blog.
Step Two: Find the Scumbags
A few days later, copy one sentence from your blog post.
Put it in quotes.
Then paste it into Google and find other blogs that have the same text. In this example, I found one genuine copycat who was also stupid enough to keep my GIF image, and keep it linking to my server:
If I replace trap.gif on my server with another image, it’ll show up on his or her blog. Mwahahahahaha….
Step Three: Have Some Fun!
Since this genius copied this post word-for-word, they also copied the trap image. And, they copied the image, which is still being loaded from your server.
Remove the trap.gif image from your post – you don’t want whatever you create showing up on your blog, after all.
Then replace trap.gif on your server with anything you want. The result:
Weeee. You can, of course, use any image you want. I had something far worse in there at first, but removed it because I realized my son might read it.
Notice to All Thieves
Keep stealing my content if you want. I will keep finding new ways to mess with you and your blogs. Yes, you can always find a way to work around it. But is it worth it?
Did you know I just published an e-book? Well, I did: The Unscary, Real World Guide to SEO Copywriting. Have a look.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint.He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More