Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to Discourage Feed Scraping in Blogger

Craftiments:  How to Discourage Theft of Your Blog Content by Feed Scrapers


Over the past few days, I have been saddened to read post after post of fellow bloggers coming to the difficult decision to fully truncate their rss feeds because their blog content has been stolen using scraping software. While preventing further theft of their hard work, this measure only publishes the title and the first few hundred characters of each post in their feed.   It is quite challenging to convey the content of a post with so few words and no photos, and many will lose followers who do not wish to click over to the blog to learn what the post is about.

I want to share with you a few tricks I have learned to discourage feed scraping, without completely truncating your feed. If you currently syndicate full posts in your feed, you may actually see an increase in the number of visits to your blog with these changes. This tutorial only applies to Blogger, so if you have any tips for Wordpress or TypePad, comment away! I am writing this post with new bloggers in mind and will try not to leave out any details, but if I do, please don't hesitate to ask questions.

Let's begin! You may click on any of the images below to enlarge them.

This is a screen shot of one of the posts in my feed.  You will notice a few things that discourage feed scraping:  a shortened feed, a prominent copyright notice with a link back to my blog, and a watermarked photo. Unlike a fully truncated feed, my feed includes a photograph and a descriptive introduction of my my project, which hopefully catches the interest of my readers and they head over to my blog to see the rest of the post.

Craftiments:  A feed post that discourages scraping



How to Shorten a Post in Your Feed    
Blogger has a nifty little setting that allows you to publish your rss feed until the jump break.  A jump break is a feature that creates expandable post summaries on the main page of your blog, with posts appearing as a short introduction followed by a link to the full post.  By publishing your feed until the jump break, you can control exactly how much of your post is visible in your feed.

If you are already adding jump breaks to your posts, you only need to change one setting and you are in business.  Open your dashboard > Select Settings > Select Other > Select Until Jump Break on the Allow Blog Feed drop down menu > Save.

Craftiments:  Shorten your feed with a jump break


You may wish to customize the text for the link that appears before a jump break and takes the reader to the full post.  The same link will also appear in your post feed.  Examples of link text include Read More, Continue Reading Here, Full Post Available Here, or use another phrase you prefer.  Open your dashboard > Select Layout > Select edit on the Blog Posts widget > a pop-up called Configure Blog Posts will open, type your custom text into the box next to Post page link text > Save.

Craftiments:  Customize post page link text


Adding a jump break to a post is fairly simple.  If you are using the Compose screen to write your post, click your curser where you want the break.  Go to the formatting menu at the top of the screen and click on the icon that looks like a piece of paper ripped in half.  The jump break will appear and looks like a grey bar with a dashed line across the top.

Craftiments:  Insert a jump break in compose screen


If you are using the HTML screen to write your post, type the following code where you want the jump break to occur: <!--more-->

Craftiments:  Insert a jump break in HTML screen


Easy peasy!  But to fully protect your blog content, you will have to go back to your past posts and add a jump break to each one.

How to Add a Copyright Notice to Your Feed
Open your dashboard > Select Settings > Select Other > Type your copyright text in the Post Feed Footer box > Save.

This is how my copyright notice appears in my feed:
© 2012 CRAFTIMENTS.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

If you wish to style your copyright notice like mine, use the following code:
<div style="font-weight:bold; font-style:italic"><p>&#169; YOUR COPYRIGHT YEAR(S) <a href="YOUR BLOG URL">YOUR BLOG NAME</a>.&nbsp; ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.</p></div>


Craftiments:  Add a copyright notice to your feed


Add Watermarks to Your Photos
To make this easier, many photo editors can automatically add a watermark to your images when you save them.  Check your software's help menu to find out.  The appearance of your watermark is up to you.  Some bloggers just add the name of their blog, others have a fancy logo or graphic.  I have chosen to put a copyright notice directly on my images because I think it implies that "I mean business" when it comes to stealing them :)

Craftiments:  Add watermarks to your photos

The people who steal other bloggers content for their own profit are selfish and disgraceful.  It's a shame that we have to take these steps to protect our blogs, and while I think my blog is too new to be scraped, I feel I am better safe than sorry.  Again, ask questions if something isn't clear, and if you have more tips, please put them in the comments for all to see.





Visit I Gotta Create! for some great blogging tips!


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OneCreativeMommy.com

41 comments :

  1. that was great! although my posts won't experience that for now (it's new and has only two posts xD) reading your post was really a good thing. now i know what would i do if ever times comes that my posts will be prone to theft :)

    can i use the code for my copyright too?

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  2. It's crazy how much theft out in blog land is going on now! Thank you so much for this post. I am having a hugh issue with theft myself and I am fed up. I'm not very techie, but I think with your wonderfully written post here, I may be able to do it myself. Thank you! Thanks for linking with me too :)

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  3. Great info and I love that you included the screen shots in your tutorial. I use wordpress, but I think I can still implement the changes with the HTML code you included. Thanks again! Found you through 52Mantels link party. xoxo

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  4. Great blog post! Thank you so much! I'm just getting into blogging and this is a great help to me!

    Kristy @ Shona Skye Creations
    http://shonaskye.blogspot.com

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  5. Thank you, I've starred to return and utilize all of your tips.

    Popped in from TAYD

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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  6. This is a fabulous tutorial! Thank you so much! I have been blogging for several aut sti dered how to do some of these things. Thanks Again!

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  7. Thanks for sharing this. Hope you don't mind, but I'm pinning this...

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  8. How do you know if someone is stealing things from your blog? I've never heard of that. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I think bloggers usually find out when their readers alert them that they have seen their content on other websites, or they notice one of their projects has gone viral on Pinterest,but doesn't link back to their site. If you want to check yourself, there are websites, such as Copyscape, that will search for duplicates of your content on the web.

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  9. Thanks so much! I was doing most of this, but I wasn't adding the copyright. Great idea! I'm adding it to the post feed and to the bottom of each post as well. Thanks!

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  10. Great tips! Thank you so much for writing this post and for sharing at the Pomp Party! Pinning!

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  11. This was a great post, Kirstin! I have done this to my blog also! Question.... did you actually copyright your blog name? I didn't know if there was a process to that. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Found you on Pinterest.
    Blessings
    Lori

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    Replies
    1. You cannot copyright a name or title. You can trademark a name if it is associated with a business, but personal blogs have no protection. From what I have read, applying for a trademark is a very involved and expensive legal process.

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  12. thanks for sharing; I really had no idea about that feed scraping.

    http://sisterswhat.blogspot.com

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  13. Fantastic advice. My site is on wordpress, so I will be figuring out how to apply it there. Thanks for sharing this week at One Creative Weekend! Have a great weekend!

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  14. Thanks so much I just went and updated my blogger!
    I would love it if you would share this on I Freakin did it Friday @ Miss Information

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  15. Your tips are great, easily understood which I am grateful for since I am kind of new at blogging. Thanks so much for the screen shots these are very helpful. The info is much appreciated!

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  16. Only yesterday I noticed on Pinterest that one of my photos had 90 pins but it was not pinned from my blog but someone elses. I was not happy about this so last night I added statements on my blog and also copyrighted my photos on future posts. You would think that people would use common courtesy and not use things that do not belong to them or would at least ask permission before using but sadly this is not the case.

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  17. Appreciate your clear directions for setting up your RSS Feeds. New to me, good info. Thanks.
    Joy

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  18. Thank you so much for this information and the screen shots. It took me a few tries, but I got the copyright notice added to my feed. Now on to the other items. I'm not so tech savvy :)

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  19. Thank you! This is really helpful information! I am also enjoying the rest of your blog :)

    Melissa- a new fan!
    Stop by and visit me sometime at www.mywatermelonmoon.com
    My newly made over blog loves visitors! :D

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  20. Such great information! Thanks so much for sharing at Fabulous Friday.

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  21. So much great information! I wanted to le tyou know that I am featuring this over at Just Us Four today! I hope you will come by and grab a featured button!

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  22. Thanks so much for getting this information out there!! We'd love for you to share this at our party to help get the word out even more!! Thank you so much again! http://housewivesofriverton.blogspot.com/2012/09/riverton-housewives-round-up-31.html

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  23. Congratulations. This post was a fan favorite (and one of my favorites) at One Creative Weekend on OneCreativeMommy.com. Please stop by to grab a featured button and check out the other features. I hope you'll link up again this week!

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  24. It's discouraging that things like that happen to blogs. I am not as computer savvy as a lot of people and I already put a lot of time into my blog. It almost makes you want to just hang it up. I will when I have time try and follow your tutorial. Thanks so much. :-)

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  25. Very helpful!! Thank you so much for this wonderful post!!

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  26. Hi Kirstin,

    I've been trying to follow everything but the only thing I can't get working is the copyright at the end of each post. It is telling me I have to change the "allow blog feed" to "full post" in order for it to work. How did you get around this?

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  27. Thank you so much for writing about this….one of my goals this year is to get my blog more organized, protected, and watermark all my photos going forward. I appreciate all the tips and tutorials!!

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  28. This just happened to me...I found out yesterday.
    Whew! what a nightmare.
    Your article has been the easiest and most informative to read!
    I've done everything you've said...(well, I'm working on back posts) but it is time consuming.
    My biggest issue is getting the other site off the web?! What in the world?!!!
    I've no idea how to approach that.
    the URL for that site is just one (1) character away from my blogs URL.
    ...and the "author" has a google + acct attached to it as well. I went there and asked them to remove my content ...3x's. I'm afraid they are going to flag my google + for harassment.
    This is so frustrating.
    I'm keeping my readers informed, in fact one of them sent me your link. My readers have been great thru this mess!
    If you don't mind. I'd like to link back to this post in a future post (or may edit a current one)
    Thank you for this GOOD AND READABLE information.
    My head was swimming before reading this.
    ...scraping hurts! ~Pat

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  29. Oh one thing I just learned to do was posting a link back to me "the author" on my blog (well, you've done that I suppose with your photos)
    But, anyway, I'll try to explain. I have a signature at the bottom of my posts, like you.
    I click on it,
    then go up to the "link" button
    paste the link to my blogger profile in the line that says "web address" then check the box "rel=nofollow" attribute, then OK
    if they click that it goes back to my profile for my blog.

    That's it. I just wanted to give you that option.
    Thanks again. ~Pat

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  30. This post was MOST helpful. Thank you so much!
    -Revi (new follower)

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  31. Thanks for the tips. Even though I've had a blog for a few years, I am still challenged when it comes to many technical things. I am going to try to add your suggestions. Very helpful post, thanks again

    Dude! @ http://www.moneyinthegarage.com/

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  32. Thanks for this piece of info, especially for newbies like me. So what's the correct etiquette for the following: you've seen something on Pinterest and you want to recreate your own version, you take photos of your own creation and post it. I ask because I have already done this, but I feel really bad after reading your article that I didn't mention who I got the idea from. I have said that I have seen it on Pinterest but I didn't mention from who. I think I can probably go back and find out and edit my posts. Your reply would be much appreciated

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