Make the scrapers work for you!

Some of you had already noticed that I’ve added a link back to my blog in the footer of articles in my RSS feed, like this:

RSS Footer in action

I didn’t do that because I thought you guys couldn’t find my blog. It was actually a plugin requested by Shoemoney, who wanted to make the scrapers work for him too, by getting some more backlinks from them. I thought it was a great idea, and this is actually quite a simple plugin: you upload it, enable it, maybe change the default text (which is “This is a post from <link><blog name></link>”), and you’re done.

It’s called RSS Footer, and a few people, like my friend Marcus, picked it up and ran with it already, I hope it works for you too!

Update: based on a quote from Matt Cutts in a post by Patrick Altoft, “How to foil scrapers on your blog“, I’ve added the option to add a link back to the post itself, with the title of the post as anchor text. This looks like this:

RSS Footer with link back to post

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130 Responses

  1. Sam I AmBy Sam I Am on 10 January, 2008

    Did something like this on our own blogging platform not too long ago as well. Another benefit, outside the scrapers, is for those importing blogs as notes into their Facebook profiles. Not as great for back links (although the benefit from scrapers is also limited I’d say) that are crawled, but very good for referrals – at least in our case where it links to how to set up a similar blog :)

    Probably just a matter of time before all the scraper sites start parsing out the urls; luizen!

  2. RudyBy Rudy on 10 January, 2008

    Thank you for the plugin. I’m using it right now.

  3. FatgadgetBy Fatgadget on 10 January, 2008

    Hi Joost

    This is a great plugin, thanks :)

  4. Frank N. SteinBy Frank N. Stein on 10 January, 2008

    Nice plugin, thanks for sharing.

  5. FeydakinBy Feydakin on 10 January, 2008

    Dude, awesome, thanks..

  6. Eduard BlacquièreBy Eduard Blacquière on 10 January, 2008

    Brilliant plugin, Joost!

  7. martijnBy martijn on 10 January, 2008

    nice plugin! using it. thx

  8. Chris JacobsonBy Chris Jacobson on 11 January, 2008

    Nice plugin… I’ve been looking for something like this.

  9. martijnBy martijn on 11 January, 2008

    is javascript possible in the rss-footer?

  10. PabloBy Pablo on 11 January, 2008

    Good plugin, in my case related posts just after the feed do the work ;)

  11. AzAkersBy AzAkers on 11 January, 2008

    Sweet – one of my favorite plug-in authors & one of my favorite bloggers working togather to take the sting out of geating scraped – nice!!

    Thanks for the work that went into this!

  12. youfoundjakeBy youfoundjake on 11 January, 2008

    This is the second plugin that I’ve gotten from you Joost. Please keep coding and coming out with stuff like this.

  13. Clint LenardBy Clint Lenard on 11 January, 2008

    This is an awesome plugin! Thank you VERY much!

  14. Nicholas JamesBy Nicholas James on 11 January, 2008

    Great plugin! Thanks for this :)

  15. WiepBy Wiep on 11 January, 2008

    Great plugin Joost! Now if only it were possible to vary the anchor text… :P

  16. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    Thx for all the great feedback guys and girls!

    @Martijn: you can add javascript, but most of the time it will be removed, and it won’t work in feedreaders… You’ll never know for scrapers though!

    @Wiep: I already thought of that too, I’ll think of a way to include that in the next version.

  17. MendaxBy Mendax on 11 January, 2008

    Ok, the idea is nice, but what if a scraper uses strip_tags function to remove all the html stuff?

  18. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    @Mendax: then ALL outbound links in articles won’t work, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about that. What you CAN do though is add a specific string to your footer with this plugin, and run Google Alerts, Blog Search queries etc. specifically for that string.

  19. David BradleyBy David Bradley on 11 January, 2008

    Nice one, I’d previously been using a hack suggested by Patrick Altoft at http://www.blogstorm.co.uk, this is obviously much slicker, and Patrick led me to your page and thence the download!

    db

  20. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    @David: good to hear that!

  21. B10GBy B10G on 11 January, 2008

    Thanks Joost, this is just what I have been looking for, up until now I have just been manually updating blog posts which I know have been scraped with keyword links.

  22. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    @B10G: good! If you have any ideas for plugins feel free to let me know ;)

  23. AndrewBy Andrew on 11 January, 2008

    Does this mean you are now happy for your blog to be scraped?

  24. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    @Andrew: no, but if there’s assholes who do it, the result is a bit less of a catastrophy :)

  25. AndrewBy Andrew on 11 January, 2008

    I think it’s a smart solution. Maybe you could include some javascript to disable mouse clicks if the post does not appear on a certain domain?

    Or is that overkill?

  26. DaveBy Dave on 11 January, 2008

    Joost. You the Man!!!

    Love the plugin.

  27. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    @Andrew: I think that’s a bit too much…

    @Dave: thx :)

  28. SuckerBy Sucker on 11 January, 2008

    Yes! Thanks for the update, I’ll definitely use this now!

  29. David BradleyBy David Bradley on 11 January, 2008

    It’s irrelevant whether one is happy or not about a site being scraped. There is very little you can do to prevent it unless you want to spend valuable blogging time serving cease and desist letters. Much better to make the scrapers work to your advantage than trying to get rid of them one by one (it’s like playing wack-a-mole anyway, get rid of one, another pops up). Sciencebase seems to be scraped all over the place and I have tried to get rid of those sites that try to pass themselves off as “the” original site, but for the general news scrapers, you just have to put up with it and count it as more eyeballs seeing your words!

    db

  30. RobBy Rob on 11 January, 2008

    Thanks Joost, this is a great plugin to fight against scraping.

  31. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    @Sucker: nice.
    @David: so true, I do occasionally send out cease and desists though.
    @Rob: glad you like it!

  32. David BradleyBy David Bradley on 11 January, 2008

    I have to admit, I do too. I got a whole scraper network shutdown just before Xmas. I’d sent the old C&D to the whois registered owner of the domain, and when that didn’t work, I emailed the registration/hosting company. They said it wasn’t their problem, but then got back to me a day or two later to say they’d shut the domain down. Obviously, something seriously dodgy going on above and beyond scraping Sciencebase!

    db

  33. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    Well you can ask Andrew, who commented above. I got his SEOBook affiliate account shutdown because he was scraping me :P

  34. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    @All: I could use your help on the Digg above!

  35. FireflySEOBy FireflySEO on 11 January, 2008

    Hi Joost,

    Good work! Looks like a very useful plugin, I have just installed it and lookforward to seeing if it helps with the SERPS.

    Just subscribed to your feed also.

    Thanks

    Allan Stewart

  36. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 11 January, 2008

    Great to hear Allan! Welcome as a new reader, I hope you’ll enjoy your stay!

  37. get paid to BlogBy get paid to Blog on 11 January, 2008

    Thats a cool idea…I’ll check it out and see if i can get it on my site fr the authors..they are always asking me about concerns like this.

  38. AndrewBy Andrew on 12 January, 2008

    Does this work with the spammers who advertise medication and other things on older blogs as well Joost?

    I’m getting so absolutely sick of getting those and having to log in and spam filter them.

    I’d love to know.
    Thanks,

    Andrew.

  39. RekzaiBy Rekzai on 12 January, 2008

    Will this work if I’m using feedburner for all my feeds?

  40. Scarf*ooBy Scarf*oo on 12 January, 2008

    This solution will help, but I find it somehow obtrusive. Still a great tip, thanks!

  41. RasmusBy Rasmus on 12 January, 2008

    That’s clever Joost, very clever! Cool plugin, thanks for sharing it :)

  42. skuubBy skuub on 12 January, 2008

    Nice Plugin Joost – now I won’t mind if some of the scrapers find my new published blog posts ;)

  43. JonathanBy Jonathan on 12 January, 2008

    Great suggestion – I’m using a Feedburner Feedflare called “attribution” now, but when I move over to a WordPress installation (currently on MT), this will be one of the first plugins I install.

  44. Sam DoddBy Sam Dodd on 12 January, 2008

    Makes me think I need to figure out a way to have more scrappers attempting to steal my content. Does anyone have any suggestions for attracting scrappers?

  45. Halifax SEOBy Halifax SEO on 13 January, 2008

    Good work Joost! Thanks for sharing it.

    Just subscribed to your feed also.

    Sam Dodd, using the technorati tags for some important keywords, will help.

  46. kevinBy kevin on 13 January, 2008

    Nice plugin. I have downloaded it.
    Your google analytics also works great.
    Thanks


    Kevin
    Plenty of Software: Free downloads center
    http://www.plentyofsoft.com

  47. RyanBy Ryan on 13 January, 2008

    Great plugin Joost. Its been working wonders on all of my sites.

  48. Ken TeegardinBy Ken Teegardin on 14 January, 2008

    Excellent idea. I will start using that on all my blog entries..

  49. CBRBy CBR on 14 January, 2008

    Yep this is a good idea but I wonder how long it will be until the scraper sites catch on and block the url’s. Until then I will give this a try, nice work.

  50. MarcBy Marc on 14 January, 2008

    I use a similar plugin and have noticed that scrapers have started removing my custom text and permalink link text.

  51. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 14 January, 2008

    @Marc: well, in this plugin you can alter the text every once in a while. Should make it harder to remove it.

  52. Erik HeidtBy Erik Heidt on 15 January, 2008

    Joost -

    A useful feature would be the ability to change the message without effecting older posts. This would enable changing the settings without causing the RSS feed to appear as all new posts.

    Cheers,
    Erik

    Art of Information Security

  53. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 15 January, 2008

    @Erik: good idea… That would mean doing some different stuff though, I’ll have a think about it.

  54. simonBy simon on 15 January, 2008

    Great plugin!! seen a good response to my blog reactions since adding this RSS footer…

  55. AlfredBy Alfred on 16 January, 2008

    got here from http://www.tenaciouscreations.com/

    Man this is one superb plugin, was just thinking of something like this when I found it.
    Will upload it later today, thanks for the plugin

  56. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 16 January, 2008

    @Simon & Alfred: glad you like it!

  57. Marko PyhajarviBy Marko Pyhajarvi on 16 January, 2008

    This is great, I’ve been looking for something like this one. Thanks! Gotta install it tonight..

  58. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 16 January, 2008

    Glad to hear that Marko!

  59. funkyBy funky on 16 January, 2008

    I am considering to start with plugins develop for a long time.

    Thank you for inspiration!

  60. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 16 January, 2008

    @funky: glad I inspired you, have fun, and share the cool stuff you create :)

  61. Shycon Web DesignBy Shycon Web Design on 16 January, 2008

    Ah, great plug-in. There isn’t much you can do to keep people from scraping your stuff, but why not get some links out of it! :D Thanks

  62. JLHBy JLH on 17 January, 2008

    I made a minor tweak, I changed line 18 from …’RSS Footer’, 1, basename… to …’RSS Footer’, 10, basename… just so that subscribers couldn’t see and change the options.

  63. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 17 January, 2008

    @JLH: yeah, thx… Version 0.7 fixes that!

  64. BrianBy Brian on 17 January, 2008

    This is a fantastic idea but unfortunately the plugin doesn’t seem to work on my blog. I enable the plugin and edit the footer message but it doesn’t appear at the end of each post. Could it be that my theme is incompatible?

    Big respect for this excellent concept just the same. You’re one of my favourite plugin authors!

  65. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 20 January, 2008

    @Brian: which version of WP are you using? Could you email me that?

  66. SusanneUKBy SusanneUK on 20 January, 2008

    Just adding my eternal thanks to the bottom of the pile, I will send others your way as well..

    Thanks again
    Sue

  67. nottingham hondaBy nottingham honda on 20 January, 2008

    i hate scrapers sites with a vengance!

    mainly because i think their adsense is making more money than mine.

  68. BiancaBy Bianca on 21 January, 2008

    Thanks! This is a great plugin! Now to sit back and hope it works. :)

  69. DarrenBy Darren on 26 January, 2008

    You got to love this. These scrapers are killing my sites. I can’t wait to see my traffic fly back from this.

    Does this work for those who already scrapped my blogs? or only new scrappers?

  70. BillinDetroitBy BillinDetroit on 1 February, 2008

    I doubt if scrapers are a large problem for me, but what the heck … every one-way inbound link is a good one, no? While my content is ~100% original, it is hardly authoritative.

    Just ask my wife. ;-)

  71. colbert lowBy colbert low on 2 February, 2008

    Looks like a great plugin. I will try it

  72. BethBy Beth on 3 February, 2008

    Great idea for a plugin! I’ve had issues with scrapers for a few months and have tried everything including a warning type plugin that provides readers the information about the post being scraped and to contact me. But I see this as something I can capitalize on- with as many scrapers using my content I should be number 1 on Google and Technorati!

  73. EphenaBy Ephena on 14 March, 2008

    I do something similiar on all webpages because of scrapers. even though my sites links are relative links. I hardcode some on all pages with the full http :// structure so that as my sites are scraped or more commonly 302 redirected to as belonging on their sites, they unwittingly publish at least some hard coded urls to the original content. I do think it helps safeguard against scrapers.

  74. JackBy Jack on 16 March, 2008

    Doesnt work for me me either. Using wp 2.33 with feedburner for feeds.

  75. Gunnar andreassenBy Gunnar andreassen on 23 March, 2008

    Scraping has been a big problem, hope this thing fixes it. Thanks!

  76. Glenn DixonBy Glenn Dixon on 30 March, 2008

    An awesome idea and approach – if you can’t beat ‘em, fuck ‘em! I like it.

  77. John HoneckBy John Honeck on 2 April, 2008

    Since the 2.5 update I’ve noticed that in the feed the post to the article itself isn’t using permalinks but rather links to ?p=xxxx instead.

  78. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 4 April, 2008

    You’re very right John, fixed that in 0.7.5!

  79. pozmuBy pozmu on 10 April, 2008

    Hi
    Nice plugin, but it doesn’t work well with internationl characters (e.g. Polish) :(

  80. pozmuBy pozmu on 10 April, 2008

    In previous post, I meant that output in administration panel is garbage after saving RSS footer text.
    Another thing is that it doesn’t work with RSS excerpts – in “after” mode nothing is displayed, and in “before” mode footer and link to article (if enabled) is displayed, but it’s plain text, not link.

  81. zylla3By zylla3 on 13 April, 2008

    Thank G*d I found this post and comments. Every time I read about plugins, I do a 90d turn when I get to the words: code, php, html, etc. This business of scraping is giving me headaches, but the coding stuff doesn’t make it any better for me.

    At least it’s good to know I’m not alone. It was by accident that I discovered 90% of my posts at this particular site [luckily at an early stage]. I thought I was crazy losing sleep googling this scraper and blogging about it. I have learned to reshape my blogging at this point to accommodate the experience…until I could learn any of the good stuff you’re all talking about. Thanks!

  82. MichaelBy Michael on 17 April, 2008

    Great plugin, that I have just installed on my website. Superb work.

    However, there is a small glitch: When you enter text in German – as I did – although it works fine in the newsfeed, in the options-panel of the plugin itself, it’s displayed not correctly. When you save again without cleaning this mess up, of course the humbug of characters goes into your newsfeed…

    And as many others said before: A great plugin (actually, also the second from this website that is in use on 3th.be)! Thanks.

  83. JustinBy Justin on 4 May, 2008

    Awesome idea Joost.

    I have installed your plugin, but my results is showing only plain text, no live links.

    This is the address of my feed.
    http://kingyorkie.com/feed

    Any advice appreciated.

    Thank you.

  84. freelance webdesignBy freelance webdesign on 4 May, 2008

    Great plugin. Thank you very much.

    Best Regards from Denmark :)

  85. johncarterBy johncarter on 13 May, 2008

    Hey Friends!
    I have developed a new web directory and need your valuable comments to know if something needs to be inculcated.
    It will be of great pleasure to have your valuable comments.

  86. Netty GrittyBy Netty Gritty on 13 May, 2008

    As a wordpress.com user, I don’t have access to plugins. But I am gonna use a Feedflare that will link to my blog url under every post.

    It’s a great idea. Thanks for the post! :D

  87. dianiBy diani on 1 July, 2008

    That’s great, thank you very much.

  88. CharlesBy Charles on 2 July, 2008

    Thank you for this great plugin. This is really helpful.

  89. IanBy Ian on 27 October, 2008

    Hi
    I just installed this but it doesnt appear to change my rss output

  90. Dave DugdaleBy Dave Dugdale on 20 May, 2009

    I really liked your plugin so I talked about it in my latest video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mazxIZkS4U

    Dave Dugdale

  91. slobjonesBy slobjones on 27 June, 2009

    Joost, I’d like more text options (and not just a text box) for link back to the post.

    As it is now, link back to the post reproduces the post title in the link. This can be confusing for the reader. I’d like to be able to link back to the post, but change the link text.

    Can you add that capability to RSS Footer?

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