Cheating on Test Illustration

This situation would be similar to the one in the image above. Years ago, I wrote a post on using Copyscape that covered how to find out if someone is copying your website content. About a month and a half ago, I ran a Copyscape search to see if anyone was copying my content and found two copycats. I was shocked about this, but maybe I shouldn’t have been. Mr. Technique is on the first page of Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, AOL, and other search engines for Web Design and Local SEO keywords. The copycats probably knew this, so they decided to copy our Home, Web Design, and SEO page content. I wanted to have the copycats’ content taken down because I spent hours writing that content, and I didn’t feel it was right for some other person or company to capitalize on what I created.

I was able to get the duplicate content changed on both websites by using two methods:

  1. Asking the copycat to remove the duplicate content
  2. Sending a DMCA Takedown Notice

Asking the Copycat to Remove the Duplicate Content

Copycat #1 was a digital marketing company in South Florida. This company had copied the Web Design, Local SEO, and Web Hosting blurbs on our company’s home page. They copied all three blurbs word for word. We recently removed the Web Hosting Services blurb on our home page in favor of a Social Media Marketing Services blurb, so that portion didn’t show up as copied. Here is my email conversation with the copycat that occurred from September 18th – September 20th.

Me: Good afternoon, sir. I just did a search on my website to see if anybody has copied any content, and your website popped up. There are parts of your website where you copied my site word for word.

I’m flattered, but please take it down. I look forward to your reply.

Copycat: What site?

Me: [COPYCAT SITE URL]

The Web Development and Organic SEO blurbs were copied from my site. Even the Web Hosting blurb was copied. The only reason why that didn’t show up also was because I removed my Web Hosting blurb.

Copycat: Dear Mr. Tom Nguyen

Content was removed. Sorry for the misunderstanding. It was posted as a visual aid for me to rewrite but had to go up north for a family issue and just did not send the Word doc to change. Again sorry for the inconvenience. Also I jumped on your site and some you made. Nice work! If you ever move to Florida, call me.

When they modified the Web Design and Local SEO blurbs on their page, they just reworded them, and both the blurbs had multiple spelling and grammar errors. Family emergency? Right. It’s been more than a month and they still didn’t correct their grammar and spelling errors. Their Web Hosting blurb still is an exact duplicate of what I wrote. I’m not that worried about the web hosting blurb though. Problem solved.

Sending a DMCA Takedown Notice

Copycat #2 was another digital marketing company that was also located in Florida about an hour and half north of Copycat #1. I informed Copycat #2 that they stole all of the content I wrote for our Web Design Services page, and they said they would have someone on their team make the necessary adjustments. I asked when were they going to do this, and I never received a reply, so I filed a DIY DMCA Takedown. Doing the DMCA Takedown myself cost a lot less than having a Professionally Managed Takedown done ($10/month vs $199 for each takedown).

I filled out a form which asked for our copied page’s URL, the copycat’s page’s URL, and a description of what was copied.

DIY DMCA Takedown Notice Form

After I filled out the form, I generated a PDF version of the DMCA Takedown Notice and used the DMCA’s Website Detective to find out who to send the notice to.

DMCA Website Detective used for finding who to email DMCA Takedown Notice to

As you see in the above screenshot, this copycat’s website is hosted by GoDaddy and abuse@godaddy.com is the contact email for sending DMCA Takedown Notices. I sent my notice to GoDaddy and received this message from them soon after:

We are in receipt of your copyright infringement complaint and we are investigating it now. We will follow up with you once we have completed this process. We appreciate your patience in this matter.

A couple of days later, GoDaddy sent me this:

Thank you for contacting GoDaddy’s Copyright Claims Department. We have suspended the website in question. Please allow up to an hour for this change to take effect.

Please understand that as a web hosting provider, we are not able to make legal determinations as to who is right or wrong in an infringement claim.

If the website owner indicates they are prepared to remove the allegedly infringing content, we will re-activate the hosting account in order to allow that to happen. If they complete a counter notification regarding the work(s) in question, in accordance with our Copyright Infringement Policy, a copy of that counter notification will be sent to you. Unless we receive official notice that you have initiated court proceedings, we will reactivate the website 10 days after that notice. If we do receive such official notice, the website will remain down according to the directions of the court(s) at that time.

Let us know if you have any questions at this time.

A few minutes later, Copycat #2’s website did indeed go down. I repeatedly checked the their website, and it took them about a day to change their duplicate content.

If your website content has been copied and you would like to get it taken down, give the DMCA a try. It’s much cheaper than using an attorney which would have been the next step if the copycat refused to change their content.

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