I’ve decided in the last week or so to take my own fight against Comment Spammers and Content Thieves to the next level.
Every day I find people wasting my time and trying to make a quick buck from my blogs in ways that are either illegal, malicious, morally corrupt or deceptive. Most of them do so using some sort of mainstream Ad network (usually AdSense) and I’ve decided to report each one of them to AdSense using the built in mechanism on each AdSense ad.
Every Adsense Ad has a ‘Ads by Gooooogle’ link on it and if you click that link and look for the ‘Send Google your thoughts on the ads you just saw’ link on the page it takes you to you’ll be able to tell AdSense what you think about the ads.
- If the site is one that is using comment spam to promote themselves – tell them about it and demand they take action.
- If the site is one that is stealing your content without giving any attribution – tell them about it and show them where your content is and where the thievery is taking place.
Before Reporting them – before people accuse me of hurting innocent publishers who might not have intended to spam me or take my content I’ll explain what I do before I report people to AdSense. I never immediately do it and like to give people a chance to mend their ways. Here’s my approach:
Comment Spammers – My tolerance for comment spam is very low however I do understand that some people do it innocently enough without realizing either because they just don’t know it’s frowned upon because they are new to blogging or because I’ve misinterpreted their comment as spam. If I see people doing this I delete their comments and shoot them an email politely requesting that they take a look at my comment policy. But if they continue to do it, especially if they do it in an obviously automated and mass way I report them using the above method.
Content Theft – Once again, I know that some people don’t seem to realize what they are doing here, especially when it comes to reproducing RSS feeds. In every case, before I report them to AdSense I attempt to contact these people either through their blog or through their hosting via the Whois information that their blog has. In most cases people are happy to comply and will modify how they use the content or will remove it. If they ignore my approach (I always do it in a way that invites them to journey with me on it) or refuse to comply generally try other measures before reporting them to AdSense (or other advertisers).
My theory is that when you take away the ability for people to make money in this way that you begin to take away their motivation to do so. Most AdSense publishers have multiple sites connected to one account so to lose one can have a pretty significant impact. While I know my efforts are just a drop in the ocean I wonder what would happen if more bloggers fought in this way.
In most cases people comply and reporting to AdSense is a last resort. The threat of such a report seems to work wonders also!
What does AdSense do?
When you report a site in this way the first thing you’ll get back from AdSense (if you do so with your email address) is an automated email saying that they’ve got your email. Generally I then get a followup email a day or two later saying they are looking into the case.
At this point you either get silence, a further email asking for more details and on some occasions a response saying they’re doing something about it. I’ve not had results on every occasion but I do know that some of the sites I’ve complained about are either not around any more (often blogspot blogs) or are without AdSense ads on them. Not all end up like this but some have. Whether it’s my complaint or something else that has caused the result I don’t know – but I’m willing to stand up and have my say.