Protect your WordPress blog content with RSS Footer

Every blogger who has been around in the blogging scene for at least a while will know of this scenario. You spend ages preparing and writing a blog post, making it as useful and informative as possible. You throw in links and screenshots and you’re feeling good. You finally hit the publish button and watch it hit the front page of your blog. You’re high-fiving the dog and feeling proud of your creation…..then a scraper promptly steals your post and uses it themselves.

A “scraper” is considered by some to be no better than a spammer. Scraping is when a person uses a software program to read a website, webpage screen or HTML, and then uses that information to create their own RSS feed. They then use that RSS feed to create spam blogs, typically with Google Adsense advertising thrown in (their reason for doing all this in the first place). As the owner of the original material, you can do little more than strongly complain to the thief but the chances of them acknowledging you and taking down the content are exactly nil.

So if you can’t get them to take the content down voluntarily, you need to make life as difficult as possible for them. Or at the very least, make sure you’re getting something out of the deal too. This is where Google Tutor author Joost De Valk‘s free WordPress plug-in comes riding to the rescue.

Entitled RSS Footer, this plug-in places a small footer message at the bottom of each post you write and publish. The automated scraping programs will not notice this and when your content is illegally copied elsewhere, your footer message will also be included.

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The footer message is completely configurable and can be anything from your RSS feed to the URL of your site. You could also write something like Copyright Google Tutor 2008 – no unauthorized copying allowed. One sentence which can make things a little awkward for scrapers trying to pass off your blog content as their own. You can even include a link back to the original post on your own blog.

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As with all things on the internet, scraping programs will eventually evolve and improve to look out for little tricks like this but in the meantime, RSS Footer is a good way of foiling thieves who don’t want to write their own blog content.