As I mentioned earlier, most of the sites that steal content have very little traffic to begin with so they don’t send much traffic, anyway. And more importantly, that traffic usually isn’t the kind of traffic that converts into tangible business.
So before you get excited about “exposure” that you might get from someone randomly re-posting your blog posts, remember that the quality of the traffic you get matters more than the quantity. What you get from an unscrupulous site that doesn’t have much traffic may not be of use anyway.
First, if you want to use content without having to talk to the owner of that content, find someone who has posted in their bio at the end of their posts that it’s okay for you to use their content. They’ll usually have a blurb at the end of each blog post or article, with whatever you’re required to include when you use their content. That’s probably the easiest route.
Second, if you want to use content from a blogger who doesn’t make his or her content available for anyone to use unless they have a signed contract or agreement (like me), then reach out and ask if you can use their content. A simple email saying, “I dig your content, may I share it with my audience in the following way?” is respectful, complimentary, and courteous, and you’ll be more likely to stay out of trouble. And if they say no, well, look around. The world is filled with people writing blog posts. You’ll have no shortage of people who say yes, I promise you.
My team regularly uses Copyscape and Google Alert, among other tools to find sites that are using my content without permission. If they find a site that’s poaching my content, we start with an initial email asking them to remove the content or provide proper attribution, depending on the situation. Then, if we don’t get a response (which occasionally looks like the one at the beginning of this blog post, LOL), we turn matters over to my intellectual property legal team.
Copyright and intellectual property infringement are serious business and not something to mess around with. So, authors and content creators, be prepared and know how to protect yourselves. And web site owners, don’t be a jerk—ask before you use someone’s content. (And yes, this blog post was, in part, prepared so that it gets automatically fed into the site that still continues to rip off my content without my permission. Take that, suckers.)