Stop Stealing My Blog Posts!

Mike McGrail
Mike McGrail Owner, The Social Penguin Blog

Posted on April 21st 2013

Stop Stealing My Blog Posts!

ImageI blog on The Social Penguin and over on the blog for my consultancy, Velocity Digital. Last week, one of my posts on the Velocity blog made it through Social Media Today curation and appeared on the site. I was happy with that as SMT gets great traffic and can only be good for my ‘personal brand’ awareness. Yes, I did just say "personal brand," you can slap me next time I see you.

Since that happened, the search I have set-up for my name (a must have thing for all people that create content) over on has been inundated with alerts showing me the plethora of other websites and blogs that have taken the post from SMT (quite possibly automatically in many cases – that doesn’t make it any better) and whacked it up on their site. You may be wondering why I'm freaking out. You may be thinking, "Surely, that is great for your personal brand?" It isn’t great. Why?

  • Many of the sites are of a quality that is of the horse-s**t variety and I don’t want my name associated with them
  • Sites that cover beauty, cars, and celeb news have put the post on their site – where is the relevance?
  • They never, ever provide a link to me or the original post. Some even make it look as if it is their work
  • Nobody ever asks if they can do it. That’s what really gets my goat. 


I could go after all of these sites and ask them to remove the content, but funnily enough, I don’t have the time. Over 100 sites, in this instance! In the majority of cases this amounts to breach of copyright. The thing is, I wouldn’t be that fussed, as long as they attributed the posts correctly and, at a push, had a link.

What can be done about it? Probably not that much without a hell of a lot of work and time. Is your content getting ripped off across the web? How does it make you feel?

image: stealing ideas/shutterstock

Mike McGrail

Mike McGrail

Owner, The Social Penguin Blog

Founder of The Social Penguin Blog (@social_penguin). MD of Velocity Digital, a digital marketing and communications consultancy based in the UK. Conference speaker and University lecturer. You can follow me on Twitter - @mike_mcgrail. Also sharing great content over on Google Plus. Straight talking, creative, strategic and analytical. I love single malt whisky and rich mahogany. 

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Mike Allton
Posted on April 21st 2013 at 12:08PM

Great post! Pardon me while I go and copy it to my site...

Mike McGrail
Posted on April 21st 2013 at 7:34PM

Haha Mike, thanks!

Genevieve Lachance
Posted on April 21st 2013 at 1:06PM

Same here. I've noticed everytime my posts get published on SMT it happens. People are actually even sharing those on Twitter which will only encourage those idiots to keep doing it! Why would you share posts from sites called Black Hat Tricks! I share your frustration!

Mike McGrail
Posted on April 21st 2013 at 7:34PM

Hi Genevieve, I agree, crazy stuff!

Robin Carey
Posted on April 21st 2013 at 10:18PM

Gosh, Genevieve, I hope this is because we are the most popular social media site, not because we have an audience prone to cut-and-pasting someone else's material.  We do have a policy, by the way, of immediately checking on all posts and writers whose posts have been flagged by other members.  If someone is consistently and flagrantly plagiarizing, we will block that person from the site.  Please keep me posted whenever you see someone copying your material here without attribution:

Posted on April 21st 2013 at 3:12PM
Posted on April 21st 2013 at 5:57PM

Troubling. Thank you for writing this. Your example (and Genevieve's echo comment) puts a personal face on unethical behaviour. This post can be used to teach and model ethical linking and citation behaviour in our Technical Writing program, while exposing the occurrences of copyright infringement over which we all trip (e.g. didn't I read this somewhere before?).

Mike McGrail
Posted on April 21st 2013 at 7:33PM

Hi Kerry thanks for reading and your comment! It is a nasty practice and while a lot of it is automated, there are examples (as stated in my post) this doesn't make it ok. The fact that non-automated sites steal content is even worse.

Posted on April 22nd 2013 at 8:51AM


Haha that really tickled me. I actually spit out my morning cup of tea.

Mike McGrail
Posted on April 22nd 2013 at 8:56AM

Hi Erin, thanks for reading and glad it gave you a chuckle in the morning! You can read my further Friday Freak Outs here.

Posted on April 22nd 2013 at 11:35AM

So how would you feel if I curated this article with attribution and used it as part of training on curation?

Mike McGrail
Posted on April 22nd 2013 at 1:50PM

Hi Todd, I have no problem at all with people using my content for the right purposes and with correct attribution, feel free. The original article is here -

Zachary Chastain
Posted on April 22nd 2013 at 12:43PM

Hi Mike!

I've had the same problem, to a lesser degree. As my blog posts here on SMT have started to become more and more popular, I have noticed some random websites (even some that might be considered a competitor to the business I work for) re-blogging my content, but everything I've found so far has been correctly attributed.

I'm sort of split on how I feel about it. It's great to get more coverage and show up more often in searches, but it's also sort of irritating to have my posts show up on a website that competes with my employer, with no explanation for why they're there. (I don't want it to appear that I'm working with a competitor or anyone that would create a conflict of interest). 

I wonder if there are sites out there that are sharing my work without attribution? The search usually includes my name, so if they didn't bother to mention me at all, then they probably wouldn't show up in my typical searches to see where my content is ending up.

Mike McGrail
Posted on April 22nd 2013 at 1:49PM

Hey Zach. It is troubling when there is no attribution at all or in once case that just popped up on my searches, its attributed to the site (SMT) and not the author. None of this is SMT's fault of course. Like you say, it is good to have your name out there on various sites, but when it is on very low quality sites, I don't feel happy at all. Try using I find it great for scanning for my work or my name.

Zachary Chastain
Posted on April 22nd 2013 at 6:12PM

Agreed. And thanks for the tip, I'll check out!

Posted on April 23rd 2013 at 8:40AM


Well Mike, its unfortunate that you are one of thousands of hardworking content creators out there whose work has been stolen or shared without proper acknowledgement. This is one worst nightmare for writers!

If you don't have enough time to track down these perpetrators, I suggest you still take action against sites that could ruin your reputation. I am sure you knows what to do, so I guess it is important that you create time to save your name from the "bad guys"!

 The above comment is similar to the one shared in - 4-in-1 IM Social site. This post has been "kingged" in the site as well.

Sunday - contributor

Mike McGrail
Posted on April 23rd 2013 at 8:45AM

Hi Sunday

Thanks for sharing your site. Funny though that the post you have put on our site attributes the post only to SMY and not the actual author (me).



Posted on April 23rd 2013 at 2:09PM

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your reply. Actually, that is not an oversight because I wanted to draw readers to the source. For this reason, the post on SMT was personified. Hope you don't mind?

Mike McGrail
Posted on April 24th 2013 at 1:28PM

No problem with it being directed to the source, but SMT isn't the author, it would be better if it was by Mike McGrail on SMT, for example.

Posted on April 25th 2013 at 3:35PM

Sadly, this happens on other sites as well. After publishing an article on Search Engine Journal last week, some random auto-gen blog snagged my bio, started spinning it into gibberish, and is now cranking out a new "spin" of it daily. There's no monetization on the site, so I'm puzzled what the purpose is in the first place. Negative SEO attack perhaps?

Brunner Nathan
Posted on May 18th 2013 at 8:27AM

This is a great post, hope that it won't be copied ;)

Posted on October 21st 2013 at 4:37AM

I like your personality, you very frank and humor. I Just follow you :)