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How Not to Respond to Someone Who Politely Asks You to Not to Violate Google WebMaster Guidelines and Blatantly Steal Their Website Content

It turns out it is unofficial ‘rant week’ at! Today I noticed that someone had copied and pasted an entire article from WebUrbanist (a site I contribute to and edit for) and pasted it on their blog. This included all links and images associated with the original, without any changes whatsoever. Now, Google frowns heavily upon duplicate content on the web, and often penalizes one or both sites containing extensive duplicate content. With that in mind, I contacted the site owner as politely (but firmly)¬ as possible to request its removal. If you are uniterested in reading this, I recommend strongly you stop reading this … now!

“I’m glad you appreciated the article from Web Urbanist …¬ but was troubled to see it reproduced in its entirety on your site. [I then included quotes from relevant Google WebMaster guidelines].¬ Copying content from someone else’s site in its entirety could result in penalties for one or both sites. This is particularly true if something is reproduced in its entirety without edits. Now, I have no interest in ‘getting you in trouble’ and would kindly ask that you remove at least 2/3 of the content and add a substantial introduction to the parts you wish to quote. This will let Google’s bots know that you are quoting, not copying, the page. If you are unwilling to do this I will be unfortunately forced to notify Google. This is nothing personal: I simply need to insure that WebUrbanist is not penalized along with your site. I believe this is in both of our best interests.”

[He resposds that he doesn’t respond to threats]

Excerpted paragraph¬ from my response:

“According to Wikipedia: “A threat is a declaration of intention to inflict punishment or harm on another.” I have no intention to harm or punish you. However, I adhere to Google’s WebMaster guidelines. If you don’t care about your own position on Google searches and/or your own PageRank, feel free to disregard this message. If you do care, I am notifying you as a favor of my intentions. Feel free to see Google’s WebMaster guidelines for yourself. I’m sorry if you read my tone as confrontational or threatening – I went out of my way to explain that it wasn’t personal and to give you an opportunity to remove/change the content. I realize you had no hostile intentions in reprinting the article, but from Google’s perspective that constitutes a violation – I would otherwise be happy to see the information spread. Feel free to excerpt quotes and an image or two, providing your own introduction and/or conclusion. At this point, I hope you, in turn, will consider taking a kinder tone in your response.”

[He responds with excessive CAPS and repeats that he doesn’t respond to threats, also adding that he has ‘blacklisted’ the site – apparently thinking that I will care that one lousy PR4 site full of plagiarized material isn’t linking to a site I write for]

My final response:

[I’ll skip over my surprisingly polite first two paragraphs, where I apologize again for misundertandings, etc….¬ and go straight to the juicy stuff I just couldn’t hold back any longer]

“Feel free to not use or link to my sites, as you wish – I certainly do not need links from your site, and would prefer no links at all to links accompanying copied content. As for how much traffic you get in a day: no offense, but¬ Alexa and Technorati are fairly good indicators that you don’t get much. Feel free to compare our relative traffic at Further, a site as old as yours with only PR4 suggests Google is already wise to your violations of their guidelines. So, if you take nothing else from this, now you (if you’ve been paying attention) know how to stop violating Google’s guidelines and perhaps improve your site in the future. I’m frankly done listening to you rant at me after I tried my best to be polite throughout this conversation.”

So that’s that folks … now don’t get me wrong: normally I rant and rant and rant when someone pisses me off, but this guy is clearly [DESCRIPTIVE ADJECTIVE REMOVED UPON REQUEST OF THE ANONYMOUS PARTY DESCRIBED LOL]! I’m really not sure I could handle a real-life stalker if it came to that, so I left it at a few geeky insults about his inability to become internet famous.