Booting The Plagiaristic Scammers Out Of HubPages

On my Hal's Not-So-Secret Method To Writing Successful Hubs page, TravelAMP asked what seemed to be a legitimate question:

Thanks for a good hub. Very simple and straight forward, write about what you know best. Just wondering about how hubscore works, most of my hubs seem to be ok. But a few has really low score like this http://hubpages.com/hub/Phuket-and-Koh-Samui-Thailand . Any idea?

When I got to his Hub I found a well written piece with plenty of lovely tropical photos. There was really no reason why the Hub was so low-rated. Except... TravelAMP unfortunately must have not read my profile, especially the part that reads: "Hal has more than three decades of executive experience in media and publishing industries... producing 26 monthly magazine and journal titles for a total of more than 100 million published copies."

You see, TravelAMP, you don't write tens of millions of words and edit hundreds of millions more over a lifetime career without picking up a trick or two along the way. And I developed up a very finely honed "Spider-Sense" that Peter Parker would envy. No, I can't tell when Doc Ock is about to strike, but I can smell an editorial scam a mile away. And unfortunately, your Thai article stunk right across the Pacific Ocean.

What was wrong with it? It was well written alright. Too well written. It turns out that you copied it word for word from:

http://www.richmondth.com/15886.htm

Aha, you could state that they copied you, since you published it in July 2008. Yeah, that would work to get most people off your trail, but not me. I went to the Internet Wayback Machine and found that:

http://web.archive.org/web/20071202134743/http://www.richmondth.com/15886.htm

...existed on December 2, 2007. You'll have to highlight the text as the Wayback Machine is showing it black on black, but it's all there... each and every stolen paragraph! You didn't even try to disguise it one iota, you just copied and pasted it into your Hub.

My dear TravelAMP, by asking me to help you with your Hub, you have just brought the Wrath of Hal onto your head. How dare you enter into a conversation about writing quality Hubs and bringing unique information onto the scam-clogged web by promoting your own plagiaristic scam? Did you really think you could pull the wool over my eyes? Damn! You scammers are getting more and more brazen by the day!

The time may soon come when the many superlative, talented and utterly legitimate writers on HubPages take it into our own hands to clean up our site and make it a shining example to the rest of the internet that quality, originality and ethics can find a place on the Wanton Web.

In the meantime, I'm making an example of you. I've flagged your egregious plagiarism and hope that Maddie's Marching Marines blow you clean out of HubPages never to return. We don't need your kind around here, TravelAMP. Go foul up some other site. And let this serve as notice to all the malefactors who see HubPages as a way to make a quick buck by flagrantly stealing content: I'm onto you, and I'm going to do my part to keep HubPages the best that it can be. And that means without scammer crooks like you!

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Comments 48 comments

quicksand profile image

quicksand 8 years ago

Hi Hal, from a discussion in the forum, I got to understand that someone's article had been pinched and pasted on to some blog. When his link was clicked on, the blogger had already packed his bags. I know very little about Copyscape. Although the icon just issues a warning, I am aware that Copyscape is not capable of grabbing the plagiarist by any part of his anatomy and making a stationary satellite out of him! I am new here, so I would appreciate some info.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

I'm not really clear on which article you're referring to. Is it this Thai one?


quicksand profile image

quicksand 8 years ago

I myself do not know what article they were referring to. It's just that if it happens to one hubber, all of us are exposed to the same danger. Just want to know if any precautions are possible.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

My Hubs regularly get ripped off and posted verbatim on unrelated sites. I'm writing a Hub on that right now. There are no precautions possible other than signing up with one of the very expensive automatic plagiarism checking services or just Copyscaping your work continually. Both are a pain!


quicksand profile image

quicksand 8 years ago

Thanks, I guess I'll keep those copyscape icons switched on!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 8 years ago from Australia

(clap) (clap) (clap)

I'm new around here is that plagiarism?


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Good for you! I hope you get results.


Ananta65 8 years ago

Well, that must have let off some steam :)

I don't appreciate it either. In this case it was an exact copy, but I see plenty of hubs containing a biography that was clearly gathered from one or two sites, slightly rephrased and that's it.

As I was reading this hub and the comments, I saw the mentioning of Copyscape. Could you elaborate on that? Thing is, I don't write to make a living and since it's 'only' a pastime for me, I don't want to put in the time and effort to check all over the net to see if I'm being plagiarized.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 8 years ago

Hi Ananta, just visit the Copyscape website, click on the Copyscape icon which displays the text "page protected by COPYSCAPE do not copy." The page which launches will have an array of icons. Click on the one of your choice, and an HTML code will be revealed to you. Copy and paste this code on to the notepad associated with your website. The same icon will display on your webpage giving the potential plagiarist a warning. That's all.

Alternately put in your web URL in the search box of the opening page and hit go and you will be able to trace how many copycats have been active. Have a nice day!


Learning Journey 8 years ago

I think this is a good hub and it serves as a warning for those just pinching articles instead of researching/refreshing/rewriting them. I see that the first hubpage link no longer works - did TravelAMP also include the author's name during the pinch? What's an acceptable way to quote an article in hubpages?

On a slightly different note, what about PLR articles? It's a legitimate way of building content quickly. But will those articles be penalised in this environment?


Ananta65 8 years ago

Thanks, QuickSand


adrainsean profile image

adrainsean 8 years ago

I think we should all stand united against such copy paste HUbbers......thumbs up to , and Kudos too.

Thumbs down to the spammer.


R. Martin Basso profile image

R. Martin Basso 8 years ago from California

another well written Hub as usual, Hal. I am in total agreement with youonthis one... i am SICK of seeing dicks seem into our HP culture.


dafla 8 years ago

I keep telling you, Hal, put a link word in all of your hubs that leads to a page that says "This page is plagiarized. Please report this here." Plagiarists don't check out all the links when they copy and paste.

I've never had a hub stolen, but my Frugal Gardening 101 free course was stolen and made into an ebook that somebody was giving away on their website. She said she thought that since it was free she could use it. Problem was, she didn't give me attribution, in fact, claimed it as her own.

Yeah, I reported her to her ISP and to her hosting company. I'm a wicked witch when it comes to stealing. It took me several hours to write that course, and I'll be damned if anybody is going to steal it and claim it as their own!


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Bravo, Hal! Brilliantly written, as always.


camedmondson profile image

camedmondson 8 years ago from Hollywood

Nice Hal! That's what I call PWND!!!!!!!!!!!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Hi Hal: Great stuff! I'm relatively new and I'm already finding my writing stolen and posted elsewhere. I found a Hub here recently that was ripped off word for word and picture for picture and flagged the hub. It took the office a little while, but thay finally removed the hub. I hope they went back and looked at all his stuff.

Thanks!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

Hal, if I was a chick I'd throw my bra at you.  I am wearing underwear, which I could throw instead, but I'm reasonably sure that wouldn't have the effect a grateful brazier would have done.  Good job, and I'm sorry about the no bra thing.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

Don't feel bad, Shadesbreath; he'd rather have mine. ;-P

I've had numerous papers JUST FOR SCHOOL stolen and used by other students because (lo and behold) they were Grade A papers. Those days were the only days I actually liked turnitin.com. After that, I wanted to burn that damn website to the proverbial ground. God was it annoying to use! But it was the best plagiarism-killing site I'd ever seen.

Maybe that's why my teachers swore by it?

Hubpages needs it's own plagiarism-killing system. Then we wouldn't have to worry about morons stealing content and passing it on as their own.


premsingh profile image

premsingh 8 years ago

Its a difficult situation and most unfortunate part is the job of stealing and pasting hubs as such on other sites is being carried outby few hubbers. It seems that they have joined here to find hot hubs and publish them within  few hours of publication (at hubpages) on other sites. This has happened to me and it was discussed at length in the hub forum. The hubbers responsible for doing this tried to make me a culprit. However, truth prevailed and they have to delete my content from their site and rendered apologies. The course of action taken by me may help other hubbers to protect their content. Those sites (who stole the content) were displaying google ads on their pages. I gave them a notice if they did not remove my content within 3 days, the matter will be reported to Google. I meant it, it was just not a threat. Good sense prevailed and they deleted the stolen content. However, I have to waste 2 days fighting them in the forum and taking other action. I congratulate you to courage shown and write a hub on this problem and that so straight forward.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

quicksand: Just keep those copyscapes copyscaping! :) As of yesterday Hubbers can insert HTML so that is now possible on Hub.

agvulpes: It's only plagiarism if you steal the clap. :)

Constant Walker: It seems to have worked in this case. The Hub is gone.

Ananta65: Copyscape has a Platinum membership which is fairly reasonable and it allows you to copy and paste up to 2000 words at a time. Within seconds it provides you a list of all the URLs which have a combination of some of those same phrases.

Learning Journey: I wish I'd copied that page before it disappeared, but TravelAMP did not credit that text at all. If by "this environment" you mean HubPages, you'll find it very unfriendly to most PLR and I'm very happy for that.

adrainsean:

Well, now if I were the president of this land

You know, I'd declare total war on The Plagiarist man

I'd cut him if he stands, and I'd shoot him if he'd run

Yes I'd kill him with my Bible and my razor and my gun

G-d damn The Plagiarist

G-d damn The Plagiarist

I said G-d damn, G-d damn The Plagiarist man...

BTW, I'm just paraphrasing Steppenwolf... I don't want to kill anyone... :)

dafla: That really is a good idea to put in the link word, but I've got nearly 500 Hubs out there... I wish there was some way of doing that universally via template. I've got my Hubs spread out on all sorts of sites. I just found out that one was reprinted in its entirety in a printed magazine too! Sheesh!

Shirley Anderson: Thanks! Much appreciated!

camedmondson: 1 4M §0 1337. 1 H4X0R H1M! :)

Christoph Reilly: I'm working on a Hub about article theft and I hope to have it posted next week.

Shadesbreath: Really, by all means... keep your bra on. I appreciate it anyway! :)

Kika Rose: Really, by all means... take your bra off. But make sure Mr. Navy BF is on the flattop in the Indian Ocean so that I don't get my face pounded in! :) It is at least theoretically possible to set up a plagiarism killer in Hub, especially since there is already an algorithm that checks for duplicates within Hubs. It should be relatively easy to set it up to run the opposite way!

premsingh: As I mentioned to Christoph, I hope to have a Hub on the topic up next week!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

what a great hub - thanks . I am going to check my efforts now - something that I frankly hadn't thought of!


chucksterman profile image

chucksterman 8 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Plagerism is really bad these days. I bet that at least 30 percent of the articles you find on article sites and other places are copied then spun in many different ways. It's like copying someone's DNA then mixing it up as many times as you can.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

Except copying & mixing up DNA would be a total catastrophe, where as plagiarism is less hazardous to our health. :-P

Hal: Wanna know a cool trick I can do? I can take my bra off, AND keep my shirt on! :-P Aha, I ruined all your fun! And I doubt Ky would beat your face in. If anything, he'd demand pictures. xD

Maybe Hubpages could talk to turnitin.com and see if they can work out a plagiarism-scanning deal or something. It's a free website, as far as I know, so it shouldn't be hard to do. It's a thought.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Good hub, Hal. I don't have a lot of experience with computers, so I haven't paid a lot of attention to the plagiarists. I'm glad, however, that you, and others, are watching the store.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 8 years ago

Hal, thanks for letting us know that HTML is now permitted on hubpages. All I have to do is open a text capsule and put in the copyscape code, and laugh my way back to bed, LORL! [R=really]


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

ajcor: Thanks for the kind words!

chucksterman: This meaningless and endless spinning is creating a situation where the www is so clogged with incomprehensible garbage that it becomes more and more difficult for the purveyors of quality content to get through... like me! :) (Oh, ok... my ego isn't THAT big!)

Kika Rose: I trust that your feminine inhibitions would crumble in the presence of my overwhelming masculine virile charm. To paraphrase Will Smith:

Any damsel that's in distress

Be out of that dress when she meet Hal...

(What was that I said about my ego?) Oh, and BTW, do you mind if I see some ID to prove you're 18? Back to bizniz, an adoption of some of the turnitin.com features could certainly benefit HubPages.

William F. Torpey: Thanks! I'll continue keep my eyes peeled for scammers and other assorted scumbags! :)

quicksand: I'm going to take a couple of tentative steps into HubHTML. I can code my fool head off (I do it the old fashioned way... in Notepad!) but I'm a bit concerned that a wide adoption of coding by Hubbers could really mess up the pleasantly homogeneous look of the site. It certainly will be a godsend for when I do huge tables. I could have sure used it last month when I put up over 200 car mileage spec Hubs!!!


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

Oh, you want to card me? :-P I would think that being able to work at Domino's as a driver would be obvious enough (you have to be either 18 or have 2 years of driving experience with a license, and since you can't get your license until your'e 16, that would make one 18 anyway).

And if that was supposed to be an attempt at getting me to take my clothes off, you'll have to try harder. ;-P


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

I've left you my limerick on the Palin Jokes Hub! :)


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 8 years ago

Hi Hal!!

Thanks for the GREAT Hub!!

Boy, am I naive!!??

It takes me soooooooooooo long to write each Hub, each word original, that I don't get much time to get them done!! (Quotes are always given full credit!!)

Alas, I assumed copying someone else's work would cause the heaven's to open and lightening to strike me dead!! I just need to get faster and more creative!!

I agree wholeheartedly - PLAGERISTS be gone from HubPages!! Or may Lightening-Hal visit you soon!!

Blessings always, Hal!! Earth Angel!!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks Earth Angel. Wonderful words as usual. Do you think I should have a LightningHal costume made? Maybe something along the lines of The Flash? I look great in red! :)


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 8 years ago from Australia

Hal I would never steal a clap from anyone, surely you know that, would I lie.

Go get em Rover look after us old guys who don't know nothin'.

Nice shorts by the way?


ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

Yesterday (before my computer crashed) I bought into copyscape and found that a couple of my hubs had indeed been copied (great site thanks Hal) - the one on behaviours/fear had been used on a psych counselling page, plus the moving house advice page used elsewhere while others (which without the benefit of the info sitting inside said crashed computer I can't say which exactly) However the funny thing is that a couple of weeks ago (pre your hub Hal) I went through my hubs and put my copyright at the bottom of the pages. So copyscape now tells me that although my original authored words were used without my permission,the owner of the page has now removed my work.Makes me wonder if my action of putting "copyright" onto the hubs engendered these actions. cheers.


KT pdx profile image

KT pdx 8 years ago from Vancouver, WA, USA

Wow! Awesome hub, and now I'm going to check my hubs wit copyscape and put in that code as well. Plagiarists, beware!!!


KT pdx profile image

KT pdx 8 years ago from Vancouver, WA, USA

Ok, just tried putting in a banner from copyscape, and the text editor 3 html wouldn't let me. :P Says there's code that can't be used in it.


ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

I tried to put a banner in also but was unable - any advice?


Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 8 years ago from Hong Kong

another great hub.

congratulations.


Tyhill27 profile image

Tyhill27 8 years ago from Red Deer, Alberta

Nice work, it would take a pro to pick that out... Well done. You never know unless you ask, but if you manage to get a moment to read any one of my three hubs. Maybe you can give me some advice on writing good hubs. I love to write but still have lots to learn I’m sure.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

agvulpes: I dunno. I had to take a lot of penicillin to get rid of mine! :) I'm glad you like the shorts. I think my knees are a bit too knobby, but is my butt too big in them? :)

ajcor: Congratulations on locating your scumbag thieves who have ripped you off. I can't tell for sure whether placing the word copyright on a page increases or decreases your chance of getting copied, so I think it's a bit of a crap shoot.

KTpdx: I know that the Text Editor 3 has just been issued, so there may be some functionality lacking. I think your best bet would be to check the forums.

Benson Yeung: Thanks! Much appreciated!

Tyhill27: Your hubs are extremely well written and I most certainly support you in your message. They are examples of quality writing that will find its audience. Unfortunately, given the dynamics of the internet, you need to write many many many more in order to beat the statistical probabilities. Out of my 519 Hubs, there are barely a few dozen that I can call truly successful, and many hundreds more that I had very high hopes for that didn't draw flies. But by all means keep on spreading the word of your theology of love and the success will come!


Andromeda10 profile image

Andromeda10 7 years ago from Chicago

Ahh Spidey sense! I am interested to see what your spider sense hones into on the articles I privately I mentioned to you. Thanks!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Hello, Andromeda10. I will be reviewing them in detail and I'll let you know, as I've emailed you. There's a lot there, so it will take me some time! Thanks again! :)


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Hal, Where do you go to see if someone has stolen your articles? I have looked around on the internet and cannot find mine. I have copyrighted all of them and I hear so much about this, that I to the point I don't want to write anything if someone is going to STEAL it. I am glad that you wrote this article!!!:)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

One of the easiest ways is to check My Account and see if there are any "copyright symbols" in red next to any of your Hubs. If you see that C in a circle, then click on your Hub and you'll see at the top that there is a:

COPIED: The content of this hub may have been copied on another site.

Just click on Learn More and there will be link(s) to the places where you've been copied.

A more indepth way is to go to Copyscape.com and enter your URL of the Hub in question. That will come up with a sometimes frighteningly high number of pages which have ripped you off verbatim.

Thanks for the kind words! Much appreciated!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Thank you for guiding me as I am off to copyscape right now!!! I am glad that someone gave me direction on this issue.:)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas

I have repeatedly flagged the hubs by Odd World.  They are all copied and pasted from www.darkroastedblend.com.  I have written the owner of that site and he claims to have written Odd World twice.  Once they added a line to the top of their hub that said something about dark roasted blend, but you had no way of knowning what it meant.  It wasn't properly crediting the true author.  It's really between them now.  All my comments on their hubs have been deleted.  HP hasn't done anything to them last I checked.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

KCC Big Country, HubPages can't enforce independent Hubbers to not copy, they can just try to discourage them. It falls into intellectual property category and in HubPages, the content of the Hub always remains the property of the writer, thus HubPages' hands are pretty well tied from a legal standpoint.


Phuket Real Estate 7 years ago

I don't think there is any need to plagiarize anyone's work, especially in regards to Phuket Thailand.. The Island is so beautiful it must be easy to write what you observe.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

From what I have seen in photos and videos, Phuket is astoundingly gorgeous. I would love to visit some day... and maybe on a one way ticket! :)

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