You’re an Evil Plagiarist with a Duplicate Flag

© 2012  by A. Locsin
© 2012 by A. Locsin | Source

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

You’ve worked hard to craft your hub. You’ve checked the facts, corrected any grammatical errors, fixed the typos and polished the sentences. When you publish your piece, you are rewarded with a high hub score and praise from your followers. After a few days, your efforts increase your page impressions and bring in some cash.


Then one day, your title is pinked out in your stats list with the warning duplicate. Your creation is no longer visible to the world and you receive an email chastising you for your evil intentions. You are warned to make corrections before the page can be published. However, you are never told what those corrections need to be.

Don’t panic! You’re in good company as you can see from my two duplicate flags. They unfortunately appeared within hours of each other during the weekend, when I was expecting the greatest number of impressions for my hubs.


The HubPages Help classifies the duplicate violation as something far more ominous than it actually is. It can arise for any of the following cases:

  1. Copying another Internet work verbatim or through paraphrasing. This is outright plagiarism, which is defined as unauthorized duplication of an existing work. This should be punished. But if you did this crime, I doubt you’d be looking for reasons by reading this hub.
  2. Including numbers or other reference information from a public domain or government source. This is the most common reason that some of my hubs get flagged, since I like to write about statistical information.
  3. Quoting text from an Internet source, whether or not you’ve attributed the original.

As far as I can tell, the threshold for producing this flag is around 25 percent or greater. In other words, if a quarter or more of your work is copied, then HubPages marks your hub as a duplicate.


The obvious solution is to rewrite your hub. But this is only viable for case 1. It cannot be done for cases 2 or 3 unless you’re willing to eliminate the statistics or make up numbers.

A solution that’s worked for me in cases 2 or 3 is to reply to the warning email. Then explain that your hub consists primarily of statistical or reference information that cannot be rewritten. In all these instances, the duplicate flag was eliminated and my hubs marked as exceptions.

If after appealing your case for 2 and 3, the flag still remains, you can try removing the offending text from the hub and pasting it into the Comment field. You can then refer readers to the comment as needed.


I understand that the process is entirely automated out of efficiency. But I find the practice of finding me guilty until proven innocent offensively Napoleonic. I think a fairer method is to allow the hub to remain visible until the hubber is truly pronounced guilty. Only at the time should it become unpublished. Otherwise, even if the hubber is innocent, he loses both page views and income that can never be recovered.

Have you ever gotten a "duplicate" flag?

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Comments 27 comments

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, the answer is yes, I have been duplicated! arghhh! it drives me mad! in fact I got so mad at one hub that had been copied I even went on twitter and outed him! I threatened him with complaining to google etc but he still hasn't taken it down! the trouble is its a site that doesn't have any links to his exact page, so my duplicate message never goes away! the funny thing is he is advertising his book on one of the pages, does he really expect anybody to trust him? I even believe that his photo is fake!

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I agree with you - I don't like to be treated as if I were guilty, and lose income while I sort things out.

Another solution is to write additional content so that your quoted work is a smaller percentage of your overall content.

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Yikes - that pic at the top freaks me out a little. I've wanted to do hubs on inspirational quotes or something like that, but I'm too scared. Sorry you got those duplicate warnings - they were well-versed hubs. I suppose that HP has to err on the side of caution what with so many people "scraping" information and stealing with no hint of guilt. But, it would be cool if they looked at a particular Hubber's track record and verify before unpublishing like you said. Hopefully it had been straightened out by the time you published this hub....

Dale Hyde profile image

Dale Hyde 4 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

I had considered doing a hub on Pagan and Native American quotes, however, after reading this, I can see that it would be wasted effort on my part. I have a great stash of such quotes. Projects like this in the past, on other sites, have generated many hits and have been cited and used by others in a scholarly fashion.

Thanks for an informative hub, and a preventive hub for me! I would be sorely disappointed had I done that hub just to have the "duplicate" thrown on it.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

I didn't mean to discourage anyone from writing any hubs. As I said in this one, the flags were eventually reversed with some explanation from me. So go ahead and write your stuff. If you get the flag, you can always appeal.

And Nell, I'm sorry to hear about your terrible experiences. Have you explained this to the HubPages moderators? Have they been unable to do anything?

PWalker281 4 years ago

The duplicate content flag is coming to be a right of passage here at HubPages. You make some valid points, Aurelio, about being considered innocent until proven otherwise, but the system HubPages uses is probably efficient for THEM. It would also be nice to be told what the offending duplicate content is instead of having to take valuable time figuring it out. But again, the process, as I understand it is automated, again for the sake of efficiency.

cclitgirl and Dale, fellow hubber, vox vocis, has several "quotes" hubs, but she gets her quotes from books instead of the Internet. She provides a source for each one as well. That might be an option worth considering.

Dale Hyde profile image

Dale Hyde 4 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

Thanks for the information, PWalker!

vasoov profile image

vasoov 4 years ago from Mauritius

If anyone is interested, you can actually check whether anyone has copied YOUR content by scanning the web using this Copyscape tool.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Pwalker, I agree with pointing out the offensive phrase. I'm not sure whey they don't incorporate that into the notice -- that can be done automatically. And thanks vasoov for pointing out that useful tool.

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Hubpages has not still rated my content duplicate, but in two occasions, it told me that my hubs are substandard. One was recipe hub which was thought substandard, I presume, because of word count. (Surprisingly another recipe hub with same length was accepted.)

Another hub about religion was charged as poor formatting. I have checked all the categories but could not know what has gone wrong.

Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

If when you get an email telling you that you have duplicate content it is easy enough to reply and ask them to show you where that content is and they will send you the link.

Some things you just can't rewrite.

When it comes to statistics I believe you can take a screen shot and include them in your hub as an image.

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Hello Alocsin ~ I even gave this an awesome for explaining so clearly the steps of what happens on "duplication" warnings. Yes, you do have an opportunity to make correction, an appeal and save the hub. True, you lose the missing days and funds it could have brought in while under appeal. In addition, I wonder if when others have copied your hub writing and information it could be deemed 'duplicate' as the crawlers and robots pick up this information? Then you need to track down the offending blogger, too. Be well, Debby

PWalker281 4 years ago

Vinaya, re: the hubs HP says are substandard, were you told what was substandard about the hubs? If not, email them back and ask them to tell you what specifically is substandard about the hubs and ask for suggestions to make them acceptable.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thank you all for visiting my hub. Debby, that's a actually an excellent idea -- but I've pretty much guessed the reason for my duplicate flag 100% of the time -- it's the statistics. And so I can just ask them to remove the flag.

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

Another way to work through this problem would be to add additional commentary that would not be duplicated to change the percentages.

Thanks so much for SHARING!

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Dear Alocsin ~ I have a number of hubs that have had to get clearance, as well. Then, any time that I change one of those hubs, I must contact Hubpages Team members and request clearance again. It the system and I appreciate that they are there to serve and assist us. Blessings, Debby

hoteltravel profile image

hoteltravel 4 years ago from Thailand

None of my hubs were flagged till date, but was wondering why there are so many questions related to this. Your hub explains this so well. How to tackle the problem is very useful. I hope Hubpages changes their policy and include the reason in the email without asking for it. Voting up and useful!

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thank you for stopping by. And by the way, just as I predicted, all the Duplicate flags on my hubs were eventually removed.

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

alocsin - I so enjoyed this hub and the information it shared. Therefore, I have included it in my latest hub luv hub so that many more can read your wonderful work.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

What a coincidence -- I just commented on your very hub. Thanks much.

DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 4 years ago from USA

Excellent hub and explanation, alocsin! I use Copyscape, follow the US Copyright laws for fair use, and reference according to AP Style. Therefore, it does make me nuts when I get one of these flags. I've found the HubPages team to be extremely responsive, but I think it definitely helped that I had emails from my former publisher returning all my copyrights to me that really helped on the few hubs in question. Thanks for sharing this useful information.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thank you for that bit of info, Donna. I agree with you that the HubPages team is generally responsive to me as well.

primpo profile image

primpo 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York

I wrote a few things. One I really can't understand why I got flagged. It was my own experience and I honestly don't know why I was flagged. I want to get whole of someone but can't. I'm mad about it. There was a couple of things. I haven't made any money with hub pages. I haven't really tried. Would like to but don't have bank account. Wondered if there was any other way like a visa debit card.

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

Great information. The duplicate content rules do mean you have to be very careful when writing hubs on technical topics. I got the warning once for an article on new employment law regulations in which I quoted a single paragraph from the regulations. It was less than 25% of the total content. The warning went away after I removed the quoted language and simply linked to the regulations themselves.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Actually, payments are made to a Paypal account. You can set up a PayPal account to disburse to a debit card, so you don't need a bank account. Check out the information below:

PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

nice article, Aurelio. My biggest complaint with hubpages is that when you do have a hub in violation, you don't get specific feedback automatically about how to fix it... you just get a generic heading. You have to e mail them directly or figure it out yourself. I like your advice on this one, include the caution that duplicate isn't as bad as it sounds :-)

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

I hear you PDXKaraokeGuy -- annoys me about HP as well.

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