How to Handle a Duplicate Content Warning on HubPages
You've just published a new Hub. You worked hard to get the content and formatting just right and are proud of the final product. You've shared it on all your social networks and sent it to everyone on your mailing list. Now it's time to sit back and watch those page views go up, up, up. Right?
But wait. When checking your statistics for the tenth time today, you see your new Hub has been highlighted in red with the dreaded word "duplicate" next to it. Heart pounding, you click on the Hub only to see a long warning at the top. What? You've been moderated for duplicate content! What on earth does that mean, and what can you do about it?
Here's everything you need to know to handle a duplicate content warning on HubPages.
What is Duplicate Content?
What Happens When a Hub is Moderated for Duplicate Content?
You will have an opportunity to revise the Hub to fix whatever problem caused the duplicate content warning in the first place. Once you make the necessary revisions to remedy the violation, you may submit the Hub for republication. A moderator will review the revised Hub and, if it is found to be unique and meet all other HubPages publishing standards, will republish it. You will get a second email advising you that the Hub has been cleared for publication.
Resubmitting a Hub that still contains duplicate content is considered a repeat violation. Multiple violations could lead to your account being banned from HubPages. Accordingly, it is important to figure out and correct the problem before resubmitting the Hub for publication.
If you have no idea what caused the problem, send an email to the HubPages team asking for clarification. It may take up to several days for a response. While you are waiting, start your own investigation.
What Could Lead to a Duplicate Content Warning?
Even if you wrote the work yourself and have not published it on another site, there are a few common problems that could trigger a duplicate content warning. Consider the following:
- Does the Hub contain quotes? Long quotes in a Hub, even if properly attributed, will trigger the duplicate content detector. Rewrite the hub to remove or substantially shorten the quoted text. If you feel it is important to reference the quoted material, consider linking to it instead.
- Does your Hub feature or reference another Hub? If you included that Hub's summary as an overview, the summary may be long enough to trigger the duplicate content detector. Instead of using the other Hub's prewritten summary, write a unique overview of the other Hub.
- Does your Hub contain a links capsule? When you enter the URL of a link in the text bar of the links capsule, the link description box may auto populate with a prewritten description of the link. If you have used the link's prewritten description, it may be long enough to prompt a duplicate content warning. Edit any link descriptions to make them unique.
- Does your Hub contain an Amazon capsule? If you have included a product description from Amazon, that may be enough to elicit the warning. Rewrite the description in your own words.
- Did you get sloppy when writing the Hub? When you're writing quickly and using limited sources, you inadvertently may recreate the same words and sentence structure used in the source material. Prevent this from occurring by using multiple sources, making notes as you read the source materials, and then writing a draft in your own words using only your notes. When making notes, use quotations to denote any wording you copied verbatim from the source and attribute as necessary.
- A number of small issues that would not trigger a warning on their own may be enough to set off the duplicate content detector in combination.
Has Your Hub Been Stolen?
If you can't find the problem in your own Hub, the most likely scenario is someone has copied your work and published it elsewhere on the web. There are a couple of ways to check this.
The first is by copying and pasting excerpts from your Hub into a Google search box to see if your text has been copied. Note that Google queries are limited to 32 words or less, so it will take a lot of copying and pasting to search the entire text. Additionally, a Google search may not pick up all copied content, particularly more recently published material.
The second and more reliable method is by using the Copyscape plagiarism detection service, which searches the web to identify occurrences of content theft. All you need to do is copy and paste your text into the Copyscape search box and the service will search online for instances where your text has been copied in whole or in part. Unlike a free Google search, Copyscape likely will come at some cost to you.
While there is a free Copyscape service, it provides only limited search results. It also allows only a limited number of scans per website per month. This limitation means that even if you have not performed other scans during the month, scans by other HubPages users already may have exceeded the monthly limit. Accordingly, you likely will need to purchase the Copyscape Premium service at a cost of $0.05 per search, payable by credit card or Pay Pal. You must purchase a minimum of 100 search credits at a cost of $5.00, but the remaining searches may be used later.
If by searching on Google or using Copyscape, you find your work has been copied, you should immediately file a notice of a DMCA complaint with the offending site. While that process is outside the scope of this hub, the HubPages Learning Center contains a tutorial on how to file a DMCA complaint for stolen content, including a template for a DMCA complaint (look under Online Writing Tips and Ideas in the Learning Center). For even more information, Hubber lmmartin has written an excellent guide on the topic:
Also let HubPages staff know, in connection with the duplicate content warning, that you have discovered your Hub was copied without your authorization. When you file the DMCA complaint, make sure to copy Team@Hubpages.com. This will facilitate the republication of your Hub. In one recent circumstance in which this author's Hub was copied, resulting in a duplicate content warning, the Hub was republished within 45 minutes of filing a DMCA complaint and notifying HubPages staff.
It's Not the End of the World
While receiving a duplicate content warning may be frustrating, there's no need to panic. Follow this guide to find the source of the problem and take prompt action to fix it. Look at it as being given an opportunity to revise your Hub. Ultimately, it will be better for it.