Protecting your Written Work Using Google Alerts
Writers are Passionate, Especially When Their Work Has Been Stolen!
As writers, we tend to be passionate people, and we are definitely passionate about our writing. We pour ourselves into our writing and put it up for display hoping that someone else will find value in it. Sometimes we do such a good job of this, others cannot overcome an irresistible urge to copy our work. When this happens, passionate people that we are, we want something to be done about it immediately if not sooner. In fact, yesterday was not soon enough!
Too many times, we do not discover that this has occurred, and we go along our ignorant and merry way never realizing that we are losing traffic to an article that we wrote which was plagiarized by someone else as their own. Although we are ignorant and happy, this stinks!
Other times we find out about it, and do what we need to do to get the content removed from the internet. This is a time consuming and tedious process, and frustrating when you find out about it months after the fact.
I want to propose a way that may not stop someone from plagiarizing your work, but will let you know about it immediately. This will allow you to take action immediately, and it will make the thief who stole your content think twice before doing it again.
What are Google Alerts?
With Google Alerts, you define what you want Google to be on the lookout for. When it finds something matching the search parameters you have defined, an email is sent to you “alerting” you to the new material it has located. Google Alerts can be used for multiple purposes, but I want to address only how it can be used to let you know when someone has plagiarized your work.
Google Alerts are powerful, and the first time that you are alerted to the fact that someone has stolen your writing, you will realize just how powerful!
Setting Up Your Alert System
If you are setting up your Google Alert system for a hub that has been previously published, you will want to run your article’s URL through Copyscape Plagiarism Checker to ensure that no one has copied it already. It does not take long for someone to take your work. I know someone who found her work had been plagiarized the day after she published it!
This is what the Copyscape screen looks like. If you are only entering a URL, the service is free. Make sure that you include the "http://" or the search won't work.
Then you are ready to set up your Google Alert for that hub. Fortunately it is super easy!
What I suggest you do is to set up two alerts for each article. First set up an alert for the title, and second choose an important sentence or group of words out of the middle of your written article. Cut and paste that sentence or group of words into your Google Alert making sure to place it in quotes. If you want an exact match, be sure to enclose your text between quotation marks. Click here to do this now and you will see the screen image depicted below.
How to Fill Out the Google Alert Notification Form
Search Query - The sentence or group of words that you have chosen your alert to notify you about is pasted or typed into this text entry box.
Result type - I would recommend that you select "Everything." Your choices are news, video, blogs or everything.
How often do you want to receive the alerts? I am receiving mine once a day.
How Many - Do you want to receive everything or just the best results? I would recommend everything, especially if you are selecting a sentence. Google should not find your exact sentence, unless you take the hub down and publish it elsewhere.
Deliver to - Where do you want your results delivered - on a feed or by email. I am using email.
After entering all this information, most of it will default after your first entry, click on the CREATE ALERT button. That's it. If someone publishes your article on the web with the sentence or group of words you have chosen, you will be notified. It really is that easy.
What Happens If . . .
I have heard some concern expressed that if we changed the wording of the sentence or group of words later, it might mess up our alert and we would have lost our search feature for our alerts. This is true, so I suggest . . .
. . . that a text capsule be created such as the one shown above. This capsule will not be visible unless the hub is being edited as long as the box indicating, "Don't display this capsule" has been checked. When this box is checked, the word "text" located in the upper left corner of the text capsule will have a line through it as shown.
This capsule should be visibly close to the text that you are using for your Google Alert; therefore, if you change the text, you also know that you need to go to your alerts and change it as well.
The screen shot above shows you an example of this. The text in the hub is boxed above, and the alert text capsule for our use only is in close proximity to the text.
Notice the line through the word "text" in the text capsule. Again this tells you that when you view the saved hub this capsule will not be seen.
The image below is what is seen in the published hub.
Your Work has been Stolen
If you find that your work has been stolen, file a DMCA report. Click here for the form.
This hub was written in response to the question: What can Google Alerts be used for?
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Copyright © 2012 Cindy Murdoch (homesteadbound)