I suppose in a perverse way, I should feel flattered. Some folks have splogs steal parts of their content, others have people cut and paste from their sites. But I have a company stealing my content and then reselling it to realtors as part of a web site package. Imitation is a distinct form of flattery, but this is ridiculous!
So what do you do when a company, Profile Sarasota and Manatee, is stealing your blog and reselling it as part of a package?
Here are the examples I have come across so far. (Click for full sized, and I have blurred the names of the real estate agents as they had no idea they had been duped. They both seem like very good people.)
It is the same company, Profile Sarasota and Manatee, that is reselling (stealing?) our content and our site to realtors who think they are getting an additional bonus. The real estate agents whom I have personally talked to have no idea that Profile Sarasota and Manatee was stealing content. They were both aghast that this was going on and were going to contact the company immediately. One contacted the company as of yesterday, however the content is still up as of Noon Eastern Time
However, in the hyper competitive world of Real Estate SEO, the idea of a blog increasing you Google rank sounds like manna from heaven to the unsophisticated. To have a sales rep tell you that you will be getting your own real estate blog as part of the package has to be inviting.
But has the blogosphere entered another level beyond splogs? Where hijacking sites by for profit developers going to be something we need to watch out for?
All I do know is that there is now another issue I will need to be on the lookout for beyond comment spam and splogs. I do know Google is not thrilled with duplicate content. And to be honest, Profile Sarasota and Manatee was not very sophisticated with their theft of information. What would happen if they had just used a scraper and taken the data? Then Google would have dinged me, and odds are I would never have known.
Update: 1:30 PM EST – It looks like the real estate agents got the hosting company to take down the sites. It must not have looked pretty having someone call you out and it show up on your different clients sites.
Update 1:50 PM EST: Read the comments, the webmaster has decided what he did was my fault. He ONLY used our site on 3 templates, and it was only an example, so he says. I did talk to the customers and they never were told it was an example. Fortunately, they have taken it down and I consider this episode closed. I will have to determine if others are doing so by putting a trap onto the site? Does anyone have a suggestion for this?