Realtors Who Steal Other Realtor’s Website Content

Over the past many years, I’ve been both flattered and outraged at the numerous instances of discovering that my original website content has been stolen and used on another Realtor’s website. It’s happened again tonight.

I discovered another local Austin Realtor who has copied word for word original content that I’ve written on this site. I’ve sent an email notifying the Broker/Owner of this and demanding that the stolen content be removed immediately. In most cases, the agent or company owner has no clue the content was stolen because the theft was performed by a designer hired by the agent to create a website.

I did once have a Property Manager argue with me that he in fact wrote the website and that I was mistaken. While we were on the phone I had him surf to his site and click on one of the “top” buttons on a FAQ page (which take a reader back to the top of the page). When he did so, the link took him to my website. His site also said “Crossland Real Estate” in the Title of the browser. He or his designer missed a few of the url changes for the “top” links and didn’t do a very good job of cleaning up the code. I was even still listed in the meta tags as the Author. He was left having to admit it was my code on his site and he took it down.

If you own a business website, how do you catch others stealing your original content?
First, check your web stats often for inbound links from other sites. This is how I discovered the above example, and others as well. I noticed website visitors linking in from a Real Estate website in South Carolina. I surfed to the site and found a virtual clone of my own.

Second, every now and then, take unique snippets of original content from your website and paste it into Google Search. You can do this with entire sentences. Just cut and paste into the search field. If there are other instances of that same wording on the web, Google Search will find it and you can follow the links and check it out.

When I discover a site with stolen content, I next go to the WayBack Machine and type in the url of the offending site. This will provide historical snapshots of the offending site and let you know when your content first appeared there. This is useful if the other site owner wants to argue and tries to say it’s been there “forever”.

What has been the most often stolen web content over the years? The Property Management FAQs which still appear at AustinLandlord.com (our old Property Management Company). I still manage that website for my friend Jim Wilson, who purchased the company from us in 2004 and now calls it Crosstown Properties. That FAQ page has been lifted and used more than a dozen times that I can remember – sometimes right down to the fees charged.

If you’d like to read more about this subject, I found a really good blog article by Lorelle VanFossen which goes into a lot of detail on the subject.

Happy New Year!! ( a couple of days late – we’re traveling through Alabama at present)

Posted by Steve
9 years ago
Steve

Steve is a Real Estate Blogger, Husband and Dad, UT Austin Grad, Runner, Real Estate Broker and owner of Crossland Team and Crossland Real Estate in Austin TX.

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Nis - 9 years ago

Steve, I run a content development company and people often steal our website content. One great way to discover such incidents is to use copyscape.com.

This is a plagiarism checker where you can just enter your url and get a list of websites that have copied your content. I hope this helps.

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Lorelle - 9 years ago

Thanks for the link and I’m glad my article continues to help so many. It’s really important that we explain it thoroughly: Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s free..

Oh, and by the way, copyscape.com used to be fabulous but it’s not been current for a long time.

I also recommend highly you explore the new WordPress Plugins that will help you track potentially stolen content I wrote about recently: AntiLeech Splog Stopper: Fighting Back Against Content Thieves and Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft.

Good luck and keep fighting the good fight!

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Steve - 9 years ago

Update: The owner of the website on which my content was used has graciously removed all of the content as requested.

I did not get an indication as to whether they were aware of what they were doing. I poked around a bit more on that site and found that there is content taken verbatim (word for word) from multiple other Realtor websites. I debated whether to “report” this to the other website owners but after thinking about it I don’t think it’s my business to play web cop for other people.

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Mike - 9 years ago

Your content either gets stolen by blog spammers, and you pretty much can’t do anything about that. It’s automated, there are too many of them, and they often disappear as soon as they appear.

It’s the local competing realtors you should be worried about, and with enough proof, just report them to ABOR.

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