It’s commonly known that people are copying content from our blogs. We typically think of thieves using our RSS feeds to pirate content for their own purposes. But, do you know how many people visit your blog and cut/paste your content from it?
Tynt recently launched Tracer, a service which can log the cut/paste activity on a blog so you can track which content is being taken.
The service goes one step beyond this and also provides you with credit for your writing. When your content is cut from your site, Tracer will add to it a link back to the original article. The goal is to give you your rightful credit. It’s not a perfect system, since all a thief need do is delete the credit reference once they’ve pasted it. But, at least it’s a step in the right direction.
In this example, I copied a paragraph from one of my posts and pasted it into an email. Note the addition of ‘Read more’ and a link back to the article. You can try this for yourself by selecting any paragraph on my site and then pasting into a new email message.
When someone returns to your site from the ‘read more’ reference, the copied content will be highlighted for them in yellow.
I installed Tracer yesterday on my blog Eating Out Loud to see how it worked. When you register with Tynt, you are given a small piece of code to place into your blog. Very easy to install (ironically, just cut and paste the code). :-)
I didn’t expect to see much activity but within hours my Tracer dashboard was beginning to show cut/paste activity. Today is the first day where I can now view the report and I am utterly horrified. In less than 24 hours, 2k words and 2 images had been copied from my site.
In addition to providing you with a report on how much content is copied, the report gives you precise details around what is taken from each article. It will also show you exactly which photos were taken as well. Here is a look at a specific article on my blog and how it had been copied:
I’m a bit dumbfounded this morning and not entirely sure how I will use this information. On the plus side, it shows me that 13 pageviews were generated from people visiting my site from the forced credit references in pasted materials, so it’s working to some degree.
While much of the cut/paste activity may be attributed to people sharing my content, I expect some amount of it is mischievous. The one feature Tracer needs but does not have is the ability to ever so slightly singe the fingertips of would-be thieves. I’m requesting this as a new feature.
Tracer sheds new light on our the copyright plight we all face and is a useful tool for providing credit back to our blogs. While it may be discouraging to see what is occurring (and in such great detail), but it does shed new light on the issue.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this — and, if you install Tracer, please leave a comment to share your experience. I think you’ll find it eye-opening!
Other related resources on the web:
Recipe Attribution — Food Blog Alliance
How to Deal with Copyright Theft — Food Blog Alliance
What to do When Your Content is Taken – Food Blog S’cool
Online Plagiarism Strikes Blog World – Boston Globe
What to do When Someone Steal’s Your Blog’s Content – Problogger