“Help! My blog’s been cloned…”

When we heard about a raft of blogger friends who had their blogs cloned, we were shocked — not just at the theft but also the problems it created for them. Here, Nell from Pigeon Pair and Me tells about her experience.  

Nell from Pigeon Pair and family

Nell and her family

Until recently, I had no idea what a cloned blog was. I’d vaguely heard the term being bandied round the blogosphere, along with “hacking”. When my friends Cathy Winston and Gretta Schifano announced that their blogs had been cloned, I pitched in to ask, “What does that mean, exactly?” The next day, I found to my horror that my own blog, Travel with the Pigeon Pair and Me, had also suffered the same fate.

A clone goes further than just stealing your posts by copying and pasting. It’s pretty much an exact copy of your whole blog, with a different name, and with a logo that’s tweaked to reflect the new name. The cloned blog will use an RSS feed from the original. When you publish a new post, it automatically pops up on the clone – words, pictures, the lot. You may find yourself given a new name on your “About me” page. Sometimes, as was the case with me, they take out all the links in the blog, to avoid detection.

In short, it means a ton of frustration, and hours lost to sorting out the problem. If it goes on over time, it can harm your SEO rating. It’s theft, pure and simple. Theft of your work; theft of time and energy that’s gone into writing posts and editing pictures. When I discovered that my own blog had been cloned, probably by the same person who’d cloned Cathy’s and Gretta’s, it led to a spiral of despondency. What was the point in working hard to build up a blog, if someone could just nab the whole thing, pass it off as their own, and sell it to advertisers?

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to tackle the problem. My clone’s down now, and Google has erased it from their history. But it took the best part of my working week to wade through all the steps I needed to take, to get to that point.

I’ve written a post on Travel with the Pigeon Pair and Me, explaining exactly what I did, and why it was important. If you do find yourself in a similar situation, do go over and have a look. But here’s hoping you won’t need to…..

 

Have you had any problems with cloning or other illegal uses of your content or pictures? Tell us in the comments.

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About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at Jenography.net, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, CNN.com, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.

3 Responses to “Help! My blog’s been cloned…”

  1. Lauren James 06 June 2017 at 12:19 #

    I’m glad I came across this. I’ve bookmarked the post in case it ever happens to anyone I know. Thanks for sharing – scary stuff 🙁

    • Jennifer Howze 07 June 2017 at 09:09 #

      Lauren, it’s pretty frightening isn’t it. Since we are all our own tech departments, we have to keep on top of these issues.

  2. Uju 21 June 2017 at 11:23 #

    Woah how scary Nell, this happened to another blogger mate too and really shocking what people can get up to with your content! Glad you got it sorted x

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