Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Throw Your Own Barbecue Party 51baoma - Why is a BMW Focused Web Site Stealing Foodie Content?

Well, shut my mouth . . . as they say in the South when something doesn't look right.

I was surfing online and came across some interesting barbecue stuff. The articles were especially interesting, because they were mine. My name wasn't mentioned. My blog wasn't mentioned. The articles were just plunked up in full with the photos on 51baoma which is a web site about cars (BMWs specifically). What's an annual party here in my hometown with photos of the locals have to do with BMW cars, I have no idea.

To start with, I just found one of my barbecue articles stolen. After some research, I found that I could put in my URL at CopyScape and see the top ten hits with matching words. The service has an upgrade to find more stolen content.

In addition I spot checked some of my barbecue articles. I simply copied unique sentences (that's where Southern talk comes in handy) and put those in Google.

I don't know that I found everything 51baoma stole, but I did find three articles and two of them with home/family photos.

The first suggested step is to get in touch with the web site owners about such matters. They list no contact information. I looked them up and discovered they are based out of China. Hum. Perhaps I could fly over and give them a piece of my mind.

Here is the 51baoma company information online. All it takes to get that information is to put the company URL in Domain Tools Look Up. In this case, it didn't help much, since they are in China.

They did have comment sections, so I did note that the content was stolen. At least the readers of those articles will know. I've not heard from the site, so I would guess they just add comments to appear to update content and keep high Google ranks.

The next step was to fill out a Google report under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). That includes a number of items and must be mailed or faxed in rather than emailed. If the claims are not true, then you can be held responsible for legal fees. That's fine. I know it's my work. The photos are clearly mine. No one in China was snapping photos here in a town of 800 people at a community picnic.

It took me a while to wade through all this, so I will provide my research and DMCA report here for others who are dealing with stolen online content:

1. The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on the following blog – Barbeque Master by Cyndi Allison:

My blog:


The following posts were copied and posted without permission:

Play with Your Food and Friends at Food Buzz

Southwest Virginia – Jewel Ridge 4th of July Celebration (including the photos)

(Note: I did link this one, so readers can see that pieces are clearly copied along with the photos. See the actual post of the Jewel Ridge Virginia Fireworks for comparison. It's the same - photos and all. Please don't give them a lot of visits. That's what they want when they steal content.)

Fun for the Whole Family at Mr. Shaver’s Yearly Barbecue Picnic (stole photos too)


Search – I’m not sure how I stumbled on these, but I also went back to www.copyscape.com to double check. Then I ran lines of content and easily pulled up these articles, since they were not changed at all. They just cut and pasted the articles and put them on the BMW site (which has nothing at all to do with barbecue cooking).

The site stealing content is:


These posts are copied from my blog in full including the photos as noted.

Play with Your Food and Friends at Food Buzz

Southwest Virginia – Jewel Ridge 4th of July Celebration (stole photos too)

Fun for the Whole Family at Mr. Shaver’s Yearly Barbecue Picnic (stole photos too)

3. My contact information:

Cyndi Allison (removed this part for obvious reasons)

4. The site is based out of China. I could not find any way to get in contact on the site or by searching for company information.

I did leave messages in the comment sections letting them know that the material is copyrighted and not available for use.

5. "I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law."

6. Include the following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."

7. Sign the paper.

Cyndi Allison

Here's where you send such reports to Google:

Google, Inc.
Attn: Google Legal Support, DMCA Counter Notification
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

OR fax to:

(650) 963-3255, Attn: Google Legal Support, DMCA Counter Notification

In addition, the offending site does use Google AdSense. Nate and Annie were kind enough to give me the Google AdSense Report Form URL.

That's very easy to fill out - much easier that the DMCA report. It's also online, so you don't have to fax or mail.

Basically you just put in the page URLS where sites are violating the terms of AdSense. Stealing the work of others clearly is a violation.

Update: I did get an auto email back from Google Adsense quick report form (don't ya just hate those). That directs me to do the DMCA which is the longer and more detailed report that must be mailed and/or faxed. So, the Adsense report may work for some issues, but if it's copyright, then you're right back at that long form that I put up as an example.

Mine is in the mail by the way.


Reeni said...

How horrible of them! What nerve. Thanks for all the great info. and links.

Reeni said...

Be sure and give us an update on the outcome!

CA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CA said...

Hi Reeni - I thought that if I did all the research on what to do about this, it would be good to share. Hope no one else needs it, but I tried to link all the help tools here for following up on stolen content.

I don't have a fax machine, but I do have the letter ready to go in the mail. I will follow up and let folks know how it goes.

I've had content stolen before, but it's usually an honest mistake. I just email and mention it. No problem.

This is clearly a site set up for AdSense with high paying keywords. They must think barbecue will get them some extra hits and income.

They aren't even trying to be stealth. They even used my blog titles and pictures (but not my name or my blog name). Geez. That does take some nerve.

Big old raspberry on www.51baoma.com

Nate @ House of Annie said...

If they're using Adsense, there's an Adsense abuse report page that you can enter the website's information in and your complaint:


I've found that siccing Google's AdSense watchdogs on these splogger sites works more quickly than a DCMA complaint. One site that stole my Killer Kalbi recipe was taken down within a week of my filing the complaint on the Adsense abuse report page.

CA said...

Thanks! I thought the DMCA complaint tied in to AdSense. I'll go check out the AdSense one as well. Nice tip. I'll add more info and links once I get that figured out.

CA said...

Got it. Thanks again. I added the link and a little info at the bottom. Super tip.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Hit 'em in the pocketbook! That always works ;-)

CA said...

So true. The way I read the company info, they have the site through Dec of this year. My guess is that they are trying to get the traffic and money up and sell it. If they get it blacklisted, I don't think they'll get many takers.

Gomushin Girl said...

This is getting to be a big thing . . . I had something similar happen, and while I had some luck in that there was an email and I got a response back initially to my request to remove the items, the person never actually did remove the essay in question. Thanks for your work in tracking down how to deal with these people.
Text is hard to protect, but I recommend watermarking all pictures with your website name and/or address.

Just Cook It said...

Great article. Thanks for posting

CA said...

Hope it will save some time and energy for others.

I need to figure out how to watermark pics. Tks for the tip on that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! I've always wanted to create my own food blog but my husband doesn't want me to because of content theft.

CA said...

Hi Karen - It really is loads of fun to blog. You can always check on your content. In most cases, an email takes care of it. This is the only time in almost 10 yrs of writing that I've had to file a copyright report. I hope you will give food blogging a try!

Trekkie said...

This happened to me last year, when I posted a recipe and it ended up - hell, I don't know where it ended up!!!!. Like you, I couldn't get any contact info on the site that it appeared on, so I also left comments there (great minds think alike, huh). After a couple of days, the site myteriously 'disappeared'. Unfortunately, I didn't know all about who to report them to. I'll know next time.

CA said...

It took a while to find all the info, and I hope it does help others. Don't know how long it takes for the report to be reviewed. I'll keep a watch and do an update about how it turns out. Glad the one that stole your recipe went POOF. Sometimes life is fair (-:

Dave said...

By all means, go after them, but don't take it personally. They don't know who you are, and they don't really care - they scrape content from all over the web and dump it onto their pages. there are tons of that kind of page on the web - they do it to increase their traffic hits and boost their pay-per-click income.

Websites like that are the single biggest reason I closed my StumbleUpon account. SU is filled with this kind of page and with "spam rings" cross-promoting them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the detailed post -- I'm sorry you had to go through that "adventure," but you've done an excellent service for the rest of us.

CA said...

Hi Dave - No. I don't take it personally. I just take it seriously. I know there's a lot of online content and graphic theft. If it's my work, I do follow up. Generally a friendly email is all it takes. This one is a spam site, so it's taking more work to get the content removed. If they stole my dog, I'd go get it back too (-:

CA said...

Hi anon - Hope you never need the info. Hope I don't need it again either. But it's nice to have it all in one place with the links. The research took some time, but the process is not as tedious as it may sound.

Chou said...

Thanks for the info. This is the 2nd time I've seen someone experience this, and I think we'll be seeing more. Fight back!

EC said...

Wow, that's pretty outrageous! I hope it never happens to me but if it does, thank for putting all this info out here so we know how to proceed with legal action.

Sorry this has happened to you!!

CA said...

Thanks for stopping in ec and for the note.

It's pretty common really. Google your work from time to time. Most of the time, people copy something and don't know about or understand copyright. A friendly email works things out.

In this case, the site is clearly set up for keywords for making money online. They are stealing work they think will bring in traffic. Then, they do not offer any way to get in contact. I'm sure they're just hoping others will let it slide.

They swiped the wrong blog content. I'm glad to help other onliners out (and do links to things I think my readers would like - random acts of kindness most times), but I'm not down with someone taking my work like that.

miss v said...

ive heard about blog-stealing. thanks for all the info.

CA said...

I did hear back from Google. They are looking into it. The web site still has my articles and family photos up though.

Christelle said...

Thanks for sharing, and sorry about the theft, quite a common practice these days I believe...

CA said...

Thank you to Google. They did follow up on this. Not only is my content off the site, it appears all the stolen content written in English has been taken down.