It’s not that easy being a website publisher.
One of my newest sites is 4 Laser Hair Removal. I spent roughly $2000 launching this site. The content is 100% unique, I want to turn this site into the defacto resource for laser hair removal information on the Internet. What do I get out of this? Copycats, in fact I’m sure by blogging about it I’ll get even more.
Additionally, my site is having a problem getting listed in Google. The subpages, such as category pages and articles, are listed fine. With PageRank’s of 5 or 6 as reported in the Google toolbar. The homepage though has maintained a PageRank of 0 and is not listed. I’ve sent in a reinclusion request to Google, but so far no response. This site has certainly never broken any rules, so I didn’t understand what the problem was to begin with.
So today I’m doing some checking, and one way to see if your site is penalized or not is to search for the site’s actual name and see if it shows up. So I try that with this search. (If you don’t see the same thing I see, that means Google has acted on my spam complaints). I’m not listed, but the #2 listing is cgi.tripod.com/hair-removal-product/cgi-bin/index.pl and if you click that link it forwards to http://www.hair-removal-products.net/. See a similarity?
You can also do a Google link search on the redirecting URL and see that this spammer runs a whole network of cloaked sites, and while most of them I’m sure don’t infringe on my sites, I bet they’re infringing on someone’s.
Normally I don’t care that much about copycats, afterall copycats are a way of life and most of my sites have been copied by uninspired imitation publishers at one time or another. However in this case I really think that this spammer is seriously hurting me. The fact is my site fails to rank on it’s own name and is apparently penalized, but this spammer is #2? I can only assume that Google is confused and is punishing me for the actions of this cloaker. This guy is also using Adsense, but lets hope he gets kicked out since I’m sure Google doesn’t mean to be supporting someone who is spamming their search engine.
There are some people out there who are very secretive about their websites, they don’t share them, they don’t announce them, they don’t link to them from forum signatures. I’ve never been that type of person because for the most part copycats never do anything as good as the original and so they aren’t really a threat. But if things like this continue I might just turn into one of those people unfortunately.
The moral of this story is, strongly consider whether or not you should announce your new site to other webmasters, and also always be vigilant in tracking down content thiefs, it happens more often than you might think. I haven’t even been purposely looking for such people and yet I’ve sent out three DMCA Complaints in the last 36 hours.