Duplicate Content and SEO
UPDATE: Vinolin has taken steps to remedy the problems that were caused. If you feel your site is being affected by duplicate content, and would like an analysis, please visit our SEO Services Page. Thanks!
I’m not sure how many of you are aware, but there is a website in the wine industry that claims to be an blog aggregator for the purpose of “content analysis”. Here is what they say about themselves – Vinolin’s justification for being thieves. To make matters funnier/worse, the layout of their site looks like a slight rip-off of cork’d's.
I noticed Vinolin was aggregating our content when I discovered this post on their site about a year ago. In all honesty, it didn’t really bother me all that much, as they were just displaying the excerpt, and I saw there was a back-link to our site.
Now… just take a look at this page: Vinolin’s Rip-Off of our last post. This link takes you to google’s cached version, I did this in the event they pull down the page after this article goes public. On this page, you see they didn’t limit themselves to an excerpt, they blatantly copied the entire post and displayed it on their site. The audacity is unbelievable, especially considering they are aware that people have a problem with it(as people should).
So, not only do I discover that they are stealing content from our site and others, but as an even further sign of disrespect, they have not managed their robots.txt file so as to keep those articles from being spidered by the search engines. For those of you who are unfamiliar with search engine optimization, most search engines exact a penalty for duplicate content. It is not uncommon that an original creator of content can lose page rank, and even their indexed version of a page if the spider crawls the the duplicate first. The fact that they are providing a back-link doesn’t help anything as they would lead you to believe, because they are not linking back to the original content, they are just linking back to the main page of (y)our site.
In some cases, duplicate content is going to happen, such as occurs with content licensing, and between blogger friends. The simple solution is to use meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow” and place this in your page’s header so the search engines know the content isn’t for them. If you do it this way, google will ignore the content, but still give credit for any links on the page. Unfortunately, Vinolin didn’t get the memo, and seem to be doing it exactly backwards.
I did a quick whois search (here) for Vinolin.com and discovered very little, as the owners seem to be covering their tracks pretty well. So what do you do? First things first, file a DMCA infringement request with Google, with Yahoo!, and with MSN. Another option, which is always on the table, is to file suit. Generally, if the site stealing your work has an owner in the US (which all information points this is the case here), the suit is the most effective means of recuperating your damage, and you can force the violator to shut down their website. Most people recommend sending a friendly letter before calling in the Attorney’s, but hell, we didn’t get a friendly letter from them asking if they could use our content?
Fortunately, one of Grape Thinking’s fields of expertise is Search Engine Optimization, and web marketing. Unlike many others who have probably been damaged by Vinolin’s blackhat tactics, we know how to handle the situation and ensure any damage done is restored. Granted this will take some time and consequentially money, the fun we get out of exposing Vinolin everywhere using our marketing savvy will more than make up for it.
Here is a list of some of the more popular sites being ripped off by Vinolin (here is the full list of the 1,050 blogs and wine industry sites):
If you found this article helpful, please write about this situation, and link back to this post, as it will help us to recoup some of the google rankings we may have lost. If you have any questions, or need any help with your SEO, feel free to request more information.Tags: aggregator, blogger, Industry, seo, Technology