Content harvesting – also known as content scraping – is done when thieves steal your content via the internet. They will extract the data on your website using computer programs known as robots, spiders, or crawlers. In order to do this, thieves will generally use the Hyper Transfer Protocol, which helps them extract data. On the bright side, there are strategies and techniques you can employ to prevent from getting scraped or harvested.
The Art of Content Harvesting
From time-to-time, you may have copied a text from some website to share with a friend, or to repost on a social networking site. You meant no harm in copying the images or text, but, unless you cite the website or source, that is illegal, and you could face serious legal consequences if caught. Those who practice content harvesting do not take an image or part of the text off of a site; they steal all of the content on a website to use for themselves. The time, money, and thought a person or business has put into their website may be stolen quickly, and for free. This could be bad for business, because clients will lose faith in the company, especially when it pertains to protecting their privacy.
Thieves harvest your content with the intentions of republishing it in another place, without giving you any credit. Content harvesting is big business for some thieves, and they will steal large volumes of websites with spidering software. You should also be aware that the bots can steal email addresses that you have stored. They steal these addresses with the intent of sending out spam messages at a later time. Some of these messages are scams to collect money or data from unsuspecting individuals, while others are used to send viruses that harm your computers or web-enabled devices.
Bots are not all bad; there are some good bots that access your websites without stealing information or causing harm. The bad bots may also be able to gain access to your websites, so you have to learn how content harvesting can be prevented in order to protect your website and its content from being stolen and duplicated.
The Effects of Content Scraping
Your content is not only stolen when it is harvested; you could face other issues, such as negative search engine ranking. When your content is scraped, the thieves may rate brands above yours, which has the ability to lure current customers and potential clients away to other sites. This will drop your search engine ranking, and cause you to lose revenue. As a result of content harvesting, your brand can lose its stock and credibility.
When you perform a web search and see duplicate sites pop up, chances are the original website was harvested and duplicated. You might also notice a lot of advertisements, which may keep you from going to the site for which you were looking. When you abandon your search, the business that created the site loses money. If this was your website or content, you would lose money, which is never a good thing. To keep your site protected, learn how content harvesting can be prevented.
Preventing Content Scraping
Two preventative measures that can help you prevent your site getting scraped include purchasing software or coding your web pages. If you have knowledge of building websites and adding links to your web pages, the latter method will be easy to use. You will be able to design a system that not only detects the bad robots, but it knows how to block them from accessing your website. You will need to verify that the bots use a blank URL, then you will have to perform a reverse DNS lookup by locating their IP address, and finally, you will need to block their access if you find that the DNS leads to a domain that cannot be trusted.
If you have no idea how to add links to your web pages to prevent bots from harvesting your content, you can purchase software that does it for you. There are also applications that can keep your content from being harvested. These applications follow the same procedure mentioned above, but they tell you how to shield your content step-by-step. After you have enabled the software, it will begin protecting your website. It will also alert you if your website or content had been scraped; it will even tell you where that information has been republished. You are then assisted if you decide to report that site.
You can find services to protect your website from being scraped, or you can fix the issue yourself. Regardless of which option you choose, you will need to pick one--and quickly. The more time you let slip by, the more likely your content is being harvested. You want to protect your business and protect your data, which can be done with content harvesting protection.