All About Content


Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 4:56 pm

So recently someone tells me that I should do a post about SEO on my blog. Um, okay. Apparently my blog can haz FAIL.

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Category: Navel-Gazing

MSN India Syndicates Plagiarized Content

Posted by Melanie Phung on Monday, April 7, 2008 at 9:58 pm

If you do a Google search and there are two results that contain the same wording, and one of them is from some no-name blogger and the other is on the domain, which one do you think is guilty of plagiarism? If you guessed the blogger, think again.

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about my content being scraped by some spam blog. That happens all the time and I’m quietly resigned to that. What I’m talking about is plagiarism by a professional writer, for profit, on a presumably credible news portal.

My recent post on Viagra’s anniversary happens to rank well for a search on that phrase, but so does an article posted on MSN India.

This piece, “written” by Aditya Mehta and syndicated through India Syndicate blatantly rips off my post’s funniest line (on what SEOHack calls my only decent best post on this blog). The one word difference (the use of a second “please” at the beginning of the last sentence) is due to my having gone back a day later and editing it out of my post because it was redundant… something Aditya Mehta apparently didn’t catch.
India Syndicate Plagiarizes My Content

It’s not MSN’s fault because they just bought content from a third-party provider, right? And I’m sure India Syndicate has hundreds of freelance writers, making too difficult for the content syndicator to police all its writers. (<– this is sarcasm, in case that wasn’t clear. I don’t care how difficult it is to do QA on a product you sell, that’s still your responsibility)

So, boo-hoo, who really cares about MSN India or some stupid Indian article syndication company and whether a few sentences of a fluff article aren’t original? Well, it certainly pisses me off and since this is my blog, I get to rant about whatever I want. There’s also no easy way to contact MSN’s editorial team or India Syndicate (an email to their Contact Us address bounces), so it’s not like I have any other outlet.

Who, if anybody, is responsible for ensuring integrity of the content on MSN’s network (whether it be MSN India or any other portal)? And now that freelance writers for India Syndicate know they can get away with content theft and even have that work published on major resume-padding sites like, what’s to stop them from taking shortcuts on everything else they do from now on?

It’s really not that hard to figure out if something is plagiarized — a company with resources like MSN surely can afford some sort of software that checks if content already exists on the web (you could even call it a “search engine”) before it publishes something to its content network.

Update: April 8, 2008

Wow, did my complaining help? The URL to the offending article has changed to point to a completely different article. Good thing I took that screen shot of the SERPs first; wish I’d done the same with the page itself since I wanted to go back and check how much else of that article was copied from other people. The complete text that was copied from me read:

Indirectly or directly, Pfizer is responsible for probably half of your email volume, so be sure to take a moment to reflect on the historic importance of this day. But remember, if your celebration of Viagra’s anniversary lasts more than three hours, please call a doctor. (original post)

Here it is viewed from a different angle:

Same URL, different page info when viewed through my browser cache. The old post appears to be gone from MSN, Google and Yahoo as well.

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Category: Intellectual Property,Navel-Gazing

Quote of the Week: Hannibal Lecter’s Guide to Link Building

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Quote of the Week from Eric Ward’s article on so-called “best practices” in link building:

Hannibal Lecter followed a set of “best practices” when he ate a census taker’s liver, and those best practices included Fava beans and a nice Chianti, but having best practices didn’t make him any less insane.

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Category: Link Building,Quote of the Week,Spam