RANT WARNING– here we go again! – I have been blogging 14+ years and expect commentary, citations and other fair use partial republication of my content. WordPress plugins handily track republication and links of posts. I always check pingbacks to make sure that they do not ‘steal’ or ‘misappropriate’ content that I have labored over. Imagine my ire when I checked a pingback from ‘Anderson News Daily’ and found that Mary B. Knight had written my ‘Lessons from the Secret Service Text Loss’ article. As you will see, things escalated quickly…
- I start with a takedown notice to Mary@andersonnewsdaily.com.
- Mary does not exist and I get the Non-Delivery Report.
- I try to use the Contact Me form, but it errors out. At this point I am getting suspicious that this is not just a plagiarist.
- I check out the site content and see a ton of familiar content from other eDiscovery peers such as HaystackID, John Patzakis, Digital WarRoom, Kelly Twigger, Percipient.co, Teris and many others. All of their articles are republished as ‘Reviewed by Mary B. Knight’ with a single word ‘Source’ footer linking to the original content. The site appropriates original content and makes it hard for a reader to know who wrote it. Now I am mad.
- A WHOIS check found that the domain was less than 100 days old. It had already been bounced to 2 different hosts. The registrar MeshDigital.com is an EU domain management company acquired by GoDaddy. I found a registrar abuse contact email Abuse@DomainBox.com.
- My complaint through DomainBox.com got routed to the ‘owner’ of the site, a Devender Garg. I am not going to reproduce the complaint/capitulation thread attached here, DevenderEmail_Redacted. But I do think it was funny. He started by asking if I wanted to buy the site. It went downhill from there.
- The bottom line is that my content was eventually removed (but not other bloggers). That left me with lots of questions and theories.
A couple facts from my fast investigation (recovering CSI love a mystery):
- The entire site is a template fed by scraping the internet. It pretends to be a local news site run by a single lady journalist. It actually takes a lot of work to mockup this kind of site and have it trickle fed with content. This is not a small scammer.
- From everything I can tell, Mary B. Knight is completely fictious. The About Me page claims she has been publishing the Anderson News Daily for two years. Remember that this domain was just registered. And she just moved from New York to California. But the tiny residence at 1916 Fletcher St Anderson, Indiana seems to just be a random local address for Google SEO.
- The Indiana Secretary of State has no record of any Anderson News Daily.
- While I would love to think that my content was being hijacked as part of a foreign agitation or election interference campaign, I am afraid that this is just a sophisticated ad revenue company using all of our content to get clicks.
If your content has been stolen, then make them take it down. If they will not, make a lot of noise and start the formal complaint process with every internet agency you can find. Complain directly to their web hosts and domain registrar companies. A modern professional needs to monitor their reputation, mentions and links. I invite my forensic peers to see if you can find Devender Garg or Mary B. Knight. Tell us what you found and how you did it.
Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call if he has availability. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.
Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer a journalist and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being published. Do you want to share your own perspective? Greg is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations.
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