Having been a victim of blog-scraping (my articles hosted on another site typically with somebody else’s ads) multiple times now, I’ve always kept an eye open for tools that help protect against copyright infringement like installing MyFreeCopyright.com on WordPress. I recently had another bout of blog scraping from a Blogger site and Google has since shut the page down, but during the incident I came upon Tynt’s Tracer service again and decided to look into it further.
The first step is to sign up at Tynt.com for the free Tracer service by clicking the Get Tracer button to end up on the sign up/login page.
Enter your domain, e-mail address, and a password to create your account with Tynt. Upon continuing, you’ll end up on the ‘Your Trace Script’ page, pictured below. Here you can choose your options like whether or not copied content will automatically have your URL added to the end of the content and or if it will include a Creative Commons License. Just check the boxes for which of those you’d like and choose a CC license from the drop-down if that’s relevant. Below that, you’ll see a preview of what copied content will look like. Once you have your options set on the left side, the snippet of code on the right will be ready. Highlight the code beginning with <script and ending with </script> and copy it.
Next, log into your WordPress Admin dashboard. Hover over ‘Appearance’ on the left-hand column so the down-arrow appears. Click once on the down arrow so the menu will appear below ‘Appearance.’ In the menu that appears, click on ‘Editor.’ This will bring up the Theme Editor where you can easily modify your theme. Your active theme is selected by default which you can see in the drop-down near the top-right corner of the page. If it’s not or you want to edit another theme, choose it in the drop-down and hit the Select button. Once the theme you want to edit is active, click on the Footer.php file in the right-column. This will make the footer.php file the active one in the text editor in the center of the window. Scroll down in the text editor, it’s most likely the second to last line, until you find the line that says:
Hit enter before the closing body tag twice to create some space above it. Now move your cursor up to the empty line above </body> and paste the script code you copied from the Tracer page. It should look relatively similar to the screenshot below of my theme. Click the ‘Update File’ button and you should be good to go. If your theme doesn’t have a footer.php file, try looking in the index.php files to find the </body> tag and follow the same steps.
Once you’ve updated your file (and cleared the cache if necessary), you can switch back to the Tynt page and go to step 3. Test your script. Enter your websites index page if it isn’t entered already and hit the Test button to have it validate that the code was installed correctly. You’ll get a little message saying “Your script is good!” if everything worked out fine. You’re now all set.
For an example of Tynt in action, you can copy a section of content from your site and paste it into notepad or an e-mail like I did below. If you chose to have the attribution link or Creative Commons license appended, you should see it below your content. This screenshot shows that the attribution link is added successfully when I copy a paragraph from my site and paste it into notepad.
You may have noticed that the URL isn’t a simple, clean URL to the page. There is an anchor tag added onto the end of the URL which seems to be randomly generated. When somebody follows that link back to the original page, it will take them directly to where the content was taken from and highlight the selected text.
The final cool feature of Tynt Tracer to cover is the analytics aspect. You’ll get statistics about how many times things have been copied, how many links are pointing back to your pages, a tag cloud of popular terms copied, and a list of very popular articles that are being copied.
If you would like more information, you can watch the company’s YouTube demonstration:
While it doesn’t prevent people from copying your content, it will help drive traffic to your site when your content is stolen. Human scammers will probably notice the link appended at the bottom and remove it, it’s mostly the automated bots that are the problem. This will hopefully direct your audience to your site for the original content. It is also nice that you can turn off the lines being appended to copied content in case a lot of your site deals with that like providing your visitors with scripts or code to copy for their projects. You can also set a cookie so that you are exempt from the additions when you copy content from your own site. You can find this option under the Settings link.
Sign up for Tynt’s Tracer service.
P.S. As an aside, if a Blogger site is currently violating your copyright you can make a Digital Millennium Copyright Act claim through Google using their online form.