Help us catch the thieves who ripped off TeleRead!

TeleReadI had a pretty bizarre email waiting for me in my in-box this morning. It was from a fellow I’ll call Bill, since I don’t know if he would actually appreciate being identified here or not.

At any rate, Bill was getting in touch, odd as it may sound, to alert me to the fact that TeleRead had somehow—at some point—been cloned. Bill proceded to tell me that a website of his had previously been cloned by someone using the IP address 192.155.93.220—he thinks they also used 184.22.242.240—and he was eventually able to stop the cloners by simply blocking their IP address. (He’s under the impression that his cloner and mine are probably one and the same.)

Here’s what else Bill told me:

It happened to our site a month or two ago and once we noticed we were able to stop it by blocking their IP address. They have copied three other websites since then but we have been able to warn those other sites and they have blocked them too. Now it appears to be your turn!

Pretty odd, no? Bill was also kind enough to share the cloned URL with me, and now I’m going to share it with you, because I find these sorts of lame-ass scams to be just ridiculous beyond belief. Seriously, take a look at this: http://www.blognix.com.

Can you believe that? Blognix?! Come on. “I assume it is done so that they can get income from advertising without having to do any work,” Bill told me, in his email. “Looking back through search engine history they copied another site before ours.”

Wow.

Now that we know about the cloned site (thanks again, Bill!), I doubt this will be much of a problem for us. Our parent company, NAPCO, has a top-flight IT team that I suspect can take care of the issue in no time.

Still, since I know TeleRead has such a widely intelligent readership, I thought it might be somewhat gratifying (so to speak) to try a little crowdsourced online sleuthing. There’s got be someone out there in the TeleRead community who can do a little digging and figure out who’s behind this Blognix business, yes?

A simple Who Is search, for instance, gives us the name, the email address, and even the street address of the person who (supposedly) registered the URL in the first place. We also know that enom.com is the company hosting the bogus site. If any of our readers happen to have the skills necessary to dig up something a bit juicier, please let us know in the comments!

11 Comments on Help us catch the thieves who ripped off TeleRead!

  1. Sorry to tell you that this is a common crime, and is probably being done via some kind of bot. There are lots of (generally) high-traffic blogs that get “scooped” and dumped onto another site. I’ve seen it happen multiple times in my other hobbies.

    Best of luck getting it taken down and shutting down their ability to continue “scooping.”

  2. This is my favourite part: “blognix is a website of North American Publishing Company (NAPCO)”.

    I would think that would be enough to convince the hosting company the take the site down.

  3. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you find more than one web address hosting your content, The busiest blogs tend to get “scooped” by more than one offender (or the baddies are spreading it around more).

  4. Hiram Miggs // May 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm //

    If you are able to track down the persons responsible are you going to sue, or just whine and play “whack a mole?”

  5. Can you alert your advertisers and/or Google AdSense, if you’re using them?

  6. This has happened to us more times then we can count, over the years we have ID’d over 19 sites that either copied all of our articles word for word, or just harvested all of our content. I normally just threaten them with DMCA and Google penalization and their Adsense accounts being suspended, normally works.

  7. Thanks Michael, that’s good to know. I’ll pass it along to the right people.

    Hiram: I’ve never been a big fan of Whack-a-Mole, honestly. Too high-stress. I’m much more partial to a nice, leisurely game of Skee-ball.

  8. BlogNix previously copied my blog around the start of March. Before that they had only copied one blog before that, which they were copying and were updating the content every few days for a year.

    I only happened to notice that Blognix was copying my content, when searching for one of my articles on Google and noticing that the article name was a complete copy of an article at Blognix, so I took a look and realized that they had completely copied everything.

    BlogNix goes through and removes anything which says your blog name and replaces it with Blognix, which is why you see “blognix is a website of North American Publishing Company (NAPCO)”.

    Hopefully your company NAPCO will be able to take this person down, as it was hard for me as a smaller website to try take a website down through the legal route, when you don’t have a company like NAPCO behind you.

    It’s just very annoying when someone like this is making money off our content and also getting quite a bit of traffic from it (judging from their Alexa rank).

    I’m glad that we were able to alert you that someone is copying all your content too and hopefully you’re able to stop Blognix.

  9. Patrick Perez // May 2, 2013 at 11:50 am //

    Well, though the whois shows enom as the registrar, the domain was sold via one of their resellers, Gold-Domain. You may try contacting them to have the domain suspended at 503 326 2513, or emailing support (at) gold-domain.com. The hosting is being obscured by hosting proxy Cloudflare and it is difficult to find the actual source of the hosting. If it is just the hosted content you want gone, you’ll have to start with Cloudflare at their webform https:// www . cloudflare . com/abuse/ but they will just point you to the actual web host.

    Patrick

  10. Patrick: Thank you so much for that information, and thanks also for spending your time doing some digging! That’s truly kind of you.

    For anyone who’s interested in following this story, I can tell you that the head of NAPCO’s IT department—a very persistent and highly intelligent guy—spent some time looking into this yesterday afternoon/evening. He was able to find out quite a bit about where the site is actually being hosted, and he’s continuing to look into this. In an email he sent to the team, he did confirm that he discovered that the Blognix site is ‘hidden’ behind CloudFlare, a CDN provider, who then put him in touch with the hosting provider (who CloudFlare provides a sort of pass-through service for.)

    He filed an abuse ticket with the hosting provider, of course, but then did a bit of further digging on his own, and was actually able to find the real server that the site lives on, and then proceeded to block its IP address, as well as its entire IP range. He also discovered that the server where Blognix lives hosts 49 other sites, and it seems as if quite a few of them are also fake/cloned sites.

    He also said he’ll be taking further measures in the near future if he doesn’t get a satisfactory response from the host he contacted yesterday, so I suspect this story isn’t over just yet. In the meantime, thanks for the comments, everyone.

  11. Dan, I’m sure Google and Bing would both be very interested in your IT department’s findings — after all, if they are dropped from search indexes, they’ll never get traffic to make money off of ads…

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