Stop RSS Feed Theft and Score Marketing Points

While we’re on the topic of content theft and encouraging others to share your content legally and ethically online, let’s chat about our RSS feeds.

If you’re a blogger, your site most likely has an RSS feed (if I’ve lost you already, go to this post to find out what I’m typing about here).

One of the most annoying ways that some unethical people grab content is to take your RSS feed and set it up to publish directly into their blog. It requires barely any work on their part, and then every single post from your blog shows up on theirs right after you publish it.

One way to discourage it is to add a footer to every post in your RSS feed with a plugin like RSS Footer.

Here’s an example of what shows up with my RSS feed.  It lets people know that if they’re reading it anywhere other than MichelleShaeffer.com that the content has been taken without my permission.

You could also use this RSS footer to promote your ezine, products, or services and get some bonus marketing points in there.  It’s a great little plugin.

Cool RSS Icon by FastIcon.com and found at Smashing Magazine

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16 Comments

  1. I wondered if there was a good tool for that. I doubt anyone wants my stuff, but there could be a first time. :-)

    1. There’s a WordPress plugin for almost everything. :)

      And while I can’t speak to what crazy people want to steal (part me is still surprised this is a problem we have to deal with), I can say your blog is helping people face difficult but important issues that need discussed more openly so they can be understood and supported (depression, challenges of parenting special needs, and all that goes along with it). That’s valuable and brave, Katrina.

  2. Thanks for sharing this plugin, Michelle. I’m going to check it out. I actually never even knew that people could steal RSS feeds until the other day!

    1. I’ve seen it happen to online friends. It’s craziness, isn’t it? But it’s a lazy way to get “free” content automatically into a blog. At least with this plugin the readers know where it came from and hopefully it’ll help Google tell who it really belongs to. :)

  3. I had no idea that some could or I suppose ‘would’ steal your feed like this! Thanks for this awareness and tip on dealing with it.

    1. Some days the internet can feel like a minefield of insaneness (that might not be a real word…) but thankfully the wonderful people and wonderful tools outweigh all the bad in the big picture. :)

  4. Hi Michelle,

    I wasn’t aware about RSS feed theft. Thanks for letting us know and for recommending that plugin. ;)

    1. You’re welcome, Calli. It’s always nice to find out about a problem AND a solution, instead of just a problem. :)

  5. RSS theft is indeed a filthy way of scraping contents and without leaving any credits to the owner is just unethical. Thanks for letting us know about this and the RSS footer looks a good way of getting around it.

    1. I agree, Paul, nothing ethical about it.

  6. Well, you just made me rethink using RSS Grafitti app on FB. I’m broadcasting yours, along with my other favorite readers, onto my FB biz page to share tips and my intent was to also share the love! It gives your name as the author and where the post came from. What’s your opinion on doing that? I hadn’t really thought about it, other than from a sharing/exposure to my friend stream to others content point of view.

    1. Hi Cindy, if it’s only doing the snippet kind of thing with link back to the post, I don’t think it’s a problem at all. :)

      In my mind (can’t speak for everyone, but my two cents anyway) sharing like that is very different from the RSS scrapers who take our content and aggregate it to add new posts to their spam blogs.

      I share content using RSS updates on Twitter – and it’s like you said, just to share great content. My account tweets out links to new content from several RSS feeds.

      I will look at how can I re-word my RSS footer though because I don’t want to discourage that kind of social network sharing. Only the content scrapers. :)

  7. I sure am glad you shared that. I know exactly what you are talking about. Every time I have posted a blog post, it shows up some where. Thank goodness for google alerts. That is how I first found out people were doing that.

    1. Google alerts are a great tool. That’s where I first spotted it, too. I was less than thrilled to see my writing on some of those sites and didn’t want to be associated with them at all (yucky spam sites). I know it’s next to impossible to keep control of our content in the wild west that is the internet, but I’ll take at least the little steps I can to discourage that type of stuff.

  8. Excellent tip, thanks for the plug in. Shall check it out

    1. You’re welcome, Nikki. :)

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