Web content writers are under assault by clueless bloggers and outright thieves: articles are regularly being plagiarized and posted on blogs and websites across the Internet. In fact, many plagiarizers lift the content directly from content for sale Web sites, blatantly shoplifting words. If you are a writer, it is in your best interest to detect plagiarism and fight back. But how?
Several plagiarism checkers such as Copyscape and CopySentry allow for individual and bulk plagiarism searches. In addition, many writers set up Google Alerts for each of their articles. These different systems are fair at detecting plagiarism, but have their downsides such as cost or time. If your Web content is available as an RSS feed, there’s a better way. Use the free FairShare service to automatically detect plagiarism.
Let’s use Associated Content as an example. All Associated Content writers can create an RSS feed of their published content. These feeds are often used on the writers’ personal blogs or by subscribers who want to view a favorite writer’s content as soon as it is published. Best of all, these same feeds can be used to detect plagiarism!
Simply set up an account at FairShare.cc and enter the URL of the feed that you want to monitor for plagiarism. From there, you can select a license type if desired. You are telling FairShare the type of Creative Common (if any) license you use such as Attribution Non-Commercial, Attribution No Derivatives, Attribution Share Alike, and so on. If you simply want to see where your content is going, choose “I don’t license my content.”
Once you’re done, it takes a few hours for FairShare to detect plagiarism. It compares your feed with billions of webpages and creates a feed of its own detailing the results. Subscribe to this feed and receive regular updates whenever content from your feed is detected elsewhere. In addition, you can set up weekly summary reports.
The FairShare plagiarism check reports the title of your Web content, the URL of the Web site that copied it, the percentage of your article that was copied, how many words were used, if the site is linked, and if ads are present. A link for additional details takes you to a more detailed report that shows you the offending sites.
Keep in mind that many of the results are legitimate. For example, a blogger might choose an excerpt from your Associated Content article and link directly to the original content on the AC site. This is desirable because the small excerpt and link drive traffic to your article and earns you money.
In addition, you may see results that have similar keywords but are not examples of true plagiarism. If the FairShare plagiarism checker lists a low percentage of your article’s words as having been copied, it’s safe to say you can disregard those results. On the other hand, pay attention if the results that show a high percentage of your words have been copied: you may have been plagiarized!
The FairShare plagiarism checker isn’t completely accurate but it does give you a quick and easy way to monitor your articles for plagiarism. If your articles are not on an RSS feed, read Part Two: Setting Up a Custom Google Reader Feed.