By:  Melanie Hughes, Paralegal and Victoriya Sheyfer, Paralegal

Finding your name or photo on a cheater website can be downright terrifying. After removing more than 25,000 unwanted webpages on behalf of our clients, we know exactly how damaging negative content can be. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that it’s not just the original post you have to worry about. Reputational harm is amplified when negative content goes viral.

If you encounter negative content on a cheater site, it’s important to search for copycat (scraped) content. You want to remove all content (original and scraped) because:

  • Scraper sites are known to copy content from original posts on cheater sites
  • Removing one link may move other scraped links onto the first page of your search results
  • The presence of additional scraped links increases your chances of the content going viral
  • New scraper sites are popping up all the time

In this post, you’ll learn what scraped content is and why it’s important to remove all negative content, not just the original content. We’ll also cover some of the ways online reputation attorneys combat scraper sites.

Let’s get started with an overview of scraper sites and how scraper sites work.

Why is There the Same Content on Multiple Sites?

Cheater sites have grown in popularity and have the potential to ruin your online reputation and presence. If you aren’t familiar with these sites, they usually serve as a hate-filled platform for posters to vent about someone who has wronged them. Finding negative content about yourself on one cheater site is enough to cause significant reputational and emotional damage. What’s worse, is that content found on cheater sites has the potential to spread like wildfire.

Scraper sites are known to take content from other sites and post it as their own. Often, these scraper sites will use the exact same wording and pictures as the original post.

For example, TheDirty.com is one of the biggest gossip and shaming websites out there. ShesAHomewrecker.com is owned by the same site owner, so there’s always a high possibility content from TheDirty.com will be scraped to this additional website.

Some sites will even backdate posts to make them look like they have been up for longer than they really were. Due to these sites, content on cheater sites has the power to quickly go viral.

The logic behind scraper sites is not well known. There is no rhyme or reason as to why some content is scraped and other content is not. Because of this, there’s no strict formula to predict whether a post will be scraped in the future. One pattern we have noticed is that the original content may contain a photo and the scraper sites do not always recycle the photo – only the text. This helps us identify whether a post is original or scraped content but doesn’t help us predict whether content will be scraped by other sites.

To tackle this growing problem, one of the first things we do for clients is conduct a comprehensive name search. This way we can determine if multiple negative posts exist. One tactic we use to locate scraper posts is to conduct a name search, then add relevant terms, such as “cheater,” “homewrecker,” or “liar” to uncover copycat content.

Granted, this process is not 100 percent effective. There is currently no way to know if you’ve found every negative post or scraped content. But a thorough search is a solid step in the right direction.

Cheater Website Fact: Cheater websites are considered “user-generated content” and enjoy broad immunity under Section 230 of The Communications Decency Act. Just as telephone companies aren’t liable for malicious things said on their lines, user-generated content platforms are viewed as mere facilitators of content, not the creators.

If I Get One Post Removed Will All the Posts Come Down?

Unfortunately, the removal of one single link will not cause the others to disappear. This is why scraper sites and copycat content can wreak havoc on a person’s reputation.

Each individual site has specific instructions (and costs) to remove unwanted content. There is no way to remove one post and guarantee all other sites will follow suit.

If Only One Site Shows Up in Search Results, Can I Just Get the Negative Content Removed From That Site?

You can choose to remove one negative post even if there are scrapper posts. However, this is disadvantageous. In fact, removing one post alone will not be worth your time and money if you ignore the scraped content.

There is a high chance that the removal of one link will make another (or multiple others) take its place on the first page of search results. Search engine algorithms are complicated and always changing. So, there is no way to predict what may move onto the first page of search results. We recommend that our clients work to remove all negative content, whether it’s an original post or scraped.

The removal of one link (knowing that others are out there) can still leave you vulnerable to future scraping. If you leave live posts up, your chances of another website copying the content significantly increase. New sites appear all the time and scraping can (and will) continue.

If this happens and the content goes viral, it may be much more expensive to remove all the negative content. It’s better to remove negative content from 2-3 sites at once than wait until content has made its way onto 10 or more sites. Removing everything reduces chances of future scraping.

Emotional Distress FactIntentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) is a civil tort that involves conduct that is so terrible and outrageous that it causes severe emotional distress and trauma to the victim. Although not all offensive conduct qualifies as IIED, when found, a victim can recover damages from the party that caused the trauma.

What Can Be Done to Combat Scraping?

After content is removed, we de-index sites so that the dead links do not appear in search results. This is one way we remove all traces of negative content.

The only way to de-index a link from search results is if the content has been removed. This process can be quick or take up to two months. It all depends on how much the particular keyword is searched – the more something is searched, the longer it will stay on search results.

Unfortunately, de-indexing only works for sites that have been taken down. However, if the site becomes live again at a later date, the content will be re-indexed. This is one way scraper sites avoid de-indexing, so de-indexing is not always foolproof.

Reputation Management Tip: If you want to suppress negative and defamatory search results there’s several steps you can take: (1) create a blog and start posting frequent content, (2) make your social media profiles public and start openly commenting and posting, and (3) interlink between all your various online accounts in order to create one powerful and cohesive digital footprint.

The Attorneys at Minc Law Can Help Remove Content From Cheater Websites

If you’ve found negative content on a cheater site, contact an experienced content removal attorney right away. Time is of the essence if you want to reduce your chances of the content going viral.

The online reputation attorneys at Minc Law are well-versed in removing content from cheater sites. We’ve worked with more than 1,300 clients responding to defamatory, negative, and unwanted content. Contact us for a free, confidential, consultation to determine your best course of action.

Are you being defamed online? We will get it removed. Contact Minc Law today!

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