Category: Website Scam

Has Your Website Been Copied

As many of us know, it can be quite a challenge to create a website with great content and attract the right users and customers.

Unfortunately, there are some people who want to take advantage of your hard work and simply copy it, although that is illegal of course as well as being immoral.

Some may copy some of your content or your design or even duplicate the entire web site.

In the case of small businesses, it can be easy for copycats to go unnoticed for months, or even years, until discovered, depending on your business type.

What Can You Do?

  1. Take Screenshots (the copycat may delete their web site at some point, and you need evidence of what they did.
  2. Take screenshots of your own work as proof in case you need to change anything.
  3. Complain to the web site’s owner and their hosting company if appropriate. It’s your choice whether or not to involve a solicitor at this point.

How to Check Domain Ownership

Website such as  www.whois.com/whois will show you the ownership details for any Internet domain name. However, when a domain name is registered the buyer can request an anonymous entry and the details are then kept secret by the registrar which is usually the company that hosts the website.

How to Find Copycat Web Sites

Google Alerts – This lets you monitor content around search queries you enter. If is there is a search that should lead only to your web site then you can be alerted if the result changes.

Copyscape – This lets you search for duplicate content on a specified URL. It’s free for single page checks but you have to pay for multiple checks.

There are other services on the Internet that can help you finding copycats, but often the copycats are professional criminals and they know how to make money from copying a web site then moving on quickly to the next one.

If you have any experiences with this issue of websites being copied,  do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week Website Comments

Anyone with a web site will be used to receiving spam emails and also spam comments.

On WordPress, plugins such as Akismet do a good job at blocking most spam comments but some get through such as this one.

“My brother and I are lucky to have stumbled across the web page, it is absolutely specialized stuff my friend and I am constantly dreaming for. The information here on the website is truely needed and will help my family and friends twice a week or more. Appears as if everybody here learned tons ofunbelieveable of mastery pertaining to the things I am continually searching and other pages and info like wise shows it. I’m not usually on the web during the week but when my friends get a chance I am usually hoping for this type of knowledge or things similarly having to do with it. “

You can see that it’s all generic – designed to match as many web sites as possible, whereas genuine comments on a website are always specific as no-one takes the time to make a comment then essentially writes empty general purpose words.

The bad grammar and spelling is just an oddity.   Everyone has access to a spell checker so why leave in the mistakes?  The sentences do not make much sense – they appear to have been created by software.

Scammers buy software that takes one document and rearranges it into dozens of versions with the content sorted randomly. This is to try to fool the search engines into thinking it is genuine content rather than simply repeated stuff.

If you get comments on your web site or read comments on other websites – do apply simple logic and realise that often these things are written by software and many are just utter rubbish.

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How to Buy Fake Website Traffic

Website owners are always keen to know how much “traffic” their site gets i.e. how many people visit the site, which pages they read etc. Then it’s all about getting more traffic.

We all know that some of the traffic on the Internet is fake, but most website owners hope it is a small percentage of the real traffic.  However, some companies in the field of advertising believe that up to 50% of traffic achieved through advertising could be fake.

In this context ‘fake’ means it’s not a person looking at your website – it’s another  computer.

This is the reason why so many websites these days insist you answer a Capcha query (click I’m not a robot) to prove you are a human being.

Suppose you have a new website and you believe the content is worth sharing. You want to get a lot of people to view your website. How do you go about this?

The starting point is to tell everyone you know, use social media to advertise your website content, tell anyone in the industry that you know and ask everyone to spread the word about your website.

Then, if you need more traffic i.e. people looking at your website – you might consider advertising on Google, Facebook, Twitter or other online services. This is good quality traffic (i.e. real people viewing your adverts) but it does cost.

If you can’t get (or afford) the traffic you want then you may look at the cheaper traffic providers.

How Do Cheap Suppliers Get Traffic?

There are lots of ways including:-

  • clickbait
  • spam messages
  • posting fake comments on popular blogs or forums
  • fake adverts
  • advert marketplaces
  • fake search engine optimisation
  • traffic exchanges
  • push advertising to mobile phone users

Clickbait is such a source that is increasingly used on popular news aggregator and entertainment  websites.  You will see mini ads with labels such as “10 things you didn’t know about Scarlett Johannsen” or “See what happened to these child stars”. Some of these are genuine but often when someone clicks on the ad they don’t get what they expected but are directed to a website where the owner has paid to get more people viewing their site.

Clickbait is annoying and time-wasting but harmless. More of a problem are “bots”. These are pieces of software that mimic people in viewing websites and clicking on links.

Using these techniques, your website may get lots of traffic, but it could be largely other computers and is very unlikely to be people wanting to do business with you.  This is largely a waste of your money.

If you don’t go down the route of buying cheap traffic then you shouldn’t normally have to worry about fake traffic.

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The Visa Swindle

There are some countries you can visit without needing a visa e.g. if you’re a European Union citizen traveling within the European Union. But farther afield it is common to need a visa, which can cost anything from a few pounds to around 200 pounds.

The normal way to get such a visa is to look for the nation’s official website that provides the visa you want. You can start with the UK government website listing visa requirements for various countries.

However, many scammers advertise the provision of visas but give nothing in return for your payment and there are many scammers who do provide visas but try to deceive people into believing that their faked site is the nation’s official site when it isn’t.

They do this so they can provide the visa but charge an unnecessarily expensive amount for it.

Some travel companies and travel agents also cheat in this way – directing people who want visas to a website that overcharges and pays commission back to the travel company.

e.g. A visa to visit Australia is free of charge to UK citizens, but Travel Visa charge between £21.50 and £40 for the visa.

If you want a visa then do make sure you use the official website and not a scam operator.

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FirstGiving Dot Com

Fightback Ninja received a standard 419 scam email – a woman claiming to by dying of cancer and her husband left her millions of dollars and she wants me to distribute half of the money to charities and keep the rest.

All lies of course, but the interesting difference from most of these scam emails is at the bottom was a link to a donations web site.

The site is firstgiving.com and the scammer looks to have a donations page setup.

This is strange, but it’s not that simple and she is a scammer.

The link is to firstgiving.com but is invalid and checking firstgiving.com shows a very odd situation.

The scammer claims to have a fundraising page on firstgiving.com but the only fundraiser page appears to be for a centre for human rights in California and the page was created in 2011 but has raised $0.

Not so good. Checking for reviews of firstgiving.com shows real problems.  More than 7.5% fee for donations and a $20 fee per cheque sounds excessive.

Firstgiving seems to be a name used by Panorama fundraising and is a software service to enable people to fundraise.

Do they know scammers use their name?

Who knows, but better to avoid these strange people.

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