Someone has literally copied my entire website… and is ranking well!
As title says really.
I have a site that sells video-game related products, someone has copied the entire site, going so far as "rebranding" my logo as his own.
Redesigned the whole site, within a week he had copied the new site…
He claims to be a different brand but his sole intention is to copy us, and it's hurting sales. We get emails every day from people who are confused as to who is who.
I've tried everything possible, DMCA to Google, reporting him to his dodgy offshore host and Cloudflare, reporting him to his payment processor – but no one does anything.
Problem is, he's ranking really well now thanks for massive blackhat spam (we're talking 60k+ links in 2 months) and is due to overtake me in organic search soon. Surely this shouldn't be happening?
How do I prove the design is mine, and that I'm the legit business?
Happy to give out the URLs in PM but not here – I've had threats made against me & my family by him in the past.
Hire a lawyer to issue a cease and desist (or whatever legal steps are appropriate in your jurisdiction).
While you're at it, link growth at that rate must be blatantly dirty; report to Google.
Done both – both fell on deaf ears :/
The offending site is behind Cloudflare, they basically said "You can't prove you had the design first" (we can, archive.org records etc – they don't give a shit).
Reported his social accounts to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ – same answer there.
His domain registrar is some dodgy offshore company who ignored us.
His payment processor is based in Hong Kong and replied along the lines of "What are you gonna do, sue us?". Were very rude.
Reported him to Google consistently over the last 2 months, as have several others in my industry (we're all quite good friends despite being competitors) and it's had exactly zero effect… Not sure it even does anything!
Edit: Just to add – some investigation shows layer upon layer of fake names, fake companies etc all across Europe. Looks like they're impersonating other companies too and are well hidden :/
DMCA to Google
You do a DMCA to the host. If it's offshore than you're SOL.
Hosting is behind Cloudflare, who don't seem to give a shit.
You're going to have to go through the regional internet registries who do impose fines. Whether it's Arin, Apnic, Ripe, Lacnic, and good luck if it's Afrinic. You have to show communication attempts with email header receipts, the full stack.
Isn't Cloudflare just a cache? I don't believe they actually host anything so that's a waste of time.
The Internet Protocol (IP) address block has an abuse contact assigned by the internet registry. For example, CNN's abuse contact is JR1887-ARIN.
You have to show reasonable and multiple attempts made at all the legitimate levels before you get to the internet number registry level. Something like 72 hours from the first noticed infringement after all email and phone call attempts have been made to the site, host, and provider.
And I was able to get my artist's content removed from an asian site this way.
Looks like this person is doing a churn and burn spam project. Eventually the site will get hit (as do most churn/burn sites) but for the time being he will continue to rank.
Is this person ranking with ONLY spam links? Does he have any solid white hat links? You can launch a negative SEO campaign against their site.
If I were you I would: Buy the .info, .us, or .co domain matching this person's. Setup email on this domain. Pull a backlink report from Ahrefs . Draft a mass email basically stating said domain is infected with malware or that the site got hacked. Send the email to each site where this person is getting links from. Most webmasters will not even check to see if this is accurate and they'll just delete the links. This is time consuming but if they are seriously threatening your business then it would need to be done. You can use software like Scrapebox to quickly scrape the contact info from the websites providing links to the person.
Churn and Burn projects are meant to provide a quick and easy money and the owners of such sites do not care if the site is lost because they plan for this (due to ranking with mass spam) and have many others in the hopper. I love churn and burn but stealing someone else's entire is taking it to a whole new level.
Looks like this person is doing a churn and burn spam project
I'm not sure – he's fairly well known in the "darker" side of our market – including several video game bots/hacks and warez. He also runs a major "hacking" forum which was recently compromised and even made the news…
Plus I've personally had threats made against me & my family from this person in the past when asking them to stop, they seem… quite serious.
Holy crap, I wouldn't have thought this really can happen… I'd consider hiring anonymous in order to launch attacks against their website ;-)
I wouldn't have thought this really can happen
Same, it seems stupidly easy to ruing someone's business doing this…
This happens really often, and is considerably easy to do. I used to work for a company that would steal other peoples sites. We'd copy the site, change the branding to our own, then go live and start taking sales. This was in the supplement industry, literally everybody in that industry does it. From the time we started copying a site to the time it started taking sales was a total of two days. I hated myself while working at that place, so glad I'm out of it now.
Would these copycat sites actually sell products that other pages sold, at an increase in price and just order it from the copied companies? Or would they have inventory or dropship?
No, the copycat would sell their own products or dropship. For instance, we'd copy a diet pill site, we'd put our brand of diet pills into the site, take the orders through our own site, and dropship the orders from a fulfillment center on the other side of the country.
I'm curious now. Would these pills then be scam and pretty much useless or is there authentic substances (caffeine or whatever) in it?
Depends on the company. The supplier we used, the pills had the authentic substances. What was on the label is what was in the pill. The scammy part of our business was the outrageous claims about the pills. "Lose 30 pounds in 2 weeks" and shit like that. But the pills were legitimately what was on the bottle. We knew that for sure because we had them independently tested.
However, there are companies out there who don't put the correct stuff in the pills. I know someone running a fulfillment company that basically puts sawdust in them. Probably not actually sawdust, I don't know exactly what they're putting in them, but I know they're not putting the authentic substances in it and it's mostly just filler.
It's not a popular option, but when all legal avenues fail you could always DDOS the crap out of him (assuming you know your shit that is).
Not really possible, he's behind Cloudflare (others have tried to DDoS him before apparently, he's pretty hated).
Well dammit…how is he getting his info on you? Does this guy know you? Is he in the same state? Can you change your domain?
how is he getting his info on you?
I'm pretty well known in my industry, so I'm assuming through that.
Does this guy know you?
No, I've never spoken to him or met him
Is he in the same state?
Can you change your domain?
Won't matter – it's the site design he's taken that is confusing people. The domain is very similar, but the site design is identical.
/u/ivapelocal said, it's a churn & burn project if he's doing 60k+ links in 2 months.
However, if he's experienced in blackhat – he's probably got a powerful Private Blog Network (PBN) to help balance his spammy backlink profile.
What I'd do is, since no one is listening to you – is negative SEO him. Buy a ton of Fiverr gigs for backlinks & target his website.
If his Private Blog Networks (PBN)s are really strong, this might not help you short term (he'll just shoot past you), but should shorten his lifespan if you can negative SEO him enough.
Also, compare your domain age to his, social engagement, and customer reviews. Optimize other areas like social, customer experience on your site, reviews, email marketing, etc..
He may be able to beat you short term in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but you should be able to beat him long-term at business.
How's your Pay Per Click (PPC) game? If you're not using it, I'd start. And if you are using it, I'd start optimizing it to keep your business going and relying less on SEO.
At least until Google knocks him off the map and then you can go back to your usual if you want.
That's my opinion. Sucks he copied your exact site & brand
I see a lot of really retarded answers in here by people who think you have a legal solution to this problem. Honestly, you don't. You're not going to get his site taken down, or removed from google. You can't get "ip ranges taken down", or any such nonsense. If Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy (DMCA) has failed you so far, it's not going to work. Oh and my favorite retarded answer in this thread was for you to "hire anonymous". Jesus f*cking christ you people are idiots.
Your 2 options:
a) negative seo his site. maybe will get him banned from google, but he'll just do it back to you most likely, and you seem to have more to lose. b) ignore it, grow your business. branch out into other areas, do some marketing. if your entire business can be copied by someone overnight and you get out-seo'd, then your business is a piece of shit anyway.
If your site is what it sounds like, it's probably an e-commerce shop. Maybe start a new one in another vertical? IDK, but wasting more mental energy and more time on this will not make you more money or do anything to stop them.
This is starting to sound a plot from a movie.
Low-key American Family Man (LKAFM) goes up against Eastern European crime syndicate. Everything goes awry when the crime syndicate kidnaps LKAFM's wife. He travels to Bosnia and with nothing to lose, and kills all the henchman guarding the estate where his wife is held captive. Once inside LKAFM fights with the crime boss and ultimately kills him in hand-to-hand combat. LKAFM rescues his wife and on the way out shoots a propane tank which blows up the servers hosting the copied website. LKAFM returns to the USA and continues his profitable internet business. Until next time…
Internet Archive can help you prove that you were the original publisher. A little trick you can use: 1) publish a page, 2) copy the URL, 3) visit
http://web.archive.org/save/ + yourlink. Whenever he copies you next, you'll have a third party copy of your site exist in the Internet Archive that can help to prove you had the original copy on the web first. You can even feed the Internet Archive with his link so they will record that it returned a different page or a 404 at the time when you published.
I recently had someone copy every article in my blog verbatim. The bastard used my Rich Site Summary (RSS) feed to get notices of new articles and retroactively published them under his own name and set the date a few days prior to me. Of course, I
poisoned the RSS feed for his IP address and defaced and brought down his copycat site. It was a good day in general.
Can you show me how to do this? I've had a site that I eventually had to take down because Google penalized my site along with the copycat. Just for future reference.
I choose to not share the code (too easy to misuse) but I did explain how it worked in the article.
• Figure out the copycat's IP (was the same as their server IP)
• Modify your RSS feed to conditionally show additional content when this IP requests it)
• When this condition is met, do a programmatic loop where you generate new RSS entries with junk content
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