So last week I wrote a post about a site that has been stealing my content. I called it Venting Frustrations and if you’re not caught up on the story feel free to read it. In short, this site has been stealing my and a ton of other blogger’s content.
My friend Lita suggested that I send them an Email to request that my content be taken down (politely), which I did before writing my original post. Very politely. I got no reply, and my posts were not taken down. To this date, I still have no reply. I figure that by now, dozens of bloggers have discovered them, and they are getting tons of requests to remove posts. I doubt anyone is reading those emails anymore. I should pretend to be a potential business partner or something.
Anyways, I decided to write this little update because you’ll never guess what. That post, the one complaining about matrixat plagiarising other people’s work in the laziest way possible, that post got reposted without permission or credit on matrixat. Which is very hilarious.
Like I said in my last post, I figure this little operation is fully automated. They steal way too much content for someone to be doing it manually. I also fully assumed that no one associated with the site ever read any of the posts they steal. And the fact that they still have mine up kind of proves it for me.
However, there have been a few changes to their site that are quite a coincidence!
In my post, I described the limited investigation I had done into finding out who was behind this website. For one, I shared the email address that Lita had given me and which was also available if you hovered over the name of the author. At the time this author was identified as simply “admin” which I had called a hilariously lazy name. Well, that name has now been changed to matrixat which is less lazy but somehow to me MORE plagiarism. And it’s definitely just the account name that was changed as all the previously stolen posts which were clearly in the admin name are now clearly in the matrixat name.
But what about that email. Well, the email used to be firstname.lastname@example.org. That was the address associated with the site and the one other bloggers had had some success with. It’s in my original post as well. That email is no longer anywhere on the site. Instead we have email@example.com which makes it more obvious what this site is about. Thankfully it seems no advertisers have bit yet as I see the placeholder (YOUR AD HERE) spaces all over the site.
I admit, I haven’t tried using this new email address. The way this site operates gives me little hope for results and honestly, at this point I don’t know why I should be continuing to make the effort to be courteous and polite. If they want me to understand their motivations, they can reach out. I usually try to answer my emails at least.
The second change is that I had noticed a particularly ironic copyright notice at the very bottom of the site also assigning all the rights to Mhrbaa. If you clicked on it, you were redirected to a mrhbaa.com. The site is in Arabic but you can translate it. It makes them seem pretty big however their official Twitter account which last posted on Nov 26 is rather unimpressive: https://twitter.com/mrhbaacom. Their LinkedIn and Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLzZz1-t3X-0uhopLKGodSA) are also fairly modest.
It seemed quite obvious that mrhbaa.com and matrixat.com were closely associated and since the mrhbaa website was older, had actual other pages linked to it, and seemed to have some sort of purpose I made some assumptions. Basically, that mrhbaa was using matrixat as a sort of display site or an offshoot to sell their web services somehow.
But now, the copyright has also been updated to matrixat and just points back to the homepage, like the other follow links on that site. Basically, matrixat the site has obfuscated any association with mrhbaa.com for some reason, and they did that in the past week or so.
Unlike the mrhbaa twitter, the matrixat twitter (https://twitter.com/Matrixat360) has quite a few followers. I’m not sure if these are legit, I didn’t go that far down into the rabbit hole, but it does seem surprising. For one all of them have profiles only in Arabic but the matrixat site is exclusively in English. I get that they might attract more local followers. I mean just because they hid the mrhbaa stuff doesn’t mean I don’t still think the two are associated. But still, if anyone is actually reading the posts they are stealing, you figure they would get at least one English follower. But I didn’t see a single one.
At this point, although I’m still very annoyed both for myself and my fellow bloggers that are getting ripped off, I’m also starting to get really curious about what the point of all this is.
To generate any sort of actual revenue from this blog, they would need to sell ad space, a lot of it. Having a post like mine openly declaring the site a rip-off seems like it would be bad advertising and yet it’s still up there. Granted, they are amping up their repost rate and a singular post is quickly going to get buried but still.
It does seem like a lot of trouble for the few bucks a month they might get in ad revenue. There has to be something else, no? Is this a proof-of-concept site or are they testing the bots? If they are still updating stuff like the author’s name and bio and the copyright mentions on the site itself, it means that someone is working on it actively for some reason. What reason could that be?
I’ve been pretty busy at work lately but I’m going to get a bit more serious about looking into my options. As soon as I find something viable, I’ll share it with you all as well as with the other bloggers that are getting regularly reposted. Since they are using go daddy, I’m guessing the next step is to report them to Abuse Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or maybe I should try to contact them one last time. What do you guys think?
How about this, if this gets reposted without permission, I’ll take it as a sign that I should proceed.