Friday, October 26, 2007

You don’t want to miss this!

I very seldom publish an article from another author in this blog – but I happened to open an email newsletter I subscribe to and what I read hit a cord. I was going to write about the subject of copyright infringement but after reading this well written article – I really don’t need to – it has been written for me. I want to thank Kelly Sims for generously giving me permission to reprint this article.
4 Steps to Combat Website Plagiarism
Publishing your website can be one of the most exciting times for a business owner. After all of your hard work and persistence, the whole world now has access to your products or services. You have either paid hundreds of dollars to have someone write your site content for you, or you have put your heart and soul (not to mention hour upon hour of hard work) into creating content of which you can be proud. In either case, you've invested time and/or money into your website copy. Now that it is out there for the whole world to see, it may be a target for all kinds of unscrupulous individuals.
Copyright infringement is a very common occurrence on the World Wide Web.
How do you protect yourself? And, what can you do if someone steals your content?
It's important for you to know that anything you have written is copyrighted. You can register a copyright, but you don't need to in order for it to be illegal for someone to copy or reproduce your work without your permission. Any written text, painting, drawing, musical composition, photograph or computer program, be they published or not is protected by copyright law.
Unfortunately, just because your work is copyrighted doesn't mean it is safe. Some individuals don't know that copyright laws apply to the internet, and others simply don't care.
With millions of websites out there, it's difficult to know if your website has been targeted by thieves.
A great tool to use in the protection of your website content is
Simply enter your website URL and it will scan the web for you. This is a free service, but if you have been a frequent victim of copyright infringement, you might want to consider their paid service, which automatically scans the web regularly for any duplicates of your content.
What do you do if you are one of the unfortunate victims of copyright infringement?
How can you deal with the offender and avoid the high cost of litigation?
The following are some simple steps that you can take to ensure that the infringer removes your material from their website.
1. Contact the offender.
You can usually visit the "contact" page of the offender's website to obtain their contact information. If for some reason you can't find their coordinates that way, you can perform a search for "who is" to find many sites that can provide information about the website owner by simply entering their URL. The website owner's contact information should be posted here, but if not, their website host will be and you should contact them. Keep your first contact civil. Calling or emailing the responsible individual with a stern, yet professional demeanor will be much more effective than yelling or name calling. Remember that the owner of the site isn't necessarily the writer, and if they are, then being nasty may not have the desired effect and in fact may create more problems for you in the long run.
2. Send a cease and desist order.
If your initial contact didn't get the desired results, your next step should be to send a cease and desist order. You do not need to hire a lawyer to create one for you. A simple search for "cease and desist order templates" should give you an order that can be altered to meet your needs. Send one copy by email and one copy by registered mail and make it look as official as possible. Include a date by which the material should be removed. You want the offender to know that you mean business.
3. If action is still not taken, send a cease and desist order to the offending party's web host.
Again, the host information is available by performing a search for "who is". The majority of hosts will take action by temporarily removing the offender's site until the copied material is removed.
4. The situation should be resolved at step 3, but one more step that can be taken is to notify search engines of the infringement.
Performing a search for the "DMCA" or "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" policies for each search engine will provide the information you need to contact each of them in order to request that the offender's website be removed. It's always advisable to protect yourself by keeping records of the dates your content was placed on your site. This ensures that the other party can be proven wrong it they claim to have posted their content first.
About the Author: Kelly Sims is a Virtual Assistant and Owner of Virtually There VA Services. To find out more about virtual assistance and how using a Virtual Assistant can simplify your life and increase your profitability, visit her website at While you're there, don't forget to sign up for her free monthly newsletter providing useful information that enhances and simplifies the lives of busy entrepreneurs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Mystery of RSS…

The truth is RSS is just an acronym for “Really Simple Syndication”. As the name implies, it is a method for syndicating the content of a web site.
An RSS file is really just another version of your web page, written in a code meant to be read by a program called a “parser”. You could write an RSS file by hand, just like you could write an HTML page, but since the purpose of an RSS file is to provide quick and up-to-date information from your site, most RSS files are built by a website’s content management system.
So what are we supposed to do with an RSS file? Read it in an RSS reader, of course. The real beauty in publishing an RSS file for your web site is in this; it allows your visitors to read your blog site in an RSS reader, it allows your article to be delivered to followers emails.

The true benefit is that some site visitors are more likely to regularly read your posts if they can read them in an RSS reader. Most of these people will read the feeds from several sites every day, and isn’t that the kind of site visitor you want to cultivate?

While you’re at it, there are a few other useful things you can do with your RSS feed.

First, you can offer blog updates by email if a person subscribes to your feed through a service like:

FeedBurner -
Second, you can send broadcast emails to your mailing list by attaching an RSS feed to your autoresponder.
Using this method you can actually publish a newsletter based solely on your blog posts, scheduling a broadcast each time you have a certain number of new entries.

Above all, the key benefit of RSS feeds is convenience. If you make it easy for your site visitors to keep reading your content, and the content is good, you’re more likely to keep them around. We all know it is cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one, and an RSS feed provides an easy way to keep those visitors reading your site.

Friday, October 12, 2007

How Search Engines Work

A lot of business owners are perplexed when it comes to how search engines work. Below you will find an excerpt out of my book “Search Engines from A to Z”. Search engines are the key to finding specific information on the web. Without the use of sophisticated search engines, it would be virtually impossible to locate anything on the internet without knowing a specific URL. URL: is the domain name that is in the address bar of a web site. ie: There are basically three types of search engines: Those that are powered by robots or spiders; those that are powered by human submissions; and those that are a combination of the two. Spiders: A program that automatically goes over web pages and collects information. Spiders are used to feed web page content to search engines. Crawler-based engines send crawlers, or spiders, out on to the internet. These spiders visit a website, read the information on the web page, read the site's Key words and also follow the links that the site connects to. The spider returns all that information back to a central database where the data is indexed. The spider will periodically return to the sites to check for any information that has changed, and the frequency with which this happens depends on the search engine. Human-powered search engines rely on humans to submit information that is then indexed and catalogued. Only information that is submitted is put into the index. In both cases, when you go to a search engine to locate information, you are actually searching through the index that the search engine has created. Search engines are compiled of giant data-bases full of information that is collected and stored. This explains why sometimes a search on a commercial search engine, such as Google or Yahoo!, will return results that are in fact dead pages. The search results are based on the information that has been collected, if the information hasn't been updated, and the web page becomes invalid the search engine treats the page as still being active. It will remain that way until the search engine updates the information. So why will the same search on different search engines produce different results? It depends on what the spiders find or what the person submits. More importantly, not every search engine uses the same criteria or algorithm when indexing the web page information. Algorithm: is what the search engines use to determine the importance of the information on the web page. One of the elements that a search engine algorithm scans is the frequency, location and consistency of keywords on a Website. Another common element that algorithms analyze is the way that pages link to other pages. By analyzing how pages link to each other, a search engine can both determine what a page is about (if the keywords of the linked pages are similar to the keywords on the original page) and whether that page is considered "important" and deserving of a boost in ranking. Search engines are becoming wise to Web masters who build artificial links into their sites in order to build an artificial ranking. That is why it is now more important than ever to have content that matches the keywords in your meta-tags, to link to relevant sites and have backlinks from sites that are not only relevant but have a higher than 3 ranking in Google.