To summarize, it appears that some guy named Graeme (with an Email
address of firstname.lastname@example.org)
entire contents of my copyrighted personal web site (including images) at
www.komar.org and then
inserted his own Adsense Publisher ID on my content (hosted on his server)
in what I assume was an attempt to profit from it. The whois record for his
domain listed Epsilis Ltd. - contact Michael Spencer ... but it appears that
Graeme was a customer of their's and they were not directly involved.
I'll add that Michael was fairly responsive to this
"outrageous behavior" (his words) which reflects positively on him
and his company ... although I find it a bit surprising that over a month later,
www.feverdat1ng.com ("i" replaced with a "1" here and in all subsequent
references) still shows "Design by epsilis.co.ok" on it;
you'd think he ask for it to be removed.
And if you think that is bad, I find out later that day that they had inserted their Adsense Publisher ID pub-3436355362882820 into the HTML - i.e. they were getting paid by Google for any click-thru's on my stuff - if that is not being a scumbag I'm not sure what is!
Since there was no contact information on this page (except my own!), I did
a "whois" lookup to see who had registered the domain name. Here is the
whois records for leswingjive.com and it
shows some organization named "Epsilis Ltd" ... and some help from Google,
it appears to be epsilis.co.uk ... which is pretty much confirmed when I look
at the whois record for epsilis.co.uk
and (as we shall see is interesting later), here is the
whois record for feverdat1ng.com
The www.epsilis.co.uk site says Epsilis Ltd. does "website design for effective Search Engine Optimization" so I figure they are certainly knowledgeable about web sites ... and the point of contact listed is Michael Spencer so I send him an Email at 2258 MDT on June 13th, 2004 outlining the situation and asking "Can you please explain why this was done and also remove this copyrighted content from all of your computers"
Michael Spencer responded with an Email at 0359 MDT on June 14th, 2004 (5 hours later - remember there is time zone difference) and apologizes for the "outrageous behavior on the part of one of our clients" and the content is removed shortly thereafter. I'll add that I was pleasently surprised that he responded so quickly and forcefully - at the time, I can't be sure that Michael wasn't the person who actually "did it" ... but in future communications, I'm of the opinion that it truly was his customer, and not him, although one can never know for sure. Note that I asked and received Michael's permission to post his Emails - yea, I'm an "old school" guy back when the Internet was a much more friendlier type of place.
So then I get an Email from Graeme at 0518 on June 14th and I gotta wonder about his Email address which is email@example.com and the comment that really got me was "My actions were not meant maliciously" ... scraping copyrighted content is bad enough, but then putting your Adsense Publisher ID in the code - what would you think?!?
So I write back at 0929 on June 14th pointing out the insertion of their Adsense Publisher ID ( pub-3436355362882820 ) into MY code on their site, saying "which certainly looks like an attempt to profit from my work - what was up with this?" and Graeme responds at at 1207 on June 14th and the "best" quote in this one is "[I] was just playing the [sic] the google tools and finding my way around" - boy, am I the only one who finds it hard to believe all of this was just "playing around" and an accident (!) ... as do a number of other folks.
I don't hear anything back for a few days, so I write again to Graeme (with cc to Michael) at 1509 on June 17th that the "playing around" response certainly puzzles me and also express my concern about Google penalizing me for mirrored content. Ironically, on June 22nd, the Page Rank of www.komar.org web site dropped from PR7 to PR6 - almost certainly coincidental ... I hope! ;-)
I don't hear anything back from Graham ... and Michael says it is unlikely that Google will penalize me. In the meantime, I use Google to look at the Google Cache for www.leswingjive.com (before my content replaced it!) - what's really puzzling is that this looks like a "decent" web site - why replace with my copyrighted content - makes no sense! BTW, there is also a Google Cache of their "links" page which includes a reference to www.feverdat1ng.com - remember I included the whois record above for this and it matches ... so looks like another web site run by our man Graeme! ;-)
There were a few more Emails back-n-forth between Michael and I (no more from Graeme) basically lamenting the whole unfortunate affair - he doesn't sound too happy about having Graeme as a customer - neither would I!
BTW, I might add in closing that I've seen evidence of further web site
scraping from UK IP addresses - as noted at the top, there really is no easy
way to prevent this, but it would be nice to be left alone ...
Graeme never disclosed his last name in our discussions, but I did some Googling, and some guy named Graeme last_name talking a number of times about his web site feverdat1ng.com and the whois data shows his name - gotta be our man! Ironically, if you look at the second post in this WebProWorld thread, he uses the screen name northernladuk to provide a 14-point response to someone looking for advice on their web site and how to better optimize it for Search Engine Optimization, so he appears pretty darn knowledgeable ... so do you think his actions above were just "playing around?" ...
I realize scumbags have a hard time reading, but try this ===> © 2004-2005 www.komar.org