Scraping Defined

An EzineArticles author asks, “I have recently heard the term “scraping” used and I gather it is some way of taking info from one site and placing it on another. I understand RSS feeds but this seems to be something different. It also seems to me to be not quite “kosher”.”

Answer: “Scraping” is a term used to describe (in mostly derogatory tone) of the act of ripping off or taking content from one site and putting it on another, mostly done via automated means.

Scraping when done without permission is a lot like rape.

An example: Our EzineArticles RSS feeds include a non-commercial license embedded in each XML feed designed to indicate that we do not allow commercial use of our RSS feeds via XML scrapers such as CaRP (a software program designed to automate XML scraping).

Side note: We do make partnership grants to allow commercial use of our RSS feeds for publishers who qualify. See this link for more info to receive written permission.

There are many levels of “Scraping”…some of which could be perceived as ADDING VALUE and others perceived as CREATING CRAP.

An example of a scrape that adds value: Someone who runs a body building website and they obtain permission from us to include our Muscle-Building RSS feed in their website. It adds value because the scrape included permission from the content source and the content adds value to the users of their site and our site.

An example of a scrape that creates crap: Someone runs any website on any topic and scrapes any feed without permission.

Is reprinting articles a form of scraping?

You could probably say that it is, but I prefer to say that reprinting or syndicating articles is a form of “reprints” or “reprint rights” provided a publisher follows our TOS.

“Scraping” is usually reserved for AUTOMATED means of content theft or authorized content distribution.

We have anti-scrape technology deployed on our site to deny rogue bots from scraping our site.

I predict that every website owner will deploy anti-scraping tools in the next 5 years and while this won’t be a perfect solution, it does slow down the abuse.

Hope this clarifies what scraping is.

1 Comment »

Paul Stefanski writes:

I am glad you addressed this issue of rights. On my own site I have included feeds from several sources. It was difficult to get permission simply because the people who offer feeds have not thought about the rights issue before being asked!! The key to rights whether RSS Feeds or Articles or any kind of content is “permission”. People fail to understand this nor do they have the courtesy to ask.

Comment provided November 15, 2005 at 9:53 AM


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