Duplicative Content Fairness?

Definition: Duplicative Content = Content that is between 1-99.9% duplicate of another article already in our system.

Definition: Duplicate Content = Content that is 100% identical to another article in our system.

When comparing whether an article is duplicate or duplicative, we compare against live, deleted, in-review and our own secret database of known non-exclusive rights (PLR) article database.

Months ago we made the decision to invest even more heavily in our anti-duplicative content identification on incoming and articles flowing through our systems.

Reason: Duplicate content and variations on duplicate content adds no value for our users; and thus is a liability that threatens credibility for us and every good-standing member of EzineArticles.com.

We’ve been at this duplicate content identification business since early 2005. That means each revision of our software gets even more finely tuned. Lately, many older members have been editing articles from months or years past only to find their revision being rejected for duplicate content. As you can guess, this makes them angry because we had already accepted their duplicate content by accident when our systems weren’t as finely tuned as they are now.

The ambiguity of this issue: We’re not able to share the cut-off percentages or the tweaking we do on a daily basis to our anti-duplicate content checking to prevent gaming of our systems. In addition, we’ll be sweeping the entire database this quarter.

What we can do: Effective today, we will notify members who submit or edit an article if it is a duplicate or duplicative of their own article along with telling them which article specifically of their own they were duplicating. In addition, we’re re-sweeping our live article database with our updated software and will be giving further manual attention to members that have articles that are duplicative in too high of a percentage.


Melissa writes:

Seems fair to me! PLR articles are usually pretty low quality anyway, so for users to have submitted them, they should make at least 50% of the changes to customize them. It should also protect against plaigerism.

Comment provided January 29, 2008 at 3:43 PM


Dave Saunders writes:

W00T Kick the PLRs!

Comment provided January 29, 2008 at 4:02 PM



Insider trivia: 150-200 articles a day are auto rejected for tripping our duplicate content filters.

PLR is only part of the problem. Many members knowingly and unintentionally submit content they already submitted.

Comment provided January 29, 2008 at 4:15 PM


Hope Wilbanks writes:

Sounds fair enough to me, too!

Comment provided January 29, 2008 at 5:25 PM



I like the idea of decluttering EzineArticles from duplicate content. It will give EzineArticles more credibility and more value to its readers.

I am a new contributor spending quality time putting together my articles to give my readers helpful information, as well as being recognized as an author with expertise.

Good job!

Theresa-Maria “TM” – Right Track Coaching

Comment provided January 29, 2008 at 5:38 PM


Ruth writes:

The only problem I find with this is:

There are certain articles I would like to enter,but, because of some of the technical descriptions included in these articles it causes certain duplication.

Technical writing does tend to cause duplication. It just can’t be helped.

Comment provided January 29, 2008 at 6:13 PM


Carl Pruitt writes:

Its great to have a directory be so careful to keep up quality. Article marketing with quality information is a very valuable tool.

Too many sources are telling people to use software tricks to produce “new” articles from old ones, or to churn out hundreds of articles without regard for the quality as long as you have a link at the bottom, or similar hogwash to generate traffic. People forget that “traffic” means real people looking for useful information.

EzineArticles will continue to draw quality traffic that produces better marketing results and better reputation for the authors. Any inconvenience caused by a few extra rules of submission is worth it.

Carl Pruitt

Comment provided January 29, 2008 at 8:10 PM



When several writers submit articles with more or less similar content or on the same issues with or without additional information do you apply the duplication rules?

For example if we take ‘credit’ or ‘credit cards’ topice there may be a huge number of articles by different authors with almost identical content.

Comment provided January 30, 2008 at 12:15 AM


Dave Saunders writes:

There’s a huge difference between writing about the “same thing” within a topic. For example, a number of authors may write about how to improve your credit score or how to get collectors off your back.

However the average (and below average) author takes PLR content and spoons it back out with the exact same lead and flow. That is an obvious sign of PLR and is a totally different issue.

Comment provided January 30, 2008 at 12:25 AM


Herman writes:

When rewriting an article for EzineArticles submission what percentage should be different so it’s not seen as duplicate content?


Is it a better investment of time (because it takes longer) to rewrite the whole article from a different viewpoint so all of it is unique?

Comment provided January 30, 2008 at 7:13 AM




I respectfully disagree… Technical writing for article marketing purpose can be 100% original WITHOUT any need to copy/paste from any source. It is possible. It can be helped.

Thanks Carl… We get complaints daily from members who are hitting our quality road blocks… Impossible to please everyone.


Yes. Our anti-duplicate content identification system is advanced enough to detect article finger prints, patterns and we can easily detect when an author is duplicating him or herself vs. duplicating another members articles vs. duplicating ripped content not live on our site.

PLR content was once difficult for us to identify but now is quite trivial and very easy to identify even when spun, rewritten, etc. I predict a few thousand members will lose their accounts this year from our improved ability to identify PLR content.


When rewriting an article to make it unique, 100% of it should be rewritten… In other words, don’t rewrite it. Write new content.

YES, it’s better to write a whole new article from a different or unique viewpoint than to waste time trying to respin your own content.

Comment provided January 30, 2008 at 7:28 AM



Hi Chris!

I like this improvement and I’m sure that all authors that write original content love it too.
It’s sad to see our original articles near articles that are only a repetition of what was already said before many times.

Of course we repeat many things when we give guidance or when we transmit knowledge because the basic has to be repeated for new readers and it is always the same, but if we write original content, we always change our expressions and points of view, not only in order to present a different work but also in order to help our readers understand our explanations better.

Comment provided January 30, 2008 at 8:54 AM


Allen Graves writes:

As an owner of an article directory, I can only commend you for beefing up your duplicative content policies. Kudos!

One of the main objectives of any serious website owner, no matter what niche, should be to give their visitors meaningful and original content so that the visitor will gain value from it and return again for more. Or, in the case of article directories, we want awesome and original content for our distributors. If we give them crap, they go elsewhere.

PLR articles are running rampant in the article directory world. It is amazing how many people can get a hold of one article!

I can tell you that, as a whole, article directories are starting to beef up their “defenses” across the board.

Article Marketing is making a HUGE comeback right now and the ezine and directory owners know this. Therefore, they are only going to realize their importance in the whole scheme and, in turn, only accept quality, original, well-written articles. Mass submitted, spun or PLR articles are only going to become less and less valuable as they become more and more declined.

Allen Graves

Comment provided January 30, 2008 at 9:21 AM



Trivia: Since Midnight CST this morning, 61 members had their attempted duplicate article auto-rejected.

We don’t consider every duplicate article attempt as “they are trying to game the system” as many are innocent mistakes. It’s when a pattern emerges that we begin to suspect something beyond simple mistakes.

Comment provided January 30, 2008 at 10:20 AM


Jan Verhoeff writes:

I appreciate the system checks, occasionally as I’m saving articles, I’ll save one twice with a different name, before I get it entered here. A rejection for duplicate content tells me I’ve entered it already and I look back at my entries.

AND – if I hit the button twice at the same time, I get a notice. Those are helpful.

I NEVER EVER Want to publish someone else’s work as mine. I write for other authors from time to time (it pays the grocery bill!) and I don’t even use THAT content as my own.

Duplicate content just isn’t necessary. You can learn to write NEW content fast, and get it right without duplicating information.


Comment provided January 31, 2008 at 8:46 AM


Mohi writes:

You consider it or not. You need to make your plagiarism check more powerful.

Comment provided February 1, 2008 at 7:06 AM



I am a new platinum member, and I have been receiving the e-mail training packets. I just spent the morning writing what I believe are ten quaility articles. I read what Chris says about what e-publishers want and writing shorter article sets, so I turned what would have been a 3000?+ word article on “Dealing with the Ten Problem Behavioral Types” into ten 500 word articles, one for each
type. I used the same paragraph to introduce and close each article because, quite frankly, I like my introduction and closing the way they are, and I believe rewriting them would diminish clarity. However, every paragraph written between the conclusion and introduction has new and valuable content.

Does your policy mean that my ten new articles will be rejected as duplicates, and I will be red flagged?

Comment provided February 3, 2008 at 6:08 PM


Ruth writes:

Christopher, that is fine, you can disagree of course. However, for certain technical details, the words will be the same from article to article.

However, the author always has the option to post those articles elsewhere, and I DO NOT mean re-written articles either. I mean true original content.

Comment provided February 3, 2008 at 7:10 PM




Glad you’re breaking the 3000 word article down into 500 word chunks! That is a proven concept that will result in more ROI for you for the same 3000 words than if you left them all in one article.

Now to answer your question:

Too many authors have already tried what you’re talking about doing… a big chunk intro and conclusion that is identical with the center guts of your article being the non-duplicative original content. Unfortunately, it’s just not a good article template formula. If you duplicated only 1 or 2 sentences, no big deal… but if you duplicated 20 sentences…now you’re not adding enough unique value per article.

Keep in mind, this duplicate content identification system we have looks at the unique footprint of your duplicate content as a percentage of your total word count. If your articles are already in the thin range of 250-350 words and you’re repeating 20 sentences (just for example), then your articles will not be accepted.

Lastly, I took a quick look at your pending articles and you’ve got nothing to fear as they look unique enough to me. In fact, I like your article template / checklist format. :-)

Comment provided February 4, 2008 at 8:07 AM


Jorge Chavez writes:

It IS a bit disconcerting to sit down, write a new article from start to finish, submit it, and get it rejected for duplicate content!

The first time it happened to me, I was incredulous! I KNEW that the article was original and that I had just written it, from scratch, without “go-bys” or notes!

Then I realized that I had written a number of articles on the same subject, or variations thereof. And, like a preacher preaching on the same subject, I had developed several pet ways of saying things and “turns of phrase”, even coined a few that had become my favorites.

And the duplication filters were picking up as much on my style and manner of delivery as on anything else…

They are not without a point.

Now I vary the way I say the same thing, avoid using the same terms, even if the quality and readability of the article suffers a bit. Better to be different, even at some cost.

And maybe this subject is saturated and I should let it alone and consider writing more on other things.

And, if I want to “Preach the same sermon”, that’s O.K., so long as I take it on the road and get a different audience.

When the duplication filters start to spit your stuff back at you, that means that maybe you have saturated this market, and if you want to say essentially the same thing, say it elsewhere, where they haven’t heard it before…

Bottom line is, these are minor inconveniences that can be easily lived with and worked around, once understood.

It’s worthwhile if it makes it possible to filter out the PLR re-write hacks who are just writing filler, without thought, ideas or message…

If readers have to wade through too many junk articles to find our good ones, they may just get tired and go elsewhere…

The success of Google should convince us all… Give the customers what they are looking for and you get more customers and repeat customers… Give ’em junk and they start looking elsewhere…

Comment provided March 7, 2008 at 2:42 PM




First, as much as we’d like you to be able to trust our article submission interface… you should always have a local copy of every article you submit just in case.

Second, we have your duplicate (it was not an exact duplicate, but a high enough percentage of non-unique to trip the filters) submission…so if you don’t have it and want it, just email our support team for it.

To assist you seeing our point of view, go read this article of yours:

A gentle suggestion: Make sure each new article is 100% unique / original.

Also: There is no grandfathering (a term that describes that there is no allowances for past mistakes that are caught now in the future) on old articles that are edited. This means if you update by editing an old article, today’s anti-duplicate content software will be used to evaluate the uniqueness of your content.

Comment provided March 9, 2008 at 6:59 AM


Jorge Chavez writes:


First, Thank you for your offer of a copy of the duplicative article, but no problem there. I don’t dispute the similarities that existed. I apologize for it happening. Article was published last August, a longish time ago. Don’t know how it happened, but it did…

The rejected article has now been re-written re-submitted and the revised version was accepted.

I do have a copy of every article I ever submitted. Unfortunately they are in NotePadPro files which I am not set up to easily search. Any search would have to be manual at this point.

Maybe I have to rethink that, consider uploading them to a website and Copyscape-searching each new submission first to be sure…

It wasn’t a problem before, but with over 300 articles live now it’s hard to remember exactly what all I have written.

Lance Winslow? Sean Mize? Other volume Authors? How do you guys keep track, avoid writing articles too much like one you have already written?

Second, Re:”A gentle suggestion: Make sure each new article is 100% unique / original.”

I have had the experience, on two occasions, of sitting down in front of a blank screen, picking a keyword phrase to promote, dreaming up a title, writing an article completely from scratch, no notes, no go-bys, and had it rejected for being too similar to something else I had written earlier.

So to make SURE an article is “100% unique / original” requires more than just honestly writing it new. It requires that we use some kind of duplicate-checking software (like Copyscape.com, for example), before submitting, to keep from accidentally and unknowingly repeating ourselves…

Or just going ahead and immediately re-writing it when the EzineArticles filters bounce it back at us.

Thank you for having the software tell us what article it is too much like so that we can easily see what changes to make!

Comment provided March 9, 2008 at 12:28 PM


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