Bitacle: thieves now open for business in the 8th circle of hell

by Allan Jenkins on September 22, 2006

Update: I see Shel Israel posted on the Bitacle Scam, yesterday, with support and advice from Amy Gahran.

Dante reserved the 8th circle of hell for thieves and falsifiers. Since he was pre-Internet, I’ve taken the liberty of assigning spammers and feed scrapers to the 8th circle, too. Seems a fitting place.

They’re going to need more room down on the 8th, though, now that Bitacle has joined the feed-scraping cohort of rip-off artists.

Yesterday, I noticed an odd trackback request for my last post. Following it, I discovered that Bitacle has been stealing my feed – along with the feeds of thousands of others.

What’s making me so angry?

  • They never asked.
  • They are violating my Creative Commons deed by using my material as a way to spawn Google Adsense ads (commercial use) and by slapping a different CC license on my content.
  • Their own Creative Commons deed, by allowing commercial use of any content found on the site, invites other scammers to extend and expand the rip-off downstream.
  • They encourage readers to leave comments on their site, not mine.
  • Email to them is simply ignored.

Other bloggers have noticed. Der Schockwellenreiter Weblog calls Bitacle a traffic thief. Jogy is seriously pissed off. Plain Jane Mom asks “Why is Bitacle Stealing All Our Blogs?” (and tags her post “thieving bastards,” a nice touch I am copying). I can’t
describe the rage of the Spoken For blogger…. go see for yourself (Valerie also passes on some advice for foiling the evil ones).

The vermin behind Bitacle is apparently a guy named Jesus Angelo Glez. I haven’t decided, yet, whether to send him a bill, or just chortle over the misery that awaits him in the 8th circle. Hey, Jesus! Save your soul… stop ripping off other folk’s coffee.

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{ 16 comments }

Niccolò Zamborlini September 22, 2006 at 2:53 PM

U got the same problem of my blog. Simply Bitacle.

I resolved it with a .htaccess rule:

# STOP BITACLE!
RewriteEngine On
deny from 212.22.59.251
deny from bitacle.org

Jogy September 22, 2006 at 4:08 PM

Hi

Thanks for linking to my angry reaction on the Bitacle theft. I have this morning warned Google that Bitacle abuses our posts for there own to archieve money from them. Google has reacted that the will search for a solution. So hopefully this big search engine will do something against the thiefs from Bitacle.

Read this also, if you don't have red it:
http://lutrov.com/blog/80/

Valerie September 22, 2006 at 4:36 PM

Thanks ;-)

Also, fyi to anyone looking to block bitacle, as of yesterday, they used the IP [deleted at Valerie's request -- Allan] in addition to the one Niccolo gave. They used that first one allllll month long until the day I posted about them and then they used the second!

Donna Papacosta September 22, 2006 at 7:49 PM

Allan, I too abhor my content being scraped and then wrapped in ads. I've found the time spent trying to stop these guys is just not worth it, unfortunately.

Allan Jenkins September 22, 2006 at 8:35 PM

Donna, these people are thieves, pure and simple: theft is theft.

So I believe we should "out" them, find hacks to foil them, sue them where possible, pressure Google into vetting AdSense clients better, pressure ISPs, reveal their identities….

Ten of us protesting make no difference. A thousand of us, ten thousand of us, protesting, searching out, hacking every shred of their online life… that's a different story.

hollyster September 22, 2006 at 10:36 PM

If you switch to wordpress or any of you reading this on wordpress, Owen wrote a script called anti-leech that strips out your content and just puts a link back to your blog. Example here.

I'll let you know how it goes…

Amy Gahran September 22, 2006 at 11:13 PM

Hi, Allan

The more I think over this splogger problem, the more I think it's futile and even counterproductive to try to hunt down and shut down individual sploggers.

They're not the real problem. They're just opportunists. The REAL problem is that Google, Yahoo, and other online ad network providers have their programs set up in such a way that actively *encourages* sploggers.

It does no good to stamp out a few cockroaches. You have to stop them from breeding.

I just wrote more about this at Contentious: http://tinyurl.com/rvp7t

Also, regarding the wordpress anti-leech script — wouldn't that approach prevent legitimate syndication from a site or feed? It's a tradeoff. I'll have to look into that to understand it better.

Thanks!

- Amy Gahran

doug September 23, 2006 at 2:48 AM

I don't think that Bitacle is a splogger.

They seem to be a project based in Spain that aggregates blog feeds and provides search/view functions on those feeds. I've been reading the actual Bitacle site now (homepage is an AJAX aggregator/home page, ala Netvibes) and exploring their blog in Spanish (I happen to be fluent). It does not look like a splog operation at all. I think a lot of us in the English speaking blogosphere jumped the gun on this one.

In fact, I think the language barrier is a big problem here. A blogger from Cordoba, Argentina recently posted (in Spanish) something about how all the English language blogs are hyper-critical, while Spanish blogs generally praise the service.

I'm not trying to defend everything Bitacle is doing, I'm certainly no fan of the blatent Adsense placements, which in some cases appear to violate CC licenses. And the folks running the project are certainly shooting themselves for not offering at least some English documentation of what the site is about (their English blog is empty). But it seems that the service is basically a blog search engine/personalized home page that then lets you browse feeds.

In summary, I don't think Bitacle is without its (serious?) problems, but it's definitely not a fly-by-night hit-n-run splog operation. And those are the folks who deserve the 8th circle. :)

(I'm posting this comment on a couple other blogs as well, to try to help the conversation a bit.)

alan herrell - the head lemur September 23, 2006 at 3:02 AM

14446 Blogs as of this posting
No doug, I don't think this is just a poor misunderstood aggegator

Allan Jenkins September 23, 2006 at 3:29 AM

"Appear to violate CC licenses"? There is no "appear," here, Doug. CC licenses are crystal clear.

I write and speak and consult for a living. That's a lot of fun for me, and (I dearly hope) a boon for my clients. But it's a commercial, private, transaction.

I write here for fun and community. I charge nothing for what I write — much of which is "memo to self" — and am frankly agog when other bloggers pick up my stuff. So when Bitacle comes along, slapping ads all over my "for fun and community" writing, they are ripping me (and my readers) off.

If you are so friendly with the Bitacle gang, encourage them to write. They haven't responded to anyone's posts or phone calls. Until they do, they are sploggers, and you are their apologist.

doug September 23, 2006 at 5:17 AM

Alan,

Deep breath…

First, I am not a lawyer. I am not an expert on CC licenses. I am not sure how they apply specifically to a web app that displays rss feeds with the ability to comment (which, to me, is what Bitacle appears to do).

Hence, I used the qualifier "appear" because I just wasn't so sure that these folks are doing something illegal.

Second, I am not "friendly with the Bitacle gang." I don't even know them. But I do speak Spanish, which allowed me to read quite a bit about them throughout their site and the Spanish blogosphere. Given the flurry of angry calls and emails they probably have gotten, in English, I'm not terribly surprised that they haven't responded. Nonetheless, it would obviously be better if they did answer the queries from yourself and others.

Third, I doubt I would qualify as an apologist. Take a minute and read what I wrote. I'm not exactly a big fan of what they're doing. My conclusion was: "I don't think Bitacle is without its (serious?) problems, but it's definitely not a fly-by-night hit-n-run splog operation."

Finally, as an aside, Alan, if you are writing here "for fun and community," you may want to treat first time commenters (even if you disagree with them?) with more hospitality. :)

All the best,

Doug

doug September 23, 2006 at 5:18 AM

Allan,

Apologies for getting the spelling of your name wrong in the last comment.

All the best,

Doug

Billy The Blogging Poet September 23, 2006 at 4:17 PM

I first addressed the Bitacle issue in November 2005 http://bloggingpoet.squarespace.com/bloggingpoetcom/2005/11/20/bitacle.html and again yesterday. http://bloggingpoet.squarespace.com/bloggingpoetcom/2006/9/22/the-great-bitacle-debacle.html Where were all the rest of you? Asleep at the wheel, that's where. Now wake up, smell the coffee, and realize that you are in-part responsible for what is going on. Bitacle sends me trackbacks that look like this http://en.bitacle.org/blogs/viewblog/teutlxyi0/1733?usrmode=1 (no copyright infringement here) and I get 20 to 30 referrals daily from Biticale– not much for me but a lot of those complaining would love to get 20-30 referrals a day.

Allan Jenkins September 23, 2006 at 5:02 PM

No, Billy, you are wrong. It IS copyright infringement. I state very clearly on this blog when, where, and how others may use my content. I emphasise that only non-commercial use is allowed, and that there must be attribution. Bitacle offers no attribution, and uses the content to generate ad clickthrough revenue.

If I wanted to sell my content, I would already be doing so. That I don't is not an invitation for others to take it and sell it for their own gain.

As for 20-30 extra hits a day, well, that's not even a blip on my stat chart.

Jogy's weblog September 22, 2006 at 2:47 PM

re: Vervolg op acties tegen de dieven van Bitacle.org

Frenchy's Fracas September 22, 2006 at 3:11 PM

Bitacle, or how a small swarm can start..

Bitacle.org – blog content thieves? These guys use your rss feed and display them on their site with Google Ads, making money of your content while telling you its all about archiving your site.. smart monkeys, but theres some rising diss…

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