Content Theft in BJJ

Scraping ice from the car window

© Patryk Kosmider –


So the cliché rings on and content is still king. We all want that viral post…that article people save and print and refer back to. That link that Renzo retweets. But is that all that matters?

Judging by the uptick in content “borrowing” (a.k.a. “content scraping”) we’re seeing on Facebook and blogs in the jiu jitsu community, one would think that originality doesn’t count for much. If you’re serious about giving your brand/business roots in the community though, originally matters and it matters a lot. Here are five problems with content scraping:

  • It tells your readers nothing about who you are: We’re going to assume you’re trying to build a reputation. Passing on other people’s work does exactly none of that. It’s the Internet equivalent of being in a cover band, only it takes WAY less talent.
  • The BJJ community is small: Unless you’re some blogger coming right out of the blocks, people will see what you’re up to and you will be called out…probably publicly. That’s not a reputation you want to have to try to shake. Not to mention that it REALLY irritates bloggers/writers, who can spend hours putting together just one post.
  • You’re not adding anything: Again…small, growing community. You have your own experiences, opinions and thoughts around training. Share those and give something back. Don’t feed the echo chamber.
  • Reader loyalty is something you want: If readers can get the same content, somewhere else, but with more cool stuff coming in the future, why should they even give you the time of day?

Sometimes though, some information really should be passed on, so if you do want to present someone else’s work…

  • Ask: Most of what you find on jiu jitsu blogs doesn’t fall under fair use. Find the creator (you might need to do some Googling to make sure you’re not scraping from another scraper), and get their blessing. If they say no, show respect and move on.
  • Credit: Cite your source. Make sure it’s indicated clearly that you aren’t the creator (don’t hide the credit in .000005 font at the bottom of the article).
  • Link: You did almost no work (copying and pasting doesn’t count) at least pass some traffic back to the source.
  • Keep it partial: Don’t copy and paste the entire piece unless you get explicit permission. An intro paragraph teasing the reader to navigate back to the source is the best way to play it.

So what do you do if you want to create original content but don’t know how? Check out this infographic for some good ideas to get started.

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  1. Brendan
    November 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    The link on the bottom is AWESOME. I love copy blogger. Great post, Meg!

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