These Bizarre Ripoff ‘News’ Sites Have Turned Plagiarism Into A Business
Scammers have cooked up a truly strange scheme to leech traffic from journalists.
The fact that there are content mills on the internet that exist solely to rip off the hard work of legitimate reporters and writers while putting forth no effort of their own for financial gain really isn’t all that funny. In fact, as someone who spends plenty of his own time on words, I can tell you that the thought is rather off pissing. But that said, whatever the hell robot thesaurus is in charge of trying to make the scheme appear a little less obvious is pretty damn entertaining sometimes.
Something odd caught my eye on Twitter the other day. Someone had tweeted a version of an article I’d written for HuffPost — complete with the same headline and image — but the link led to a different website: Newsbuzzr. When I clicked, I couldn’t help but laugh.
The intro to my story, which describes a woman feeling an “urgent tap” on her shoulder, had been changed to say that she felt a “pressing faucet” instead. The term “sex videos” had become “intercourse movies,” and the quote “I was definitely shocked” had morphed into this nonsense: “I used to be indisputably surprised.” The entire piece had been altered, seemingly word-by-word, rendering some sentences far less coherent than others.
It’s hard to imagine (although it gets easier to fathom each day while experiencing the Trump era in real-time) that these sites have any actual fans. But truthfully, I doubt they need them. When you can produce and post articles on such a massive scale, you’re bound to be somewhat successful even without loyal readers. By the time you visit one of their links and realize you’ve been had, it’s too late. They already have your click.
And sadly, there’s not a whole lot that can be done about it. Ad companies banning them from their platforms is good, but it’s a case of too little, too late. It’s reactive, not proactive. Being proactive here is all but impossible. Technology is such that it’s a piece of cake for a scammer determined to keep going to have three websites ready to replace every one that gets taken down.