Blog plagiarism in technical niches

Heads up: Well, many readers are not going to like my loud thoughts in this particular post. I am mentally prepared to receive hate comments!

I was going through my Google reader last night to check and recheck the content quality of all those 90 odd blogs that I am following. I keep doing this clean up activity once in a while. Needless to say 80% of the blog that I follow are dealing with Internet, Technology and related online topics such as social media. The rest of the blogs in my favorite lists were personal blogs, photo blogs and some corporate mouthpieces. The shocking fact was that 90% of those tech blogs that I had in my list were having most of their post topics stolen from elsewhere, inspired or consolidated from multiple sources whereas most of the personal blogs had somewhat unique content. (Tech blogs in this post’s context is anything related to computer and Internet)

Plagiarism in tech blogosphere

Before proceeding further, I must pause a while to appreciate the work of those handful of people who, without referring or copying from elsewhere, wrote some of those wonderful blog posts that are full of life and based on own experience. This included some technical blogs as well but mainly personal blogs. Most of these bloggers are unsung heroes because they do it with a purpose of writing for justice, to hold up the culture and beliefs they have or even imagining and writing about some innovative technical or new generation topics.

Now, coming back to the plagiarism in the technical blogosphere. Couple of days ago I read a very interesting comment on Facebook by a successful Indian tech blogger. Basically, he wanted all his FB friends to protest against someone who had apparently stolen one of his blog post points as a whole to compete some contest. At first, I thought he had a valid point with him but when he browsed that particular post of his, I figured out that even he himself has taken a dozen or more pictures from elsewhere and copyrighted it with a proud And most topics he was writing about was something that was already present on the web but major traffic generators. I have no grudge against any such smart people but then they shouldn’t crib about others stealing their ideas.

Plagiarism is not just about copying something as it is. Even if you take content from two or three different places and putting it together in a single post is kind of content stealing as well.

The following are some of the modern, smart content copying technicians that I have observed and according to me they still are faces of plagiarism:

1. TechCrunch and Mashable mash-up bloggers

A huge number of sub-standard technical bloggers, depend a great deal on big technical blogs to get ideas. Basically they can be called blog re-writers and not bloggers.

2. Consolidators from multiple sites

So, you want to write a post that goes like 15 money making ideas for college students, and you go get those fifteen ideas in less than fifteen minutes from three or four other blogs. So easy, isn’t it? They possess exceptional consolidation skills.

3. Blog and feed scrapers

Biggest losers of them all are the blog scrapers – All that they need to have is a registered domain, blog platform installation on a shared hosting account and some free tools. The

4. The traffic generator blogger

Basically, his blog may not be standing for any particular topic but can dig out traffic generating and buzzing content by digging into anything current. In fact, these bloggers, since they are into most searched hot stuff, may not copy stuff as it is always but their content will be mostly incomplete.

5. The tech-liar or clueless

Basically, these people (a variation of the previous category) do not have any know-how nor are they any subject matter experts. However, as and when they hear something now, they just write some crap that mostly remains in the title only. Basically, they don’t know what they are talking about but they may still drive traffic with high bounce rate. They will never have any patronage or involvement from readers.

Where do these blogs and bloggers come from?

Though I do not want to specify a particular country, from what I have observed, a huge percentage of these ‘smart bloggers’ come from fast developing nations or where the number of educated but jobless people are very high.


Basically the point I am trying to drive is that there’re very few genuine tech bloggers around us who writes about really unique topics. While it may not be possible to write everything fresh and innovative, it may be still okay to write on a 50-50 basis (i.e. 50% unique stuff and 50% inspired). I would like to believe that I belong there as I have multiple blogs – personal and otherwise.

Your assignment: Could you name three bloggers who churn out very unique content and thoughts every single time they go out there to blog?

Happy blogging!


  1. Ajith, I wanted to read this post before getting back to your comment on my site. You’ve seen me rail against blogs that seem to write exactly what I’ve seen on other sites. There’s something about using what someone else says to make a point, but if you don’t have anything unique to add to it, then it’s just stealing someone else’s content without adding anything new. We don’t need that stuff. Great post.

    • Hi Mitch,

      From your comment I get the impression you are lumping content thieves and people who check out blogs for ideas into the same bucket.

      I often suffer from writer’s block, and just plain lack of imagination, so I will look at other blogs in my niche to see if I can get an idea for a blog post.

      I would certainly never scrape content or steal content, I’ve had this happen to me and it is horrible.

      • No Dean, you’d be interpreting my words incorrectly. I often come up with an idea for a blog post based on reading something on another blog. If you’ve seen my blog (and you have), you’ll notice that whenever I do it, I always link back to the original article.

        What I’ve noticed is that you’ll see an article that says something like “10 best ways to make money online”. You’ll see that same article almost word for word, if not word for word, on 1,000 other sites. To me, that’s just plain stealing because the writer didn’t even attempt to comment or add anything to what was originally written.

        • @Mitch, thank you for agreeing to my views. My idea about blogging is much like yours – as much as possible write original content from self experience. Even if you adopt a few ideas, you should be able to add some thoughts on your own to it as a value ad. Otherwise, you are still a copycat.

          @Dean, please read my comment above – We aren’t entirely against inspired content but it cannot be a 100% copy.

  2. Interesting read. Very often I wondered about this topic while reading the posts from TechCrunch and mashable, GigaOm etc…
    You have nailed it.


  3. I am not at all surprised about the lack of comments for such a controversial post. frankly speaking, anyone “outside” the tech niche can hammer down every other tech blogger so very easily.
    I don’t know where to start, but I will anyway. Blogs these days are not just blogs – 1) they are businesses and 2) they vie with news sites.
    When we talk about blogs as businesses, there are pressure from various sources to keep abreast with the competition and that includes SEO. For reasons best know to Google, sites (blogs) which gets updated often tend to rank higher. So what do these businessmen (bloggers) can do? Churn in more posts. But how? dig for inspiration. How well can one turn an inspiration to quite an unique post is the key. Some people succeed every single time and some people fail always. And few have a partial success rates.
    As for blogs vying with news sites is concerned, news can’t/shouldn’t be created. So, at worst you can report is as-is or at-best you add an opinion or 2. I have no clue what else you expect bloggers to do here?

    Stuff like Plagiarism and copyright are really cool to talk about and more often than not someone arguing against them hardly win. But realistically it comes to that small flexible thin line called Ethics.
    With so many things running on my mind it’s hard to know how to and when to conclude, but I hope I make some sense

    • @Raju,
      I expected you to comment as you are writing in the tech niche as well. See, the idea is not becoming an ‘outsider’ and slam techbloggers. In principle, I consider myself a tech blogger as well owing to some amount of technology & Internet related topics being address here once in a while.

      Blogs are sure a business and the pressure is only self built. Right? Nobody is really pressurising to make money or increase traffic – that’s purely your need. Regardless of whether you churn out traffic using hot search topics, SEO, regular posting or whatever, I still believe it’s not a good idea to copy or scrape as it is. Now, even when you report news, you should be able to add some value to it or at least mention the source so that your readers know that the idea isn’t original. And I was only talking about that…

      By the way, I wrote about it not because it’s a cool topic or I will receive some claps for being ‘ethical’ but I just wrote what I thought is not a clean trend.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      • As much as I agree with existence of plagiarism in tech blogging, I don’t appreciate targeting tech bloggers alone. Why not take MMO bloggers? How of the writings are really original? Most of them talk about making money by blogging, by flipping sites, by parking domains, by selling products and that’s it. Worse still, hardly anyone quote the source in their posts!
        When I wrote about blogs being businesses now and they vying with news sites, I was contemplating the reasons for plagiarizing content and not justifying it at all. The article starts off talking about 5 faces of plagiarism, but except for 1st and 3rd types others don’t account to plagiarism at all. May be No.2 to an extent, but definitely not the last 2. Those 2 types of bloggers definitely exist but don’t come under plagiarism according to me.
        I repeat, no one should think I am disapproving what is written in the article as a whole, but only parts of it which are self-contradictory. One must read my comment above, specially the part about “small flexible thin line called ethics”.

  4. Well /i have to agree with you. In technology blogging you can not expect to give unique or new news. You have to keep update your self with other bloggers. This results in plagiarism or so called inspiration.

    Unique content is possible in blogging niche or make money online niche where people writes their own experience in their own words but when it comes to technology field there is a lack of innovation. You just find(read plagiarize ) the news from other sources. In most of the cases they find it from big websites like mashable,techcrunch,readwritewebs and similar blog. I don’t feel shy in accepting that one or other way I follow the same trend. But instead of copying it I write my own stuff,experience.

    I doubt that other tech blogger has enough guts to accept this fact (I can name some big blogger so called pro bloggers following the same foot step).

    • @Ricky, thank you for admitting the fact that there’s plagiarism in the tech niche. As I maintained in the other comments above, the idea should be to minimize pure copying but adding more content on top of an inspired idea, if that is inevitable.

  5. I wanted to say a lot on this issue, both most of it is already said by Raju and Ricky..

    Its true that most of the people fail to gain inspiration, but thats the way it goes, at least compliment the source of inspiration!!

  6. Well., I agree with few of the points you made.!

    I write technology stuffs on my blog. I seriously cover Microsoft, and expect my readers to be either Technology Enthusiasts, Developers or IT Pros. I really, dont write on Consumer Stuffs. Saying this, I cannot produce Original technical content all the time. I would’ve definitely been a ‘Technical Fellow’ (This designation being the top most one) in some organization, if I really do it.

    This also doesn’t mean, my contents are all stolen. I maintain a pattern in my blog – If I write 20 posts in the month, 10 are original How Tos and Articles, 5 are on tech news, 2 consumer stuffs and 3 download information.

    People and my readers regard me for what I do, and I absolutely care for them and provide them what best I can give!

    Blogger has his opinion. He is never a content creator. He always prepares a mindset for his readers to accept a product or not. He gives whats the best in a product and whats not.

    Summing up, Technical bloggers definitely have a social responsibility and you just cant generalize statements. If Someone was an inspiration for my content, I’m sure.. I will be an inspiration for few more bloggers! – Thats how the blogging chain grows!

    • @Vijay, you seem to have got your act right. Having at least 50% original content is a real good thing.

      By the way, bloggers (not just technical bloggers) have a social responsibility for sure. And being ethical is one of those responsibilities and that’s what I tried to convey 🙂

  7. Well it’s good to see that you mentioned TechCrunch and Mashable here, If you read their content that are mostly the ‘re-written’ Press release which are made available to them earlier than anyone else. Tech Bloggers from this part of country simply don’t have enough resources to develop so much PR to get the company press releases as early as Techcrunch does. So that means we should not talk about a tech news if TechCrunch already did ?

    • @Imran,
      That’s true as well. I am not a fan of TechCrunch or mashable as they are mainly tech news blogs as well. However, most news papers work that way by tapping into reuters, asian news agency etc. But nobody should be copying a news paper and republish as it is – that’s the point here.

  8. First of all, a really great post and very insightful comments.

    I think there are basically two types of blogs –

    1. Those who “produce” content.
    2. Those who “spread” content.

    In MMO or blogging niche, you have the option to “produce” content, you can write about your experience, tricks which worked for you and provide suggestions. It’s like a personal conversation with your readers.

    But this is exactly the opposite in tech. If you want to write anything which is absolutely unique, either you have to invent a new product which no-one knows or you have to write something like ” 10 reasons why I hate company X, How I fixed my broken Computer” – again giving personal thoughts.

    I think it’s fair when you write about a tool and credit sources – you are actually helping your readers to move upstream, discover new content and passing the information with some thoughts of yours. I don’t think this is “plagiarism”. You can call it “Link blogging”

    Those who write but don’t credit sources have the wrong conception that this will reduce their pagerank or readers will turn away or something else…..

    Your point is good but as @raju said, a blog is not just a blog. it’s business for many .

    Thanks for the post !

    • @Amit, thank you very much for your detailed comment and also categorization specified. Mostly, my answers are already there in the reply to Raju 🙂 Btw, not just MMO, but any niche can produce content.

  9. Ajith,

    Great post. One of the best post where there is lots of exchanges of ideas.

    I will just put my though in one small statement.

    90% (infcat 95%) of the bloggers in Tech space can’t produce unique content. We can call those bloggers as “spread” content bloggers as mentioned by Amit.

  10. Ajith,

    Those are great points, especially tech blogging which involves only x limited number of ways to do stuff (setup applications, troubleshoot and so on).

    One of the main reasons to plagiarize is not to get left out of the action.This plus the pressure of religiously updating content leads to a sub-standard blog in the long run.

    These bloggers fail to understand the primary purpose of making a blog – creating value for their readers as well as documenting their own experiences for future references.

    Some of the funniest “tech” blogs are those where whole articles are copied from a knowledge base or other stuff – talking the walk but not walking the talk kind of bloggers.


    • Thank you very much for your views. As for the pressure of updating content, it’s more self-induced pressure right? If the blog has to be a blog as per its original definition, the author should write as and when he feels like and the content should be his own thoughts and independant views.

  11. Hi,

    I agree with everything you said. The concept and meaning of blogging has evolved. It has moved away from its original intention. Blogging has become a means of business and earning few greens.

    Blogging is supposed to be individuals ramblings/thoughts/viewpoints. It is supposed to be your own personal experience. Good bloggers still continue to follow that process. Even in case of business blogging, it was supposed to be an additionally medium (other than formal marketing channels) to reach out to their customers.

    However, blogging and associated revenue is now being disguised as “business”. Those types of blogs are typically a waste of time. Short term they may succeed, but it is usually hard for them to sustain.

    It is a reality, you cannot avoid that. Like good innovative companies always trump copycats in long run, similarly good blogger will always trump copycat bloggers in long run.

    Best Wishes,

  12. i love to read tech blogs because i am a technology addict, always looking for new hi tech stuffs –

  13. I agree. Plagiarizing can be really annoying especially when you have put so much hard work in to it. Statistics that you showed in your post, it can happen with others too.. This leads to the original website owner losing page rankings, traffic and revenue. Theft of website content is a rapidly growing problem and owners should check their content frequently to find out whether it is being used somewhere else. I use PlagTracker myself.


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