Today’s entry serves a dual purpose: to document the wonderful work of postcard artist Racey Helps, and to document splogging of our recent posts. What is splogging, you ask? It’s a form of copyright infringement on the Internet, in which people who have no qualms about stealing and/or are too clueless to write their own text, steal the text of other authors and don’t credit the copyright owner in any way. It’s a sleazy way of trying to get “keyword-rich” text without actually writing any. (It will also get you yanked off the Internet, eventually.)
Cutting to the chase, here is “keyword rich” text about vintage postcards and, in particular, the old postcards of Racey Helps. Little is known of this postcard artist, who is believed to have lived in Bristol, England. He married Renee (nee Orr) and fathered at least one child, Julian Racey Helps, who was born about 1950. Helps’ artwork was published by the Medici Society in London, England; Medici began a subscription service in 1910 whereby a subscriber could receive new prints from represented artists and by the 1930s, Medici was publishing artist-signed postcards by such well-known postcard artists as Molly Brett and Margaret Tarrant.
Racey Helps’s artwork was also widely available on postcards for many years and around 1970, his work illustrated a series of eight-page Medici booklets with titles like The Story of the Snow Prince and To Greet You: The Story of the Tea-Kettle House. The Western world was fascinated with space exploration during the Cold War of the 1950s and this interest peaked in the 1960s and 1970s with man’s first walks on the moon. Based on the charming context of this vintage postcard, we think it was published in the 1960s.
And thus ends the “keyword rich” text. Copyscape is a handy tool, allowing authors to monitor how and when their work is used on the Internet. Seldom have we needed to use it, with the exception of one misguided Wikipedian, whose excerpts from our website were removed within two hours, and one eBayer for whom things didn’t work out too well, either, when they copied a postcard guide we’d written and posted the whole thing on their eBay “Me” page.
Apparently, the webmaster of a spammy website with zero page rank (PR)has decided to try splogging us. Two of our recent postcard articles about the Fourth of July and the Civil Rights movement as seen in vintage postcards, and we want our readers to know that we didn’t authorize use of our materials on such a website. If one hovered over the postcard pictures on the web page, you would have seen (since removed, of course) that the webmaster had also “hot linked” to other peoples’ websites. Hot linking steals bandwidth for which you, the domain owner, pay. There were other links to our work about how to use the Internet to document old postcards on these pages of the website: Photo Post Card Blogs and Old Post Card.
According to whois [snip]. (Note: You can look up any domain and get contact information by doing a whois search.)
Our DMCA complaint regarding the splogger was filed in August 2007. We heard nothing from the company until mid-December 2008. As we sat here with pneumonia just before Christmas and without making an appointment with us, we received an unexpected and unwelcome call from the splogger. It seems his past had caught up with him: Potential clients had found our saga. In other words, it didn’t occur to him that he might have created a problem for us with his splogging but once he had a problem, that was different. Yeah, right. Not.
His excuse was that his company had been hacked. No, you are responsible for any results stemming from a hack of your website. Besides, the alleged hack would have had to go on for three months — the amount of time we were splogged. We find it hard to believe that any company with tech support wouldn’t notice they’d been hacked for…three months. Time for a new tech support staff?
What it was, was, the company in question got caught with their hand in the Internet cookie jar and they didn’t like the consequences. Apparently, they complained to our hosting company (whom we normally like), although we haven’t been offered any correspondence relating to this so that we might address any other attendant issues. Although we highly disagree — and despite the fact that Google was aware that the content was posted on Blogger for five months after our DMCA complaint was filed and before we moved the blog to this WordPress platform — our host has requested that we remove the personally identifying information which was here, so that no one will be “harassed.” We weren’t harassed when our materials were plagiarized? We weren’t harassed when receiving a lengthy phone call over a year later while ill? We weren’t “harassed” when it took over a day of our lives trying to contact the splogger and subsequently filing a DMCA takedown complaint? You be the judge. We are happy to note, however, that the overall plight of the spammy website hasn’t really changed. Twenty months after this all started, they still have a Google page rank of zero and an Alexa page rank of 12 million. Time to hire some SEO staff? Time to develop a content-rich website? It is pretty funny in that respect. In the end, we all get what we deserve.
Unfortunately, this whole situation highlights the ease with which scrapers can scrape content from websites and blogs. Some platforms are more secure than others. We had planned to convert this blog to WordPress in the future; however,
we’ll be doing we did that sooner than anticipated.
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