Sniping Snip.ly. How To Stop Snip.ly Users Using Your Content
If you ask any content creator what their biggest fear is, I am positive that content theft would be right up there.
I’ve seen it before with my own products. Just days after launch, my eBook or video course that I have put huge amounts of time and energy into is available for free on torrent sites.
Of course, a quick DMCA notice to these sites, and the links are deleted after a short period.
But what about another type of theft? A theft that is actually ‘legal’, but is completely bereft of any sort of morality?
Could you imagine, for instance, a site that lets a user copy a page from YOUR blog or website, and then lets them overlay that page with their OWN call to action button, or their OWN opt in form?
Or worse, they take a huge review you have done on a product or a service, and then overlay their OWN affiliate link over that review?
There’s no need to imagine any of this.
Such a site ALREADY EXISTS.
Snip.ly is a site that allows users to grab a page off the internet, and then place their own call to action button over the top of it.
Here’s two examples using snip.ly from two huge sites.
First, the New York Times:
Imagine if the above was a product review you had spent hours and hours creating.
Now imagine that button you see overlaid is an affiliate link.
Here’s the problem. It’s not YOUR affiliate link.
It’s somebody else’s. Would you be happy with that?
Next up, is Gizmodo, a leading authority site in the tech related industry:
Imagine if the above is an article you have posted to your blog or website.
In this example, there’s an optin box positioned bottom right.
Here’s the problem. It’s not YOUR opt in box.
It’s somebody else’s. Would you be happy with that?
WHAT THIS MEANS
Well, it’s pretty simple really. Anybody using this service can take a page or a post that you’ve spent hours creating, and simply place their own affiliate link over it, place an opt in on it or place a call to action on it.
It is so damn wrong.
And it is open to some serious abuse.
Recently a friend of mine told me a visitor to his site had made contact with him regarding one of his reviews. He took time to help this person, and guided her to the best option for what she needed.
In return for his review and his help, she said she would buy the product through his link. So she duly cleared her cookies, and bought through his link.
Yet, he received no commission from that sale.
Could he have been a victim of Snip.ly?
MY FRIENDS WILL FALL OUT WITH ME NOW
Just to give you an example, I’m choosing 3 friends at random and I’m going to steal their content for my own, money grabbing gain.
They will really wish they could stop Sniply after they see this!
I really hope they don’t fall out with me :-/
First off, I’m going to hijack Carol Amato’s site. The lead is a blog post about blogging. I want my visitor to read her post, but then click to purchase my product.
Go ahead. Try it now by clicking here.
Second. Who shall I pick? I know, David has done a review on an excellent little plugin. I really can’t be bothered doing a review on it, so I’ll just hijack the review.
See what I did to David’s site by clicking here. (Edit: David now appears to be using the free plugin I describe below!).
Third. Who’s my next victim? Ah, Adrienne. She’s done a nice post about getting traffic to your blog, but I’m going to overlay an affiliate link to a traffic generation course. Easy Money!
See what I did by clicking here. (Edit: Adrienne now appears to be using the free plugin I describe below!).
I’m gonna be a billionaire boys!
Ok, in the above examples, I just linked to their own stuff. I didn’t put any affiliate links in or anything like that. But the point is I could have if I wanted to.
But you can see the potential for shady marketers to use this for their own advantage.
And that is where my problem lies.
Here’s the awful reality that goes with this service. Imagine I’m a shady marketer. I set up a free social media accounts. And I set up several free Snip.ly accounts (using a fake email, because you don’t have to confirm your email to activate your account).
Here’s the most horrifying thing. I can anyone’s name, and anyone’s image to make my Sniply ad look even more authentic – and make it look like it is genuinely part of a site. All I need to do is pick my victim and start creating Snip.ly links to their content, and then spam Twitter and other sites with my links.
And if I’m promoting ‘Authority Bloggers’, it all looks good. After all, they are household names. People of trust. When people see this, they think nothing is out of the ordinary. They may even think that it’s just one of those brown nosed bloggers.
It all looks so innocuous!
So here’s a little experiment I did to put this to the test.
I tweeted the following people to raise awareness of just how powerful this is. I asked for nothing in return, I just wanted to raise their awareness of how easy I could imitate them and potentially steal from them. Using their own content. Spencer, Adam and Cliff have Tweeted me back so far.
First up, Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard.
All I did was create a free account on Snip.ly, named it ‘Adam Connell’, and uploaded a picture found on the net of him.
Let’s say I shared my special link (which I would cloak), and share it across social media, in blog comments, all over the place in fact. Someone interested in this software may believe the button is Adam’s. Some may even click through using the link at the bottom to buy.
Result? I just used his own work to make a commission.
Adam Tweeted me back. Thanks Adam.
He stole Adam's Connell's content and commission. Find out how to stop him stealing yours...
Second up? Cliff Ravenscraft, of Podcast Answerman. I took his podcast equipment page, and stole it. I did exactly the same as before.
Once again guys, it’s simple. I will spam my cloaked link in as many places as possible to try and hijack his site. This is too easy.
Cliff Tweeted me back. Thanks Cliff.
He hijacked an affiliate page, find out how to stop him hijacking yours.
Third up. Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. I do exactly the same once again.
So easy. So, so very easy.
Last but not least Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits.
Again, simple. I create my Snip.ly profile, cloak it, and outsource it cheaply for someone to flood social media with it. And pick up some commissions for doing very little.
Spencer did tweet back. Many thanks Spencer.
DISCLAIMER: I didn't actually steal any of their content or commissions. I am just using these as EXAMPLES to show how easy it is for the unethical marketers out there to masquerade as other people and steal content and commissions. I shared this with the 4 people above on Twitter, and if they clicked the link it took them to a private message from me. Nothing sinister :-)
So how are they, and we, going to stop Snip.ly users hijacking our content?
So, if you are a website owner worried that one of these shady marketers may use hijack your content, what do you do to stop Sniply?
Well, you need to put the ‘No Entry’ sign up.
You can do that by installing a plugin.
The plugin I bought is actually a social media plugin that floats the share buttons at the bottom of the page (eyeballs down), and built into it is coding which allows you to switch the Sniply blocker on or off – which will stop Sniply users using your content.
It comes highly recommended by me.
You can see details of that plugin through my affiliate link here: Social Warfare Plugin.
However, there is a standalone version that will stop Sniply, and it’s free for those who don’t want the social media plugin. You can get that here.
I have stopped Sniply users adding their own content to my blog now, and I strongly urge you to do the same if you are afraid this could happen to you.
I’m really, really keen to know if you currently use Sniply, or have used it in the past. I’m particularly keen to know exactly what you have used it for, because I know that many of you may have used it ethically and not for the reasons I have outlined above.
Though thinking about it, how can this be used ethically? You will be taking someone else’s content and over-laying your own CTA. Tell me how you have used this ethically if you can.
And also – will you stop Sniply by using the plugin I have recommended? And if not, why not?
Appreciate your thoughts.
All the best,