By on May 31, 2013

Para-site 2.0

Web 2.0 brought with it somewhat novel interpretations of the copyright. We are used to the fact that our stories show up in all kinds of places. As long as they are within the bounds of fair use, and as long as they link back to us, we don’t mind. We often pick up inspiration for stories elsewhere, but we try to always say where we found them, and we give ample links, the new currency of Web 2.0. Some people are less polite. Recently, matters took a turn to the weird.

(Note: Before you complain about headline or picture, read to the end.)

There are new auto sites out there that just grab anything we and other major car blogs write, and they put it on their site. Apparently in an attempt to fool Google, they then published these purloined stories under author names that have nothing to do with these stories, and which probably haven’t anything to do with existing people. Identity theft 2.0 appears to be fully automatic, as this article attempts to prove.

For this experiment, we picked one of the auto-auto sites at random. Our test specimen is carsqa.com, a site peddling “Automotive News & Advice.” Its owners wisely hide behind an anonymization service. Let’s do a little fact checking.

The “Holden VF Commodore SV6 Review” at carsqa.com is not from Chuck Kerkarian, it seems to be from Anthony Crawford at Cardadvice.com.au.

The story headlined “BMW X5: M Sport, M50d, Design Pure Excellence styles revealed” at carsqa.com is not from Brent Lofaro as alleged, it seems to be from Tim Beissmann at Cardadvice.com.au.

The story about “GM Pondering Silverado/Sierra Variants, Including Raptor Fighter” at carsqa.com is not from Alex Johanssen, it seems to be from Jens Meiners at Caranddriver.com.

Alex Johanssen also did not write “GM Pondering Silverado/Sierra Variants, Including Raptor Fighter” at carsqa.com, as he claims. The story appears to have been penned by Justin Berkowitz at Caranddriver.com, him a fugitive from TTAC.

Neither did Alex Johanssen write “The BMW X5: A Look Back,” as carsqa.com claims. I have it on very good authority that this story was written by Doug DeMuro at TTAC.

Johannsen’s virtual office-mate Brent Lofaro also did not write about “What Keis And Big Pickups Have In Common: A Galapagosization.” I think I know the actual author.

And of course, Frank Lampley of Carsqua,com did not write the terse Notice threatening that Carsqa.com reader will be banned if they don’t comply with a Carsqa.com administrative action. Carsqa’s robot took even that Notice from TTAC, assigned it to Frank Lampley as an author, and ran with it.

Now, let’s see whether they will run with this self-implicating story, and who of their authors will claim the story as his. The site even claims “Copyright Cars QA” for content that definitely is not theirs.

Apparently, these sites are created to make their owners rich. As an ad for the software promises: “Everything is Automatic! You just sit back, Relax & Make Money!”

We’ll do that. Let’s see what happens. Currently, their robot runs a little behind. As I type this, it has picked up Thomas Kreutzer’s Dark Days, changed the author  to Chuck Kerkarian, and is most likely working on the rest.

(The trouble is, I rarely see any ads on these para-sites. Google seems to have a feel for them, and the only people who get rich are the folks who sell the software.)

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24 Comments on “Admittedly, Carsqa.com Is A Bunch Of Rotten Thieves...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    I have just gone there and they have ripped off Murille and Alex Dyke’s Acura review posted today. They are quick and blatant.

  • avatar
    mike978

    I have just gone there and they have ripped off Murilee and Alex Dyke’s Acura review posted today. They are quick and blatant.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Reading the actual posts, the “author” looks to be cribbing the first paragraph or so directly from the original author’s work, then posting a link for the URL for that work as the “source.” When you click the link it takes you back to the copied article.

    Seems to me this might run afoul of copyright laws.

  • avatar
    IndianaDriver

    Just like copying parts of an encyclopedia for a term paper that you put off writing!

  • avatar
    kjb911

    honestly not suprised considering 45% of my customers try to pass off copyrighted work for reproduction and then claim it’s their original work…seems to be a growing ssue globally

    • 0 avatar
      vertigo

      Wow, what line of work is this?

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        my full time job is production coordinator at Fedex Office which used to be Kinkos, basically I’m the guy you go to when you want presentations printed or oversize reproductions…every day it never fails where someone comes in with a book they want copies, artwork, someone’s picture, etc. My side job is graphic design and on two occasions I had a person using a design I myself made for a client come into work and say it was his

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Apparently the job of the “author” is to find something to lift and do the copy-and-paste intro. Hey, beats working.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well, stuff on the internet’s free, ain’t it?

    Increasingly, patents and copyrights aren’t worth the paper or kilobytes they’re printed on…

  • avatar
    Charles T

    Man, once you breach the copyright dike it’s hard to patch it back up.

  • avatar
    Commando

    If you go to WhoIs, get the address of the registrant and then plug that address into a search engine, you’ll get a bazillion hits about scam sites also at that address.
    Not nice lads there, I guess.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    Kim dot com in New Zealand,one of most envied car enthusiasts, made millions upon millions by allowing peoplwe to post others work on his web servers. But,so far he is the only onwe to feel the pinch of the policemans hand on his collar. i wonder why that is? so far it looks like the Feebs and NZ police blew the case anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      Splogs existed long before Kim Dotcom was a name.

    • 0 avatar
      mik101

      @Ron B.
      You might want to look up the most recent news on that case too. The warrant used to seize the servers in question is now deemed illegal by the NZ government, so I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. Unless it’s that the government plebs can’t even do their own paperwork properly. Maybe they should have copied a previously completed one…

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Thanks for the tip. I won’t bother clicking on the links; your original work is much preferred.

  • avatar
    ttacfan

    It interesting to see how they were gradually improving their bot. In the archived “stories” you can see it was grabbing content with CSS markup and all.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      It doesn’t help that a lot of these sites—such as TTAC itself—use WordPress, which has a fairly-standardized way of processing content. Sites with unique content-management systems, like Jalopnik, would probably be less-vulnerable to this sort of piracy…if only because the perpetrators in question would have to do extra work to design a bot that could copy from these sites.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I see you deliberately didn’t post links to the pirated stories, which is a very good thing.

  • avatar

    The best part is that, if you follow the link Bertel posted to their site, this article is on their site right now, damning headline and all. LMAO.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Are there any TTAC articles they didn’t swipe? Looks like a TTAC mirror site.

  • avatar

    It used to be great fun to watermark feeds with IPs, find splog robots, and feed them something special.


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