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So check this out. I was following up on a question I had asked trying to find an answer to it and found this:

My question here: What is ms-hcTest?

Is on this site: http://qandasys.info/what-is-ms-hctest/

It was pretty easy to spot (Google "ms-hcTest", both are on the first page). I've seen one other site out there that screen scraped questions like this, but from MSDN instead of SPSE.

Is there any recourse the SO network can take in response to this? Is the content of SO sites intellectual property of the parent company? Can these sorts of things be reported?

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  • This is common, I've seen many scrapers for the MSDN and technet forums. I guess is because it's public, the bots come sniffing around and gathering all our precious info. I don't know if there is anything you can do, but I'd be very curious to see something happen legally. – Mike Feb 8 '14 at 16:24
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We have someone on the community team that handles these specifically. Note that, in most cases, the best we can hope for is that they come into compliance with our attribution guidelines.

That said, use the contact form to reach out and let us know, make sure that you include:

  • The URL to the offending material, and if possible the URL to the original copy here
  • Any search keywords that you used to turn this up
  • Anything else you think is relevant

Even if you just pass us the link and let us know they're scraping, we'll investigate, but more detail (to the extent that you have time to provide it) is very much appreciated.

After you report it, try to forget about it, block them in your search results using whatever tools your search engine of choice provides - this should also send clear signal to the search indexes that the content isn't as relevant as they're trying to present (or, outright scraped).

The only motivation to do this is SEO webspam to drive ad impressions. Hence, complaining to your search engine and asking them to get the spam out of your results is also something you can do to help.

Thanks for wanting to help, it's the fact that our users are so heavily vested in the value of our content that we're able to stay above these evil web spammers. Well, most of the time, anyway.

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  • I've seen this going on for years (the biggest offender is go4sharepoint) and it never occurred to me that there may be legal trouble involved with this. The fact that these sites are mucking up my search results with duplicated content has always been a major annoyance, and if there's something I can actually do to stop it I'll definitely start helping out wherever I can! – thanby Feb 20 '14 at 13:19
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As from Meta SO A site (or scraper) is copying content from Stack Exchange. What do I do?, there is a standard procedure to report such sites.

Have a look there, basically it would seem that to be qualified as "killable" a scraper site should miss attribution to the original source - if the attribution is available it would respect the original creative commons license of SE. In your case there seem to be no attribution, so fell free to signal.

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