John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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How to eHow

How to Scrape Content for an Article on eHow

eHow is a content publisher known for “How To..” articles. Lately, it seems eHow visits other websites, scrapes their instructional content (on whatever topic), and republishes it as a How To article on eHow.  Sometimes the entire step-by-step process is “copied” for the eHow article. I’ve noticed a few times this week, how eHow articles are basically copies of existing content from other sites, worse than Wikipedia rewrites. That’s pretty much “scraping”, even if done by poorly-paid human workers.

So let this article be an article on “how to prepare an article for eHow”. When eHow scrapes it and republishes it, the magic demons of recursion will appear and maybe we’ll see fireworks… or hellfire, or whatever. Or maybe not. Maybe no one actually cares.

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7 Responses to “How to eHow”

  1. Gareth james Says:

    It still amazes me how much Google loves ehow, the pages rank so well. I wrote a post on it if anyone is interesterd. http://www.seo-doctor.co.uk/ehow-stop-polluting-googles-index-with-shite.html

  2. check your facts Says:

    There are two kinds of articles posted on eHow: those written by freelance writers who submit them through Demand Studios, and those contributed by members of the general public. Freelancers who submit them through DS are paid a flat fee up front and they relinquish all rghts. Members of the general public who contribute to eHow are paid on a revenue share model and they DO keep the rights to their articles. This means that they can republish them elsewhere on the web.

    If you see duplicate content across eHow and another site, you ought to check if the author is the same. You ought to check the publish date to see which one was published first. Before you jump to the conclusion that an eHow writer copied someone else, you ought to check your facts. All articles that appear on the eHow site go through a plagiarism checker, too, by the way. Mass plagiarism and scraping simply isn’t possible.

    There are many legitimate reasons to dislike eHow; if you actually knew more about the site, you would know that there have been many “scandals,” so to speak, about the way the site is managed. But scraping from other websites is not among eHow’s sins. It’s simply a fabrication on your part.

  3. john andrews Says:

    Well, let’s take a look at the baseless accusations you have made in your comment:

    – all eHow articles are checked with a perfect “plagiarism checker” at eHow
    – it “isn’t possible” to get copied content re-published on eHow
    – I jumped to conclusions, and didn’t “check my facts”
    – I fabricated the story about eHow publishing “copies” or published materials

    Aside the the obvious “fact” that your comment is full of baseless, not-fact-checked conclusion jumping, I’ll address your comment.

    If I look for “how to transfer a domain away from [registrar]” and find an eHow “article” ranking, it is an “article” that is little more than a repeated list of items from one of many registrar websites helping their users transfer domains to them from other registrars. It is very safe to assume eHow did not write this article, and a freelancer did not write this article and submit it to both eHow and a registrar FAQ.

    This is but one of many examples of eHow republishing content from other sites. Don’t feel too bad… you’re not the only slimeball on the Internet. Wikipedia used to instruct its authors to check if content could be dis-intermediated by a simple rewrite, as part of the criteria for whether an article should be added to wikipedia. There are many rascals on the Internets; none deserving of respect.

    I don’t work for eHow, so I won’t bother to check if :

    – free or almost free automated “plagiarism checking” tools can notice that a list of items was lifted from another site

    – One or two lines of “unique introduction” to a list of items is considered by what you seem to consider the Gold Standard for Integrity measurement – free plagiarism checking software – as unique. I’d bet my lunch that it passes.

    I am not doing any more work here.. I am not an investigative journalist, and I won’t be doing your homework for you. I’ll stick with my considered opinion — eHow is “scraping” content, Google is ranking it, and your comment is of even lower value (based on quality of content within it) than the scraped eHow articles.

  4. Gareth james Says:

    Nice one John :)

  5. ritchie Says:

    It’s always annoying when you detect such scraper sites; but is this also the reason why you shortened your blog feed? (If I remember correctly, Johnon.com used to offer a full feed, right?) Actually, I’m thinking about doing the same thing. Reading blogs is much for fun when you participate in the discussion anyways.

  6. john andrews Says:

    @ritchie I agree it’s more fun with duscussion, but this technology is not good for discussion. I will be upgrading to something better this summer…and look forward to conversations. Thank for reading.

  7. Wendy Piersall Says:

    I don’t need an automated plagiarism checker to know if eHow writers stole my content. I can tell you eHow has 50-70 pages of content that reference my sites as the “source”. The writers take my original projects and tutorials, rewrite my instructions, and post it as a ‘new’ How To.

    I can assure you, scraping from other websites is among eHow’s *most egregious* sins.