WordPress MU is a great tool. Sadly AdSense link bait spammers agree.

I absolutely love WordPress. It’s a great piece of software – the software that runs this blog.

The code is clean, easy to modify to make it do anything you want, and the wealth of themes and plugins that the WP community has produced is amazing.

But it has a dark, ugly, shoulda-never-been-released-for-free side: WordPress MU.

That’s MU for “Multi-User”, meaning that you can install WP MU once and create thousands of blogs without having to reinstall it. For free.

Free means that it’s a spammers’ delight.

Why? Because these slimeballs have clearly managed to automate this process:

  • Mount a blog on a MU installation
  • Automatically steal article content via article directories, blog content via RSS, etc.
  • Publish the free content as a blog post without the resource box and hot links (thus violating the terms of publication) and instead, use the article as link bait /SEO bait for sites that the thief’s blog(s) link to.
  • Repeat this process thousands of times on many different URLs.

Authors can’t track down these vipers and get the content removed from the thieving sites, nor can they get the sites nailed because they are typically hosted by slimeball ISPs who wont respond or don’t care. Or they are hosted overseas where content protection laws are either weak-kneed, ignored or both.

Some suggest that you can perhaps eventually trace some part of the web host or ISP service back to a US vendor somewhere, somehow. Try talking to Nynex about a site in Taiwan that stole your article, who is using a web host over there who somehow uses that pipe’s provider. They’re gonna care?

How much time do you have per day to spend discussing such matters with ISP1, ISP2, ISP3, ISP4 etc, only to have another 2 or 3 of them pop up 10 minutes later.

Just like with email spammers, it’s like playing whack-a-mole trying to chase these guys down.

Obviously, it’s also a substantial waste of time running traceroutes and so on trying to find out a way to tie the thief or their blog back to a US or European internet provider.

Over the last 25+ years, I’ve caught my fair share of people using my software without paying for it. Not one of them torqued me like these people do, probably because there’s really very little you can do about it because of the nature of the net, and the time expense of chasing them down (much less the futility).

So what would YOU do about this problem – if anything? Realistic comments only, please.