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Such as:

http://tech.e freedom.com/Question/1-2837475/Jetty-offline-documentation

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5  
You know, this isn't just an affront to the site, but to it's users. It offends me b/c it takes my questions and answers, and puts them out there without my name. Frustrating. –  C. Ross Jul 26 '10 at 12:24
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efreedom: http://e freedom.com/Question/1-1605958/Use-Extension-Method-Join so: stackoverflow.com/questions/1605958/… I noticed that efreedom does have a link stating that the question originated from stackoverflow.com. If you follow the link, it takes you directly to the question/answer. However, you don't really know by looking at efreedom, that the answer also originated from SO. I really don't like the way they scrape the site. –  IAbstract Nov 5 '10 at 17:25
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The footer on all pages says "The questions, topics and answers come from serverfault.com, stackoverflow.com and superuser.com, and are licensed under the cc-wiki license." –  PsychoDad Nov 5 '10 at 21:13
    
I think it is an unethical thing for them to do, because they are adding exactly ZERO value, but scoring off others' efforts. –  systemovich Dec 22 '10 at 22:07
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IMHO the leechers should be asked to follow the attribution guidelines. But not more than that. Most of the leechers might not add value to the site, but someone may find a way to add value and methinks that is what SO and the open community in general strives for. SO makes all data available for you to tinker with eg. meta.stackoverflow.com/questions-all –  abel Jan 6 '11 at 8:05
    
Particularly irritating is that the link back to SO opens in a new window so the useless page stays open. I'm adding site:stackoverflow.com to search queries more often now. –  RandomEngy Oct 4 '11 at 22:46
    
codeblow.com/questions/espn-cricinfo-api and stackoverflow.com/questions/5127616/espn-cricinfo-api looks exactly same. i guess new sites are copying SOs contents? –  itachi Apr 11 '12 at 8:35

6 Answers 6

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Wow, this one is the first I've seen to almost comply with our attribution terms which are linked at the bottom of every single web page we serve up.

Except.. it kind of runs afoul of this:

Visually indicate that the content is from Stack Overflow, Meta Stack Overflow, Server Fault, or Super User in some way. It doesn’t have to be obnoxious; a discreet text blurb is fine.

I don't see any text blurb indicating it's from SO on that page anywhere.

So it's not in compliance and it stays on the list.

Update: we got an email about this, and it appears to be in compliance now:

Stackoverflow team-

I am the programmer for tech.e freedom.com and I found some concerns about our attribution on meta.stackoverflow.com here: Did anyone notice that some sites seem to be scraping/republishing SO's posts?

We apologize for the problem, we thought we were meeting the terms, but apparently we fell short. It was not our intent to present this content as our own.

We have updated our content and would ask that you review it and please let us know if it is satisfactory. If it is, please update your forums and let everyone know that we are in full compliance. We have added attribution by our logo and at the bottom of every answer.

Here is a sample link: http://tech.e freedom.com/Question/1-147929/C%23-Sending-messages-to-Google-Chrome-from-C%23-application.

Thank you,

John Curtis

Very nice of them to follow up, and correct the problem! It does look correct now to me.)

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I don't think that site really makes a strong enough distinction, there's no visual indicator that tells where the question is from in reality. Besides the amount of ads make it look like some sort of SEO scam. –  Esko Jul 25 '10 at 7:56
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@Esko - It's definitely an SEO scam, but since google sees that no one outside that hive of sites links to them, their page rank is abysmal, as it should be. I agree they should be taken down, but at least for the moment, they don't seem to be earning much traffic from what they're doing. –  Nick Craver Jul 25 '10 at 13:37
    
@Jeff, you should update that rule now that more sites are joining the network. –  jjnguy Jul 26 '10 at 12:49
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@Nick Craver: Lately I've seen quite often posts from efreedom showing up above SO or in cases where SO doesn't even show up. For example, search for "CGContextStrokePath performance" in my case EF shows above SO for the same question (my guess is because they have the 'related questions' section which maybe convinces google that they have more content). –  pbz Oct 16 '10 at 0:57
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That's what I'm seeing too. Comparing "number of people that recommended this" on their site vs the view counter on SO suggests they are getting roughly 3 times as many views. At least on the one question I checked. Counting on their back-links to improve page rank doesn't seem to be working. SO's stated goal of becoming the repository for programming questions may well be achieved by this site. Darwinian stuff. Fwiw, if SO would consider a more restrictive license then I'd personally have no problem with it. I derive no great joy from seeing my name linked without any flair or rep. –  Uphill Luge Oct 19 '10 at 14:31
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@hans our view counts are very very strict -- more akin to visits as they are unique per IP per 15 minute interval. As long as these sites strictly follow our attribution rules, they are allowed; it is on mission to share great questions and answers, so long as proper attribution of sources is done. –  Jeff Atwood Oct 19 '10 at 17:11
    
@pbz I can't repro that -- see my image of Google results here which looks correct (and is what I would expect if attribution is followed) imgur.com/DKFZk.png –  Jeff Atwood Oct 19 '10 at 17:14
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Here's one more, search for "uiviewcontroller best practices" (without quotes). The first three entries are from efreedom followed by four entries from SO. –  pbz Oct 23 '10 at 23:27
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I know you consider it closed since they attribute, but this has been getting worse and worse. The efreedom pages are often ranking higher, and I consider them absolutely useless to me. They're getting the clicks anyway since I'm not always looking what site they're going to. –  Ben Nov 12 '10 at 14:49
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Agree this is getting out of hand. Reposters should not be showing up in Google ahead of the original source. –  Peter Nov 29 '10 at 21:19
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Of course, the real problem here is clearly @google: What efreedom is doing is potentially useful and certainly valid (nothing wrong with aggregation), it's just that it shouldn't be ranking higher on pages that are purely reposts. –  Eamon Nerbonne Dec 1 '10 at 15:00
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@Eamon Nerbonne: great comment, the problem is @Google, that is the SAD TRUTH. The web2.0 brought up many cool sites like SE, but also a new range of useless sites that are actually using web 2.0 power to aggregate stuff from 'normal' sites and basically copy and pasting everything, like the new directories that are apperaing everywhere for each specific search also the localized ones. I think Google should send all of these damn sites to Google hell, but it's very hard to adjust this time, they want' be able to PATCH this as tehy did with teh nofollow. –  Marco Demaio Dec 10 '10 at 12:18
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@eamon these sites do seem to run afoul of Google's own "no original content" rule -- google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66361 –  Jeff Atwood Dec 10 '10 at 22:05
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Some sneakiness going on at some of the sites (simpleanswer.us/answer/…) - SO attribution not in the raw html, but only being generated by JS after page has finished loading. An attempt to stop google picking up on the backlink perhaps? –  ConroyP Jan 7 '11 at 9:03
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@conroyp grr, lame. Another loophole we have to explicitly disallow in the attribution terms. Thanks for letting me know about it. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 7 '11 at 9:13

These content copies are so annoying, so I created a Safari/Chrome Plugin that rewrites google links and also redirects from efreedom, questionhub, answerspice to stackoverflow. Problem: solved!

It's free and open source, so feel free to use it.

GitHub: https://github.com/steipete/stackoverflowerizer

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excellent, more commentary here news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1985264 –  Jeff Atwood Dec 9 '10 at 5:29
    
Can it work for MS TechNet/MSDN forums (and others) as well? Thanks - awesome stuff! –  Alex Angas Dec 9 '10 at 5:36
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@Alex: Sure, it's just a few lines per Site, we're adding WeAsk, ComAnswer and DeveloperIT next. –  steipete Dec 9 '10 at 12:11
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This is a brilliant idea! I've taken the code above and mangled it in to an extension for those of us still lugging Firefox around - addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/261964 –  ConroyP Dec 9 '10 at 14:13
    
Nice! A note for others that you need to close and restart Chrome before the extension can do its magic. –  Metro Smurf Mar 12 '11 at 17:03

Yes these spammy sites are getting quite annoying. I've resorted to banning them in my search results.

In Google Chrome:

  • Options -> Basics -> Manage (Default Search)
  • Add Search Engine
  • Name & Keyword you can call whatever you want
  • Url:
{google:baseURL}search?{google:RLZ}{google:acceptedSuggestion}{google:originalQueryForSuggestion}sourceid=chrome&ie={inputEncoding}&q=%s -site:efreedom.com -site:experts-exchange.com

Now I don't see them when searching from the URL bar.

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This is nice, but it eventually uses up your quota of allowable query length. –  Paul McMillan Nov 9 '10 at 22:21
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hmm sometimes good stuff on experts-exchange, wouldn't block it. –  Dennis G Nov 10 '10 at 8:29
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@Paul - it isn't ideal, but it works for some of the more blatant sites. –  CaffeineFueled Nov 10 '10 at 17:27
    
Thank you! Efreedom gets more and more annoying! –  Pavel Alexeev Nov 16 '10 at 19:27

I hadn't, but as they say, it's legal since SO questions are licensed as ShareAlike. I'm not sure whether the attribution is sufficient or not; they link to the questioner and answerer's SO profiles, and mention on the about page that the questions are from SOFU, but Jeff said in a blog about similar sites that he expects links to the original SO question, and I think a mention on every page that the question is from SO, not just a single About page

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Google offers an option to block those search results now if you are logged with your google account.

If it doesn't work on your national-specific google site like google.co.uk, you can use http://www.google.com/ncr link for accessing google, which enforces using google.com.

You can then block results from some specific domain if you click on the search result and press back in your browser - then you have the option to use 'Block all efreedom .com results'.

More info: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/hide-sites-to-find-more-of-what-you.html

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I especially like this remark on the site blocking page:"Sites will be blocked only for you, but Google may use everyone's blocking information to improve the ranking of search results overall.". I guess if enough people add them, Google might notice the problem. –  Matthijs Wessels Feb 27 '13 at 13:29

Could you update your attribution terms to require a Canonical link when the content is presented on a web page?

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That would hamper genuine use instances. I think the present attribution is pretty good. Leechers don't last long anyways. –  abel Jan 6 '11 at 8:00

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