Categories: About LiteracyBase

Plagiarism, Spin, and Other Rip Off Writing

Years ago, a particular on line publishing site had many ‘Top Writers’ who were the chief farmers in having the site condemned as a ‘Content Farm‘.

A Content Farm is a polite way of saying; “Cow Pasture”.   To understand a Content Farm, imagine walking through a Cow Pasture, barefoot.  (Graphic enough?)

Content Farm

Every day there would be an Articles from  the ‘Top Writers’  which went like this;

“All over the world people are interested in Keyword.   I am sure you are interested in Keyword.   I bet you have done searches about Keyword …”

Every day the ‘Top Writers’ would change the Keyword to another keyword taken from one of the many ‘What’s Trending’ sites which keeps a record of the top searches done on the Internet and the hottest keywords.

Yesterday, a trending word might be deportation,  today it could be flooding.   It didn’t matter.  For the ‘Templates’ used by the “Top Writers” was such as to accommodate an item, an event, an ambition.

The articles written by the ‘Top Writers’ would babble on for One Thousand Words saying NOTHING.   The Articles were worthless.  They had no information about the Keyword.  They simple rambled on and on for one Thousand words of trite phrases which caught all the Search Engines.

Over and over and on and on, One Thousand Words of nothing.

The Title would also be a SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) collection of words;  Maybe; “What You Need To Know about (Keyword).”

Persons who would do search for the ‘Keyword’ would wash up on the shores of this Content Farm.  They’d begin to read the ‘content’.   As there was no information,  as the article was a complete Hit Scam;  it would get hundreds of thousands of ‘hits’ that Adsense had to pay for.   People were tricked people into coming to the site to read the empty item.

Google launched it’s Panda and Penguin Algorithms which automatically discarded articles published on that once very popular Publishing site, labeling it a ‘Content Farm‘.

Everyone who wrote for that site had their hits dropped to almost zero, because if you wrote a well researched first class item and published there, no one doing a Search would ever find it.  That is because the Site was denigrated by the Search Engines.

This is why many publishing Sites went down, stopped paying, or staggered on, paying very little.

One or two ‘Top Writers’ could destroy a site for Thousands.

The Search Engines, the Advertisers, became very annoyed at having to pay out money to such tricksters, so once a site is found guilty of being a ‘Content Farm’,  they are virtually ignored by the Search Engines, meaning the site gets very few hits.


One of the most common and offensive practices is to read something somewhere else and copy and paste it and slap your name on it.

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This must be sharply differentiated from one copying a ‘source’ to substantiate their article.  For example, if one copied statistics from the World Health Organisation and put them into an Article, saying, “The World Health Organisation recently published that….(quote)..” and went on to explain,  analyse and discuss the statistics, using that quote is not plagiarizing.   It is attribution.


This is technique by which one takes an article and rewrites an existing articles, or parts of articles, replacing specific words, phrases, sentences, or even entire paragraphs with alternate versions to provide a slightly different version.

This is different than finding something you wrote ten years ago and rewriting it, adding new information, using better English, and making it superior to what was.

All of us who write should improve our styles, our skills, and gain more knowledge.   Surely, if I wrote an article in 2000 on pilot whales and today want to write an article on pilot whales, it would be a different article.  It wouldn’t just be replacing words but adding new information in a more mature manner.

When writing about real things, whether history, science or literature, there are always dozens of other people who will be provoked by the same topic.

Years ago I wrote a long series on the Bubonic Plague, (I think 4 different items as the topic was so large).  Imagine my chagrin when I saw another writer on the site who had written about the Bubonic Plague!   I raced to his article shouting; plagiarism!!!  but when I reached, it was a totally different item from a totally different point of view.

The fact was, both of us had heard something on the BBC about Bubonic Plague.   He, in England, me in Jamaica, had been fascinated, and ran to do the research to find out about it, and I went off on my tangent and he went off on his.   We had no idea the other person existed, nor were our articles alike.

Were I to publish an item on the Bubonic Plague here I would naturally reread my articles, (for they were all fact based and academic) but would try to avoid the same focus as to avoid attacks of ‘spinning’.


I have glanced at a number of items which I know were copied and pasted from some magazine.   They were posted here to gain $$ by a person who never wrote them, never used his/her ‘own words’, never made it sound like a person giving a recipe or describing a process.

The problem for other writers is not that Crapwriter is ripping off the site, it is that people who come to the site, see the crap and leave.  The Crap is filling the section where persons interesting in reading new things would go.   My stuff is not being read, not even seen, because a Crap Writer has copied ten different bits from about the place and published them one after another.

After all, how much time does it take to copy and paste?

The issue is bringing down the whole site, as the Top Writers did with that once very lucrative and popular writing site.




  • kaylar

    View Comments

    • Yes. I agree with you. Recently the are many who are coming up with some original content. What all they need is to make them understand what a plagiarism and spinning amount to. They are the original content writers. They write on their own. If somebody as per the norms and rules finds some words or sentences he can not be blamed for plagiarism. This happens mostly in dealing with articles relating to science, history, and other professional subjects. Here the idea becomes important than the words. How a content has been projected becomes important. One can not alter the terminology in writing an article on PHYSICS. One can not use his own word or definition for the terms ACCELERATION, velocity, moment of inertia etc., Whoever writes on them they carry the same definition and usage of words. We can not call it plagiarism.
      similarly, the dates in the history or the names of the rulers can not be changed. What needs is the expression and the angle from which a content has been projected.

      • That is the fact. One can't change facts... how one deals with them is what must be examined. There are many good articles here... but also there are some which are not.

    • Yes, I have noticed that a lot here have very nice articles, very well written. But if you try to see at the net if they were original, you will not be surprised at all that they were actually plagiarized.

      Most too are spinned as you have defined them above.

      That's why, I find it hard to post here, specially that it has to be a minimum of 300 words.

      Mostly, I just write based from my experiences that most can relate. At least, it could create interaction amongst those who can relate to it.

      I feel sad though, that here interaction is dismal. Our posts hardly gets responses. I hope it will get better soon.

      • What I find is that without moderation... welll... people do take advantage. Spinning an item is a term of art. For as I say; if you wrote about Queen Elizabeth in 2010 and then go to write about her again, if you have a new perspective it isn't spinning.

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