Here's a quick one for you.

Not to say that anyone of us would know about this, except in a purely academical, professional way, but there are a number of Google searches which will return intellectual property, such as music, movies, and books, for "free".

Results like these can be removed by the publisher by sending DMCA request to Google. But this is laborsome and requires constant monitoring and attention.

A more effective strategy, and one that will work as a double edged sword, is to "poison" the search results.

Create and send out or make available for download free samples of your e-book, new album, or movie. Make sure to keep the filename as close to the premium one as possible. Think with the searcher in mind.

The end result is, as I said, a double edged sword.

One, when somebody searches with the goal of stealing your material, they are faced with page after page of unusable results.

Two, you can use the free material as promotion, obviously. Especially if you were to send out some of the free samples weeks or months before they are made available to the general public.

Of course some will argue that the real solution is to switch to another distribution model, another business model. I think that for many of us this is an unrealistic solution. Also, I still believe in a cost — time — value exchange. In either case that decision is one to be made by the artist, not by you or me.

Image courtesy of: Nufkin

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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11 Responses to “Poison search results so freeloaders can't find what they want”

  1. Vol Cars says:

    The situation would be really tricky and one needs to be tactful. You mentioned it right, it can be a double-edged sword and can sometimes back fire.

  2. Seems to be a very risky way to go about it.

  3. Dang you Ruud! So that's who's been preventing me finding those books I wanted online :D ! Neat trick :)

  4. BTW, as a technical thing – double edged sword means one that can cut you as well as your opponent… not one with two benefits to you, usually. Feel free to delete this comment if you think it's nit-picking.

  5. Ruud Hein says:

    @Gab no, I leave the comment in of course! Thanks for the explanation. Not nit-picking at all, if you ask me. With English being my 2nd language I'm always learning a bit more. Thanks!

  6. Gab says:

    Glad to hear you took it the way I meant it :) .

  7. Metaspring says:

    'Poisoning' search results can be very counter-productive it would seem. I wonder if it would be worth anyone's while to do that.

  8. ECS Dave says:

    Seems to me, that the time would be better spent, as you mentioned, using a different delivery method.

    If you make it hard for the "stealers" to access your content, you are also making it hard for the legitimate seekers.

    Be Well!
    ECS Dave

  9. Ruud Hein says:

    I'm not sure it would be counterproductive. Time is money. If a freeloaders needs to spend too much time trying to find a "fee" copy he might as well buy it.

    The other side of the equation remains that those simply interested can find free sample.

    Thirdly, seeding the web with many free samples and forms of free samples equals widespread promotion.

  10. This technique is quite useful because human mentality will always try to seek out free samples on a certain product and if it is too much an effort, one will choose to buy instead.
    Rif Chia

  11. Rudd, this is a great idea! I would also suggest setting up google alerts so you know when your content is floating somewhere it shouldn't be.