Wikipedia Ripoff Sites

By Deane Barker on October 8, 2004

I’m seeing a lot of sites that lift Wikipedia content. I know that all Wikipedia content is GPL-ish, but I get a little annoyed that these sites are obviously spidering Wikipedia and then running ads around the content they lift.

While technically not wrong, it seems like a pretty cheap thing to do. They’re trying to get natural search positioning and banner ad impressions on content they didn’t write.

No links, because I don’t want to give them the traffic.



  1. I happened to do a quick inventory of such sites yesterday, and came up with 38 of them.

    It does grate a bit, I know, but free is free. What I find most annoying is that when I do a google search for something I expect to be in the Wikipedia, the entries of these clowns, er, clones come up first.

  2. I agree that it seems wrong, but they are performing a useful service of sorts, by taking traffice off of the Wikipedia site. If they need advertising to do that, it’s not so bad. The only real negative would be if people didn’t realize that Wikipedia is a wiki, and hence potential contributors are missed. (I haven’t looked at any clone sites, but I presume they are not themselves set up as wikis.)

  3. The main bain is the sites that refuse to acnollage the source of the material, or do so in a not so obvious way. Having said that, i quite like some of them, as they are actualy easier to read then the corosponding wiki pages ( some have javascript rolovers which show the content of pages that link from the page you are looking at, oh, and it means that wikipedia dosnt have to slow down way too much. Ofcoarse, Most are too out of date, oh, and dont have the talk pages or revision history which are vital if you realy want to know wether the pages are trustworthy. One last thing, i dont know why they seem to remove the disclames?

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