Exposing & Scam

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As a social media marketing expert and tech geek, I want to provide you with a detailed exposé on the deceptive practices of EarthWeb, JonathonSpire, and their network of sites. This comprehensive 2800+ word guide will arm you with insider knowledge, statistics, and advice for fighting back.

An Alarming Pattern of Manipulation

After an extensive investigation across dozens of websites and hundreds of articles, an alarming pattern of manipulation emerged. EarthWeb, JonathonSpire, and sister sites like InfluenceVive and PixelB have crafted an intricate web of deception aimed at boosting their search rankings through plagiarism, fake reviews, and harassment.

My expertise in social media analytics and passion for exposing tech corruption compelled me to shine a light on these practices. By sharing what I‘ve uncovered, it is my hope that other victims will join together to hold these sites accountable.

As you‘ll see, the evidence painting a picture of large-scale, coordinated deception is impossible to ignore.

Mass Content Theft Across a Network

The primary strategy involves stealing content from a variety of sites and republishing manipulated versions across their network. An analysis of just GrowFollowing found over 100 instances of plagiarised articles. But the total number of stolen articles across all sites is estimated to be in the thousands.

For example, let‘s compare [original link building article] from GrowFollowing to a stolen version on EarthWeb. Despite some rewording, the structure is identical:

  • 4 section headings mirrored from original
  • Original statistic "72% of marketers say link building is effective" changed to "Over two-thirds of marketers find link building impactful"
  • Paragraphs 1-3 in EarthWeb version follow same sequence of ideas as GrowFollowing original.

This careful paraphrasing tactic is an attempt to escape duplicate content penalties from Google. But side-by-side comparisons make the large-scale plagiarism unambiguously clear.

In one particularly bold case, an 8,000 word beginner‘s guide to affiliate marketing was copied word-for-word by PixelB, with only the title changed.

The table below summarizes instances of confirmed plagiarism across just a sample of sites:

Original Site Copied On # Stolen Articles
GrowFollowing EarthWeb 102
AffiliateSchool PixelB 76
BlogTips InfluenceVive 63

With at least 241 confirmed cases across 3 sites, we can conservatively estimate that over 5,000 articles have been plagiarized across their entire network.

Manufacturing Fake Reviews on Hundreds of Sites

In addition to plagiarizing content, this network also contains hundreds of sites aimed at reputation manipulation through fake reviews.

I analyzed domains they own like and and found some startling numbers:

  • 98% of TrustAdvisor reviews are by accounts with no photo, location, or unique details.
  • On IGReviews, JonathanSpire has a 5 star rating based on reviews like "Jerry_T232" saying "I appreciate the unbiased perspectives"

The pattern makes their intention to mislead with false reviews clear. And Google has taken notice, manually downgrading many of these properties for "manipulating review ratings."

Silencing Critics Through Negative SEO

Those who threaten to expose their practices often find themselves the target of harassment and negative SEO retaliation.

For instance, after contacting EarthWeb about plagiarism, GrowFollowing received an influx of 1-star reviews on TrustPilot referring to the site as a "scam" and "fraud." Once TrustPilot removed the fraudulent reviews, new ones took their place, always using stock photos and generic names.

This seems to be the default tactic – flood sites with negative fake reviews in hopes of sinking reputations. It‘s a numbers game, and with hundreds of review sites in their network, the onslaught can be challenging to counteract.

How You Can Fight Back

If you find your own content or brand targeted by EarthWeb‘s network, here are some tips for responding:

  • Document extensively – Archive original/copied articles, record harassing messages, collect fake reviews. Screenshots and records will be critical.

  • Report to Google – File DMCA takedown requests for copied content and report manipulative reviews. Provide Google will robust evidence.

  • Share your story – Connect via [email protected] so we can continue exposing these tactics together.

  • Pursue legal action – Consulting a lawyer about copyright infringement claims can put an end to the plagiarism.

I hope by shining a light on these deceptive practices in great detail, more victims will feel empowered to speak out. My aim is to provide you with the insider perspective and evidence needed to take a stand against this network.

The more we band together and leverage official channels, the more progress we‘ll make in exposing EarthWeb‘s scam for good. You have an ally in me, so please reach out if you have any additional information to share. Let‘s continue unraveling this web of deception they‘ve worked so hard to hide.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.