It's not unusual for Google alone to approve up to six million requests for websites to desist from the use of copyrighted or plagiarized content each day.
Technically speaking, there is little difference in hosting the latest pirated Hollywood blockbuster to cutting and pasting original text from other websites without permission, and the process has become so routine that offending websites usual feel the repercussions within just 24 hours.
As tempting as it may be to copy great content and attract more hits, the truth is that following such a business plan will soon enough see action taking against the webmaster, that will often destroy their online reputation and ranking.
More often than not site owners are attracted to duplicating content by simple greed and laziness, being unwilling to make the effort to source their own content and looking to make a quick buck on the back of the attention that such pieces will attract.
The king of this process is quite simply the Google ranking system, as everyone knows people visit those hits that are the higher up the results list.
Herein lies the real danger for a webmaster plagiarizing content, for as complaints mount against unauthorized copying Google will without question remove the offending page from it's search engine results page (SERP).
All of a sudden a medium ranking site tempted enough to steal content and be complained against will find itself losing it's place in the rankings, and quickly becoming little more than another piece of internet flotsam.
Serial offenders may find the pages, or even their entire site simply removed from the Google index altogether.
It's worth pointing out here that because Google alone acts upon so many requests per day, it is by necessity a simple one-strike policy, that can be notoriously difficult to appeal against or plead ignorance towards.
The growth in fraudulent claims of plagiarism and copyright infringement pays testimony to this, as unscrupulous website owners make false allegations against their competitors for these very reasons. So it should be pretty self explanatory that the risks of being caught - and they are really very high thanks to the development of sophisticated, fast and free copy searching programs - that trying to claim ignorance will not be enough to cut the mustard with Google.
Once a website has a reputation for using plagiarized content, not only will their rankings rightly slip but their established user base will invariably also trickle away. Customers and followers aren't likely to trust a site that is discussed as being a rip-off merchant, especially if they are vending products or services with an overt financial imperative.
There's no shortage of competition in every field imaginable online, and in so course there is no obligation for loyalty from the user base, who will all only be looking for the best, most original content thats they can find for the niche that they are following.
Of course it's unlikely - but not unknown - for the free time blogger to pursue traditional legal action against websites that profit by stealing his/hers expertise and talent. However sites that host the works of many different writers are not shy of threatening legal action on top of reporting to the search engines and hosts, and there is a great chance that this will be the next great area of growth in online legislation.
With experts in their fields accounting for so much traffic, and many tens of thousands of hits, the financial loss that plagiarism causes is significant enough to cause expensive legal action to be taken that most operators could ill afford to contest.
There's no excuse for using plagiarized content, and site owners would be well advised to quit before they get burnt for the golden age of freeloading copy is now certainly coming to a close.
Website owners who have been doing so may be surprised to see their ranking increase significantly by employing their own skills to create genuinely unique content, for after all that's the wave the surfers are all seeking.