Wannabe supervillain pulls AI ‘heist’ to steal competitor traffic, but really just shows how unchecked AI is going to ruin the internet

There’s a certain kind of scam, old as time, that revolves around selling people something that tells them to sell the same thing. That’s not how it’s presented, of course. The pitch is that if only you knew X (my secret knowledge) you would easily have Y (money, young lovers, cars). Perhaps the most egregious contemporary example of this kind of grift is Andrew Tate and his “Hustlers University”, but there are a million of them out there, and the internet has just turned up an example of what the future for this particular hustle looks like.

Take a bow Jake Ward, not only the latest guy who wants to make money by selling you a pipe dream but a pioneering example of an AI scammer. Mr. Ward’s modus operandi is simple. Creating content is hard. So why not just use AI to steal it?

This isn’t even me putting words in his mouth: Ward is flagrantly open about what he’s proposing, calling it a “heist” in some vain effort to make it seem daring and sexy rather than theft.

“We pulled off an SEO heist that stole 3.6M total traffic from a competitor,” said Ward on X. “We got 489,509 traffic in October alone.”

Half a million clicks isn’t anywhere near what a major site would pull in a month, but it is a considerable amount of traffic nevertheless: and certainly of a scale where you could be selling a lot of ads. And Ward did it by using AI to rip-off an unnamed competitor’s content.

Ward’s company is registered in the UK as Content Growth, which is certainly a nice euphemism, and the methodology is as brazenly unapologetic as you get. Ward says that he:

“1. Exported a competitor’s sitemap

2. Turned their list of URLs into article titles

3. Created 1,800 articles from those titles at scale using AI

18 months later, we have stolen:

– 3.6M total traffic

– 490K monthly traffic”

So: nicking headlines, feeding those into an AI automated system that writes articles based on those headlines, then publishing them and taking traffic that should have gone to the original site. Ward just outright calls it stealing, so I guess at least he’s open about that, and goes on to outline how to do this (and naturally plugs his own company while doing so). He says the initial process produced “1,800 articles in a few hours.” 

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