How not to steal Pickwatch’s data – a lesson… 1

Pickwatch has been going strong for 2 seasons now, evolving from a relatively basic website that was barely functional, into what a lot of people find a valuable resource when making picks. That evolution only came about because of the time and effort I put in during the offseason and during this year.

Why am I telling you this? Because, put simply, someone has stolen Pickwatch’s data. (GASPS FROM AUDIENCE).

I’ve known about this for months, however I didn’t wish to give what amounts to plagiarism the oxygen of publicity. Instead, I and the rest of the Pickwatch team have just gone full tilt on making this site the best it can be –  a tactic that has been rewarded with hundreds of thousands of hits and a loyal following of fans.

I’m eternally grateful to those fans who take the time to help out with suggestions or correctipons, and I’m also grateful to those members of the media such as the NFL Around the League crew who mention the blog on their podcast, or the Bleacher Report, Fox and CBS guys who mention the site in their articles. Even if you’re blowing your own trumpet, I think it’s really cool and it inspires us to offer more.

With that in mind, I decided to plant a little trap for our would-be Hamburglar. I subtlely changed a few expert picks to see if they were taking the time to do things themselves, or if they were simply harvesting our data. The result? They got a few picks wrong this week that could only have come from using our data instead of the actual sources. For example…

I’ll give them Mort as a freebie (he really went 12-1) but I’ll leave the others a complete mystery – good luck trawling through the rest of your data to find out where I placed the other traps! I hope you really enjoy that. As soon as the trap was laid, I changed the Pickwatch data to reflect the real score, and I have no intention of doing so again now that this – and I never thought I’d be able to legitimately use this word – DASTARDLY plot has been uncovered.

The lesson here is this: Experts put their picks up for you to read, analyse and debate. If you’re going to try and emulate Pickwatch, the least you can do is have the common decency to actually put in the hard yards, visit their websites, and credit the people doing the work. Pickwatch does it while working full time and studying a full time Masters degree in History, so you can too.

About Shaun Lowrie

Shaun Lowrie is the founder and editor of Pickwatch, a site designed to give you a new perspective on experts in the NFL media by tracking their performance when picking games or predicting draft picks, team performance, or player potential. You can contact him at [email protected] or on twitter at @pickwatch

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