September 4, 2012

Distil – Protect Your Online Content

Data mining and web scraping are serious problems for web publishers, since it is incredibly easy for scam artists and competitors to copy and paste content from one website onto another. Distil is a web-application that helps its users protect themselves from this practice with a number of safeguarding features and content protection tools.

If you work in the digital publishing, travel, or e-commerce industries, then you understand how destructive the practices of data mining and content scraping can be. A competitor who steals your content can copy your website and potentially put your company right out of business. Distil puts an end to this practice, by giving its users access to content protection tools, security features, and a reporting and threat analysis dashboard. The cloud-based application acts like a gatekeeper and keeps malicious bots from crawling through its users’ websites, even while allowing bots from search engines like Google and Bing to continue getting through. When malicious threats are identified, Distil blocks the threats and sends real-time data about the web scraping requests back to its users’ servers. This data is then used to create error pages and warnings.

Web publishers can see how well Distil is working by checking out the reporting and threat analysis tools available through the Distil dashboard. Distil is powerful enough to show who was scraping a website, where they were from, and what content they were after. The web-app also provides insight into search engine crawlers, and offers an interactive threat map that shows which regions are creating the most trouble for each client’s website at any given time.

Practical Uses:

  • Protect your website from data thieves
  • Stop third-party vendors from using your fare schedules for their own applications
  • Make sure e-commerce competitors aren’t stealing your pricing information and other unique selling points
  • Keep scammers from copy/pasting your articles onto their own sites

Insider Tips:

  • Distil retains traffic and IP data for 365 days
  • Reporting tools show publishers how often search engines are crawling their sites
  • Distil’s network is distributed across 14 points around the world
  • Online visitors won’t know a website is using Distil unless they ask

What we liked:

  • Publishers can use Distil to prevent people from posting unauthorized versions of their work
  • Distil is great for businesses in the travel industry that don’t want third-party vendors stealing their fare schedules
  • Distil uses content compression to help stop web scrapers
  • All plans come with email and phone support

What we didn’t like:

  • Users have to upgrade to a custom plan to get dedicated IPs and custom SSL certificate support


Company Info:

  • Launched: September 2011 (Private Beta)
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Falls Church, Virginia
  • Founded by: Rami Essaid, Engin Akyol, Sean Harmer, and Andrew Stein
  • Web site:


  • Standard plan is $200/month
  • Plus plan is $600/month
  • Pro plan is $1,500/month
  • Enterprise plan with custom pricing

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