The Varangian Guard: Pirate Hunters
Tired of pirates stealing your content? The Varangian Guard is here to help.
When your work is pirated, it hurts sales, and that hurts ranking, which hurts your visibility. These knock-on effects hurt your career, they might even make it hard for you to maintain a full-time writing career. But hunting down pirates and getting your work taken down can be a challenge—it’s time-consuming, tedious, and can be confusing for many. Besides, you’re a writer, not a pirate hunter, so it makes sense that you’d want to spend your valuable time writing. That’s where we come in: when you hire the Varangian Guard to protect your book or catalog, we will hunt down the pirates for you and ensure that if readers want to enjoy your work, they have to buy a copy from a legitimate platform. It’s only fair.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did you come up with the idea for the Varangian Guard?
Like you, I’m a published author. You can find my books for sale on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, the Google Play store, and Kobo. My work has been pirated by thieves, and I’ve had to deal with getting it taken down from various sites. So, I’m familiar with how the whole process works. I know where the major hubs of piracy are, I know how to efficiently hunt down pirated content, and I’m quite adept at wielding DMCA notices (for US-based websites) and EUCD notices (for Europe-based websites) to get pirated content removed from Google search results and/or taken down at the source.
I established the Varangian Guard because I saw a need for such a service to protect the intellectual property of authors around the world. Other sites rely on automated processes managed by bots to find and address infringing content links, and sometimes the result is that legitimate book reviewers or niche storefronts get hit with DMCA notices even though they aren’t doing anything wrong. Bot-driven services also require more hands-on involvement from the author, and they often fail to address the source locations where the files are hosted, so the result is that links get purged from Google or other search engines, but the files are still hosted on the various sites.
Cleaning up the search engine results is a good first step, and a great deterrent to many casual pirates, but those who are determined to pirate content know which sites to visit. These individuals go straight to the source for their piracy needs, bypassing the search engines altogether; so to really combat piracy, it’s important to address the sources and get files taken down from the sites where they are hosted. That requires manual work, which is time-consuming, tedious, and confusing to many authors. When you hire the Varangian Guard service to protect your book(s), I do this work for you.
How is reporting handled, is there a client portal where I can view links or notices issued?
Since I do all the work manually, there is no client portal. The way my service works is that you will give me a list of the book titles (with a few details about them, like a URL to their sales page on Amazon, which I need when filing takedown notices) and pay for 1 month of service at your desired level of protection. After that, there’s nothing else for you to do. With your author and book details in hand, I commence with hunting down pirated copies of your book(s) and then filing DMCA takedown notices to get links purged from the Google search results and/or to have files taken down at the source.
At the end of each month, I send you an email with a summary of takedown notices issued on your behalf. My reporting consists of screenshots I’ve taken of each link (as it displays in the search results) that I’ve had purged from the Google search results. I compile these screenshots into one or more image files for ease of viewing. If you’ve chosen a protection package that includes takedowns at the source, I also include a list of URLs that hosted pirated copies of your work. When I file takedowns at the source, I also monitor the URLs for a period of time to ensure that the takedown notice is honored and the pirated content is removed.
Why the name?
I’m fond of history, and have especially enjoyed the study of Russian history and literature since I was a teenager. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, Varangian was a word that used to refer to Vikings, particularly those who founded Kievan Rus’ and who were the forefathers of modern Russia. Long ago, when Vladimir the Great converted his people to Orthodox Christianity, part of his agreement with the Byzantine Empire included that he would marry the Emperor’s sister and that an elite guard (the Varangian Guard) would come to Byzantium to safeguard the Emperor.
The Varangian Guard successfully served the Byzantine Emperor for over 400 years. They were extremely good at their job, and struck fear into the hearts of their enemies. Since they were also renowned seamen, the name seemed like a perfect fit for my pirate-hunting service.
How is billing handled?
All billing is done via PayPal invoice. You don’t need to have a PayPal account to pay the invoice, any major debit or credit card will suffice. All protection plans are billed on a month-to-month basis, so you can scale up or down based on your needs. At the end of each month, when I send you the monthly summary of takedown notices issued on your behalf, I also send out an invoice to continue service at your current level. If you need to scale your protection plan or wish to discontinue service for a period of time, simply respond to my email and I will adjust or cancel any pending invoice accordingly. Service can later be reestablished or scaled up/down based on your needs, all you have to do is get in touch.