Blog Thief Defeated By Twitter Army
I didn’t mean for this to be my second post of the year…and though it has nothing to do with Family Travel, it has EVERYTHING to do with this site, our Adventures, and most importantly, my friends and followers.
For the past day and a half I have been dealing with the shock that the content on my blog, all the stories, videos, images (with watermark intact), were stolen and placed on another blog, by a woman/company passing them on as their own.
Since I was on the computer already my first reaction was to run to my Twitter friends. And yes, I swear a lot especially when angry, so I won’t do a screen shot of my tweet here. But basically it went something like this:
“Holy Macaroni! I just realized someone stole the content from my blog. What the feathers?!? What do I do?!?”
In a matter of seconds responses were pouring into my stream. Some with tips, others in shock. And not that much later, a direct message with the person’s Facebook profile. Just. Like. That.
Now. The question everyone has after “How did this happen?” is “How did you know?”
Akismet is an awesome WordPress anti-spam plugin. I won’t go into too many details in public about the various security and anti-theft set ups I have on my site (even more now since this incident), but I will say what gave this person away: the plugin, my habit of linking an older post into a new one, which causes pingbacks any time that content is used anywhere else, and my Twitter Army.
Yes, my Twitter Army. A force of over 3,600 people in the front line with even thousands more behind them whom receive messages passed from front to back.
I tried to do that “right thing” by this woman. I emailed her through her FB email, letting her know I was made aware that she was using my content on her blog, asking her to remove them. I also left comments on “her” blog. I received no response. So I contact her host, Blue Host and let them know. (On a side note, don’t use them. They are horrible. Customer service from their legal department, the worst.)
First of all, they wouldn’t take it over the phone. I had to send an email to their “legal” department. Second, no one responded till later in the afternoon, with this:
We are not in the position to determine or validate who owns the intellectual property rights related to the content in question (trademark, copyright, counterfeit). However, per our policy, claimants are only required to substantially provide the following information when making an infringement claim:
Once we receive the above notice we are required by law to remove the material in question. **Note: If a counter claim is submitted, the site will be reactivated & it will be up to the two parties to pursue legal action.
That last line was a kicker. Blue Host, even after my providing clear proof that the content was mine would flip the switch back on her site if she said, “No it’s not.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
They suspended her site and only minutes later, it was up and running again.
This is when I lost it.
I dug further in her site, and found that her blogroll was linked to the same company, and that this company had a twitter account. Sweet. To make matters easier, the same company was listed on her FB profile. “It’s definitely her. A thief with a face.”
I sat down and started tweeting, using her name, her company twitter handle, her blog. It went viral. One person retweeted, and another, and another, and another. (For more details not provided here feel free to follow my Twitter stream).
A couple of people even got me her home address and telephone number. Yes. Just. Like. That.
“Oh my god! I’m following her! Blocking her now!” was my ABSOLUTE favorite tweet.
Then, suddenly, an email from Blog Thief herself, no greeting to boot.
Your content was being syndicated and linked back to your site. We apologize for any misunderstanding. It is assumed syndication is allowed on blogs allowing rss. Please note all has been removed. Please check and let me know if there is anything else you would like removed as well. Thanks- So and So (aka Blog Thief)
Well, no. This “syndicated” material never got my permission, was done without my knowledge, and worst of all it was not linked back to me as she stated. As a matter of fact, Blog Thief was very much passing this on as her own. So I responded:
I just checked and my content is still there…you also stole from www.newyorkchica.com and she is NOT happy about it.
In addition…NO you are NEVER allowed to pick up people’s material without permission, without giving credit or linking back to their site…AND MOST CERTAINLY passing it off as your own! I want to see ALL my content…ALL MY IMAGES…EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY POSTS OFF YOUR SITE TONIGHT.- Carol
This led to her response:
Ok. No worries. We will remove all within an hour or so. (from Blog Thief)
Meanwhile Twitter still going viral. People calling her out, blocking her, un-following her, spreading the word that a blog thief was among us.
Because the truth is she knew what she was doing. She also refused to respond until she realized her name was out and that I knew, and now more than 3,600 also knew what she was doing.
I check the site. All my content was gone…and every other post she stole. Then I get an email from her:
I think everything has been removed from nycitymama.com, newyorkchica and all other sites. SOrry about that. We had this plugin called WP Omatic installed which was supposed to syndicate content related to NYC but I guess it caused more damage than it was worth. We’ve removed all content from all the feeds we were syndicating and have deactivated the plugin. THis was by no means malicious and no one wanted to cause any harm. Please check site again and let me know if there are any other problems. Thanks so much!
No. I don’t forgive you. Because not only did you steal my content, but you are a lazy blogger/horrible entrepreneur. And you are dishonest and lack ethics of any kind. You lack the gift of understanding blogging and what it is all about. Instead of taking the time to invest on your “all about New York” site, you searched a way to lift ideas from others. Material that has been researched, thought out, put to text by others. You took moments of my life, my family’s life, and tried to pass it off as being yours because yours if obviously too pathetic to bring forth the level of creativity I put into my work.
This new plugin is for lazy people who do not merit our time, our attention, the power of our voices and influence, or our money. Stay away from anything that promises an easy blogging experience. Because blogging, when done well, isn’t “easy”…and though anyone can have a blog, not everyone has a great blog. Success in blogging isn’t based on how quickly you get tons of followers or readers, your page rank, your google rank, whatever else…if you are looking for an easy, quick buck, stay away from blogging.
A good blog is written by a great writer (or a group of great writers), a creative personality, and/or a very savvy business person, and these work long hours, sacrifice sleep, sometimes (as I had to do today to deal with Blog Thief) they even sacrifice time with their family. All this long before you start reaping the benefits of your labor…and usually that comes in the form of “What a great blog!” and no more. We work hard to get paid, be respected, be acknowledged as true experts in our chosen topic. It takes some of us years.
So Blog Thief, and others like you, don’t mess with me again. I will burn you…because one of the benefits that I have reaped from my work and passion, as noted on this blog, my blog, is the Twitter Army I have been gifted with, who defends me, fights with me, and is readily available to kick your ass.
Image credit: Cinematic Wallpaper