A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Blog Post

Okay, something weird happened and I want to talk about it. I'm trying not to be melodramatic and I'm certainly not pretending I'm a victim of anything, but I am really, really confused about something.

Let me start from the top.

Sometime near the end of 2013, a young woman named Alyssa decided that she wanted to get back into blogging, a hobby she'd tapped into wayyyy back in 2008. Since that first blog, she'd owned and written a few different ones, had a few different domain names, and had a few different blogging paths. She'd been out of the game for a couple months, and really wanted to try her hand at lifestyle/personal blogging. So she began to plan.

She planned and planned and decided to pull the trigger one day in February 2014. Finally! A home on the Internet again! Some place to put all those ideas and thoughts that had been piling up in her iPhone Notes app and on Post-Its on her desk. A stake in the community that she knew could be such a wonderful place. A way to connect with people with similar ideas and interests and thoughts, even when she was feeling her most lonely. And, on some days, a place to just kind of be silly and write things that no one may care about. But on the best days, a place to share things she really cared about, really believed in, and really wanted to start a conversation about.

So she wrote a post about what her space might look like. (Little did she know, in a few short months she'd co-host a fitness link-up, or scream at the top of her lungs about feminism and birth control, or try to convince the world to start a home yoga practice. But that's neither here nor there.) She called it "Day 1," and sent it out into the universe, unsure of what would really happen next.

What happened, though, was great. She met people she has grown to love, shared stories others found themselves in and related to, and had millions of laughs along the way. No, she didn't amass a thousand followers in her first year, but that's okay. She loves her space, loves her blog friends, and loves blogging as a hobby.

Until one day in June, when the woman named Alyssa returned from a weekend in the mountains and took a look around her Internet space, which appeared to grow a bit while she was offline. (She doesn't remember her Twitter follower count by heart, but she did notice that it looked like it had taken a tiny bit of a leap recently; ditto her Instagram.) She clicked onto a new follower's account, and clicked through the Twitter bio onto the Twitterer's very obviously new blog.

See, Alyssa had spent part of her weekend (which she spent with a blog friend-turned-real life good friend) talking with her friend about how she's always eager to find new blog pals, other people to interact with and share stories with, connect with and welcome into the little circle of pals. And Alyssa remembers when she herself was a new blogger—all five or six times she started from scratch—and is always eager to help someone new feel a bit more welcome to the community with a comment or follow, if she feels so inclined.

She clicked through onto a blog written by a girl who shared a home country with one of her bloggy BFFs and started to read. Only two posts were up, so she went to start at the beginning.

Alyssa might be a bit embarrassed to admit how long it took her to realize this, but after a few blinks and "Wait...."s, she realized that she'd read almost this exact blog post before. Same title and everything. In fact, she'd written it herself. It was this one.

Okay, now that you're caught up, I'm switching back to first person. 

So, someone ripped off my blog post. Blatant, unabashed copying, right down to the title and format.

I'm a little hurt that someone took my words and passed them off as their own, but sadly, I have to say this isn't the first time that's happened to me. Such is life when you're a professional writer in the Internet Age. No matter how you slice it though, something I wrote was very, very, very clearly hijacked by someone who then pretended that they wrote it.

Is it my best post ever? Not even close. Is it the post I am most proud of on this blog? Nope. Does it reveal specific personal details or share the inner-workings of my mind in a profound way? Not at all. But it is something that I wrote, to describe my blog, and it was stolen without credit. And that makes me sad, and it makes me mad.

And it also makes me really, really confused. If you're going to rip off my content, why wouldn't it be a post that gets tons of hits or received a lot of thoughtful comments or shares? Why wouldn't it be one of the posts that you could pretend is reflective of yourself? Why on earth would it be a lame introductory post?

And why, why then, would you direct my attention toward your plagiarism? The person who copied me followed me on Bloglovin, Twitter, and Instagram within 24 hours of posting the stolen content. She also followed friends of mine, other bloggers who I follow and who follow me. She named her post exactly what I had named mine, and shared it several times on the social accounts she was trying to bring my (and others') attention to. What is the benefit here? Where is the logic?

I'm confused more than anything. First of all, why copy content? Why copy MY content—I'm not even a "big" blogger!? Why copy that post? Why attract my attention to it?

I've been back and forth on whether I should share the perpetrating post here, and as of right now I've landed on no. (Although, it wouldn't be hard for you to find it given all the context in this post. Or if you just ask me, because I'm not that good a person.) But I've also taken screenshots of the offending post, just in case. Part of me feels silly for being bothered so much—like I said, it's not one of my really heartfelt posts or anything like that. But it was mine, and it was stolen without credit.

What would you do if you were in my position? I really want to know. I thought about commenting on her post. Emailing her. Calling her out on Twitter. Because honestly, I'm not really sure I'm very bothered by what the "polite thing" to do would be, because... well, she plagiarized me, period. I don't really owe her the privacy I'm giving her, or a nice, polite, "what seems to have happened here?" email. But I'm also not trying to take myself too seriously with this whole blog thing.

Honestly, what would you do?
And if this has ever happened to you, what did you do?

Comments

  1. Don't you dare feel silly! They stole from you and that is not okay. I'd be fuming. They should be called out and blocked from all forms of media. They didn't think you'd notice a post so "insignificant", yet called all attention to their thievery. I'm so baffled by that.

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  2. Nothing about this situation makes sense at all. The copying is one thing but the following you is just bizarre. I read the post and maybe since she did change some things she thought she was just borrowing, not plagiarizing you? That maybe you'd be flattered in some way that she used you as a template? I don't know, I'm reaching here. I'm not sure what I'd do...I'd definitely be tempted to ask what was up, but equally tempted to just let it go. Tough call but I don't think either is right or wrong.

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  3. I would copy a link to this post on the blog post she stole. Because I'm very much not a nice person but super passive aggressive about it. I told you yesterday that I went into creeper mode extraordinaire and something doesn't sit right with me about her whole social media presence. I say give it 48 hours and if you're still fuming, blast the b!tch.

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  4. I dont think it's silly for you to feel this way at all!! I think as odd as it is this person clearly isn't creative as they think they are and as they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so go with that lol! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  5. First of all I don;'t know if I would have even caught it.so hat's off to you. Second I would definitely reach out to this blogger via email if you can find it. I'm not even quite sure what you'd be able to do if she doesn't respond or refuses to take it down? I'm sure there's a better blogger who knows the answer to that.

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  6. I definitely would not be okay with that -- plagiarizing is wrong no matter which way you flip it. You are a lot more level-headed than I would be ha ha! I would start off my e-mailing her and saying that, while you are flattered she found your post so amazing that she wanted to copy it word for word, you would appreciate if she took it down and wrote her own version. They do say that imitation is the highest form of flattery ;D

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  7. That is so weird! So my first thought was that this was some kind of spam bot, not a real person, and maybe they copy people's posts and then draw attention to it to get hits? But I guess I still can't think of a way that anyone benefits here. But it's even more baffling if it's a real person, because even if she was after more page views, it's all going to be negative attention.

    I guess I agree with the people saying you should email and ask her to take it down. Worst case scenario, she doesn't and the situation is the same as it is already.

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  8. I'd call her out on twitter, but I'm super confrontational!

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  9. Plagiarizing is wrong, plain and simple. I try to do everything I can to give credit if I like a post and want to do something similar. I think you should email her and say, I see you, I have proof, please stop copying me.

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  10. Found it! :( I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I would send her an email behind the scenes and hope that she's a good person and stops plagiarism going forward. Wishing you luck!

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  11. Um WTF????? Someone stole your post AND had the balls to follow you via social media and stuff for you to see it? That is messed up on so many levels that I cant even count the levels! RUDE! I would probably call her out, but that is just me. It is not cool to steal someones intellectual property.

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  12. well you know my feelings on this.
    i just can't believe it. it's so odd.
    i had someone once tell me they liked a post of mine and they were going to do one. okay, sounds good. so then i clicked over the next day and there it was, and most of it was word for word mine. and no credit whatsoever. i was furious. it's not the same but still. wtf people. all you have to do is say 'inspiration from here' or 'i got this idea from so and so'.
    i honestly don't know what i would do if it was me. i would just be like.. um, wtf dude? but i also might let it go. i'm not good with confrontation. but it's just so bizarre! it's like stealing a candy bar from target and then telling the security guard on the way out I STOLE A CANDY BAR.

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  13. woah. that is bizarre! and agreed: of all the posts to steal your blog intro. it reminds me of a scene from daria where one of the football players tried to copy her paper and they copied everything including her name! I would definitely send her a polite but firm email saying "step off bia" in so many words. if she doesn't then I'd feed her to the wolves (aka your followers :)

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  14. I have written blogs that were someone else's idea and then linked to them saying where I got the idea. When people don't do that, it pisses me off.

    When people copy word for word, that's another animal entirely that deserves to be called out. Publicly.

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  15. So strange and I would probably feel totally violated regardless of what post it was! Considering she followed you on every social media outlet it seems like she isn't trying to be sneaky? I would probably send her an email (if you have her address) and ask her about it?

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  16. i would totally call her out on all forms of social media! plagiarism is wrong.

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  17. I was so confused when you were talking in third person lol.
    I'm not going to deny it- I want to know who it is.
    Thankfully, this has never happened to me. Heck, I get offended when people steal pictures that I found first and post them the next day (even though they may not have even been stolen, but still). Don't feel silly at all- that's infuriating!! And so messed up. Have an original thought first time blogger, geez. Terrible way to start off in bloglandia.
    I think the "polite" thing to do would be to email her on the post like, "Hey, wth?" Personally though, I would post it all over social media, including her handle.

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  18. Yeah word for word copying makes ZERO SENSE!!! I wouldn't be able to NOT say anything- I'd email her/contact her privately and be like seriously WTH!

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  19. What the actual fuck. Is this true?? Alyssa, I always knew you were one of the best people out there and very calming and sweet but lady call the person out. Those are your words and you took steps to get there. A few weeks back a blog friend messaged me to tell me a picture from a post of mine was used on a random non bloggers instagram and that made me stabby so I cannot imagine how LIVID I would be if I saw an ENTIRE post of mine copied. You also need to spill the tea aka blog name to me so I can witness this travesty myself. Ill behave, I won't comment but I have got to see this crazy.

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  20. Unfortunately this happens more than you would think. It doesn't make it less okay; in fact, it's still shitty because plagiarism and stealing are epically wrong. I would call her out, for sure, and I'm fairly confident there's actions you can take. I can ask around if you want because I know others this has happened to.

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  21. Wow, this is totally uncool. When we blog, we always know that things like this can happen, but for the person to pretty much call your attention to it. I'm just shocked. Honestly, I would ignore it, because even if you call it out, nothing is going to come of it. The person ultimately could delete her {your} post and move onto the next victim. To be honest though, I'm quite curious of the blogger, I can't believe I'm writing that after I just wrote what I did!

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  22. On one of my old blogs, someone copied the message I had above my comment box (about not being a no-reply blogger). How lazy is that? They couldn't write a couple of sentences on their own?

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  23. I can't believe someone would do that!! Well...actually I can believe it. I think you should post the link here, so we all can go give her a piece of our mind. :)

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  24. Omg that's so crazy! I don't think anyone's ever copied my blog post before, but several times people have tried to rip off my pictures. Pictures that even had my name on them. Maybe just email her and ask her to please remove the post first and see where it goes from there?

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