It was a Tweet that alerted me.
A post from this blog appeared to have been reproduced on another blog without adequate credit or links. Within 24 hours, I had resolved the issue but, in the process, reassessed some of my core values.
So what happened?
The post had been replicated on another blog (Blog A) – same headline, text and photo. A short sentence between the headline and the text indicated a link back to my original post.
Blog A offered neither comment functionality nor a contact email.
My first response?
I went straight to bed pretty upset. I don’t make money from this blog but, after seven months, it’s my blog.
I Tweeted the news to my community just before turning off the lights.
By morning, it had to get worse before getting better
Another blog, Blog B, had picked up on Blog A, presumed it was the original, and linked to it, not me. But my Tweet had done its magic. I received advice from Peter Moore, who also writes a blog, that I visit Copyscape.
He was right.
What does Copyscape do?
You type in the URL of your blog and Copyscape supplies you with a list of sites carrying the same text as yours. Copyscape highlights those bits of the text that have been replicated. It even counts the words. Mine was 100%.
Next steps: read its rules
Copyscape suggests six steps.
First, find out who owns the site or hosts it – Copyscape provides this information after inputting the site’s URL. Next, write an email asking the blog to reduce the amount of text used and credit fully.
The most important point was about tone. Do not be aggressive. It might all be a misunderstanding.
I sent emails to both blogs.
By mid-afternoon, I had received a very polite message from Blog A apologising. My post was now cut to a headline and the first paragraph with very obvious links back to my blog. Blog B also emailed, correcting its mistake by linking to my blog.
What lessons had I learnt?
I have met nothing but politeness and civility in the second generation web. It has taught me a different approach from my former days in “broadcast” journalism where I would have sent off an assertive email first and asked questions second.
Could it be that it had all been a genuine misunderstanding?
So it got me thinking.
When I was a “broadcast” journalist, how many of my arguments were justified and how many led to problems generated by my attitude?
Photo credit: Boocal