I Think We’ve Been Plagiarized… Sort of: The Story of the Content Thief!

A couple of weeks agoJanuary 19th, to be exactI logged into my blog analytics website to check on a traffic spike that I had noticed on this blog.  While I don’t check my stats daily, I do try to take a look at least once a week to see what sites have been driving traffic to mine and whether there has been any unusual activity. The extra traffic ended up coming from a Polish blog that had linked to one of my posts and is completely unrelated to the rest of this tale.  But while I was investigating my extra traffic, I discovered something else.

I noticed a link leading to my site that was unfamiliar to me.  I decided to check it out and discovered that it was a hootsuite link originating from someone’s timeline.

plagiarism and copyright infringement blog improvement blog  I Think Weve Been Plagiarized... Sort of: The Story of the Content Thief!

Since I always love finding new bloggers to read, I clicked over to see what this person’s blog was about and that was when I entered the Twilight Zone.

On first glance, this individual’s blog wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.  She runs a Book Review blog and clearly has a sizable following, but the topic (YA novels) isn’t one that particularly holds my interest.  I surfed her site a bit longer and was about to “X” out when a link on her menu caught my attention.  “Building a Better Blog” it said.  That made me giggle at first, because, as many of you know, my good blogging buddy Vahni has a similarly named “Build a Better Blog” page on her blog.  “What a funny coincidence,” I thought, and opened the page.

That was the last time I laughed.

plagiarism and copyright infringement blog improvement blog  I Think Weve Been Plagiarized... Sort of: The Story of the Content Thief!

Right away, four blog posts jumped off the page at me.  They sounded just like posts written by myself and a few friends.  Still, despite the similarity in the titles, I thought “oh, that has to be some sort of a strange coincidence. I am sure the content is completely different.”

I was wrong. WAY wrong.

Wait. What?!  She Stole Your Content?

Yup. That is exactly what she did.  And not just mine.  Vahni of Grit and Glamour, Fajr of Stylish Thought and Jamillah of Made to Travel were all impacted by this, though Jamillah doesn’t even know yet (we got your back, friend!).

This post covers the first half of the story… it addresses how the plagiarized posts were discovered and how Vahni, Fajr and I were able to prove our content was stolen using screencaps and IP address information.  It will also address why access to applications that measure and analyze blog traffic are a must-have for every blogger.

And for the nitty-gritty on how we approached this fight—and won—please read Vahni’s post, B*tch stole my content! Plagiarism: How to Deal with a Thief She also provides tips and resources on how to deal with this situation if it ever happens to you.

[Please note: the screencaps below have been censored to protect the identity of this blogger.  Although I would love to out her to the world for the thief she is, we came to a resolution that includes protecting her privacy.]

UPDATE 4/24/2012: The blogger’s identity was finally revealed by the YA Book Blogging Community.  Sarah of Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Jane of Dear Author summarize it nicely here, while the bloggers “apology” is brilliantly dissected by Radiant Shadows
UPDATE #2, 4/24/2012: For my response to her alleged “apology” please read A Tale of Plagiarism: Clarification of The Story Siren’s Clarification.
UPDATE 4/25/2012: For Grit and Glamour’s response to her alleged “apology” and the skewering that we have been subject to, please read Now it’s MY turn for a “clarification.

So, what exactly happened?

Let me walk you through what I discovered.

First up, we have the original posts:

And here we have the plagiarized versions, each of which was published at a later date than the originals listed above (links to the full size images are provided below each preview):

Remarkable similarities, no?

I couldn’t believe what I had discovered.  Could this blogger actually have plagiarized our content?  I didn’t want to believe it.  It couldn’t be true.

This woman is a respected part of the blogging community.  She is a Book Blogger, of all things, so she knows all about plagiarism and even wrote a post discussing the topic on her own site.

Surely she wouldn’t intentionally steal the hard work of others and pass it off as her own?

I didn’t want to believe it, yet the evidence was staring back at me from my computer monitor.

“I think we’ve been plagiarized…. sort of”

I knew I had to contact Vahni and share my discovery with her immediately.  She had a right to know and I still needed confirmation from someone that I wasn’t imagining the whole thing.

“… I SWEAR this woman is copying our content and passing off a slightly-tweaked version as her own.  That does NOT make me happy.  Am I over-reacting?  Do you see the similarities as well?

I know it isn’t a copy/paste job but it IS a form of plagiarism, isn’t it?”

plagiarism and copyright infringement blog improvement blog  I Think Weve Been Plagiarized... Sort of: The Story of the Content Thief!

V’s response confirmed what I had known all along.  This blogger had stolen our content, re-worked it ever-so-slightly, and passed it off as her own.

Here is just one sampling of what she had done:

plagiarism and copyright infringement blog improvement blog  I Think Weve Been Plagiarized... Sort of: The Story of the Content Thief!

Detective Mode: Collecting the Evidence

So, what should you do when you discover someone has plagiarised your content in this way?

Before you confront them, you should gather as much evidence as possible to support your case.

  • Screencap, screencap, screencap!  As you can see from this post, and from V’s counterpart on her site, screencaps are a must if you want to prove the posts existed.
  • Gather IP evidence!  Hands-down, the best way to prove a blogger stole your authentic content and passed it off as their own is by proving they visited your website.  They can claim ignorance all they want, but if you have proof they were on your site they are caught red-handed.

So… the question becomes, how do you prove someone visited your website?

Blog Analytics Explained

At the start of this post, I shared I discovered this blogger’s website because I came across an unknown link on my analytics software program.  In all honesty, making the discovery was a complete fluke.  Had I waited a day or two, I likely never would have seen the incoming link, so I never would have found her site. However, when it comes to investigating possible cases of plagiarism, application that measure and analyze your blog traffic are the absolute key to proving your case.

What exactly are Blog Analytics?

  • Web-based tracking: Google Analytics, Statcounter and performancing metrics (pmetrics) are just three of the countless website applications that can track visits to your blog.   Though wordpress and blogger each have built-in versions, the data they provide is limited.  I highly recommend using an outside application like the ones I mentioned. Each has its positives and negatives: I recommend you try multiple sites until you find the one that fits your needs best.  For me, pmetrics is the surefire winner!
  • How do I set this up? Set-up is generally straightforward: sign-up for an account, add the tracking code to your blog, and let the web-based software do the work.
  • What type of information can I see?  The data collected by a good tracking website goes beyond simple visitor numbers. You can also see:
      • Average time a visitor spends on your blog
      • Bounce rate
      • Incoming links (where a visit originated)
      • Which sites are driving the most traffic to your site
      • Outbound links (where the visitor exited your page)
      • Actions (how many pages/links a visitor interacted with)
      • Total time spent on your blog
      • Search terms that led people to your site
      • Which of your pages are getting the most traffic
      • Who is currently-right this second-visiting your site/what they are looking at
      • Where your visitors are from

How does that translate to catching a content thief?

1. Identify the thief:  Find out as much as you can about the owner of the blog in question.  I did a Google search on the bloggers first name and Blog Name, and that led me to her LinkedIn page with her full name and location.

2. Identify the most recent known visit to your blog:  I knew Ms. Thief had visited my site via the hootsuite link mentioned above.  Using that information, along with the knowledge of her location, I was able to isolate her IP address in pmetrics.  If you don’t know the most recent visit date, you can use their location as a starting point instead to try to discover their visits.  It may take some time, but it is worth the effort.

3. Isolate the IP address and identify ALL visits to your blog:  Once I had isolated the IP address, the next step was to identify how many times she had visited my blog. Turns out Ms. Thief visited this site 29 times, with the first visit dating back to September 23, 2011.

plagiarism and copyright infringement blog improvement blog  I Think Weve Been Plagiarized... Sort of: The Story of the Content Thief!

4. Identify specific visits to the plagiarized posts: Start drilling-down into the visits you discover to see if you can find any correlation between the dates of visits and the dates any plagiarized posts were published.

plagiarism and copyright infringement blog improvement blog  I Think Weve Been Plagiarized... Sort of: The Story of the Content Thief!         In this case, the above screencap clearly shows that:

  • Ms. Thief visited my “10 Things About Your Blog That Drive me Crazy” post (published by me on April 8, 2011), on both November 11th and November 12th, 2011
  • These dates correlate with the date the plagiarized post, “10 Things I Dislike About Your Blog Post”, was published on THE THIEF’s BLOG (November 12, 2011)

5. Gather all of the evidence, screencap everything, and document your proof!  Once everything is documented, the Thief can’t deny visiting your blog.  Well, that isn’t true. They can try to deny it.  And, in our case, Ms. Thief did deny it. Repeatedly. But you have the proof that they are lying.  And that can’t be denied.

How We Fought a PlagiaristAnd Won

This is the point where I turn over the rest of the story to Vahni.  She will tell you exactly what we did to find a resolution to this problem.  She’ll share all of the dramathe lies, the denials, the contradictionsand all of our frustrations.

The ending to this story is a happy oneand that wouldn’t have been possible without Vahni and Fajr.  And quite a few glasses of wine.

As for Ms. Thief, her last words to me were:

“I apologize for my actions and for the disruption I have caused all of you. This has been a very eye-opening experience for me. I assure you… You, nor anyone else, will never need to contact me regarding this issue ever again.”

I hope that is true. I really do.

UPDATE 5/24/2012:  Kristi of The Story Siren has reawakened this whole debate again by launching a week-long series about plagiarism on her blog.  Read my response to her non-apologies to date here and Grit and Glamour’s related post on Damage Control 101 here.

And to anyone thinking about stealing someone else’s content and passing it off as your own work: think twice before you go through with it.  Not only are you cheating the person you are stealing from, you are cheating yourself.

 

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                • Daniel July 9, 2013, 3:44 PM

                  I had someone take the entire content of a site of mine, turn it into an ebook and then offered it for sale on Lulu using MY name!

                  To say I was a bit peeved is an understatement, but what is even more infuriating is that trying to get Lulu to take it down, even though the ebook had the same title as my site, and was in my name, was nearly impossible, the basic response was “prove you own the copyright.”

                  In the end I gave up, I just couldn’t be bothered with the hassle.

                  Reply
                • Dave @ Pick Up Artist April 16, 2013, 1:41 AM

                  Sherlock Holmes would have been proud of this – I think you should be working for the FBI personally ;)

                  Reply
                • Celeste August 23, 2012, 12:58 AM

                  Can I simply say what a relief to uncover someone that genuinely
                  knows what they are discussing over the internet. You definitely
                  know how to bring a problem to light and make
                  it important. A lot more people should read this and understand this side of the story.
                  It’s surprising you are not more popular given that you definitely have the gift.
                  Celeste latest blog post: Celeste

                  Reply
                • Devon May 3, 2012, 4:08 PM

                  Utterly speechles. I’m sorry this happened to you but I’m glad you guys were willing to go after her. And it is appalling that someone so vocal about plagiarism would be a plagiarist herself. Jeesh.

                  Reply
                • Filipa May 3, 2012, 11:32 AM

                  Unfortunate situation for you all but the post is wonderful and extremely useful! Keep doing what you do best!

                  Reply
                • Jo @ Mixed Book Bag April 29, 2012, 2:39 PM

                  I remember reading the post on the other blog and I thought it was really good. Just did not know who really wrote it. There is never a reason to do what she did.
                  Jo @ Mixed Book Bag latest blog post: Waiting on Wednesday (WOW) April 11, 2012

                  Reply
                • Veshoevius April 28, 2012, 9:45 AM

                  I have bookmarked this page – thank you so much for the information about how to use the stats to out this sort of thing! And well done for sticking up for yourself! It sounds like it has been a nightmare.
                  Veshoevius latest blog post: Boathouse

                  Reply
                • Beautifully Invisible April 28, 2012, 12:34 PM

                  Hi stranger! Happy to share the info. I hope it proves helpful to anyone that might find themselves in this unfortunate situation in the future. The least we could do was take our experience and try to turn it into something positive for others. Appreciate the support and hope you are well!

                  Reply
                • Michelle @ The True Book Addict April 28, 2012, 4:02 AM

                  I am so sorry that this happened to you all. Plagiarism is not to be tolerated and by no means is it ever accidental, except in some extreme cases. I have steered clear of said plagiarist’s blog ever since I first started my book blog in 2009 because, back then she did a series of posts about the no-nos of blogging. I just have to say, who’s to say what is right and wrong in blogging. I have a large header and auto play music on my blog. It has not caused me any harm to have it designed this way. In fact, I have almost 600 Google Friend Connect followers and over 700 feedburner subscribers. I get compliments regularly about my blog design and my music. What I’m trying to say is that no post should be plagiarized by no means, but what are these types of posts trying to accomplish? A slew of blogging automatons who all have the same blog design. I’m sorry, but I would much rather be the odd color in the crayon box.
                  Michelle @ The True Book Addict latest blog post: Book Tour: Interview with Donna Russo Morin, author of The King’s Agent

                  Reply
                • Beautifully Invisible April 28, 2012, 12:44 PM

                  Hi Michelle, thanks for your comment! I understand your frustration with the types of posts you describe. I truly think that many times those posts are a result of frustration from a visitors perspective. I know mine personally was a direct result of the sudden onslaught of pop-ups and autoplay and garish colors that I seemed to hit everytime I visited a new blog. That is what my post at least was directed towards – that first impression you make on a reader. Believe it or not, I wasn’t trying to be mean, I really WAS and am trying to be helpful because all of those things do in fact turn me off when discovering a new blog. I know not everyone enjoys the design of my blog, and I know not everyone agrees with my points, but I tried to be constructive with them by providing alternatives for quite a few of the things I listed. I don’t know why The Story Siren chose to publish hers (which it turns out may have been mine reworked), but I would hope it was to offer constructive criticism as well.

                  After receiving your comment I went to check out your blog and two things stood out to me – I was on my iPad and it took over 2 minutes to load the homepage because of the size of your header and the music. I stuck it out because I wanted to check out your site (which I quite like, by the way), but I don’t know that someone else who just happened across it would wait that long. That is why I offered the criticisms I did. Again I know not everyone sees it that way, but I hope that helps you understand where I was coming from at least.

                  Reply
                • Book Review April 28, 2012, 3:45 AM

                  Thanks for the pmetrics site. I have been looking for something like this. Great blog!
                  Book Review latest blog post: Author Interview with Natasha Troop author of LakeBridge Spring

                  Reply
                • Beautifully Invisible April 28, 2012, 12:45 PM

                  Thanks! Let me know if you have any questions about pmetrics, happy to help!

                  Reply
                • Matthew MacNish April 27, 2012, 10:31 PM

                  Nice to see truth win out, assuming all your linkage is valid, which I’m sure it is.
                  Matthew MacNish latest blog post: A to Z Challenge: X – Xenophobia

                  Reply
                • Beautifully Invisible April 28, 2012, 12:47 PM

                  All linkage is valid, yes :) Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comment!

                  Reply
                • Michelle April 26, 2012, 12:02 PM

                  Wow. Just wow. I recently started a book blog, mostly to track the books I read with my friends and the book club I belong to. I worry about plagiarism on my part. So, I will not read a review of a book or comments on a book until I’ve discussed my own thoughts on it. I can’t believe a blogger would so blatantly steal another bloggers words. Ok… I do believe it. But, it’s horrible. I used to go to her site often. And, when I read her apology I was out of the loop. Thank you for giving such a good explanation of what happened. You had every right to be pissed off.

                  Reply
                • Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy April 25, 2012, 2:15 AM

                  I apologize on behalf of the book blogger community even if the person that violated you is too much of a coward to say it herself. I’m not a young adult blogger but I’m an adult PNR and UF book blogger that participates in her weekly meme IMM and as much as I love that meme I cannot participate in supporting a blog that is dishonest, dishonorable and unapologetic. Happy blogging!:)

                  Reply
                • Angieleigh @ Once Upon A Book April 24, 2012, 11:59 PM

                  Thank you for the explanation. I first read a tweet in regards to TSS yesterday, but didn’t know what was happening and her first “apology” made no sense to me as it explained nothing. Now, thanks to this post, I fully understand what took place and hope that none of y’all ever have to deal with something like this again.

                  Reply
                • Beautifully Invisible April 24, 2012, 4:27 PM

                  I just want to take a moment to thank everyone for their support. Now that the details are finally out I know this has been very hard on the YA and Book Blogging communities. Please be assured that I do not look at Kristi’s actions as being representative of the blogging community. If anything good has come of this situation it has been meeting some wonderful new bloggers that I hope to follow for years to come. I’m just sorry that someone who should have known better was the person to do this to us.

                  Reply
                • Elizabeth April 24, 2012, 3:33 PM

                  It is hard enough for blogger to come up with their own unique spin on content that has been address. But to outright steal someone else content and pass it off as you own, is downright rude. I am glad that you caught this blogger and that the rights to your and your friend content has been restored. Sometimes it is easy for us to press a key on the keyboard and get the information we want, in this technology based world. And others handwork is often over looked in the quest for celebrity.

                  Reply
                • Burgandy Ice April 24, 2012, 3:21 PM

                  I linked back to you… that’s not right and her non-apologetic apology is super icky. I wanted to share with my readers in case they hadn’t heard, yet… so sorry!!!!!! http://burgandyice.blogspot.com/2012/04/not-so-perfect-are-we.html

                  Reply
                • Krista April 24, 2012, 1:59 PM

                  So sorry this happen to you wanted to let you know as a book blogger I do not follow people who commit crimes so even though a disgusting apology was given by the Story Siren to save face. I have unfollowed her, twitter and email the 2 ways I followed. I wanted to say you deserve a I did it, I know it, and I own that I ripped bloggers off apology not I accidentally did. Thanks for letting us all know
                  Krista

                  Reply
                • bayueverdeen April 24, 2012, 4:39 AM

                  whoa! this is crazyyy!

                  like CommaCalm, i found your blog from someone else’s post. what an eye-opener. and hats off to you ladies for fighting till the end! :)

                  Reply
                • ComaCalm April 23, 2012, 12:53 PM

                  Found this though someone else’s post. Honestly, I’ve always suspected her but she’s so high up in the blogging community that I was worried if I said anything, people would yell at me. She’s definitely going to get away with it.

                  Reply
                • kristy March 7, 2012, 1:35 PM

                  holy crap this is insane. not cool dude!! i am very glad you guys won.

                  also, i miss you too!!

                  Reply
                • Aquí March 4, 2012, 11:48 AM

                  wow! I hardly know what to say. I’ve always wondered how to handle such an issue. I just can’t believe that she is supposed to be a respected member of the blogging community and that she, herself had written pieces on plagiarism. I remember when you ladies wrote those posts! I’m so glad you came out on top, I think lots of people would completely miss the fact that someone was stealing their content!
                  Aquí latest blog post: heres how: dutch braid

                  Reply
                • Vanessa March 2, 2012, 3:54 AM

                  Sad to hear that.. Hope you really do mean the apologize she made.. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

                  Reply
                • Ms.Amber February 29, 2012, 9:04 AM

                  This is so unbelievable.. Your story is an example that we can never tell what can happen in our lives.. So we should take care of it..Thanks for sharing your sad story..

                  Reply
                • Amanda February 28, 2012, 2:53 AM

                  Some people really can’t be bothered to write their own original content!
                  Her motives may not be to simply copy your content, she may also be trying to rank her post higher up in the search engine by adding authority links.

                  Nevertheless, they should find a way to ban content copycats!

                  Reply
                • World According to Shia February 23, 2012, 11:18 AM

                  I’m so sorry to hear that someone stole your posts! That has to be the worst feeling in the world. I often get worried when I use google images that one day someone will scream…you stole my pic!

                  It was great that she apologized though…I guess she has learned her lesson. To bad it was a lesson she had to learn!

                  Reply
                • geraldine February 17, 2012, 5:12 AM

                  thanks so much for sharing this experience. i’m concerned about protecting my blog from content theft. that’s when i decided to install that plugin where the right-click was disabled but ended up deactivating that plugin. i think anyone can use rss feeds to copy content. so the lesson here is that as bloggers, we need to be vigilant. writing is not easy. but some people just fine it easy to steal what you have written; no sweat just do a bit of editing and post it as theirs. two people may have similar ideas but expressing it that’s where originality comes.
                  geraldine latest blog post: unplug #7 | valentine’s day special | moments

                  Reply
                • LaToya February 16, 2012, 9:00 AM

                  Very uncool what she did to you ladies, but I completely applaud you for the way that you chose to handle it. I was so mad reading your post…I had all of these things running through my head that should have been said to her – but your way was much better haha. Thanks for providing the info on how to watch out for this and deal with it if it happens…great post! :)
                  LaToya latest blog post: royalty

                  Reply
                • Tiffany February 15, 2012, 5:59 PM

                  great post!! I actually just went through the same thing and had a blogger copy word for word one of my most popular and most visited posts that I spent hours doing research on. Luckily we resolved it without too much drama (but still had to go back and forth with a few emails about it). Without the kindness of a reader alerting me to the copied post I would never have known so I’m very thankful for that! I really am disgusted by bloggers who think they can get away with it. As bloggers, we all know how much time and effort it takes to come up with unique and creative posts and to just straight up copy and paste someone’s hard work and pass it off as their own is just not right.

                  You are very smart with the IP address and everything, I didn’t even think about that but will know that in case it happens again. (hopefully it won’t!)

                  Reply
                • Lindset February 15, 2012, 4:52 AM

                  Love this post it has a lot of inspiring and useful post..Continue sharing this kind..
                  Lindset latest blog post: Cd Mastering Craigslist

                  Reply
                • Shannon February 13, 2012, 10:49 PM

                  Wow. Thank you for sharing this. It’s shocking. I know there are people out there who do this, and I’m so astonished by how you were able to track it down so well. Way to put her back in her place! If she hadn’t been caught, she’d probably still be stealing yours and other people’s content. How pathetic.
                  Shannon latest blog post: Your Very Own Valentine’s Day

                  Reply
                • Courtney February 6, 2012, 7:08 PM

                  I was so curious who the little plagiarist was. Didn’t take me long to track her down. I’ll just say your blog kicks her blog’s butt any day of the week!
                  Courtney latest blog post: All the Reasons Why I Love This American Life

                  Reply
                • Joanne Faith February 5, 2012, 2:27 AM

                  That’s pretty crazy! It’s great you guys were able to convince her to take the content down without too much of a hassle. :)
                  Joanne Faith latest blog post: Link Love – Week Ending 05/02/12

                  Reply
                • Any Second Now February 4, 2012, 12:59 AM

                  Whoa! I saw the post on V’s blog and came here to see what happened! I’m SO sorry that happened to you all. Totally crazy, but awesome investigating! I’m using pmetrics, too now because of what happened to you, V, Fajr and Jamillah!

                  xoxo
                  Cyrillynn
                  Any Second Now latest blog post: Beware of the Leopard!

                  Reply
                • gabby February 1, 2012, 12:04 PM

                  How could that person do that thing! She’s a blogger, she must know her responsibility as a writer! If I were you, you must file a legal action about this.
                  gabby latest blog post: Forex Capital Markets Nyc

                  Reply
                • Anne February 1, 2012, 8:50 AM

                  Thank goodness you caught the person! A few times now we have had creepy trolls who create micropreemie blogs and their stories have seemed oddly familiar to stories of families we actually know. A couple of them not only stole the content of blogs (with some moderate changes to the content) but stole pictures of the babies of when they were first in the NICU. One woman was indignant when caught, insisting that the photo of the baby was her baby, but thanks to PhotoShop, we could enlarge the photo enough to read the name on the baby’s hospital ID band. Not her baby. Crazy people out there.

                  There are people out there with way too much time on their hands. So glad to hear that you caught her … and of course that you’ll “never need” to contact her again :)

                  Reply
                • MJ February 1, 2012, 8:09 AM

                  This is INSANITY!! The nerve!! You all handled the situation very well and I so applaud you! It’s great to know that we bloggers have each other’s backs when we need it most!

                  I still can’t believe she did that though….
                  MJ latest blog post: You’ve Set Those Blogging Goals – So What’s your Plan?

                  Reply
                • GawgusThings February 1, 2012, 6:18 AM

                  I’ve just come from Vahni’s site after reading her post. Really quite incredible that this blogger tried to deny she’d even been on your sites at first! The truth will out….! So glad you managed to get it sorted in the end :)

                  Emma
                  GawgusThings latest blog post: The Happiness Project (2)

                  Reply
                • THE-LOUDMOUTH January 31, 2012, 11:56 PM

                  HAHAHA, I love that she wrote “You, nor anyone else, will never need to contact me regarding this issue ever again.” Double negative!?

                  This is awesome, B. Thank you so much for sharing! This was EXTREMELY informative and just… amazing. I think if something like this had ever happened to me (before reading this) I would have no idea what to do!!!
                  THE-LOUDMOUTH latest blog post: Look :: Froyo Date / Pink & Blue

                  Reply
                • Jamillah January 31, 2012, 10:32 PM

                  HOLY MOTHER!

                  I am literally stunned, maybe I’m incredibly naive, but I am shocked and super saddened by this. I realize the internet has become a huge sharing portal, I mean that is a huge reason why I blog and why I love the internet… but that should not translate to taking someone’s hard work, adding a few words and claiming it yours…that is straight up stealing…AND LYING!

                  You ladies really did handle this situation with the grace I always hope I have and I want to thank you for being exceptional friends and pillars to look up to.

                  Love you, B.
                  Jamillah latest blog post: I Heart the Internet-

                  Reply
                • Miss ED January 31, 2012, 9:09 PM

                  Bravo! Great job on this, it’s is amazing that you caught the blogger, but your grace in handling the situation with pure fact is the truly amazing part, ROCK ON!
                  Miss ED latest blog post: Equipment!

                  Reply
                • Alexis Grace January 31, 2012, 9:05 PM

                  Oh B!!!! I already read & commented on Vahni’s post, but I have to do so here as well! You really are a rockstar sleuth for finding this and figuring it out. You ladies handled it superbly and I admired that you joined together in the process… I had a similar issue a few months back (semi-resolved, because the person no longer blogs…), but next time I am turning to you ladies for advice & direction!
                  Alexis Grace latest blog post: Pan Am Glam

                  Reply
                • Shybiker January 31, 2012, 8:51 PM

                  It’s sad that people would do this but, knowing human nature, I’m not surprised. I’m glad you held her accountable.
                  Shybiker latest blog post: The Flatiron Building

                  Reply
                • Courtney January 31, 2012, 8:31 PM

                  This is such a gut wrenching story! Agh! I feel so bad for you! BUT happy that you solved it in the end. The great thing about it is you’re helping other bloggers save themselves if it ever does happen to them so THANK YOU!
                  Courtney latest blog post: winter lace

                  Reply
                • Terri January 31, 2012, 8:00 PM

                  I’m really, really impressed with your sleuthing. And, as I told Vahni, it is important to pile up the evidence before you accuse someone. I deal with this all the time as a college instructor. I’ve been scraped, but to date have not fought back.
                  Terri latest blog post: On Dealing with Temptation

                  Reply
                • Fashnlvr January 31, 2012, 7:00 PM

                  Good job ladies! Awesome detective work! I am clicking over to read the rest of this now! Way to go! I am so proud to know you!
                  Fashnlvr latest blog post: Gardening: When you can’t move Heaven…

                  Reply
                • Suzanne aka Punk Glam Queen January 31, 2012, 6:36 PM

                  As I said to V, I’m so sorry to hear this happened, but I’m not surprised one bit. I’ve fought plagiarists for more than 15 years, having them steal complete chunks of my books verbatim. And they always lie. Lying and stealing go hand in hand, so expect it. I’m glad you had the sleuthing skills to find out who, and did all the work of getting screencaps as proof! Thank goodness it worked out, and I hope it doesn’t happen again!
                  XXX
                  Suzanne
                  Suzanne aka Punk Glam Queen latest blog post: Illamasqua Coupon Code Giveaway!

                  Reply
                • Rocquelle January 31, 2012, 6:16 PM

                  This situation leaves me speechless everytime, but it has added great value to the benefit of my using pmetric!! I greatly appreciate how y’all banded together and handled this situation in a very strong and professional (blogger version) manner.
                  Rocquelle latest blog post: Mixed Job

                  Reply
                • Miss Viki Secrets January 31, 2012, 5:35 PM

                  Even if something is published under a creative commons license, there are certain rights that have to be respected. Copying content without crediting the original author is not okay in my opinion, but happens so often on the Internet, and sadly also on many blogs.
                  Miss Viki Secrets latest blog post: Hell-O-Wien

                  Reply
                • Cate January 31, 2012, 4:49 PM

                  WOW.
                  just…. WOW.
                  i can’t believe that people are still doing this, and that they still think they can GET AWAY WITH IT! how hard is it to ASK to republish a post? you make it so easy for people to reach you B, and I’m so sad and sorry that this happened to you. I’m glad that this was resolved and that you guys figured it out. IT must suck to have all your hard work ripped off so blatantly. and some of your most popular posts at that! i have no idea why i’m so upset by this, but I’m so glad that you were able to get to bottom of this. submit to LALM ASAP. the people need to know.

                  Reply
                • Becky @ life/style/flash. January 31, 2012, 4:07 PM

                  This is so outrageous!

                  I’m glad it all worked out in your favour eventually, as it rightly should have.

                  p.s. You should be a detective!
                  Becky @ life/style/flash. latest blog post: Photo diary: weekends in London

                  Reply
                • Mode Plus January 31, 2012, 4:01 PM

                  How unbelievable this story sounds, how true it is. I get flashbacks of the fellow student who bails class and then ask you (that went, e-v-e-r-y-t-i-m-e) to lend you him/her your notes. You know, just because you’re so good. Still it is selfish and basically stupid. I mean, just type in where you got the inspiration. Sharing is cool, cheating so uncool. Kuddos you gals for again putting it out there. If we all speak out and support each other, we can protect the community and sharing part of blogging.

                  Reply
                • Marissa January 31, 2012, 3:57 PM

                  Unbelievable! So that extra traffic all came from Ms. Thief? Or am I confused?
                  Marissa latest blog post: New Web Shop on the Block: Zoora

                  Reply
                • Beautifully Invisible January 31, 2012, 4:09 PM

                  No, none of the traffic came from Ms. Thief. The extra traffic was the reason I was snooping around my analytics… completely unrelated. I edited my post a bit to hopefully make that more clear.

                  She didn’t link to any of us at all, which was a huge part of the issue. If she had asked for permission before re-working these posts and LINKED BACK to us, we likely would have obliged. We are all nice like that. But instead she choose to pass our content off as her own hard work. Not acceptable!

                  Reply
                • Marissa January 31, 2012, 4:17 PM

                  Ah, got it! I realized she didn’t link to you, but I didn’t realize the traffic spike was unrelated. Glad to hear you had high traffic for all the right reasons. :) Thanks for clarifying!

                  Totally unrelated, but are you trying for IFB this year? (Fingers crossed that you don’t get some horrible illness the day of again.) I’m skipping the conference since I’ve already been to two, but I’m trying to decide if I want to go to NY for Fashion Week.
                  Marissa latest blog post: New Web Shop on the Block: Zoora

                  Reply
                • Kimmie January 31, 2012, 3:42 PM

                  This. Is. Insane.

                  Thank goodness I haven’t had this experience but at least now I know what to do in the event this ever happens. A fellow friend (and blogger) found out through the local website that her blog is syndicated through (she’s a local food blogger) that ANOTHER site (who was copying theirs btw) was gearing up to do the same thing – WITHOUT her permission. Luckily she was able to stop them before they did anything. While it’s slightly different, it’s scary how people assume that your content is just up for grabs, and that they can do anything they want with it. The nerve!
                  Kimmie latest blog post: My Fashion Swap Party Finds

                  Reply
                • mary January 31, 2012, 3:42 PM

                  Truly interesting post. I love how dedicated you became at collecting evidence. Such a sleuth! My question is, did the writer link to you in her post? How else would it have shown in your google analytics? And why would she link to you if she was ripping you off? Strange!

                  Reply
                • Beautifully Invisible January 31, 2012, 3:54 PM

                  Just call me Sherlock ;)

                  No, the writer didn’t link to us in the posts I discovered. I think you are thinking about trackbacks, which are notifications a blog author receives when somebody links back to to one of their posts/pages.

                  Google Analytics and other tracking sites don’t just look at trackbacks, they look at all of the visitors to your blog. There is an entry for each individual visit, whether it came from a search engine, linked in from another site or someone typed in your URL directly. If you use a good analytic program you can tell exactly which posts on your site are being visited, how often, and by whom. 99.9% of the time the visitors remain nameless and faceless, but if you have to, like in a case like this, there are ways to find out who they are.

                  Does that make sense?

                  Reply
                • mary January 31, 2012, 4:12 PM

                  Thank you for the reply! I understand now. I was thinking of trackbacks. This really makes me want to start using Google Analytics now. Very interesting stuff!
                  mary latest blog post: vintage guardian angels and a storytelling high

                  Reply
                • Casee Marie January 31, 2012, 3:42 PM

                  I can’t even imagine how long this collaboration took you ladies to put together, but it’s definitely a vital resource for any blogger facing an invasion of copyright or in the pursuit of protecting themselves against it. Thank you for sharing all the information you gathered from your experience – I’m sorry you all had to deal with it, but that you’re paying it forward, so to speak, will likely save a lot of bloggers a lot of trouble in the future!
                  Casee Marie latest blog post: Beauty Trend: Ombre Lips

                  Reply
                • Kimberlee January 31, 2012, 3:34 PM

                  Oh my… that is awful! Great job at gathering all the data so she couldn’t dismiss it.

                  Reply
                • Fajr January 31, 2012, 3:20 PM

                  Once again I must say thank you to you and Vahni for looking out and truly handling the situation with class and tact. You presented the facts and basically left said blogger no choice. I was seriously in awe of your research and shrewd defense.
                  Fajr latest blog post: Tech Talk with Stephanie Humphrey

                  Reply
                • A Brit Greek January 31, 2012, 3:04 PM

                  Guilty as charged! Hmmm, what a coward and unoriginal one if anything. It’s very disappointing to see this happening to many bloggers, some who probably don’t know it’s going on! Relieved you guys battled it out!

                  Great post B!
                  x.o.x.o

                  Reply
                • Bella Q January 31, 2012, 2:51 PM

                  Holy fuck, what a nightmare. I’m glad it ended happily for you, Fajir and Vahni. I wouldn’t have known what to do in this situation. Good lord, B, I don’t even know what “screencap” means.
                  Bella Q latest blog post: outfit post: This is Not An Outfit Post

                  Reply
                • Alterations Needed January 31, 2012, 2:51 PM

                  Fantastic post! Plagiarism is unfortunately one of the ugly sides of blogging, and I’ve experienced it a time or two myself. I’m so glad you were able to come to a reasonable outcome with the blogger in question. I just looked in pmetrics (never heard of it before) and I love how you can track IPs! I’ve been using Statcounter before this to track IP’s, but pmetrics looks like you can dig deeper, and I like that. Thanks for talking about this issue publicly.

                  Reply
                • Alison January 31, 2012, 2:48 PM

                  First of all, I hate that this happened to you and the rest of the bloggers. But THANK YOU for this post. I have had content stolen before, but didn’t really know how to track like this for tangible proof. Thanks to this post, I now know how to defent myself, and I now have a Pmetrics account!
                  Alison latest blog post: My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

                  Reply
                • Margaret | Style Nook January 31, 2012, 2:37 PM

                  Wow! That is unbelievable! Thanks for sharing all this super helpful info.

                  Reply
                • Grace - Stripes & Sequins January 31, 2012, 2:30 PM

                  Wow… this is disturbing. I don’t understand how some people think that this is okay! I had a very similar thing happen to me… except with my gift guides! The offending blogger took my collages, my captions, adding a watermark of her own logo… only really adding a line about why “she” thought up these (my) gift guides. I was horrified. I only discovered it because a brand I was working with approached me about it. Terrible. I emailed her and she removed the post, but wow – the nerve of some people… I’ll never understand it!

                  I’m sorry you had to deal with this, it totally sucks!

                  Reply
                • Tanvi January 31, 2012, 2:23 PM

                  OMF’ck! I am not this tech savvy (yet!) but I can promise you that this has happened to me more than once! I have to … have to … figure this shizz out! Thanks B!

                  ♡ from © tanvii.com
                  Tanvi latest blog post: Meals in Pictures

                  Reply
                • Stephanie February 6, 2012, 12:54 AM

                  Thanks for sharing this! It’s sad knowing that people still think they can get away with it. I may have a small blog readership, but I spend a great deal of time on writing some of my blog posts and I would hate to see it being passed off as someone else’s. I’m going to start paying closing attention to my analytics and possibly even register my blog with DMCA.

                  Reply
                • anthea February 8, 2012, 6:59 AM

                  What an informative post. I can’t believe someone would do this! Sorry you had to go through it, but thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!
                  anthea latest blog post: Weekends are the Best!

                  Reply
                • Rowena April 27, 2012, 12:39 PM

                  I’ve been following this whole drama fest over the course of this week and my blood has stayed boiled throughout most all of it. I cannot begin to apologize for the crap that you guys are going through because of all of this.

                  I’m also pretty ashamed that I was ever a fan of that damn blog.

                  I know you must have heard it a million times over but I wanted to officially come out of lurk mode and add my apologies to the rest of the book bloggers on here. You guys do good work so keep it up. You guys have a new fan in me. =)

                  Reply
                • Beautifully Invisible April 28, 2012, 1:02 PM

                  Hi Rowena, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on the situation. The support everyone has offered us has been overwhelming and we truly appreciate it. More than you know :) The best thing that has come out of this for me is discovering so many great book bloggers I never would have known otherwise! Best, B