I guess it was bound to happen sometime, but I really didn’t expect it to happen to me. After all, I have this small, focused blog about HR and the workplace, which is not exactly exciting to the general population. My monthly readership barely gets into four figures. I didn’t think anyone would care enough to bother.
But last week, it did happen to me. This blog was copied in its entirety and placed on another site. Yes, I was credited and a link back to my original post was placed at the very end. But these were my words, not theirs, although you can hardly tell by looking at their site. It’s called a copyright violation.
At first I tried to shrug it off, claiming that it wasn’t worth worrying about, and it’s flattering when someone else likes your work enough to use it.
But the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I was especially angry because the site that took my blog is full of ads from Ad Choices. When my work is copied and pasted on this site – they get the monetary benefit through their advertisers, not me.
I think that ads on most blogs are inherently a conflict of interest. Pet stores want to advertise on pet blogging sites. But what if you really don’t like the pet store? Do you take their money and keep quiet? Do you subconsciously choose your words differently so you don’t offend your advertisers?
I turned down two offers from advertisers before I allowed The Starr Conspiracy’s HR Blogger Network, partnering with ReTargeter, to advertise on my blog. Yes – there is an advertisement on this blog, in the right column underneath the social media icons. See it? I agreed to allow HR Blogger Network to advertise because, (1) their ads are inconspicuous and unobtrusive, (2) they target HR practitioners only, which is my basic audience, (3) there is no potential conflict of interest, and (4) I know and trust their marketing guru totally. I earn the cost of about 7 cups of Starbucks Shaken Iced Tea – black, no syrup – monthly. They are awesome and I am happy.
But when other sites take my work without permission and repost it, they are basically feeding their own advertisers instead of mine. They are stealing my earning potential, as well as the earning potential of my advertiser. If they had asked me, I would probably have offered to write an intro and then linked back to my original site. For free.
But they didn’t ask and now I’m pissed off. Finally.
What should I do? Write them a nasty letter? (I know how to write a cease and desist!) Tell off their advertisers? Have another cup of Starbuck’s Iced Tea?
What would you do?