I'm one of those people who security companies prey upon, thinking my house is first on every burgular's list and fully convinced that everything I own needs to be locked, armed and ready to call 911 should it be handled by the wrong hands. But, even I never thought that my most public asset, my blog, would be preyed upon instead.
What started as a lovely day checking out some new blogs last month turned into shock when I realized that the post I was reading - on a site I had never been to before - was, in fact, partially written by myself. To be more specific, almost the entire first 1/3 of the May 13th "review" I was reading was literally cut-n-pasted from a review I published back in November 2009. Sure, there was a word here or there that was changed, but whole sentences were still left intact in the plagarized review and it was very apparent from first read that the first few paragraphs did not match the writing of the rest of the review.
Naturally, I called in my husband, and asked him to read the other site's review. Having been my most faithful editor for the past two years, he's read most of my reviews once if not twice through before they are published and would be bound to recognize a review I had written. Or, possibly better yet, he would easily be able to tell me I had gone crazy if, in fact, the review was 100% original and I was merely imagining a similarity. I let him have a read of the site's review without comment and wasn't surprised that after only getting three lines in, he turned to me and said "this is your review." And so it was confirmed. A quick email to some blogging friends further confirmed it - my review had been stolen.
I never, ever want to be known as "that" mommy blogger - the one who creates controversy and discord throught the web without good reason, so I thought long and hard about my next move before I acted. I politely emailed the owner of the site and let her know that I had recently happened upon a review of hers that had remarkable similarities to a review I had written and published 6 months earlier. My husband said my email was much too nice, and wanted a revision of the letter from the start, but I insisted on a nice email to the woman, hoping to elicit her side of the story and not wanting to ignite some sort of war of the blogs or a she said/she said argument.
But, even I was infuriated when her response came back a few hours later, claiming that the review was 100% hers and that any similaries were pure coincidence. In her brief email she claimed she had never been to my site, never read my review, and that she writes all of her reviews herself, which she then backed up with "read the rest of my reviews and you will see that the review was written by me". She did, however, offer to change "one or two words" here or there for my peace of mind. She then had the audacity to end the email with "thanks for stopping by my site!"
I went to her review again, hoping that she had completely removed the stolen material and instead found that she literally had only changed a word here or there. I couldn't even hide my disappointment over the whole exchange and my husband was absolutely livid about the whole thing. He is still 100% convinced that her even changing the review by "one or two words" for my "peace of mind" was admitting she was in the wrong. His argument was that if I had written a book, I wouldn't let someone copy my work without credit, and I shouldn't let this go without a fight.
But, in the end, I just couldn't do it - even though I know I'm in the right and have the screen prints to prove it, I just don't want to cause drama. I do, however, want her to take down the stolen portions from her site, because I refuse to be associated with her or her site. I gave myself (and my husband) a few weeks to calm down now, but now I'm seriously contemplating getting someone to help me get my review completely removed from her site once and for all, but would like to do it without igniting a war.
Does anyone out there have any advice? And, as a side note, does anyone know of a ADT for blogs? Some sort of security system I could arm at night and would alert the police in the event of a theft?
I've got an update for all of you! A little over a week ago I was contacted my the website owner and in her email was essentially a full confession that she had, in fact, stolen my review. She prefaced the email with some information regarding her state of mind at the time of the theft and everything that was going on in her life, but did say she had completely rewritten the review without anything taken from my original review.
The removal of my words, thoughts, and paragrahs was exactly the resolution I was hoping for, and I am pleased that no "drama" was ever played out. She did something wrong, lied about it at first, and then kept my review up for weeks after I contacted her, but in the end, I did get exactly what I was hoping for with the removal of the plagiarized lines. Whether or not you agree with what she did or how she handled the situation, there is something really satisfying about knowing that you took the higher road and it eventually paid off. Sure, I could have hoped for a rosier outcome, but at this point, this was honestly the best resolution possible in my opinion.
What do you think?