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?

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That stinks!
It is happening everywhere! Check out Natural Mommie, she just did a post last week about what she is doing to the site that did this to her.

I don't have any advice but I do feel for you. I wish I could say just to let it slide off and that imitation is the best form of flattery but then I haven't been stolen from yet myself. Chances are, you're not the first person she's stolen from though. Do you know who hosts her blog? You could write an email to her hosting company and let them know that she stole your review and provide screen shots to the "offending" review. They'll probably email her to tell her to take it down, if they do see that she clearly took your work and if she doesn't remove it then, they would probably close her blog account. Good luck!
Thank you so much for all your help and for suggesting ways I can handle this - hopefully drama-less :) It's sad that this is now common, but it's really nice to know that this outrages other mommy bloggers as well.
Unfortunately this happens all the time. In the mixed media art world I have seen this many times. I think you did the right thing by emailing her using a nice and professional tone. I think you should contact the company that you did the review for. I am of course assuming that the woman was reviewing the same product as you or she wouldn't have been able to steal your review. She is committing plagiarism.
If you haven't already, email your contact for the PR company that you originally worked for (if you did) and let them know of what happened. Chances are they will never work with the other blogger again, which may give you a little feeling of happiness out of the mess. I'm sorry, I had the same thing happen to me six months ago and it bites. :(
Have you considered contacting the sponsor who provided product for the review?
Perhaps even before you take that step, you should let her know that you've thought about it, there's no mistake it's yours and if she doesn't remove the portion that is YOURS (you might want to include the specifics you wish removed) you'll contact the sponsor and let them know she did not write an honest review.
I too would be livid, because i take a lot of time and effort to write reviews. I write reviews about products and companies I really do care about. It's this reason exactly that if I happen upon a product review for something I am also going to review, I don't read it. I'm sorry this happened to you. I would just blog straight out about how this person copied you, because it is theft.
So sorry this happened to you. I know it happens more often than we think and its not the first time Ive heard of blog plaigarism. I know there is a way to block unwanted IP addresses from your blog (IE, the woman who stole your material) but I dont know how its done specifically. Maybe with software. Also if you send out email newsletters with your blog posts in them, shortening them so the person has to click thru to your site to read the whole article will deter thieves. Also watermarking your photos will deter image theft. Beyond that you may want to seek some free legal advice on what to do when someone steals your writing.
This definitely can be annoying especially when you take the time to write your honest opinion of a product and then to find that someone has copied you word for word, it causes anger. I know I have been the victim of this myself. Actual paragraphs have been stolen word for word from mine. Did she steal your whole entire review or just a few words or sentences? Was it the same product?

I use copygator which notifies you when content from your site has been reused elsewhere. It compares your words to the other persons posts and if they are exactly the same you get emailed. You might want to look into that. I think sometimes bloggers hit what is called "writers block" and may need a little help getting started or maybe they just don't know what to write period. Before we all become extremely irate and threaten a lawsuit we should take a step back and think maybe this person had a dry spell so to speak.

If you contacted her already and she changed the wording then that's a step in the right direction. She must want to cooperate with you. Have you been back to her site to see if your portion of her review is still there? Who knows, maybe she got scared and removed it. I know when I contacted the offenders who stole my content I went back to check a few times and they totally removed MY words. And so I just dropped the issue. If they had in fact continued to use my words as their own, then I would have proceeded the matter further. I think if this woman wanted to truly be mean she wouldn't have removed your words at all. I would give her the benefit of the doubt before rushing to totally ruin her blog. Like I said, I think all of us at some point reach a plateau at least a little. I know I have although I've never stolen anyones reviews, images and the like. I just gave myself more time to think about what I was writing about and then the words just flowed. Good luck!
By the way, before anyone jumps on me for trying to be understanding of other bloggers, I don't condone theft of other bloggers content. I just believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt before jumping into legal action. If you don't know these people you can't necessarily judge them. If they cooperate then it will save you the money it would cost to go to court. I would sure rather use my money for other things. Wouldn't you?
I really, really appreciate everyone's responses to this. I am so sad that this apparently happens all the time, because in so many ways I still feel really hurt by this. I have no intention of ruining her blog or threatening her in any way (hence why her name, blog name, and specific posts weren't mentioned), but after reading numerous posts on her site, I think she gives reviewers a bad name in general. Punctuation errors, random thoughts just thrown together in a "review", and all-around horrible writing I hope will deter readers and sponsors alike, so although she seems to be getting a large number of big name companies that I have worked with before, I'm hoping they take a minute to look at her finished product and she ends up being the undoing of her blog all on her own.

But, the fact that I really am not impressed with her site is why I am so frustrated - I would never, ever want to be associated with her blog and am so scared that we have readers in common who saw the similarities on their own and now think we are affiliated. Unfortunately, no amount of "changing words here or there" can change the fact that numerous people already read my review thinking it was hers, which is what makes me the most irate.

Yes, she has basically admitted she did something wrong by modifying her review slightly - but there was no apology, no explanation for the whole thing, just a flippant "I have never been to your blog, never heard of you, and never read your review" which was more than insulting. Because clearly, she had heard of me, had been to my blog, and had read my review. Had she done something more than accuse me of lying and then encourage me to become a reader of hers by suggesting I check out ALL of her reviews and thanking me for stopping by her site, I might give her more latitude.

The really funny thing in all of this is that the products we reviewed were actually different brands of the same type of thing. She didn't copy and paste my product specs or description of the product (which would have been more understandable), she actually stole my personal story, the one where I talk about what this product means to me and why I would never spend $--- for a similar item. And yes, she copied the whole story, and the actual dollar amount. She did, however, take out one line in the story (which apparently she didn't think was necessary but it actually made the next line not make any sense). I guess even while plagarising, she can't edit her own work! Even edited with a new word "here or there" her review is still very much my personal story and an obvious steal - down to the dollar amount.

I get a "dry spell" or help restarting the reviewing process, which is why I am so grateful for my hubby who helps me avoid that, but I really don't get not being able to come up with a personal... personal story :)
That is strange that she wouldn't copy the product description and details rather than your own personal story. And if she used the price of the item you used which you said was a different brand, I'm surprised the sponsor didn't catch it. Usually prices vary per brand. Was the product pricing exactly the same? That would be unusual if they were.

And the good thing about this whole blogosphere is that we don't have to associate with everyone who blogs. We can pick and choose who we follow. I'm not sure exactly why she copied your story but she must have thought it was good. You must have some talent.

So she still has your words on her blog? Hopefully she makes the right decision and takes it down. That would be the honest thing to do.

Keep your head up. I'm quite sure she'll know better than to do it again. Just keep writing great stories and know that at least YOU are doing the right thing. Cheaters usually fail all on their own.


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