Recently, a blogger did a cut and paste job of content from one of Design Spike’s client’s websites – right down to the layout, links, information and artwork. FYI, we found out about the slash and grab by being obsessively compulsive about monitoring our client’s brand vis a vie a monitoring dashboard. If you have not created one for your brand, organization, event, etc., you really should. As in go and do it now!
Given this slash and grab was taken from an event (and the client’s goal was to spread the word about the event rather than protect the content), instead of throwing a hissy fit (Queen Narcissa and all that) about the theft job, I publicly thanked the blogger for sharing information about the event and asked that they linkback to our client’s website. They did. They were not stupid. But it doesn’t change the fact that this was a massive faux paus. So, was the blogger stealing content or did they just forget to provide a source link? I’m gonna pretend it’s the former despite the blogger’s extensive time blogging and the depth of their blog.
This blogger (and every blogger) should know that stealing content without a reference to the website or source from where it was taken, is illegal. Straight up, illegal. It even states at the bottom of the webpage “Copyright ©2011…All rights reserved.” and it includes our trademark. Actually, using content without permission is illegal regardless of citing sources, etc. A better way to handle this would have been to copy some of the content, cite and then the old “click here to read the original post”.
Rather than stealing content or forgetting to provide a source link, cite your source if you are “borrowing” someone’s content. There are several resources out there to explain blogging etiquette and/or how to cite your sources. Use them. Educate yourself. Do not be guilty of committing an illegal act. Good starting place for learning? Originally published in June 2007, this post on “Blog Etiquette: Top 10 dos & dont’s” by Pete Babb - especially #4
4. Thou shall cite thy references. As we all know, people can come up with statistics to prove anything; 40 percent of all people know that. So, set yourself apart from the herd by showing where you get your facts. You’ll look knowledgeable, honest, and trustworthy. What’s not to like about that?
The moral of the story: blog on the up and up, provide source links, cite your sources, don’t copy and paste and be original.
Correction 9/9/11: Thanks to David Johnston from Optimization Tutor, Inc. for giving me a quick lesson on correct terminology. Source link, not backlink, doh! If you’re a small business thinking about SEO, contact David. You will not regret it and you will be extremely pleased with the results.