Plagiarism is the new attribution

It’s generally a moment of “ah fuck” whenever I see a spike in stats on this little rag. Inevitably, it will always be to an old post which means people look at it and then leave, jacking up my bandwidth usage with my hosting provider, but little else as I don’t run ads nor do I get paid to write on this, my personal website. Historically, these spikes came from forums which where the bane of the internet before Tumblr. Now, they apparently come from those who choose to “make use” of your content without really telling you about it.

The article in question was a link posted in the comments section of a bloggish site in San Francisco. I had written for it in the past, but stopped as a) it paid little b) was declining in quality content c) I was moving out of San Francisco and most importantly d) they started turning down my pitches to then assign them to other authors which was weird as they generally seemed happy with my work. I should emphasize that I’m not alone in this and their way of doing business in San Francisco scratches the head given that it’s a dinky town and word gets around.

I could leave that in the past as their idea of being a decent entity does not overlap with my own but, given that one of the editors follows this blog, I apparently now have someone lurking, ready to snap up any potential article I write, re-work it very little, and then publish it as their own. That, is disturbing.

It’s like going on holiday and having at the back of your mind that someone is rummaging through your suitcase the minute you check it in for a flight. It makes me not want to write anything original here and it’s a large part of the reason why I write so infrequently now whereas years ago, I wrote nearly every day. It’s a greater problem than the “link economy” being bankrupt as there is so much digital clutter now, most people/companies will try to emphatically put out content as their own regardless of whether it’s true or not just to try and establish a brand.

Ultimately, no matter what they say, the days of this outfit in question are numbered for many reasons I don’t feel like getting in to. But the bigger issue is that I like writing a lot and while I publish travel guides (from completely original research), I don’t make oodles of money doing it.

Much like gardening for some people, I keep at it, solely for the pleasure of writing and creating new content for myself and hopefully others to enjoy. But this issue is one that’s been bothering both myself and every other writer I know for some time. I have no solution to it other than writing less which honestly, does not balance out the equation.

3 Replies to “Plagiarism is the new attribution”

  1. I found your blog on Sitizens, not a copy cat site LOL. But yeah, it’s sad. I have the problem of getting my content scraped automatically by bots that repost it as their content. They link to the original but it’s quite annoying when you look at your incoming links and its all splogs.

  2. For what it’s worth, I found your site thanks to that article / comment and I’m glad I did. Also: I once sent the site in question a perfectly awesome query and never heard a peep back, so they can go pound salt.

  3. For some time now, they’ve thought themselves far, far too good to respond to any submissions and I assume they just go in to a dead email somewhere. I met the original editor of the joint (who had no publishing experience before this and still doesn’t appear to have any) at a blogger meetup. On some levels, I wish I never had now that they just suck on my ideas, as well as those of my wife who also wrote for them and had pitched go in to a black hole that they now decide to use.

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