Don’t Cheat At Blogging Because It Is Publishing

Never Cheat At Blogging By CopyingI don’t like people who cheat at blogging, but I got tricked recently.

I came across a blog post that was very interesting, extremely well written, and had already attracted a lot of comments. It was an article written by an author, who had risen into Amazon’s bestseller lists last year, but admitted that his earnings from the book were quite modest.

All the comments were sympathetic to his story, and of course, many authors added their experiences regarding their own book sales and income. I added a similar sympathetic comment and followed the comments on the blog post for a few days with great interest until one commenter was astute enough to discover the scam, and posted a comment with a link to the original article, which had been published six months before. The blogger had copied and pasted the entire article, including the original image. He was a cheat at blogging.

Once I saw the original article, which had been published by a well-known online magazine, I added a comment to the scam article, pointing out that copying and republishing an article without citing the source was not only improper but that this practice also contravened copyright law. The original article was very clearly marked as copyright protected. I suggested that the blogger remedy the problem quite simply, by adding a source and link to the copied post. Even if you cheat at blogging, and copy content, a link back to the source will cover your backside.

Unfortunately, the blogger decided not to take my advice and instead used his blog to then conduct a personal attack on both the person who discovered that his post was a ‘copy and paste’ fake, and myself. While I can’t control how people react when they get caught out, this episode was a good example of the old adage that ‘cheats never prosper’, as this particular blogger killed his new blog and his reputation stone dead by his actions, inaction and reaction.

Don’t cheat at blogging. Write original content.

There is only one way to succeed at blogging, whether it is for self-promotion or to earn a small side income, and that is by writing interesting and informative original content. Blogging is very real publishing, make no mistake about it.

Sure, there are times, and good reasons to repost a great article by someone else, but it must be posted with the source correctly added and always linked back to the original content. An introductory paragraph pointing out why it has been reposted is even better, as it makes everything so much clearer to a blog reader.

On one of my blogs, I have a news feed page, which collects and posts extracts of news items. This is called aggregating. But every extract entry is clearly citing the source and linking directly to the full original article. One blog I read regularly is almost all aggregated content, yet is very interesting and informative. The Passive Voice has been operating successfully for a long time, posting long excerpts of articles related to books and publishing, but with every post entry clearly cited with links to the original content. Aggregation blogs that are done well are great for blog readers because they usually focus on one topic and gather interesting articles together to make it easy to stay informed about a topic of interest to a reader.

A quality aggregated blog still takes a lot of work, however, as does any blog. It’s not a shortcut.

There are those, though, who take what they think is the quick and easy way of building blog and comment traffic, by copying content and making it appear as if it is their own work. However, it is doomed to failure, as someone will find out soon enough. Worse than just being caught out, it could very well lead to legal action being taken against the blogger.

As a blog reader, don’t get sucked in as I was. If I had taken a moment to read the ‘About’ page on this particular ‘copy and paste’ blog before I commented, I would have realised it was a fake, due to the very poor writing, with grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes contained in every single line of the modest two line bio. Totally unlike the well-written article that was fraudulently posted.

There are always those who think cheating works, even at something as simple as blogging. But what they fail to understand is that blogging is very real publishing, and therefore, the law can be applied heavily to acts of plagiarism and breaches of copyright. Copy and paste blogging is simple, but the consequences of doing so, are not.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Cheat At Blogging Because It Is Publishing

  • This is so true, Derek. I used to teach online and it was so easy to spot and verify plagiarism. Once one reads someone’s real writing and then the copied material, it’s quite evident. And I didn’t even need to know the original piece. Style gives it away. A quick online search for a few phrases and there they are.

    I think many people are not taught about plagiarism before they try their hand at blogging or even writing anything. Either that, or they got away with it in school because teachers didn’t take the time to find out essays and papers weren’t original. So bad behaviour wasn’t corrected at the time it was first presented.

    I also think that aggregation with attribution is on the edge. Attribution certainly preserves the ‘moral rights’ to authorship. But copyright is still breached if there isn’t an explicit permission/consent/license from the author for the material to be republished in that way. I know many people do it, but I think it may be just ignored because trying to stop it is felt to be too hard.

    Thanks for the blog. I follow you on Twitter and also read your article about writing different descriptions for one’s e-book. Great tip! I put it into action immediately after reading it.

    Jan
    Lost Anchors
    On A Life’s Edge

    Reply
    • Google are pretty wise to plagiarism, Jan. They changed their algorithms back in May this year to give their highest indexing priority to original content. Higher than backlinks, so there is no real value in posting copied content anymore.

      As for aggregation, I think it’s fine, so long as it is only a short cited extract with a clickable ‘read more’ link that leads directly to the original material. Again, there is no value as far as Google indexing is concerned, but aggregation can be used to inform, in a similar way to sharing articles and posts on social media.

      Thanks for following my blog and I’m glad to hear that one of my ideas was worthwhile for you.

      Reply

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