Debra — Book Reviews, Blog Plagiarism, Finding Bloggers & Blogging

Just when you thought there was one industry in which competitors could co-exist happily, there comes the story of plagiarism.  No, I’m not going to go into that here, but the blogger in question acknowledges in writing on her influential blog that she has plagiarized from a number of other bloggers on a number of occasions. Tweets have been flying.  Explanation posts abound.  It’s a big old’ mess for the blogger, her victims and the reading public in general.  It actually happened in January and is blowing up now, though not the fault of the victims.  They did not out the offending blogger.  If they’d wanted to do that, they could have done in months ago.

This is also a mess for the plagiarist’s faithful.  Can you trust the “thoughts and opinions” of a blogger who has admitted to plagiarizing?  Can you trust that blogger’s reviews?

I don’t know that this will trash the blogger’s brand, but I can certainly see the potential for that to happen.

Bloggers, who hold down day jobs and also maintain active, monetized blogs (i.e. accept and actually book steady advertising),  aren’t casual weekend bloggers.  They generally blog for all their lives are worth.  They care about their subject matter.  And they also have to have fresh, meaningful content if they want to keep advertisers happy and traffic up.  I have no problem with monetized blogs.  I’m just illustrating that content has to be a priority if you are a monetized blogger.  That content has to be unique, clever, and pulling in the followers.

Blogging has become “the second job” or the “the career” for many bloggers.  In the blogging world over the last four years, enthusiasts have found a voice, a home, a purpose and careers in countless hobbies and passions.  Blogging is business for some.  We all know that.  We still enjoy the blogs.  We’re still happy to have the content even if a blogger gets paid.  In fact, most folks cheer to see the good old American engine of opportunity cranked up and running smoothly.

Where am I going with this?  I want to know…

What you think about plagiarism?  And if you’d trust the reviewer again?  Is this “second chance” time or would you never go back to the site?

I want to know who your favorite bloggers and blogs are?  (URL’s are appreciated but not required!)  I want to know how you find blogs?  I want to know how often you visit blogs?  Tell the truth!  Are blogs your new “daily paper?”  Are they how you connect online (versus Twitter)?  Do you tweet, status update and email great blog topics?

Do YOU blog?  And where?

Today, YOU’RE talking about blogs.  I want to know the good, the bad and the ugly of being a consumer of blogs.  What makes your roll your eyes?  What do you hate?  What do you love about reading blogs?  What do you love about blogging yourself?

Sound off!  Inquiring minds want to know.

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46 Responses to Debra — Book Reviews, Blog Plagiarism, Finding Bloggers & Blogging

  1. Leanne says:

    Debra, I don’t know who did the blog plagiarism, but I think it’s a shame. It’s so unnecessary. You can cover the same topic, but with your own thoughts, and in that way, make it your own!

    • debradixon says:

      Leanne– I know. Most of us who write or have written as a career, just don’t tolerate plagiarism very well! Can’t find a good excuse for it. Nope.

  2. TrishJ says:

    I read a lot of blogs … that’s how i find new authors and books. I also enjoy the interviews with the authors. But i really dont like plagiarism. There is one author who i used to read that took pages from another author’s books and pasted them into her books. Once i found out, i no longer read ANYTHING written by that author. If you cant say it in your own words — dont say it. I follow so many blogs. This one, of course, Dear Author, Smart Bitches, Murder She Writes, Romance Dish, Limecello, to name a few. And i check them DAILY. Dont do the tweet stuff (to hectic), but i follow the blogs on Facebook and my favorite authors as well. Makes them seem like “real” people, opposed to cardboard faces behind the cover.

    • debradixon says:

      Limecello? The name alone makes me want to go there! Smart Bitches is such a content rich site. I’m sometimes a little off-put by the in-your-face attitude but that’s the voice. And they do it so well.

  3. roxrustand says:

    I don’t follow any blogs faithfully, so I would never catch this type of plagiarism unless I’d done a google search for a topic or author, and it came up twice. Sometimes a person will *want* their blog post recycled elsewhere–I’ve had visitors to my personal blog ask if I could just re-use what they’d sent somewhere else, but plagiarism is just flat wrong. I agree with Leanne–you can have the same opinion or want to cover the same topic as someone else, but it needs to be in your own words!

  4. debradixon says:

    Rox– Yep. Opinions have to be trustworthy. They have to have a point of view that comes from the guts and soul of the blogger. Once could ask permission to quote, give credit and then riff off that. I don’t follow blogs faithfully because I’ve been so crushed with work in the last two years, but whenever I do catch a moment to check out a blog, I can see why it’s such a seductive pass time.

  5. michelehauf says:

    I do my daily morning blog crawl, visiting those blogs I enjoy reading, either for content or just a laugh, or even food. Foodgawker, anyone? Joy! I also have a few of my own blogs and know how time consuming keeping them up can be. Bloggers truly are dedicated, and rarely get compensated, so I like to support those who keep me informed and laughing. 😉

    • debradixon says:

      Michele– You know a daily blog crawl really is supporting those bloggers because even if that days topic isn’t a huge hit with you and you move on, you’ve still generated traffic if it happens to be a monetized blog. I don’t know Foodgawker. Um…part of this blog is so that you guys do interesting blog homework for me! 🙂

      • michelehauf says:

        foodgawker.com. Go there. Add it to Flipboard on your iPad. Drool! I’ve tried many recipes from there.

  6. vickihinze says:

    Know nothing about the controversy but on the topic, no, I wouldn’t trust anyone who plagiarized someone else’s work. I go read the original author. Scheduling demands make me a hit-and-miss blog reader with the exception of ChristiansRead.com. The author in me won’t let me support anyone I know has plagiarized. Just can’t do it.

    • debradixon says:

      Vicki– i think the “reader” fans are more forgiving than the “writer” fans, but this is still a hard thing to claw back from. I know I don’t read anyone who’s been accused of plagiarism. They’re right off my list and I *throw out* any book I’ve ever bought by them. There have been a number of quietly settled cases over the years and while fans sometimes never know, the writing community does.

      Although it’s almost always a READER who catches the similarities now that I think about it.

  7. GunDiva says:

    I follow something like 125+ blogs. Thank God not everyone posts everyday! I usually find blogs I love through blogs I already follow. One of the things I was just complaining about is that one of the blogs I follow does nothing but regurgitate other people’s blogs – not that she plagiarizes them, she gives full credit and backlinks to the original post – but the vast majority of her followers think that she is the cat’s meow. Not a single one of her thoughts is new or unique, she’s just bringing articles and other blogs to people’s attention and for that her followers number in the thousands and to hear some of them talk, you’d think she was the second coming of Christ. Makes me crazy.

    I currently run four blogs – all of them for fun. I write them because I enjoy it. I don’t even know that I’d like to make money off of them because then it would be too much like work. This way, if I don’t have anything to say, I don’t have to post. If I was paid, I’d have to adhere to a schedule and lose some spontaneity.

    • debradixon says:

      Giving credit and cross-posting is okay. It’s not original but it’s above-board and everyone knows what’s going on. I imagine a lot of people follow her because she brings the content TO them.

      Um… YOU DIDN’T MENTION YOUR BLOGS TO US. (g) You need to cough up. Unless you like to remain anonymous. I know some of the appeal of blogs for people is that they can share and have a persona that isn’t tied to who they are. They don’t have to be inhibited. So, you can remain anonymous if that’s part of the appeal of the blogs. just for you and whoever else stumbles upon you.

  8. loisgreiman says:

    I too stunned by Gun Diva’s 125 blogs to comment!!

  9. Trish Jensen says:

    BTW, I don’t know who TrishJ above is, but twasn’t me! Although I appreciate what she had to say. There are very few blogs I read consistently, save BelleBooks blogs and this one (I love that you guys send an email reminding of blogs and sending the link). Usually the only time I go to a blog is if it’s recommended to me by another author, and the topic interests me. I have no idea who the plagiarist blogger is, but it’s shameful. If you don’t have an original thought, you probably shouldn’t be blogging.

    • debradixon says:

      Hey, we have two TrishJ’s? Huh! I thought that was you. I do like to be notified of new content too. That way I can go check when there’s an update!

    • Sandra Hill says:

      LOL here! When I read that comment by TrishJ, I thought, “Aha! That’s what
      Trish is doing when she claims to be writing.” I read blogs when I am directed to
      one in particular, but I am not a regular follower of any blogs. Love them, but I
      don’t have the time.

  10. Linda says:

    I read a total of 4 blogs, three are book/author related and one is work related (veterinarian). Plagiarism is something that would turn me off immediately IF I w as aware of it. If you cannot do your own work then it is time to go do something else, like work at McD’s where you don’t have to think.

    • debradixon says:

      Linda– I missed this the first time but I wanted to swoop in and agree that blogs are a “thinking” activity. It’s why we love them, I think. They show the heart and soul of the writer and we are unhappy as readers when we realize the blogger didn’t think enough of us to offer something real.

  11. bellwriter says:

    I wonder if because it was a blog the poster didn’t think he/she was stealing. We risk our reputations by quoting anything without giving credit, or worse claiming those words as our own. I am a member of three joint blogs — I participate occasionally because of NO time 😉

  12. Kylie Brant says:

    I’m with you, if I heard the blog was plagiarizing others’ writings, they’d be off my list. Finito. No second chances. It’s laziness, pure and simple. And I don’t follow any blogs faithfully. Although with summer coming up I’ll have more time….

    • debradixon says:

      Kylie– Sleep more, play more! Yay for summer. Oh, wait. I’m not in an industry that has a hiatus. Rats. I’m now jealous of you. Oh, wait. I don’t work in an industry where I have to deal with munckins and parents. I’m good. No more jealousy. LOL!

  13. Nas Dean says:

    Reading this post and the comments made me feel happy somewhat…I have a review blog and recently I found a new blogger is copying snippets of my reviews. I come across snippets of my own words for a book as part of that bloggers reviews….sigh….don’t really know what to do yet. One of my reviewer is a paralegal so she’s keeping an eye on it. Some authors have urged me to expose the new blogger. I’m hoping she’ll soon get in stride and start posting her own words.

    Thanks Debra for highlighting this topic.

    • debradixon says:

      Nas– Snippets can be very hard to judge! I don’t envy you. I’m going to hope that the new blogger is just finding her way and will *soon* develop her own voice. Keeping an eye on the situation is a good way to approach things. It may turn out that she just has a similar expression style. That’s what I’m going to hope, anyway, because I sure don’t want to see anyone dealing with this. It’s so disruptive to you. Good luck!

      • Nas Dean says:

        Thanks Debra. This means a lot coming from you. Same snippets for the same books is a bit hard to take! Or same things I say about an authors writing style.

  14. Trish Jensen says:

    DD:
    I know I’m straying from blogs, but I sort of have to comment on how MANY people have ripped ideas from Goal, Motivation and Conflict to conduct their own workshops. I’ve seen some and thought, “hmmm, straight from chapter X of GMC.” That has to drive you crazy. Unless you decide to be flattered instead. 🙂

    It’s the only “how to” I’ve ever read, but I know it when I see it in someone else’s “how to.”

    Having said that, when I judge contests, I often tell people to check their GMC’s. But ALWAYS, ALWAYS recommend the book when I do. Hey, shouldn’t I be getting royalties for that?

    • debradixon says:

      Trish– Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of people give workshops and find out they never even mention the book. Arrgh! You can’t copyright an idea or a process, but a little credit would be so nice!

  15. Deb, I skim a lot of blogs and read a few, when reminded. I probably wouldn’t notice repeated blogs unless the writer warned me. I check the PinkFuzzySlipperWriters.blogspot.com because I am the mama. I neglect my personal blog and skim Facebook when I remember. Now I gotta tweet!
    I also want to slap folks who steal other writers’ words. I might just be odd enough to be off the radar of copiers. (grin)

    • debradixon says:

      Trish– Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of people give workshops and find out they never even mention the book. Arrgh! You can’t copyright an idea or a process, but a little credit would be so nice!

    • debradixon says:

      You guys have a great blog. Very busy. I have to agree that the folks who read a lot of blogs will skim. There are so many hours in a day. No one has time for anything that isn’t fabulous, informative, hilarious, uplifting, etc. Mediocre makes the eyes glaze and the reader move on.

  16. I can’t keep up with it all, guys. This wonderful blog plus occasional guest posts is my blogging limit. I belong to a couple of writers’ loops and I appreciate it when somebody posts a link to something she found interesting. Or shocking, or funny, or otherwise must-see. Web page, facebook, linked-in, goodreads, pinterest, loops, blogs, twitter–how do you manage it all?

    Oh, that’s right, we’re talking about plagiarism. Not good. I agree with so-and-so who said such-and-such. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • debradixon says:

      Kathy– I do like it when peers, buddies and friends “vet” information for me. I’m not talking about the inane politcal rhetoric (pick a side sometimes) that makes the rounds. I’m talking about the on point industry articles, a particular article on a health issue, etc. I like it when people I trust help me stay informed!

  17. I’ve blogged pretty consistently for seven years now, and credit blogging (in a circuitous fashion) for my writing career. I’ve been a casual blogger in the beginning, a monetized blogger when the internet poker industry was booming, and a promotional blogger nowadays, working to build my brand through my blog (www.johnhartness.com). I read about this issue, and think that in this particular case, it’s inexcusable. This blogger knew what she was doing was wrong, she was getting paid to blog and stole content (and therefore money) out of the hands and mouths of lesser-known bloggers. This is just like if Jay Leno stole material from a guy doing stand-up comedy in a club around the corner – it’s predatory, it’s crappy behavior, and it’s incumbent on the industry to police itself.

    Now there are times when people are new to blogging and don’t know the rules. It’s not like there’s a handbook. But this blogger had been working in the business for several years, and she should know better by now. It’s the kind of thing that in the print world costs people their jobs, and the same repercussions should apply in the blogosphere.

    I follow intermittently several hundred blogs, from personal blogs of friends that I’ve made through blogging, to writing and publishing industry blogs, to just entertaining blogs. Some of my favorites are Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess – http://www.thebloggess.com, Kristine Rusch, http://www.kriswrites.com, my friend Brad Willis, who is the single best writer I know, published or unpublished (and alas, he only writes on his blog) at http://www.rapideyereality.com, and several agents and editors that I find interesting. I don’t read them religiously anymore, because I’m too busy doing my revisions to spend hours reading blogs (really, I promise!), but in my opinion blogs are just like any social media – at their best they are a conversation.

  18. jmwille says:

    Blogs, I’m finding, are time sinks and ways to procrastinate :). I love that I can sign up for a blog I may enjoy and it shows up in my email. Otherwise, I rely on links others send or ones I stumble across. I don’t actively go out and read blogs. i do contribute to a new blog but the more all the social networking invades my computer, the less I like it. Sorry, I want to spend my time storytelling. I know the way the industry is moving, marketing is on the internet, but I will have to set a schedule to limit my time….too fleeting otherwise.
    🙂

  19. jmwille says:

    Should probably stay on topic – Plagiarism is rampant on the internet. Look at the way numerous books are re-titled with large chunks of an author’s work used. Why? $$$ seems to be the reason and unless someone catches it, you’ll never know someone’s riding your work. Regarding blog plagiarism, it’s not right if they don’t link or acknowledge credit.
    Blog I contribute to- http://www.itsonlyanovel.com

    • debradixon says:

      Great looking blog, Jean! It’s “old home week” for me because I know all the authors! But then we all know all the authors, don’t we? Doesn’t it feel that way sometimes? One of the employees here has a friend who is just in love with the books of one of our Jill’s. Can’t remember if it’s Jill Marie Landis or Jill Barnett. So, when this came up in conversation the employee was able to say to the friend, “Really? I talked to her yesterday.” Or something like that. Fun moment. The friend was OMGing.

  20. If someone directs me to a blog by…oh, say, Deb Dixon (I’d read her shopping lists, and I’m sure they’re brilliant!), I’ll check out the blog. Otherwise, no. I never have enough time. Besides, there’s too much chatter out there, and I need a zen-like mental peace in order to create. That said, I’m not forgiving when it comes to plagiarism. Stealing objects is bad enough. Stealing a writer’s words? Words are our wealth, our essence, our souls.

    • debradixon says:

      Judith! Hey, girl. You are so funny. I keep telling you, “It’s all smoke and mirrors. ” (g)

      I think the right FEW blogs can bring some zen with them, but the noise in my day if I try and check anything regularly except the occasional author blog, But we also belong to a long-time peer exchange group that really takes the place of our needing to read blogs for opinions, information, etc. We’re very lucky that way.

  21. I haven’t heard this controversy yet, but I just can not no way respect a plagiarist.

    I follow a lot of blogs but can’t read them all. I subscribe to quite a few that come directly to my email and that’s convenient for me – I can read and if I have something to say, I’ll comment. I like the feature in wordpress that allows me to answer to any comments on my blog quickly and easily – and I do visit those who comment on my blog even if it takes me a few days sometimes.

    • debradixon says:

      Hey, Kat! I really haven’t paid a lot of attention to having blogs delivered via email. I definitely think that would make it easier in some ways, but then there’s the extra email. I’ve got enough to plow through so I’d better put checking out email blogs I don’t need a distraction these days or an excuse to take the nose from the grindstone!

  22. Hey Debra, I just found this through Bell Bridge Books’ Facebook page. I’ve clearly buried my head in my #$! because I have NO idea who plagiarized. Online plagiarism is just that. Plagiarism. And said plagiarizers better be careful, because though you may relish your anonymity – bloggers are some tech savy geeks. Steal their work and they will find you. Preferably at home in the shower – and they will bring pitchforks.

    Do I blog? Well, yes I do: http://musingsallie.blogspot.com/.
    Favorite blog? Ahem, meet author Tawna Fenske: http://tawnafenske.blogspot.com/

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