Saturday, June 10, 2006

Great read: A FAMILY FOREVER

When a man sworn to protect his dead brother's fiancée discovers she's pregnant, he marries her, convinced that God will honor his good intentions and lead the couple to love.

A FAMILY FOREVER is a deeply moving story about love and faith from award-winning romance novelist Brenda Coulter. We recommend it for summer reading, so rush to Amazon.com and order your copy today.



What's with the advertisement, you ask? Oh, that's just me having a little fun at someone else's expense. You see, for several months now, a certain website has been hijacking my blog's RSS feed and presenting my daily entries as articles written for their site. The idea is to plump up their site's content in order to draw more visitors so they can make more money selling ad space. They use my post titles and my writing and even my photographs without ever attaching my name to any of the "borrowed" material.

Since they copy all of my posts, I decided they could jolly well advertise my book for me: I designed the first half of this entry to appear as though the offending site is endorsing A FAMILY FOREVER. They usually truncate the articles, so their readers won't see this explanation unless they click on the link to read the entire article. Of course, the thieves might catch on to my little trick and manually delete this post from their site. But I'll have already had a good laugh on them.

I'll let you know what happens.


Update: 3:00a.m. EST (Yes, I'm up late.)

As soon as the RSS feed went out, they snagged it. Want to see it? I'm not going to link to the site or even print its name, because they might stumble across it in a Technorati search, but here's a clue: Take the Xs out of the following and type what's left in your browser window:

AllXWomensXTalkX.com

If you don't see my post on the main page, you'll find it under "Articles and Features."


Update: 11:30a.m. EST

A March 23 article at ConsumerAffairs.com addresses this copyright infringement issue and explains why I can't stop it. The site mentioned in the article is the same one that's lifting my material.


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41 comments:

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Brenda...I don't know if it was always there or they just added it but when you click on "Give it a flower" or "Leave a comment", it gives you credit.

It says to go to "No rules, Just Write" to read the rest of the article...and it gives your link.

It does that at the bottom of the article too!

The book cover looks good on that page...you should do that at least once a week :-)

Brenda Coulter said...

It says to go to "No rules, Just Write" to read the rest of the article...and it gives your link.

Not good enough, Bonnie. Savvy surfers like you will notice that the permalink goes to a different domain--but the majority of that site's readers will never realize that the articles were not written for that site. My name is not mentioned anywhere, nor is anything said about the material having been excerpted from my blog.

After you posted your comment, I added another update to my post. Check out the article I've linked to.

Hornblower said...

Wow - that really sucks. Good for you for fighting back so wittily.
So did you write to the domain registrar as they said you can in the article? Maybe with an increased # of complaints, they'll shut them down.

Brenda Coulter said...

It would be like trying to sweep back the tide, Horatio. They lost their AdSense account for a month or two after several plagiarized bloggers complained to Google, but I see they're back in business now.

Did you guys notice that I left a comment over at the site, thanking them for saying those nice things about my book?

Maybe next time I'll make 'em run an ad for my blog.
;-)

Mirtika said...

Makes me steam!

It's the simplest thing to say, right up front, that X person wrote Y and you should head to their blog and find other nifty stuff.

I like to quote from other blogs, but I give links and credit. I'll even give a "heads up thanks" when I link to a story BUT found the original link on another blog.

I hope that particular Ukrainian (s)ends up with a Guinness Book of Records case of untreatable bleeding piles.

Mir

Michelle said...

Jeepers. That stinks. What you write must be pretty good for people to want to snag it, eh? I'll have to stop by here more often to see what is sucking those guys in.

Terri said...

I love that their truncated copy of your blog ends with "a site has been hijacking my blog" :-)

Sue aka MsCreativity said...

Brenda, I am horrified by this blatant theft!

Thanks for drawing our attention to it. I'm going to write a short post on my blog advising other bloggers to come and read this warning.

I am so angry that people can get away with this.

Sharon Hinck said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your creative solution to this. By all means, keep running ads and reviews of your book. :-)

Robin Bayne said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention! Keep running those ads : )

Tracey Bateman said...

FUNNY way to fight back, Brenda. You are one smart woman!
Tracey Bateman

Shelley said...

That's awful! And there is nothing that can be done about it? How unfair...at least you are fighting back! I wouldn't know what to do about something like that...

BTW, I'm reading your book right now (on chapter 13) and I want a man like Tucker! Shoot, I just want a man...lol (but not just any man, ya know?) I'm loving the book and I'm glad I bought it!

Brenda Coulter said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your creative solution to this.

Thank you, Sharon, but although I've had a good laugh at the expense of these lowlifes, this it isn't exactly a solution. Nothing has changed. The site is still lifting my posts.

I guess my reason for doing this was to blow off a little steam while also spotlighting an issue more and more bloggers are having to deal with.

Thanks, everyone, for your support.

Shelley, I'm glad you're enjoying my book. Please tell everyone you ever met.
;-)

Julie Carobini said...

Amazingly blatant. Thanks for pointing all this out, Brenda (I think). Ugh.

Rebecca said...

Ok, maybe I'm the technologically UNsavvy one here, but I clicked on the title of your post over at that the X place and it took me to the permalink of this entry. There you were, smiling out at me. It was your honest-to-goodness blog, name included. Are you sure they didn't syndicate you? Or did they change the way it works since you posted this?

Brenda Coulter said...

That's exactly my point, Rebecca--you had to click on the post's title to find out that I had written it. The casual browser at that other site, the person who does NOT click through, sees my articles (which used to be published in their entirety but have lately been truncated) and believes they were written specifically for the offending site. They don't know I am an unwilling contributor. If they think about me at all, they assume I was paid for the article and endorse that site. See the problem?

For a more detailed description of what they're doing and why it's a clear infrigement of my copyright (and why I can't stop them), see the article at ConsumerAffairs.com.

To answer your question about how I noticed the theft of my articles, there are all sorts of ways a blogger can find out who's linking to her site. I check Technorati.com a couple of times a week to see who's quoting me and linking to my blog. If you're interested in how that works, check out this page and see who's linking here right now.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

so...then start you next post with...."This post is being hijacked from my blog by*******"

LOL...in the truncated version that will be the first line on their page.....I'd have fun at their expense until they descide that you're not worth the effort and drop you!

Meanwhile you'll get a lot of new readers!

Brenda Coulter said...

Interesting idea, Bonnie. But Metaxu Cafe also publishes my daily RSS feeds. With my permission, natch. And I wouldn't want to junk up their page--or my own.

Neal said...

Well, in the spirit of hijacking, I added a flower, and a very complimentary comment about your book. So anyone reading that post should see how wonderful it is. I think you should go on posting adverts for your book -- for everyone I see I'll happily go back to the site and add a comment advising people to go buy your book. (For a fleeting moment, I wondered if I'd feel guilty about doing that, bearing in my the number of innocent readers of that blog who aren't aware whats going on. My answer? No. I'm not advising they go and jump off a cliff or take drugs, after all.)

Maybe you should go to two posts a day: one consisting of an advert, and one starting "this blog is hijacking my posts ..." :-)

Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
diane s said...

well you've handled this with great class, I must say. :)

I think we could all support you by linking to this post on our blogs so as many people are aware of this site's shoddy practices as possible-- it looks like such a professional site, too. :(

I commented over there & left my website as http://so you can steal mine too? ;)

I agree that at the least you should have a copyright sign/warning on your blog from now on...

D xx

Rebecca said...

Brenda,

I entirely agree in the blatant wrongness of pasting whole posts, unattributed, into their site (I read the article you mentioned, and these folk are clearly doing something shady), but now that they are linking to you, attribution or no, isn't it more like a pull quote? A teaser for your work? In cyber-land, like it or not, a link sometimes functions as attribution. And like Neal said, doesn't that ultimately further your self-interest as much as it does theirs? Their site is well-read (so it seems), and you are essentially getting free publicity.

I can understand a little emotional steam over discovering this without having been asked, but if you were asked, would you want the readers of this site to find your blog? And your message?

That's not to say these guys are in the right. No more than the group (the same ones? Who knows.) who tried to siphon $300 out of my mother's bank account last week. Be glad it’s your blog they’re promoting and not your credit card numbers!

We could all use to better understand copyright (and how the C works). This video is informative.

Anonymous said...

Well, I pulled out my stick and hit them over the head in your name as well.

Too much of a scaredycat to leave my links here or there though...

susan

Brenda Coulter said...

Rebecca, the problem is that I am NOT getting "free publicity." So they're linking to me. Big hairy deal. For months I've been seeing only one or two clickthroughs a day from that site. Which means that while perhaps hundreds of people are glancing at my posts, they are not seeing my name or even my blog's name--not unless they click on the article's headline. The casual browser sees only an article with no byline, and one which appears to have been written for that other site. So much for the argument that I'm getting "exposure" out of this.

Posting one of my articles because you like it is one thing. If you forget to attribute it to me or if you neglect to link to my blog, I'll call that an oversight and shrug it off. But these people are taking ALL of my posts, using them to fill out the content of their site so they can make money by attracting more visitors and selling more ads.

Would I have given them permission to use my material if they had asked nicely? Absolutely not. Not without a byline or some other form of payment.

But this conversation has given me an idea. Beginning today, I will preface all of my posts with "From Brenda Coulter at No rules. Just write." If the rats at All Women's Talk won't give me a byline, I'll just insert one into each post.

And I wish I'd thought of this before, but giving that post "flowers" is a good idea. If it gets around 45 flowers, it'll be pushed to a spotlighted position at the top right-hand side of the page with the other popular articles. So click here to "flower" me! (Look for a cropped photo of my book's cover. If it has floated off the front page of the site, just click on "previous posts.")

Thanks, everyone, for your support. I'm grateful to all of you for reading my blog and for taking an interest in my little problem.

julie said...

It just burns me up when people do this. Have you considered sending them an invoice? Tell them you'd be pleased to allow them to syndicate your content - for $100 an article.

Neal said...

Just to follow up again: I'm totally with Brenda here, Rebecca. I don't think that Brenda just getting a link from their site furthers her interests at all, because the casual user will still think that those articles were written by someone at the other blog. What I meant in my original comment (and perhaps didn't put clearly enough) is that the only way to further Brenda's interests and make good of an existing situation is by encouraging people to look beyond that original (stolen) post. In other words, if I make a comment as to how good Brenda's book is, maybe someone will buy it. (Probably not, but just maybe.) That would be the only way for Brenda to gain anything out of that particular post.

As far as future posts are concerned, I think Brenda's idea of including her own attribution is a great one. And also, for people to go and "flower" her posts. The only way to handle this is to play them at their own game. They want to steal Brenda's work? Fine, let Brenda make it clear it's her work, and let's us go and make sure it ends up in prime position at their website.

I really appreciate how Brenda feels here. I'm actually in the middle of choosing and implementing a Creative Commons license for my blog, not because I want to restrict what people can do with my pictures -- far from it -- but because I want to set up some guidelines for how I would like my work to be presented. And that's all the Brenda wants, I think. She wants it clear that those words are hers, and not theirs.

All Women's Talk said...

Dear ladies, your lovely chat was a real complement to us and we just couldn't but leave a comment as well. First of all let us express our admiration for the wonderful pieces of art you create each day.

As for the points that were discussed:

- We never wanted to upset you, in the beginning our site was just a directory for bookmarked weblogs we personally liked to read.
- as for add profit, you should know that in its majority it is a charity non-profit program we were asked to run.
- Google adds placed on our pages is a part of useful material that helps us and our readers to find quickly relevant info on various topics
- RSS feed to our site can be added by anyone - it's an open system, so you are welcome to Add your feed if you consider a site relevant and useful.
- Each post on our site has several links to the original blog (from index page and single post page) - it means that your link popularity ans number of readers grow.

We just want to create a useful informational source for women and we'll be very greatful if you join in.

Brenda Coulter said...

I linked to this article because during the time the events it describes were occurring, I was reading some of the blogs involved. I saw firsthand how, when confronted, you at AllWomensTalk.com failed to acquit yourselves with dignity and professionalism but instead TAUNTED the bloggers who had complained to you--and even PUBLISHED THE REAL NAME AND HOME ADDRESS of one blogger. This is a matter of public record.

Here's my answer to your disingenuous insistence that you're complimenting me by running my articles: Since you are aware that I don't wish to contribute to your site, WHY ARE YOU STILL PUBLISHING MY MATERIAL? Your behavior is not remotely complimentary; it's insulting.

As I've mentioned several times already, your links are worthless to me. So don't come over here with your sweet-talk and try to convince me that you're doing me some kind of favor. I'm smarter than that.

Dorothy said...

They got someone else who complained in his blog about it...go to where you told us to go and look at the second post. It's by a guy wondering why his posts are showing up on a women's website. This is just not right!

Brenda Coulter said...

No, Dorothy, it isn't right. Thanks for stopping by.

Shalanna Collins said...

Brenda!! I went to that place where they are stealing your blog and indeed they have stolen today's (6-14) entry. But it leads off with "Taken from Brenda Coulter at No Rules. Just write." As if that is "giving you credit," but still without saying that you are not sending them the article.

Just as worrisome is the way my browser loaded the page, then popped up a window to say, "This page is accessing information that is not under its control. This is dangerous. Do you want to continue?" I clicked NO and got away from there after looking to see your article. I don't know what it was doing--writing cookies is not flagged like that. It could have been copying anything or trying to write to space it shouldn't. Very bad sign. Wonder what exactly? Hope I don't get any weird, weird stuff happening because of whatever it stole or wrote. (SIGH!)

I'll be watching to see whether anyone can make them stop this.

Nienke said...

On top of everything else, I went to the 'About Program' page and tried to click on the links of various commenters. The only REAL links/commenters are people complaining about being ripped off. If you check the links from other commenters, you'll see they lead to SPAMMY pages for things such as Zoloft, printer toner, and auto insurance. Looks like they may be faking their visitor count. It's all fishy to me. (and I didn't mean to insult fish)

Brenda Coulter said...

Shalanna (man, do I ever love that name), the other day I started adding my byline to the body of my posts. That way, when the RSS feed is picked up, the byline goes right along with the rest of the text.

Nienke, you know I hold you in high esteem, but that doesn't mean I'm going to let you come over to my blog and insult fish that way. Watch yourself, sister. ;-)

Yes, the comments on the page you mention appear to have been stuffed with fake kudos. Who's surprised?

Angelle Trieste said...

Brenda,

If you file strong complaints to Godaddy.com who is the domain registrant for the site who stole your materials (and from others) AND their hosting service http://3fn.net/ you may be able to bring the site down.

(Per whois, vyacheslav kaushan is the registrant although I don't know how accurate that info is. But it did say it was registered through godaddy.com and points to 3nf.net.)

Brenda Coulter said...

Thanks, Angelle. I do know who owns and who hosts the blog, and I can tell you that MANY other bloggers have already tried to shut it down. Google revoked their AdSense for a while, but then gave it back, even though nothing had changed except instead of including the entire feeds, the site started truncating them.

Douglas Cootey said...

Brenda,
I thought your ad was a clever way to use that site to your advantage. While GoDaddy drags their heels when dealing with this site, I have another suggestion.

If this site doesn't strip embedded URLs, fill your entries with link backs to your own site. This will provide readers who discover you there to find you here as well as improve your Google page ranking.

I realize it is alarming when somebody steals your content. I've had it done to my blog by sploggers and ad sense mongers. I'm sorry this is happening to you, but I applaud your creative revenge. Keep up the good work.

Kristen King said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Delia said...

I had to give up my lurker status to say...

This is sad, sad stuff. They're so unable to write their own posts that they continue to STEAL (and that's what they're doing, no matter what they call it, they're stealing) from others. Even when they've been asked to stop! Completely unacceptable!

Keep adding your byline and promos for your book. I also will go leave comments everytime I see an ad for your book (which I ♥ by the way!). You should add promos for your blog and website too!

Laurie said...

Brenda, I like your approach. I also like the idea of sticking a byline at the very top of the post. I've recently had my content stolen by a splogger, and despite complaining to his host, my content was not taken down.

I'm researching ways to fight back. No way am I going to leave this be.

Laurie said...

Oh, and for the record, I'm completely with you - AllWomensTalk DID steal content. No amount of their excuses excuse their actions. It's theft.

Brenda Coulter said...

Thanks, Laurie.

[Douglas wrote]If this site doesn't strip embedded URLs, fill your entries with link backs to your own site. This will provide readers who discover you there to find you here as well as improve your Google page ranking.

They strip on the first page, Douglas, but not on the second (where readers are sent when they click on the article summary). So, yes, I've been putting in some links. That said, the site isn't that far from being a splog--so I'm not sure they'd have much Google juice to give me. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Delia, you have my warmest thanks. <3<3<3