Editor’s Note: For New Bloggers, When Copying Snippets Isn’t Enuf
As you’ve seen by now, there’s a lot going on at SBM. We’re adding new writers, trying out new things with content, and striving to provide a myriad of perspective on topics we think you’d find interesting and useful. We’ve learned and grown a lot over the last year, which has brought us a completely new set of obstacles. For me, there is one in particular that grinds my gears:
People taking our content without permission and using it to build their own websites and readerships.
I’m learning every day that there are a ton of people entering the web game and looking to build their own empires of goodness. It’s admirable. It really is. I respect and support the hustles. However, I can’t help but feel impolitely robbed and cheated when I visit a budding website and discover it’s been populated with our content. And when I say content, I don’t mean a paragraph or two. I mean taking complete articles with titles and dropping a skidamarinky dinky link to us at the bottom. Ain’t nobody reading that footnote Otis!
Rather than writing a 2k tirade, I’ll provide you with four brief reasons this activates my inner hulk.
1. You make Google think harder than it needs to and we take the L.
Taking our complete articles forces us to compete against our content in Google, which sees duplicate content and gets all King Solomonesque with who gets the credit. Consider this post me diving in front of the sword to protect my child. Also think of this as a professor having the same essay from both of us and giving each of us a fail. Now we gotta take summer classes to get our degrees. I’m not trying to sit next to you in a hot ass classroom.
2. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but copying is lame buckets.
Continuing with the academia theme, how would you feel if you shared a paper you wrote with someone, then they took it and turned it in for their class without telling you anything, put their name on the top, and put your name in the footnotes as the source? Straight lamb manure.
WisdomIsMisery does a great job of citing articles and pulling relevant snippets that enhance the discussion without pasting the full article from elsewhere. If you’re struggling on your copy etiquette, check out a great example here.
All rants aside, writing is an art and artists are sensitive about their sh*t. It doesn’t matter how good, bad or free you think someone’s writing is. If you like it and want to share it with your audience, make sure you properly cite it and give your readers the chance to have the same experience you did. And when there’s doubt, just ask. Don’t let us randomly find out…unless you like the taste of Clorox.