So, yeah, someone is harvesting my content for clicks and kicks, and that’s not really ballin’ to me, so I think this just might be my penultimate entry, folks!
“…the moon steals its shine from the sun, and no one ever gets the two confused. Take it as a compliment.” -Art Teacher to Riley, The Boondocks, Season 1 Episode 12, “Riley Wuz Here”
So, yeah, my blog has been harvested without my consent. My online friend who runs the idorun blog was kind enough to notify me.
What does that mean exactly? I’m not entirely sure, but it certainly seems like a type of plagiarism. Go ahead and see for yourself, witness the theft of my hard-earned shine – granted you may be buying the underwear gnomes who run that site another free pair of underpants by clicking the link, but I’m not tripping. The reason will become clear when you continue reading.
My initial response to potentially being plagiarized was a weird sense of pride (“Say, word? My craft is now actually good enough to be stolen from? That’s kinda dope!”) Next, for a moment, I became vexed (“How dare someone steal my intellectual property! I worked long and hard on those navel-gazing ghazals about all those attractive women I wish I had slept with! If anyone should be making money off those self-satisfied missives, it should be me!”)
But the more I thought about it, and the more I learned about it, the less sense it made. It’s never been about the money for me. Sure, I had grand designs as a wide-eyed youngin’, but my learned poetic excursions have been a moderately inexpensive hobby to me.
Let’s discuss my poetic content at face value; For nearly two decades, I’ve been dabbling in online poetry using various media (including a poetry collection I self-published through Lulu). During that nearly-twenty years, my net income from my poetry could pay for a cup of coffee and exactly half-a-haircut.
No one is clamoring to pay for any of my web stuff on the strength of the content, and I get that. But crimes of economics have taught me that people usually steal things for – oh I dunno… some type of profit? If there’s no profit in my words at face value, then where does the profit reside?
My instincts tell me that it must be the site traffic that is somehow fraudulently aggregated to a point where sponsors unwittingly pay the cyberthief a fee for driving clicks their way. Which means that I wasn’t singled-out (I average less than twenty unique views per day; not exactly rolling in Skillshare sponsor dough) but I was harvested along with countless other unwitting blogs.
In fact, if you’re a blogmate of mine hosting your blog on free\public blogs like Blogger or WordPress, chances are high that you’ve been harvested too. Go ahead and check for yourself. Buy those dickheads another pair of undergarments in exchange for knowledge of your own site’s harvesting.
I’m not as special as I thought. Oh well. I’ll get over it.
So I’ve been harvested, and some nefarious entity is probably getting paid in cryptocurrency or some other underwear gnome-economics I don’t know about. Now what? What do I do about it?
Many bloggers are justifiably outraged enough to jump through the hoops of a DCMA takedown. Others have found that the harvesting blog is just an unsophisticated blogroll-type of aggregate that can be foiled by making their copied posts private.
I’m inclined to go another way.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. Perhaps this is the very catalyst I need to shutter this blog for good (as well as my old one over at Blogger). Fighting some damned greedy money-bot trolls over my hobby is not why I got into online poetry. Life is too short, and the absurd time and economics of this make it a non-starter for me.
I will miss the wonderful community we’ve cultivated here, especially my friends at dVerse, Poets United, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, as well as all of my online friends too great in number to mention individually. I haven’t decided on a switch-off date, but it will most likely be fairly soon.
So, what next then?
Well I’ve been flirting with the notion of hiding all my nonsense behind Medium’s $5 monthly paywall. (I have a free presence there right now.) Again, I don’t expect to be swimming in a pool of money over poetry about some naughty dreams I had, but the economics makes more sense to me now. At WordPress, I bought the domains cosmicrubble.com and mylibidowearsatuxedo.com for $100 annually. Well recently, they lowered their price to $60, assumedly to remain competitive with Medium’s plan.
But here’s the rub; while WordPress’s response to intellectual theft is basically “We’ve already got your money, we’re not being robbed directly, we don’t see a problem here, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”, Medium’s paywall won’t allow for some random yokel to do a drive-by smash-n-grab on my shine, ya dig?
Also, if I develop enough traffic, my $5 monthly fee could eventually pay for itself. Imagine having a secure online presence essentially for free. I know this is beginning to sound like an ad, but I have imagined it. This may sound naive or glib, but I don’t want to think about intellectual theft anymore than I have this weekend. I just want to write about my love of my family, life, and words without worrying about someone turning it into a click for free underpants.
A friend once told me that I’m worth more than I give myself credit for. Well actually, several friends have told me this, including my best friend, the Wifey. I think I’m finally starting to understand what they mean.