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!

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

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.

6 thoughts on “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!

  1. Barry “the entity” has been stealing a lot of bloggers’work, including mine. One of the bloggers have created a banner you can put on his page and said anyone can use it. Check it out on my main page and feel free to use it if you want to. I hope you don’t leave WP. I enjoy reading your poems at dVerse.
    p.s. I love that Boondocks show, but it’s been years since seeing it.

    Like

  2. I hate to burst your bubble about the paywall, but plenty of content has been lifted from Medium as well and has been for a number of years now.

    I always prepared myself for being plagiarized. I mean, I share my work publicly, it’s bound to happen and it has numerous times. You can do this or that and think you’re getting a one-up on these entities that do this, but many of them are based outside of the US and their copyright laws are somewhat different.

    You have a gift. You’re sharing it with the world. Save your work in numerous files with timestamps and if you want, compile your work and have it copyrighted. Your work is yours, you know that and your readers do too.

    Stick around. Don’t let them push you away from your writing home.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is very upsetting Barry. Thanks for alerting us. I have a notice on my site to say nothing, but nothing can be used, not even a section or even if people link back to my site without my permission. Not sure if it helps. I can’t help but agree with trE and Taotalk in advising you to stay. We’ll miss your work.
    Wordpress should be made to take the matter up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Perhaps the sites like Dverse, Imaginery Garden with Toads, Poetry Pantry, etc could be lobbied to take this up with WordPress? If your stuff has been harvested then surely many others have been. I haven’t checked the site to see if any of my stuff has been used, haven’t the energy, but as a group WordPress may be forced to do something about it? I remember once getting many reblogs from a particular site and WordPress took it up with them and they stopped.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Barry!! I would hate to see you go! I “just” found you and love your work. I agree with Jade – don’t let them chase you away. We already lost one blogger who was fantastic because of this issue. Get Fandango’s badge, copyright your work, lets do a petition/letter writing, etc to WordPress/digital ocean – but don’t let them make you leave (unless it’s something you’ve been wanting to do deep down inside). I am staying and trying to figure out a solution. I hope you will reconsider. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Barry,

    It will be no consolation whatsoever to know this site – http://www.tygpress.com/ – has swiped material from hundreds, perhaps thousands of blogs, and has been doing so for quite some time. Like you my material has also been taken without consent for about the last 18 months.

    I was alerted to this site by a fellow blogger who posted a warning to other bloggers regarding their activity. Included in the comments that followed this posting was a suggestion to file a take-down notice called a DCMA Form:

    ‘Everyone has to file their own notice for their own posts. If yours have been lifted, go to digitalocean.com and scroll down to the contact link. In that menu, there is a clickable DCMA form. It’s a bit of a hassle to do all the fields and idk who gets the form. They may self-host! In which case… nothing will happen.’

    A further link was provided in comments that leads to a site with details of the site owner stated as Amrut Miskin. Possible contact email addresses are also shown: https://website.informer.com/tygpress.com

    Another link given in comments leads to a WP Forum where someone raised the subject of Tygpress back in February this year: https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/tygpress/

    Some authors of Blogs I follow compiled a post stating categorically that Tygpress do not have permission to publish their work and include in their post (in large letters) URL’s for their Blogsite with instruction for readers of Tygpress to view the material on the author’s original site.

    Perhaps your proposed intention of shutting your Blog could depend on the response received from submitting the DCMA? But whichever way you choose to go with this – ‘flee, fight, or forever hold your peace’ – good luck!

    DN

    Like

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