Stealing is not cool

Friday, April 03, 2009

A long time ago, when the blog world was young, a girl had an idea for a blog.

The girl decided to sit down one Sunday afternoon and create this blog. She then sent out emails to her blog friends to say "Hey, get a load of this idea...". The blog friends seemed excited and supportive. The girl was pleased, for she enjoyed making others happy with her ideas.

As things like this tend to go, the internet decided that this idea had some kind of merit. That this blog seemed to touch some kind of general truth in the world. The girl was pleased. The girl was flattered. The girl was a bit overwhelmed.

Within four months, the blog had grown exponentially and the notice was growing too. People with important sounding titles called the girl and asked for her content. These people said they were fans of her blog and wanted to put it on a bigger, better known uber blog. The girl, while flattered and a little bit awed, held back. She didn't want to give away her baby and the person with the impressive title wanted her to give it away for free. When it became apparent that the girl and her blog weren't so impressed with the important name of the publication and title as to let someone else absorb her blog, the negotiations stopped and the offer was dropped. The girl saved all these emails detailing how the person was a fan of her blog.

The girl fell into one of her depressions and withdrew into herself. She fell out of touch with the bloggy world in many ways. The Blog(s) she created survived and thrived despite her own condition. She crawled out of her funk long enough to attend a party and meeting of other bloggers like her in the summer of her following year. She woke one morning to find that there was a door hanger on her hotel room. Promoting a Blog with a name very very similar - all but one word similar - to the name of her own blog. She was angry. She was confused and she was hurt.

She got onto the email and wrote a pointed email to the address listed on the door hanger. Within minutes there was a response. It was from the same person from the big name publication who had claimed to be such a fan merely eight months prior. Who further claimed in a print interview to thinking up the idea and name all on her own. Phone calls were made. Angry words exchanged. The girl asserted that her idea had clearly been stolen. The other person disagreed.
The girl hung up on her.

The girl then withdrew into the hotel room for the remainder of the meeting. She was very, very hurt. Old blog friends divided into camps - those who saw the girls point of view that her core idea had been lifted and duplicated and those who did not. The girl withdrew from the blog world even more.

The girl considered legal action. Considered it hard. But she lived in a different country ... and she just didn't have enough money to sustain it. She was back in school full time, after all.

The girl tried hard to keep her playgirl mouth shut. She tried very, very hard.And she did, for a long time. Her blog continued and grew. She continued to receive attention and kudos. She refused any further offers by any entity for any piece of her blog(s) - no matter who. She refused offers to turn her blog into television shows or movie scripts. She protected her blog(s).

She tried hard to forget about the other person and the patently derivative blog. Usually she succeeded. Until an old blog friend, one who had been at that party and seen the situation unfold, an old blog friend who had been unfailing in her support for the girl sent the girl an email announcing the launch of a book by the other person. The friend told the girl "I sent an email saying fuck you and the idea you stole and take me off of your fucking mailing list." Which made the girl smile. Because in any world, day to day or internet, a friend who does that on your behalf is priceless indeed.

And then the girl decided to write this all down as a cautionary tale for the internet. With a reminder that stealing is not cool. No matter how you try to pretend the idea is yours.

The girl still believes that the karma of the internet and larger world will sort this out. Naive perhaps, but the girl has to believe.

22 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

I remember the very first "Confessions" as a regular old post, here on YOUR blog. I know the truth.

I can't believe that woman can sleep at night.

Bethany said...

I, too, remember the first Confessions. And who created it.

Fuck that bitch.

B said...

*waves hand in air and shouts "oh, oh, oh" like Arnold from Welcome Back, Kotter*

Me too. I read the First Confessions right here. And saw your disappointment at the bloggy weekend.

Still willing to lose my shit on your behalf...

Amanda said...

some people are just stupid, and I too can only hope karma will come back to bit her.

Mignon said...

What's it like to be a person who steals ideas? I hope it sucks. I hope small irritating things happen to her on a daily basis and someday... well, I have a good story (I'll try to make it short).

When my brother was in high school we moved during his junior year. He was painfully shy, but got up the nerve to try out for the highly-touted soccer team and was put on the JV squad. He showed up for the first game and was about to begin warm-ups when another player on the team intercepted him and told him to go home. He was cut. The coach had neglected to inform him, and used another player to do so. He had to walk back across the field to my mom and me, sitting in the car, waiting for the game to start.

Flash forward 10 years... I am now a college soccer player at a good school and this old coach is bringing his high school team to my college for a spring-break camp. My fellow players (good friends) and I are introduced to him in an informal group and his name rings a bell. I say, "Did you coach XY team in 1984?" He, proudly, because they won state that year, says, "Yes, yes I did." I say, "Then I know you. My brother tried out for your team. He was new in town and didn't know anyone and you let him go to the first game, not knowing he was cut from the team. You had Brian Spec cut him. I remember you." And we all stood around, looking at him uncomfortably. His moment in the spotlight.

So, I think something like that will happen to her. I hope.

Anonymous said...

i feel completely out of the loop, as usual. i'm new to your blog, and already I'm on your side. If only I knew what book and blog I totally need to boycott/!

SUEB0B said...

I hate that bitch. She has the biggest brass balls in blogdom and I hope she gets her freaking comeuppance.

Karen Bodkin said...

Yup, she can go fuck her hat. I hate her too. I can't BELIEVE the nerve.

Anonymous said...

So I too join the chorus of "that Bitch!". I would love to know the name of the aforementioned bitch and her book - so I can loudly denounce at each and every opportunity. Wont' you please share?

MarciaAnn said...

OMG Dawn ... don't have much time, work has put a quota on blog reading at 10 minute increments. I'm guessing this is about Confessions and I'm so sorry to hear some schmuck stole your idea. I too was one of the first posters on Confessions. It was a godsend!

Much love from Maine! Hey, I hear the peepers have reappered in NH, it must be spring!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

You should sue.

I Stumbled and Kirtsy'd this. I hope it gets you some of the recognition you so richly deserve.

Felicia|DaLipstickBandit said...


Nancy said...

I actually saw a link to the other site last week and noticed that the name has changed just slightly. My first thought was to give a gleeful laugh because I thought maybe you finally did take legal action against that wench.

I think you're still going to find your fame and fortune. There will be some other way if not this one.


Anonymous said...

you are a sad, petty woman. You run a blog, the other site you're referring to is a business - open to everyone - not just your few selections. Did Frank Warren come after you (or the other site) when you and everyone was inspired by his brilliant postsecet? No I don't think he did.

velocibadgergirl said...

Oh, look. Someone anonymous wants to call you names when you took the high road and didn't blatantly name names or link links (which you had every right to do). Fucking BIG of that anonymous poster. Way to flaunt her lack of ovarian fortitude.

WT Mom-Michelle said...

I write a blog called WhiteTrashMom. I've always been kind of an outsider in the "mom blog" world. But over the years, my content has been steady and my voice has been constant.

I've had some success and while I wasn't around for the drama you describe in your post, I have gotten to know some of the moms who blog, from the outside looking in.
I backed into success in the blog world, so my perspective is different.

The drama at the meeting (Blogher?) sounds like the 7th grade lunchroom---no disrespect intended to you or to anyone, I swear. People can be mean, there are misunderstandings with other women.

I can tell you 3 or 4 stories of women in blogging who were HORRIBLE to me---women who are respected, powerful----that make your story pale by comparison. If you want to email me privately, I'd be happy to share.

At the end of the day, you can blame other people or you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get on with it. I understand what it's like to suffer from depression and I don't want to lay more on you.

But the anger in this post contains a lot of energy----that could be channeled to something else or something new!

I know from experience that good content is the key to success in the long run. If your content and voice are good----people will come. I know this because it happened to me, an outsider from bumf*** who has a book, a blog and some success.

Blogging/online media is the infant stages. Good stuff will still be good stuff----a name isn't that big of a deal, in my opinion.

I saw your comments and I'm saying move on, don't dwell on the past.

Dawn said...

I appreciate your perspective Michelle. And I agree with everything you've said.

There was indeed anger in that post - bottled up anger that I have kept inside and silent for two years.

But now it is out of the bottle. That's the beauty of writing, isn't it? I've said my piece - out loud - to my peers in the Blog world. What they individually decide to do with it is up to each of them.

And hopefully - this energy will move to finishing my degree - which remains, at the end of the day, one of my many creations.

Robin in NJ said...

FWIW, I just saw that "other" blog yesterday and it is nothing compared to yours. Yours is gritty and real and as down and dirty as it gets. The other one is namby-pamby girly-girly fluff even down to its web design. It didn't even hold my interest for 5 minutes. It's an amatuer knockoff.

Fraulein N said...

People are disgusting. I wish you COULD sue.

Jaelithe said...

I have been thinking about this for a long time and wondering how you felt about it. I remember that you were first. I remember this very well. I wish you had said something sooner. I wish I had asked you.

Lisa said...

Oh yeah, I remember that. I was very sad for you. And it really fucking sucked.

Lisa said...

P.s. I don't remember the name of the other blog or the person behind it. Never gave it a thought. You have the idea. You were the pioneer. And I think everyone in blogland who knows you thinks of you as a pioneer - someone with original ideas who's not scared to strike out and just DO IT. (Not to sound like a Nike ad er nothing.)

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