As most of you know, I’ve only been blogging for about 14 months. During this time, I have been amazed at the kindness that is shown to me on a daily basis.
Through blogging, I have been fortunate enough to make some very good friends. Friends that I truly love, miss, and talk to on a daily basis. My email inbox, although not as full as most bloggers, usually includes a few sweet emails from readers, which never cease to bring tears to my eyes. I am a sentimental person, and these things I cherish.
Unfortunately, I had a bad blogging experience this week that I would like to share. Not because I am a mean person, or a bitter person, or a vengeful person, but because I decided NOT to react in the way I would like to, and this is a way for me to get it out, make peace, and move on.
The other day, while checking my Cookbook Queen Facebook page, I noticed that I had been tagged by another page, linking to my Shamrock Mint Oreos. I am always flattered and very grateful when anyone takes the time to link to me, so I headed over to their page to tell them so.
When I looked at their page, I was surprised to see that they had over 55,000 Facebook “likers”. I will be honest and admit that I was pretty excited that a site that popular was linking to my post, until I clicked the link they had posted.
On their blog, (under MY picture) was a short blurb they had written (not one word of which mentioned me or my blog) and under that was my entire recipe. Word for word, EXACTLY the same. Under the recipe, in much, much smaller font than that used for the post, was the following line: recipe and photo adaptation: Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, with a link to my site embedded.
The first thing that bothered me was that they posted my recipe at all. I have been fortunate enough to be featured on sites like Be Different, Act Normal, Craft Gossip, and Cupcakes Take the Cake many times, and they have always used my photo, but required their readers to click to MY site to get the recipe.
The second thing that bothered me was the fact that the tiny line crediting me was WAY at the bottom of the post. So unless a person was to read the ENTIRE recipe, and squint at the very small words underneath, they would not even realize that it was mine. Not to mention that they said the recipe and the photo were ADAPTED.
Adapted which means altered, not copy and pasted.
I am going to be honest and say something that people sometimes look down upon. I blog because I enjoy it, but also to make money. Admittedly, I get much more enjoyment, from my blog than monetary compensation, and that is fine by me. But having a food blog costs money. Money for materials, money for photograpy equipment and props, and money for blog design, should you choose to pay someone to do that.
I am not looking to get rich or famous off my blog by any means. All I hope to do is eventually make enough to cover my blog expenses and maybe have enough left over to put away for Christmas. If I can do that, I will be happy. I didn’t go to college, and spent most of my time as a young adult working in a restaurant. I have no huge financial expectations and am just proud that after almost 7 years of staying home, I am able to contribute financially, even if it’s just a very small amount to put towards Christmas presents.
With that being said, clicks are money for me. That is why I have an ad on my page. I get paid for every page a person views, and when a site posts my picture, my recipe, and makes it nearly impossible to figure out where it all came from, it pretty much leaves no reason for them to click over to my site.
Basically, I felt like this big site was taking advantage of me.
After thinking it over for awhile, I decided to send them an email. I made sure that the email was bordering on too kind, so that there was no way for them to interperet me as being aggressive in any way. I shared with them that I was concerned with the size and placing of the link, and that they were using my EXACT recipe. I explained that I am a much smaller and relatively new site, and I wasn’t trying to be annoying, just wanted to make sure that it was done appropriately. I also nicely asked if they would either change the wording of the recipe instructions to their own, or remove the recipe and give a link to my site instead.
They agreed to move the “adapted from” credit to directly under the photo, but refused to change or remove the recipe. They said that since they “clearly” gave me credit it was unnecessary. They also reminded me that they had over 55,000 Facebook fans who were able to see my work, thanks to them and that hopefully this was all resolved so they could “work with me again” in the future.
I didn’t reply, wanting to sleep on it and see how I felt in the morning. It was obvious that they felt they were doing me a favor and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to waste a ton of negative energy arguing my point.
In the morning however, there were three more emails from them. Two were responses to comments they had received from readers pointing out that they had used my EXACT recipe but hadn’t mentioned me in the post. The third was an email explaining that they had never encountered such problems with a feature they had done, and they would not be using my work again.
Ummm…I didn’t ask them to use it in the first place?
They have taken the Facebook post off (maybe they don’t want to call attention to my readers) but my photo is still up on the front page of their blog.
The recipe is still there too.
At this point, I am at a loss. I know I would be well within my rights to email them with bunch of legal talk and threats of telling everyone who they are, but that is just not me. I am not afraid of confrontation, I just don’t enjoy negativity. I prefer to spend my energy on more positive things.
Needless to say, I am upset that I was even put in this position. I didn’t ask for their “help”. And for those of you who are curious, I gained about 8 Facebook “likers” from their mention and about 11 people clicked over to view my site from theirs.
I guess what I am trying to explain is this:
My blog is my job and I take my job seriously. If I had a lemonade stand and someone took my lemonade to their own stand across the street and sold it, it would be pretty much the same thing. They are making money off of my work and my expense and it’s wrong.
What makes it worse is that they think I should stand there and watch them sell my lemonade and be happy.
Well guess what? I’m not happy and they are pretty much big jerks.
There. I feel better now.
At this point, I have not responded to their last email and I am not sure if I should. I would love you to comment if you have advice or have experienced a situation like this before.
I’d also like to point out that as always, you guys are a bright spot in my day. Thank you for being there, for reading, and for being so dang nice. I love you for it.
Have a happy Friday!!