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Friday, May 8, 2009

Need Help From My Awesome Friends..PLEASE!

Should I or shouldn't I. That is the question....and I NEED HELP!

I have been struggling with making the decision to make my blog private or not. So I am asking my lovely readers and followers to give me your opinions. I really do not want to go private. I want someone to say "hey what is that site about" and be able to click and here I am. Not feel put off by having to ask to be "approved" to visit me.

The reason I am having this dilemma is that I have a for lack of a better word a "stalker". This person in the past has not only taken my idea to open a shop but has copied word for word things from my website on to hers. It does not stop with just me, she has taken pictures, business polices, ect.. word for word from others Sites and Etsy's Stores and pastes them to her own website and then copyrights the stolen material as her own.

I work so hard on my blog and my biz website and all the sleepless nights researching, networking, and chatting with others just so she can copy me? I chuckle to myself sometimes when I see she makes the SAME outfit I did just months before or posts something almost word for word for a giveaway that I had posted days earlier. I think it is almost sad. Sad that someone is building on the backs of others hard work. Sad that someone can not do the work themselves.

I usually say "whatever" when I see she has done the above things, but today I got an email from a friend who said I should checkout her website. OMG! Not only has she switched to using the same web provider as me, but her layout, her categories, even down to buttons on her site is just like my website. Practically identical in more ways than not.

It is one thing to see something on a site your visiting and say "oh snap that is cute, I want that", we all do it...that's one of the cool things about networking and blogging...but I don't claim to anyone who will listen that it was my idea...or that I just happen to come across it when I know damn well where I saw it.

I know she checks this site, she has since I started the blog...and I waited for the day she would start a blog and low and behold she did...it obviously was not a surprise to me or others who know her and what she has done. Now she is joining the same blogger groups, and is following some of you! She see's all the lovely comments you all leave about my blog and website and she wants...needs.. that attention so she is copying me at every turn.

Before you ask, yes I know this person, we used to be friends. That ended when I got tired of uncovering her lies. Lying to a room off mommies that she made the outfit her daughter was waring because mine and my girlfriends kids were getting attention because we did actually make ours. Lying when she said she designed the logo for her website and biz cards all by herself, when come to find out she copied it from Vista Print, ect..ect..ect. Then to top it off to find out she talked smack about me when I was not around.

My question is...When does the phrase "Imitation is the sheerest form of flattery" run a little thin. When is it not flattery anymore, but just plain rude?

Sorry this has been a little longer of a post than I anticipated. Obviously it was things I needed to say, but I really hope it did not come off as petty or snotty because if you have read my blogs in the past, you'll know that was not my intent.

So back to the original question...what would you do? What would you do it you found out someone was hot on your tail copying almost everything you did and profiting from not only your hard work but others?


Veronica Lee said...

I'm not sure but I thing Google Alert may help. I read about it somewhere but am not sure how to go about it. But if you go private, you will definitely see a drop in traffic to your blog. I read about that from some where too.
Hope that helps!!

Jodie @ The Haby Goddess said...

Oh Steph, that's a terrible situation to be in and I really feel for you! If you do decide to go private then I'm sure all your supporters will do their best to bring genuine traffic your way. Sometimes people are curious to why a blog is private and will want to be approved. Hopefully this person will see this post, be very embarrassed and then go away (I did want to say something else there that wasn't so nice!hehe!) Good luck!

Be Brave, Keep Going said...

You have certain rights under copyright law. Your blog and shop are consider "intellectual property" and thus protected. YOu should email this other person and let them know that they are breaking the law and need to remove any "copied" material from their site.

I have heard that with all things internet, it's not a matter of "if" it gets stolen, but "when". Still doesn't make it okay...

Unknown said...

Unfortunately you're not alone with the whole copycat thing: http://www.sparkplugging.com/craft-boom/my-etsy-highs-lows-so-far/ that's where I first heard about that.

I am so sorry to hear about your blogstalker, that really stinks! I would be really sad to see your blog go private, having just found it. I'll assume I'd be in with an invite to read it☺ Just sent you one for Twitter.

I guess it just depends on whether or not you also want to use your blog as a vehicle to promote your business too.

PS: I am sooo curious as to know who this mysterious copycat is, immature I know!

Petit (Australia) said...

I'm so sorry that this has happened to you, don't go private why should you, you after all are not doing anything wrong. Let others know who she is, post it on forums (MomDot is great for this) post her on twitter, don't get mad get even.

Cathie said...

{{HUGS}} sorry to hear about your dilema. can't offer any advice that hasn't already been given to you by your lovely blog friends apart from telling you that I hope the situation gets better for you soon.

MoonNStarMommy said...

All I want to know - is this person following me? LOL... Seriously though, I don't like people who do that... I have had a few. One because she didn't like what my ex-husband did (don't blame her honestly) and I was an idiot and believed he didn't do it, stayed with him (sorta), and low and behold when we got divorced found out it was true, but she continues to stalk me and try to make my life a living hell. But also my ex-best friend who is now doing the same crap as the other person AND that OTHER person and her have now found each other and BOTH try to make my life a living hell. Then there is my husband's ex, the mother of his daughter who won't let him see her because she wants my husband and he won't go back to her... my blog is public... and sometimes it blows, but I can only be true to who I am - and I say to the rest of them, I don't care anymore. People who know me, read me, etc can TELL I'm not the person that they make me out to be, and as for the ex, she can just go take a flying leap off a short ... well, you get my point. I think we all have some stalkers of some sort, some in a good way (readers) some in a bad way... but if we let them control US, then they win. I would take every precaution in "marking" your territory. Start putting writing on your photos, make your writing all photos with faint writing behind it with your website address, that way if she copies it, she can't get rid of your info. I don't know what else to tell you because I don't know anything about etsy :( But it seems other have had some great advice.

***Sharon*** said...

Unfortunately we both know that she is going to read this and either a)not have a clue that she is talking about you or b) not care. AT ALL.

You have taken the high road since day one. We have both seen her in action - in person and online. Caught her in lies and have even predicted her "next move." She's copied your ideas, your pictures, your layout, your items....what next?

What's even more upsetting is that this whole experience has made me leery about buying handmade items online. I used to have a lot of faith in other people's creations but now I question it. She advertises that she is a seamstress but we both know that she is nowhere near that caliber. Her fan base consists of people who do not sew so they do not know any difference. This just goes to show that anyone can open a shop and sell things. :(

Yes, she is mingling amongst your followers and friends. While she may not be "officially" following them she does have their names listed on her page as her favorites.

Do not go private. There are so many people out there that will be missing out on your creations!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you are going through this. Here are my suggestions---
-don't go private, especially if you are trying to establish a business. Like someone above said, you will difinitely lose traffic.
-a lot of blogs that I frequent have a "no right click" feature. You cannot right click to copy and paste or save pictures, which is very handy. And makes it a lot harder for someone to plagarize.
-If worse comes to worse- out this person, let your readers know who is stealing your ideas and other things. Hopefully, this person's readers will be alerted and take apropriate action, by either tactfully letting her know that her behavior is wrong (and illegal) or by just not reading her blog.
This last answer seems harsh and maybe a little childish (tattle-taling), but if no one confronts her, it will just continue.

I hope this helps a little. I really like your blog and would hate to see it go private.
Have a great day

Melanie @ Whimsical Creations said...

HUgs!! That really is NOT cool. I am sorry you have to go through that. I would like to see you keep your blog public, just because I want to see it bring you business. Not to mention I like your creations! =D

I had someone copy something once and then blog how she copied it and linked it to me. I was PISSED! Yeah, I contacted her and she pulled the post down.

Sarah said...

I am sorry to hear someone is stalking your blog and taking your information! That stinks!
Hope things work out, visiting from SITS!

Mommy24cs said...

Maybe if you put her name on here she would be embarrassed and knock it off;p Seriously though you shouldn't have to go private. Have you contacted Etsy about it? I would think they could do something about her plagiarizing. Sorry you have to go through this :o(

Tonya Staab said...

Don't go private. You are allowing this person to win. Take the high road, continue what you are doing. Unfortunately there are people out there with no imagination of their own who feel the need to copy somebody else because they are so much better than they could ever hope to be.

Are you able to report this person to Etsy? Surely you must be protected under some form of copyright. Also have you informed the other people who you know she is copying too, because if not they definitely have a right to know and maybe as a collective unit you can all band together to confront her and at least let her know that if she does not cease to copy your hard work then you will be forced to out her.

Don't let her win though. By going private you will end up losing potential readers and possibly clients to your store.

flapjacs said...

This is unbelievable! I hope you get it resolved. It would be destroyed if something like that happened to me.
Thanks for popping in to say hi on my blog. See you on Skout!

Pricousins said...

okay, first off - go to www.myfreecopyright.com and register your blog. every post you make thereafter is copyrighted and you can file against her for that.

2nd - like someone said above, Etsy will probably like to know about this. Templates and things are passed around regularly, but if it's stealing pictures, or copying words, that is plagiarism and can be prosecuted.

3rd - do you have PhotoShop? Google how to make a watermark or look for blog contests for some (I have seen them - they do exist) and further protect your photos.

This is illegal and won't be tolerated.

I am a papercrafter and I share cards on my blog from time to time, but I also have the free copyright.


Hugs to you! I hope you get it straightened out.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! stop in anytime!

Pricousins said...

oh yeah and I do Google Alerts too. But I only search for my name and online alias.

Moms On The Go said...

Sorry to hear about that, is there no program to block a person from your blog?

Stephanie said...

New here! What a horrible thing to have happen. Hope you don't go private..I just found you.
Wishing you brighter days

Robbie S. Redmon, LPC said...

From SITS. Enjoying your blog.


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