Lately, there has been a growing trend on Facebook that is making bloggers very unhappy. New recipe, craft and DIY sharing pages are being set up for the sole purpose of building their membership base quickly. They are using (stealing) content created by bloggers and posting it on their pages, along with copyrighted content and images and no mention of the original source. They’re asking their fans to “share” these posts in the hopes of gaining more likes. Once these pages build up their membership, they can start spamming their readers with bogus offers, use them to promote their business, or even sell off their pages to the highest bidder.
As a blogger myself, this not only irritates me — I consider it copyright infringement and theft of intellectual property. To many of you, that viewpoint may seem a bit extreme. But let me explain why I feel this way. Blogging, while something I love to do, is not simply a hobby. It is my full-time job. Like most professional bloggers, my family relies on the income I make to help pay our bills. That wasn’t always the case. It took me six months of nearly full-time work to earn my first check, and it’s taken years (over a decade, to be exact) to build my business and readership to the point it is today. I’ve spent countless hours investing in my blog, building my audience and learning new skills to hone my craft. I have every right to protect my investment of time and income, as every blogger and business owner does. To see someone build a page based on someone else’s work is akin to a squatter illegally occupying a home that was built by someone else.
As a Facebook user, this is what you need to know. I’m using an example of a post I did for my website Mommysavers.com on DIY Baby Wipes that was improperly posted by another fan page*.
- When you see a post shared by a page, make sure that proper accreditation has been given. Legitimate pages will link to the original source of the original blog post and image (as you can see above). They will give the reader a reason to click on the link and send traffic to the site that worked to provide the content.
- If you notice that a full recipe or how-to tutorial has been copied and pasted into an image caption without a link (as you can see below), that should send up red flags. This is an example of how my DIY Baby Wipes post and image was taken improperly by another site. To most Facebook users, this looks like a helpful post on the part of the group owner that posted it. While it may help readers, it is also copyright infringement. Keep in mind that the bloggers this affects invested in their blog and brand by purchasing the items in the photo, photographing the project, and taking time to carefully write their blog post. Facebook groups such as this are relying on others’ investment of time to generate readership for their page. Nowhere in their post do they mention where they procured this information or give credit where credit is due.
Before I truly scare you away from ever sharing anything again, let me also say most bloggers not only love for you to correctly share their posts and pages, they want you to do so. Their work is meant to generate more page views and readership for their blog. As you’re carefully using the “share” feature and sending people to the appropriate place to view their work, you’re doing what was originally intended.
*Before using this page as an example, I offered the page administrator the chance to make things “right” by contacting them privately and politely asking them to edit their post by adding the correct links. Instead of doing the right thing, they removed the post altogether responding, “i just deleted it btw I didnt get it off your website… so better check out the whole internetim just saying”