This morning while researching a topic, I came across two blog posts that blatantly mimicked each other. It became immediately apparent that the plagiarist had simply taken the originator’s four points and rewritten them in his own words (same headings; same order!)
Using my keywords in Google search, I came across version after version of this same post. Based on coherence and quality of writing, I have my own idea on exactly which of these posts was the original and which were plagiarized versions, but there’s really no way of telling for sure who wrote the original. Why?
Because half of these posters (including the one that I think was the original author) did not date their posts.
I am not talking about what Google thinks here: My suspected original author did manage to secure the top Google spot in the rankings for the search keywords I was using—but his superb post could just as easily not have gathered top ranking: I have known other authors totally frustrated at having their site archived for “duplicate content” when thieves literally literally lifted these authors’ blog posts and passed them off as their own.
Thou Shalt Not Steal
To the plagiarists, I would like to say: STOP IT.
You’re not fooling anybody. You’re stealing someone else’s work and flooding the net with garbage, wasting the time of people searching for real information–ticking off the very “targets” you were hoping to attract.
You are also de-valuing the original author’s post. That’s not cool. It’s stealing—no matter how “cleverly” you rewrite it.
If someone has said what you want to say before you or better than you could hope to do, curate the post you like instead, crediting the original author.
Here’s how to curate instead of steal:
- Pick a point from the original post that really resonates with you.
- Quote it
- Credit the author for her original article
- Start an original discussion on what struck you most.
- Send the originator a polite note and a link to your article, referencing theirs.
If you want to reprint the entire post, ask permission first–but be prepared for a “no”. (You’re depriving the original author of traffic and possible revenue by presenting the entire post on your own site.)
If you curate the original post well, the originator will feel complimented and pleased. Why? You’ve created a situation where you brought that originator quality, targeted traffic by re-introducing her post to the world and starting a conversation about it.
You didn’t just steal it and pass it off as your own.
The Best Solution
Or better yet: Come up with your own original angle. Write a completely original article, presenting another “take” on the topic.
But just be sure you date it.