Here are My Top 10 Reasons Blogs Are Plagiarized On the Internet

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

 After reading Teresa Boardman's post in the Real Estate Tomato, I was reminded that, like Teresa, I, too, must chase down plagiarizers and get their stolen material offline. And I had neglected this duty for a while because, quite frankly, it's unpleasant. I dislike informing people that they must remove my content, and it personally irritates me that they blatantly swiped it, claimed to be the author and plopped it on their blogs and Web sites.

To get around feeling grumpy and agitated, I have a protocol that I use. Sometimes I begin my letter by saying, "Hey, guess what? Somebody took YOUR photograph and YOUR name and stuck it on my copyrighted article. Who would do such a thing to you?"

But when I find an extremely large number of plagiarizers, I generally send a form letter that says they have published a copyrighted article from About.com that is owned by The New York Times. I give them 72 hours to remove it before reporting them. 

Generally, my content is promptly removed. But along with the removal, I also receive excuses and reasons why it was there in the first place. I thought I'd share some of these with you because, in retrospect, they are quite amusing:

REASONS WHY I PLAGIARIZED YOUR MATERIAL

  • I believe in putting free information on my Web site for my clients to read.
  • My interns did it last summer.
  • I paid somebody to write this for me.
  • I didn't publish your entire article, only the parts I liked.
  • My Web master's mother is dying, and he's too upset to deal with this right now, which makes me depressed.
  • I complied with Ohio law, which says I can copy anything I want off the Internet.
  • I didn't steal this from you; I swiped it from another site that stole it from you. 
  • I discount my commission, so I don't make a lot of money and can't write my own stuff.
  • I refer a lot of readers to About.com, and this would be a bad business strategy to report me. 
  • We're supposed to work together, not attack each other; I can't believe you are complaining.

You might think I am making this up, but believe me, I am not. You can't make stuff like this up. I received all these e-mails between last night and this morning.


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elizabeth weintraub

 

 

Weintraub and Wallace Realtors

 

 

Elizabeth Weintraub reviews

 

 

 

Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

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Rainmaker
2,190,192
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Kris: Yes, I know the feeling. It's outrageously sad AND funny.


 

Nov 25, 2007 03:55 AM #2
Rainer
69,776
Jonelle Simons
Windermere Real Estate - Park City, UT
That is funny - I especially like the one about the webmaster's something or other... so therefore I'm depressed... LOL
Nov 25, 2007 04:11 AM #3
Rainmaker
2,190,192
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Jonelle: 

Oh, there are others such as "I'm going to report you for reporting me." And they just keep coming. I've been waiting for somebody to tell me their dog posted it online.


Nov 25, 2007 04:19 AM #4
Rainmaker
236,392
Debbie Summers
Charles Rutenberg Realty - New Smyrna Beach, FL
Elizabeth - If they were as creative about their excuses as they are with their business, maybe they would have their own content.  I enjoy reading your posts!
Nov 25, 2007 04:47 AM #5
Rainer
118,460
Erin Stumpf (Attardi)
Coldwell Banker - Sacramento, CA
916-342-1372 / DRE# 01706589 Sacramento, CA
Yikes Elizabeth!  Have you ever had someone try to tell you that you are actually the one that stole their blog!?
Nov 25, 2007 06:58 AM #6
Rainer
16,549
Tyghre Collentine
Coldwell Banker Burnet - Minneapolis, MN
Wow...interesting post.  Isn't the whole point of blogging being able to express oneself??? And not to mention, being able to relate and communicate with our audience.  
Nov 25, 2007 08:00 AM #7
Rainmaker
2,190,192
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Yikes Elizabeth!  Have you ever had someone try to tell you that you are actually the one that stole their blog!?

Hi Erin:Well, I have had to PROVE that my article was published months before the plagiarizer's piece. Providing proof was required to get the guy fired from FOX News, because apparently he dug himself a deeper hole by trying to claim he was the author. Since I regularly update articles for typos, punctuation, link substitutions, minor sorts of things, that changes the published date. I had to get the developers at About.com involved to substantiate the dates.

As a result of that episode, I now insert the date I write them as part of the URL. 


Nov 25, 2007 08:32 AM #8
Rainmaker
2,190,192
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Thanks, Debbie and Tyghre: Surprisingly, three Web sites / blogs that swiped my stuff were owned by lawyers.


Nov 25, 2007 08:34 AM #9
Rainmaker
2,190,192
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Whoo boy, just when I thought they couldn't get any sillier, I just received this response from an Assist 2 Sell manager in Arizona, who shall remain unnamed, and I am not going to publish it in its entirety but shall instead paraphrase it for you. It occurred to me that to publish a person's e-mail, regardless of how stupid it is, isn't right, either.

She was very angry that I wrote to her. She insisted she received the article elsewhere, most likely from another thief online. She removed my material but went on to say that she could find  millions of other articles online, so  she was aghast that The New York Times, being the major newspaper that it is, would actually receive payment for reprint rights, and she had no intention of paying for anything. 

She suggested I should be honored that my content was stolen and questioned whether I had better things to do than to defend my income and integrity.

Nov 26, 2007 04:42 AM #10
Rainmaker
565,940
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

A few weeks ago, I was astonished to read a post on AR that began with a rather lengthy paragraph which was copied verbatim from the website of a friend and colleague in another state! 

I'm amazed that some of these scoundrels truly believe we don't look at what's on the Web already.  I'm sure that fellow thought he'd be able to slide it past his audience. 

Nov 26, 2007 04:48 AM #11
Ambassador
251,212
Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK
Retired
This is just sad... I have to admit I love the "I didn't steal this from you; I swiped it..." comment.  As if that makes it any better. 
Nov 27, 2007 06:07 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,767,001
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
Those are some tragically funny reasons, Elizabeth. I don't know if the plagiarizers just don't have any ethics, or are  simply unable to understand that what they're doing is wrong. Hopefully they don't benefit from the content between the time they steal it and the time they're caught.
Nov 27, 2007 06:36 PM #14
Ambassador
1,723,296
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Forgive me ny naive question, but how are you checking the web and how are you finding the culprits? Just curious. I am obviously so new in the game, that I am missing a whole lot. Thank you.

 

Nov 27, 2007 06:39 PM #15
Rainmaker
2,190,192
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Jon, to answer your question, there are a variety of ways to catch these people. I subscribe to Google Alerts, under my most used keywords. I probably scroll through about 200 blurbs a day, and my writing is such that I instantly recognize it. Other times, I simply stumble upon my stuff on other sites, perhaps searching Google with keywords to determine rank. 

However, I also pay for the premium service on Copyscape.com. It lets me track by URL or a paragraph. Sometimes the plagiarizers won't copy my entire article but will select several paragraphs to plunk into the middle of their stuff, and I find it that way. For example, I wrote a piece about selling in spring. Simple little article. It gets ripped off a dozen times a day. I find it because I say that sellers should put out yellow flowers. I'm the only person who says that, so it's easy to find.

People think that if they copy only a paragraph or two, it's OK. But it's not.


Nov 28, 2007 01:06 AM #16
Ambassador
1,723,296
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Thank you,

I think this was a blog in itself, and would be very helpful for newbies especially. Why not post it for everyone out there. For me this was a crash course in something that I did not even know about just 24 hours ago. Can I say my world was a little nicer then? I guess, not. I was just more naive than I should have been.

Thanks again, this is what makes AR my university. And you are a good and patient mentor.

Nov 28, 2007 03:23 AM #17
Rainer
113,497
Ryan Martin
Windermere Real Estate / Whatcom Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Commercial RE Broker
Elizabeth - I think it really comes down to people being LAZY. It can take hours if not days to research a topic and write great content for a website or blog. It is so easy to copy it. I feel the same way about photos. I don't drive around all day takinggreat photos, for other people to right click and post on their blog.
Nov 28, 2007 03:28 AM #18
Rainmaker
2,190,192
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I think this was a blog in itself, and would be very helpful for newbies especially. Why not post it for everyone out there.

Well, Jon, I don't know if anybody has ever accused me of yakking too much about a subject, but I think this post, since it's on AR, it is there for everybody to see, isn't it? I suppose I could be wrong. But I'm happy that you've found something worthwhile to digest in this post. :)

Hi Ryan: Yes, people are lazy. They are also clueless at times. But sometimes we get so rushed that we forget what we are doing. There is a big difference between, say, downloading an amusing photo and forwarding that photo to a friend in a private e-mail and posting the photograph on your blog. Other think as long as they link to you, and give you attribution, that they are complying with the law. But they are plagiarizing because they copied an article or part of an article without permission.


Nov 28, 2007 05:03 AM #19
Rainer
31,291
James and Joseph Bridges
Keller Williams Realty - Global Trust Team - Long Beach, CA
Elizabeth, truly amazing responses for sure.  How are you searching for your material?  Are you saving a google search?  Just curious as I agree we must all be aware of those who steal content.
Nov 28, 2007 07:05 AM #20
Rainmaker
2,190,192
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you
Hello James: Here is my response to Jon, above: I subscribe to Google Alerts, under my most used keywords. I probably scroll through about 200 blurbs a day, and my writing is such that I instantly recognize it. Other times, I simply stumble upon my stuff on other sites, perhaps searching Google with keywords to determine rank. 

However, I also pay for the premium service on Copyscape.com. It lets me track by URL or a paragraph. Sometimes the plagiarizers won't copy my entire article but will select several paragraphs to plunk into the middle of their stuff, and I find it that way. For example, I wrote a piece about selling in spring. Simple little article. It gets ripped off a dozen times a day. I find it because I say that sellers should put out yellow flowers. I'm the only person who says that, so it's easy to find.


Nov 28, 2007 08:30 AM #21
Rainer
113,497
Ryan Martin
Windermere Real Estate / Whatcom Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Commercial RE Broker
Elizabeth - That is agreed. Sharing photos between friends is perfectly fine. Posting in blogs = Bad.
Nov 28, 2007 09:53 AM #22
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