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Copycat Bloggers

Ok, it’s time to for me rant. During my meditations on the mount I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished with my blogs and what direction(s) I might take them.

Through it all I was reminded of the number of blogs that Blog Bloke has inspired along the way. I say this with some confidence because I have been blogging for many years now and believe that I can safely say that I am the original blogger writing about the topic of blogging.

Some time ago I was ill and unable to blog. To my dismay when I had returned I discovered a plethora of new blogs that were only too eager to ride on my coattails during my absence.

Since then it seems like every week or so there is another copycat blog showing up in the ’sphere. While I don’t mind so much having competition (what’s that they say about the sincerest form of flattery ;-), but what I do mind is how they are blogging.

For example, there are a lot of blogs (I won’t name them to spare them embarrassment) that are offering so-called tips for bloggers.But what some of them are actually doing is just cutting and pasting from online faqs and help files and massaging the words a bit to make it look like their own.

Some are even dusting off old books and recompiling them as posts. They offer nothing original in the hope of attracting traffic to make money off their ads.

Whilst these blogs seem to be generated by a real person (not by an automated robot) I will say that they are definitely riding a fine line between what a legitimate blog should be and a splog.

But what really makes this bad is that they are NOT even providing links or references to their sources, as they try to fluff it off as their own work (it’s called plagiarism). For shame.

The kahunas! Ok, enough ranting. Back to meditating.

Filed under: blog bloke, instabloke, blogging, blogger, splog

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  • Written October 5th, 2006 by | 21 Comments | Filed under: *Best Tips, Blog Tips ,

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    There are 21 Comments so far to “Copycat Bloggers”

    1. Great blog! I’ve added a link to your blog on Blog of the Day under the category of Blogging. To view the feature of your blog, please visit

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    2. You mentione “by a real person”

      So are all you copy cat blogs made by the same one?

      Don’t worry your original readers aren’t going anywhere else to read :)

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    3. While I agree that there are a few blogs out there on the topic of blogging that verge on splogs I actually think there’s also a lot of really quality ones.

      I highly doubt any started when they saw you were sick though. I’m not sure if this post is serious or an attempt at humor but it comes across as slightly arrogant to me - claims that you’re the original blogger writing about the topic of blogging’ seems quite bizarre for starters.

      While you’ve no doubt been writing on the topic for a long time and have developed a readership I’m skeptical of people copying you any more than anyone else.

      In my experience - people tend to start blogging about blogging for two main reasons:

      1. They think it’s a get rich quick thing - these generally dont last longer than a few weeks before they realise that it’s not that easy.

      2. Those who are genuinely interested in blogging (either out of their experience of it or because they want to learn about it and document their journey).

      My opinion on those who are verging on splogging is that they from my observation they don’t last very long for two reasons:

      1. They don’t make much from it (blogging’s not the most lucrative topic in the world)

      2. Rubbish for content doesn’t generally attract a readership. People who do it for readership generally give up.

      Sorry if I’m misinterpretted your post but it comes across as a little arrogant to me. Blogging is about conversations and the idea of copycats doesn’t tend to bother me that much - I love it when I discover a new blog in my field and think it’s a great opportunity to chat, learn, share and grow (both me and the other person) rather than seeing it as something to critique.

      Perhaps instead of critiquing people for their blogging style you, as an experienced blogger, should get along side some of the new people in your niche and help them to develop their blogs in worthwhile ways?

      It’s very easy to sit back and point out the faults in others but perhaps it’s more constructive to help others grow - afterall - that’s what this blog is about isn’t it?

      Just my two cents worth.

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    4. Thanks for the comments Darren. I’ve been away from my ‘puter and only just noticed your comments.

      As far as my claims for being an original in my “field” are concerned, I stand by that unless proven otherwise. I don’t think it is “arrogant” to occasionally toot one’s own horn, and I certainly do it far less often than you do on your own blogs, so I make no apologies.

      Sometimes constructive criticism is a useful tool and it is something that I always welcome on this blog. I have also tried not to be meanspirited about it and intentionally not linked to any of the blogs that I was referring to.

      After reading your comments I can’t help but wonder if it is a knee-jerk reaction to my previous criticisms of your marketing techniques. I hope that I’m wrong.

      I’m also wondering if this post has somehow hit a nerve with you. I appreciate humor as much as anyone, and I can’t help but notice the irony that you have accused my criticisms of other blogs as being misguided and “arrogant”, and yet you are criticizing me here. That is very interesting.

      Nevertheless, please let me quell your concerns and assure you that I do encourage similarly styled blogs (as demonstrated here) that are writing good original posts.

      In the future might I also suggest that you take your own advice and read my posts more carefully, and you will note that my rant was primarily directed at those who are not writing original material and ripping off someone else’s content.

      Thank you for best wishes during my illness and for dropping by.


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    5. Thank you Rob and Ajay for your support.

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    6. I’m hardly going to spend the time to do the research to find whose been blogging longer than you on the topic of blogging. I’m assuming that you must be talking about blogging on another blog than this one because your archives only seem to go back a year. It’s probably not a debate worth having I guess - just seemed like a bizarre claim to make.

      I take your point on me critiquing you about critiquing others - although my suggestion to you was that perhaps you get along side some of the bloggers you think are copycats and help them become better. I hoped that in doing so my criticism was constructive rather than just taking a pot shot.

      I’m not quite sure where I toot my own horn in this way. In fact I regularly tell my readers about my insufficiencies and weaknesses and I’ve never claimed to be the first at anything. I do talk about what works for me and what doesn’t - but always try to do it in a way that tries to help others rather than is arrogant. Of course arrogance is open to interpretation and I guess what is arrogant to one wont be to another. I’m happy to be called on it if I have been.

      This wasn’t a knee jerk reaction to your previous comments about me. While I disagreed with you there I moved on quickly and it hasn’t crossed my mind since. Life’s too busy at the moment to hold onto that type of stuff.

      In terms of whether I read your post carefully - in actual fact I read it about 10 times and understood what you were saying. Perhaps I didn’t convey myself very well (it’s been a pretty tiring few weeks) but I did understand what you were saying (and agreed with some of it) - I guess it was just the tone of the post that left me somewhat frustrated.

      Anyway - happy to take on your critique of my critique and am glad you’re willing to hear mine.

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    7. I found it rather humorous that you would call me arrogant and not helpful. If you could accuse me of anything, I think my readers would agree that arrogant I am not, and that I am indeed helpful.

      I wouldn’t make such a claim if I didn’t believe it were true. This blog Blog Bloke is relatively new and is NOT my first, and the Blog Bloke has been a fixture in the ’sphere and the computer industry for a lot longer than I care to remember.

      I’m surprised that you were not aware of that and perhaps you should have read my faq first before flying off. Nevertheless, if there is one thing that I can be certain of Darren is that I’ve most certainly been around the block longer than you have so show some respect sonny.

      (Whoops, by saying that I may have just given away my age so if you want to call me a codgy old fart then you may have got me there.)

      But it’s no big deal to me and I only said it off the cuff. Then again, it was a good demonstration of contrary blogging don’t you think? ;-)

      Thus ends the lesson. Cheers!

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    8. Me think Darron protests to much.
      You’re the greatest!!!
      Hope the mountain has helped you to regain your “center”.
      Best wishes and glad you’re back.

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    9. Thanks Teri. I’m still trying to get centered (as if that can ever really be obtainable).

      Perhaps the reason I wrote this post is the last time I took a long sabbatical I lost a lot of my readership for reasons already explained. So I’m trying my best to keep on keeping on.

      I’m feeling better every day and should be back to my usual trouble making by the end of this month.

      Thanks again for your support. It is really appreciated.

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    10. a couple of things.

      1. I didn’t say you were not helpful. I was writing about this one post - which I suggested might have been more constructive if you (as an experienced blogger) actually got alongside the new bloggers in your niche to help them improve what they were doing. While I’ve only come across your blog in more recent times I do think you’re a helpful blogger in terms of the content you write. At times you come across (in my opinion) as a little arrogant in a few of your posts - but the majority of what you write is helpful and interesting (which is why I’m a reader of you via your feed).

      In terms of your claim - from what I can see you’ve been blogging at blog bloke since september 2004 - the same month I transferred all my archives on blogging from my personal blog to Problogger. I’d been writing blog tips on my personal blog in a category dedicated to the topic since October 2003. I started reporting in another category on that blog about blogosphere news in 2002.

      Does this make me the earliest? I highly doubt it - I would never make that claim because at the time I started writing on the topic I had been following others who had been writing on the topic for a lot longer than me (Rebecca Blood, Jeff Jarvis, Doc Searls, Dave Sifry etc etc etc). I am not sharing this because I want to stake a claim on being the original blogger on blogging - but because I don’t really think any one can or should make such a claim. Blogging is a communal collaborative activity - we’ve all contributed something to it and the way people have grown in their understanding of it.

      I have read your about page and FAQ - I’ve read them on numerous occassions. It was there that I first saw your claims of being the ‘original’ blog on blogging tips etc (you make it on both your FAQ and About page). Your ‘off the cuff’ remark seems to be one you’ve been making for a while.

      Ultimately - I don’t care if you call yourself the original or first blogger about blogging.

      All I was doing by leaving my comment above was to have a little discussion about your post and to let you know how it came across to me. I’m not wanting to cause offence - but give feedback about how you occassionally come across. Perhaps it’s not my place to do so - I know such feedback isn’t always easy to hear as I’ve had my fair share but as I reflect upon the critiques I’ve been given from time to time as a blogger it is them that have helped shape me into the person I am today - they help me improve and refine my own blogging (which has a long way to go).

      Having said all that - if you’re happy with your blogging style and your readership is responding well to it then ultimately you’re on the right track. We all do things that others don’t like from time to time and in the end we either take them on board and adapt or we keep on keeping on and possiby lose a reader or two - either way is a legitimagte response.

      PS: I show people respect based not upon their age or how long they’ve been going around the block but based upon who they are as people, how they lead their lives and how they treat those around them.

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    11. Huh! I can’t believe you are still on this. Obviously this post really did strike a chord with you and have an axe to grind.

      Ok Darren, for your information I have been blogging about the topic of Blogging under my internet personna Blog Bloke before you started Pro Blogger in 2003. I had also already been blogging about the topic of Blogging before that and I have been a fixture on the web long before there was even such a thing as the blogosphere.

      So perhaps you have unintentionally done me a favour because I most definitely have been blogging about the topic of blogging longer than you, and I am most likely the original for to my knowledge no one else was doing it at the time.

      I would also add that your blog is geared towards entrepreneurs wanting to make money online which is quite a bit more narrow in scope than my topic. That would also go for the rest that you refer to.

      So getting back to the root of the reason for this discussion, was it arrogant of me to say what I did? I don’t think so. Like I said it was an off the cuff remark and one that I truly believe is fact.

      Nor was I saying it to be boastful or arrogant. I probably only mentioned it because I have been feeling burnt out since my illness, but it certainly didn’t deserve this diatribe from you.

      Darren, you started this so I’m going to have to finish it. I started out programming mainframes and have been in the computer industry since the early 80’s before you had even seen a keyboard.

      I sold CPM based desktop computers for a Japanese company that competed with the Kaypro before anybody had ever heard of Bill Gates or MSDOS. I purchased the first copy of Windows ever made and it is still in the shrink wrap (I prefered to continue using DOS until Win98).

      My first computer was an Apple 11 Plus (a clone that I built myself). I’ve worked in business, been an entrepreneur, politics, and law. Shall I go on?

      Now let’s discuss yourself for a moment. I can dust off old business books that cover similar topics that you post about (excepting technological innovations since of course). I also find it interesting that someone who purports to be a pro blogger didn’t design his own template. But I digress.

      The problem for you Darren is that I’ve been around these neck of the woods a heck of a lot longer than you have so you are only fooling yourself if you think you can come over to this side of the block and push your nonsense. I’ve earned my stirrups and deserve your respect.

      And while I’m on the topic please note that when I said that I immediately followed it with a self-defecating comment.

      So tell me. Who is really the arrogant one?

      Anyone who reads me regularly should know my sense of humor, and anybody can see that it was meant to be a joke and you should have just dropped it.

      The truth of the matter is I called you out on using huckster marketing methods and you have been looking for your opportunity for payback.

      Neither do you like the fact that someone else may have a little more knowledge and experience, and also have the nerve to say so. So you thought this was your moment to set the record straight, but you miscalculated and it didn’t quite work out the way you expected.

      Believe it or not when I wrote the post I wasn’t even thinking about you, but now that I think about it perhaps I should have. And If that sounds like I’m a little angry you are absolutely correct in that conclusion.

      Darren my friend, I hold no hard feelings but I think you owe me an apology. You have attacked me and made unfair accusations, basically flaming me (albeit under the false pretence of edifying me) on my own blog.

      It seems that you are the one who is edified. Life can be ironical don’t you think.

      I want you to read your comments again and seriously consider taking your own advice, and use this as a learning experience. I also recommend that you not take yourself so seriously because I certainly don’t.

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    12. After further reflection I wish I hadn’t said what I did because it was certainly not worth all the hassle.

      Darren, you unfortunately backed me into a position to defend myself, and as a former litigator I’ve always held to the Captain Kirk strategy that the best defense is an offense.

      If it appeared like I was trying to beat up on you then please accept my apologies. That is not something I like to see on this blog.

      So let me take it all back and offer you an olive branch. You can have all the honors Darren. And I have to admit you are good resource for Adsense. But I reserve the right to speak my mind. After all, someone has to keep characters like you in line ;-)

      Ok, now where on earth did I put that delete button?


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    13. Am I hung up on this? maybe - but is there anything wrong with that? I thought we were having a conversation…. but if you’d rather I didn’t respond to your comments and just let you have the last word unanswered then I’d be happy to do that. I could have just gone away from your initial post frustrated and not said anything - but I thought that feedback might have been appreciated. I guess I could have stopped commenting on this thread at any point too - but when I see a conversation half finished and someone responds to me I think it’s good manners to respond back until we find some resolution. But if you’d like me to stop responding then you just have to say the word.

      In terms of whose been blogging longer - I don’t care if it’s me or you - my intention in bringing my own history of it wasn’t to prove I’m better or have been blogging longer etc - but to say that I think there are plenty of long term people blogging on the topic. I’ll take your word for it that you’ve been blogging about blogging for the longest although i guess we can only go back as far as the archives of your blogs go - perhaps some of your archives have been deleted or you’ve had some blog that proceeded your current blogs - if so then I’ve not found them and if you want to make the claim to being the first then go for it.

      In terms of my comments being a diatribe - mate, if you think this is a diatribe I’m sorry. My dictionary defines diatribe as a ‘bitter or abusive speech’ or a ‘thunderous verbal attack’. I thought we were having conversation. I’ve conceded that I’m not a perfect blogger, I’ve put my comments in terms of it being my opinion, I’ve tried to be reasonable - but if it hasn’t come across that way then I truly am sorry. I tried to respond to you in a similar tone to your own post/comments. To be fair your post was written about some unknown blogs who you were displeased with and it was written as a bit of a ‘rant’ (your word in your last sentence of the post). When I rant I generally expect people to pick up the tone in comments - some continue my rant in agreement - others in disagreement.

      You say that I started this - I disagree. You wrote a post that made certain claims, that was written in a certain tone. If you’re not willing to have someone question that, express an opinion and tell you how your post makes them feel then I’m sorry - but we have a different understanding of blogging.

      You have been in and around computers for a long time Blog Bloke - I don’t doubt that - I think it’s great and admire your sustained involvement with the industry - its inspiring. I guess the main thrust of my comment was just asking you to consider that perhaps you might get along side the young blogger who is still finding their way with your wealth of experience rather than complaining that they don’t do it right. We all start somewhere with our blogging - we all need mentors - we all need to learn that perhaps there are ways of blogging that are not constructive or even ethical…. While you’re frustrated by some of these emerging bloggers perhaps you could use the influence that you have (if you have inspired them to copy you as you seem to think) and guide them into being better bloggers (something that you seem passionate about writing about).

      Is this payback for something that you wrote months ago? I can honestly say it isn’t. I don’t know what else to say - you obviously don’t believe me so I’ll step away from that one and let you think what you wish as there’s no way to prove it either way.

      Am I jealous that someone has more knowledge than me on a topic? Not a chance. I love that people know more about blogging than me - I love to learn from others and I subscribed to your blog in the hope that you’d help me become a better blogger (like I subscribe to hundreds of other bloggers). We can all learn something from blogging and no one has a monopoly on knowledge about blogging.

      I never said you were thinking about me when you wrote this post - I’d not considered that you were and would hope that if you had something to say about my blog that you’d put my name on such a post or shoot me an email with feedback as I’d want the chance to take it into consideration as a way to improve what I do.

      I’m sorry that you’re angry. I’m sorry that you see this thread as an attack - I worked on my initial comment for 30 or so minutes and did a couple of drafts in the hope that it would be constructive rather than just a criticism. I obviously failed at that.

      If you want an apology (and I think I’ve used the word sorry 5 times already in this post) I apologize that you feel hurt and attacked by my comment. While I made it feeling some frustration I wrote it with the hope of a constructive conversation. Unfortunately somewhere along the line it was interpreted differently and I think this interaction has become anything but constructive.

      As a result I think it best that we both step away. I’m happy to end things and if you’d like to have the final word on anything I’ve said in this comment then please do. I’m more than happy to be critiqued and as with all the interactions I have with other bloggers and my readers this will no doubt inform my future blogging.

      I’m not really sure we’ve really resolved anything as we’re both probably feeling the same things that we did at the start of this conversation - but as we’re not getting anywhere we can probably both find better things to do with our time.

      So all the best. Blog on.

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    14. Geesh Darren. Ok, you can have the last word but with one exception.

      For the record you did come out with guns blazing accusing me of making unfounded claims and calling me names - i.e. calling me “arrogant” and implying that I’m a liar.

      You might have attempted to surround it with relatively neutral language, but the intent of the message was still loud and clear.

      The bottom line is you attacked my integrity that was bordering on defamatory, and forced me into a defensive position.

      Did I overreact? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I take allegations like that very seriously which in turn necessitated an appropriate response.

      Next time might I recommend if you don’t know something, ask first before formulating an opinion or making allegations.

      It’s safer that way.

      On a more positive note, I sincerely appreciate your comments and please drop by any time. I will try to be a better (and more helpful) blogger.

      Thank you and Cheers!

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    15. You are such a gentleman to take the time to answer Darron so eloquently. Maybe he will just go away now. Teri

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    16. Thank you Teri. Encounters like this leave a bad taste in my mouth and I feel a little guilty as well. I keep going over it to see if I could have handled it any better.

      I really hope that Darren will come back and hopefully our next conversation will be less confrontational.

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    17. Well, I don’t believe that people will learn anything from those posting other people’s texts. If you want the right stuff it is usually the best to find a source, and not a copy

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    18. interesting, so 20 journalists from 20 different news sites who cover the same story are copycats and plagerists?

      so only one writer is allowed per topic then?

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      Reply by: Blog Bloke at 4:18 pm said...

      @dawn gordon, first of all .. we’re not journalists are we. But continuing with your metaphor I suppose it would be OK providing that all “20″ are giving credit (linking) to the original source, and that they are not just being sock puppets.

      Even the traditional media will at least offer differing opinions on a topic which is what I try to do on this blog. But 20 sock-puppets just regurgitating the same old content is a complete waste of our time, abuse of copyright and plagiarism. Please feel read more of my posts that I’ve written on this topic.

      Do we really need so many bloggers saying the same thing? Do we really need a hundred, or a thousand “blog tips” bloggers recycling the same old content?

      I have better things to do with my time than being link-baited by these copycats. I think most reasonable people will agree with me on this.

      Many of these so-called bloggers are really just opportunists gaming the SERPS and trying to make a fast buck off the coat-tails of bloggers like myself. So why shouldn’t I speak out on this abuse?

      The blogosphere was once a helpful environment where (most) played by the rules giving credit where it was due … until the marketers got a hold of it. Now it is about creating artificial a-lists and self-serving networks. Many of them only see it as a market to exploit and make money, and have thrown the rules out the window for their own greed.

      I’m a strong proponent of originality and ethics but unfortunately many so-called a-listers are the worst offenders of all copying content from others without linking.

      I make no apology for my opinion and shame on them. Although we may disagree on this I do appreciate your comments.


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    19. […] taken a lot of flak over the years for raising the issue of ethics and making money blogging. Even just recently I was […]

    20. […] Can the same be said for the blog? Come up with a good idea and a million copycats nip at your heels. I could go on about my own niche but you know what I think about that. […]

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