If you blog, you are an online publisher. Online publishers must tread lightly. There are a plethora of things that can plague a blogger’s reputation, blog content, and even wreak havoc on a server or site itself. The heart of BlogPaws is caring about, helping to manage, and assisting in growing the bloggers of our ever-growing community.
Here, then, are 9 blogger nightmares and how to handle them if any of these happen to you.
Stolen Written Content
There is nothing more aggravating than working hard on a blog post and someone steals it, hence posting it as if they own the content. Or they might copy and paste your written content and give you credit but without your permission.
The folks at DMCA.com can help. I’ve personally used this tool when someone stole my blog content without permission.
First, visit www.dmca.com/takedowns/signup/ and complete the form. According to DMCA, “There has been a rapid increase of popular websites being copied verbatim and re-hosted elsewhere to capitalize on Google search engine traffic. DMCA.com has helped many clients where this has happened. Often the first signs that this has occurred is a drop on google page ranking. Where your website may have dropped from page 1 to 2 or 22”
Sniply Users Stealing Your Content
Have you heard of Sniply?
Sniply adds your custom call-to-action to any page on the web, allowing you to engage your followers through every link you share. Tech guru, Jill Caren, says Sniply is one of the worst ideas ever.
Caren says the only way she was able to determine if there are Snip.ly links pointing to a website was in Google Analytics.
If you got to ALL TRAFFIC > CHANNELS > OTHER you should be able to see them in there if there are actually links. if you do not have an other referral source then you have no Snip.ly links linking to you.
If you want to stop Snip.ly from appearing on your website, here is what Caren recommends:
I would hope after reading this most of you will want to protect your websites from this hijacking. The easiest way to stop it is to install the following plugin created by a team that is also pretty fed up with Snip.ly.
Download Snip.ly Buster by Warfare Plugins
CLICK HERE: Read the entire article about why Sniply is one of the worst ideas ever according to Jill Caren.
Fair Use of Copyrights
This topic is a hot button and will not soon be going away. Just because something is online, perhaps on Facebook, does not mean you automatically have the right to share it.
Case in point: BlogPaws’ co-founder, Tom Collins, says, “The subjects of copyright infringement and fair use in blogging have been discussed in our community and I’ve participated in several of those threads, most recently in the Cat Bloggers Group — hence the image I chose to use here (from the free stock images in Canva, btw). As I suggested to the cat bloggers, I believe it is more crucial now than ever for bloggers to learn about fair use rights in order to do our best work and then protect it.”
As creators, we need to decide whether and how we can use others’ previous work. As authors, we want to know how much control our copyrights give us over others using our work.
CLICK HERE: Read the entire article and weigh in on the topic of fair use by Tom Collins.
Stolen Visual Content
If you do not own photos that you took, it’s best not to use a photo unless you have specific permission or a license/subscription to do so.
One of the best examples of this comes from a post I read last year from a BlogHer blogger. She blogged that she “grabbed one random picture off of Google and then a few weeks later I got contacted by the photographer who owned that photo. He sent me a takedown notice, which I responded to immediately because I felt awful that I had unknowingly used a copyrighted pic. The pic was down within minutes. But that wasn’t going to cut it. He wanted compensation for the pic.”
And thus her nightmare began. You can read all about her blogger beware post here.
Bottom line: You can be sued for using photos on your blog or social media if not done properly Tom Collins writes about using Compfight for royalty-free images.
Watermark photos using a free app for your mobile device or something like PicMonkey for photo editing. It’s easy and helps out tremendously. In a recent #BlogPawsChat on Twitter, some savvy members like GloGirly shared that she strategically places her watermark on images so that it is a part of the image itself. You want to make it difficult for potential thieves to remove your watermark.
App I use: iWatermark
If you must get stock images, a recent discussion from the BlogPaws Facebook Group shared these sites:
Be sure to file attribution and credit rules.
Feeling You Must Be on Every Social Media Platform
Choose the one social media platforms you have the time to both develop and maintain. Don’t get involved in a social media channel because everyone else is doing it. I tend to stay with the “pick four and no more” rule of social media (it’s my rule, by the way). Maybe yours is “Pick Five to Stay Alive.” Whatever you decide, stick to it. Pick your beams.
It’s one thing to have a presence on social media. It’s another thing to let said presence become stagnant. Use and maintenance on social media is where the effort resides.
One and Done Syndrome
Once you blog a post, there is a commonly held belief by some that once you share it, that you cannot or should not share it again after that. Nope!
Let’s use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram in this example. Those four are my favorites at the moment.
- Blog Post: Ten Ways to Help Your Overweight Cat Lose Weight
- Facebook: Make It Matter Monday: My Cat is Overweight: Here’s What to Do (share URL with Facebook sized image, as Facebook prefers)
- Twitter: Tuesday, Quote from the post, image of cat on scale (use hashtags accordingly)
- Pinterest: Vertical image from post 700 x 1000 to Pinterest board, Cat Health Tips, message “How to Help an Overweight Cat” #catnews #cathealth
- Instagram: Saturday #Caturday on Instagram and share the link, change URL in edit profile to blog post.
You can plan this out in an Excel spreadsheet or in Google Drive or whatever means works for you. Be spontaneous with engaging on social media but planned in your content. Rotate the content and don’t do a “one and done.”
Recycle and re-purpose content over the months. Give posts a fresh look with updated images, fix broken URLs, and any new information. Re-tweet posts over time. Since Twitter moves incredibly fast, chances are a lot of people are missing your tweets.
Trolls and Criticism
Controversial blog topics are definitely reader and traffic inducing, but as with all blog topics, there is a way to approach them, handle the content, and respond to feedback.
How far is crossing the line? What won’t you write about? Is there anything that doesn’t deserve the spotlight? How do you handle “haters” and “trolls?” What about the folks who respond and aren’t so nice but they provide their name, email, and/or Facebook info: In other words, they aren’t hiding their disdain to something you wrote?
Case in point: I wrote a blog post titled, “Five Things Your Vet Should Never Say To You,” and though the post was very popular and garnered a lot of views, shares, and feedback, I kept abreast of where it was being shared. These are my words and my reputation, after all. Set a Google Alert at the very least and follow your post.
In the event someone bashes me, calls me names, becames defamatory or otherwise puts me down, their comments are toast. Civil debate is encouraged, but being plain mean and offensive should never be tolerated. Watch what you put in writing, so resist the urge to blast someone with your words: they can end up splattered all over Facebook, Twitter, etc.
CLICK HERE: Here’s how to handle criticism and what to do if you are trolled from Maggie Marton, BlogPaws’ Senior Editor
Having Your Online Videos Stolen
Facebook Live, Periscope, Vine, and YouTube: These are four of the biggest video online platforms and ripe for content theft.
The Washington Post reports that in 5 years’ time, a whopping 80 percent of the entire Internet will be video.
What happens if someone steals your video and either doesn’t have your permission to show it or worse, claims it as perhaps their own?
I watermark all of my videos, and this can be done a variety of easy. I use the PicPlayPost app for this since it is easy and cheap.
A recent engagement in the BlogPaws Facebook group on the topic of video posts and ownership shone the spotlight on this topic.
Facebook Rights Manager allows users to easily “upload and maintain a reference library of video content to monitor and protect, including live video streams.”
Gone to the Snow Dogs founder, Jessica Hatch, says she uses Facebook Rights Manager for tracking her videos since she has had problems with people stealing and re-uploading them.
CLICK HERE: How to Grow a YouTube Account
YouTube features a branding watermark as well.
Instagram has an entire policy in place for image and video infringement on copyright.
Watermark to the best of your ability and report any violation of the copyright to DMCA (United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act).
Lack of Comments
Crickets belong in a field and not as a sound in reaction to a blog post. People who want comments but do not give back on social are the ones who generally have this problem.
Spend more time talking to people. Visit the blogs of people in general. Leave comments, get to know them, and build on existing relationships while forging new ones. Put the “social” in social media. No one likes to hear another person ramble on and on about themselves. Ensure you aren’t labeled as a taker and not a giver.
CLICK HERE: 25 Ways to Promote a Blog Post After Publishing
What is one of the worst things to happen to you in your experience with blogging? How did you handle it? Tell me in the comments below.
Image: Copyright: ARENA Creative/Shutterstock
Image: Copyright: marcogarrincha/Shutterstock
Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®