I still remember it. It was back when there was an American Airlines devaluation. Leff broke the news (well I think he broke it, but regardless I learned of it from his post). He made an award chart showing some differences in the old and the new.
I read it, and I recreated it.
My take might have been vastly different, it might not have. I forget. But I do remember basing a lot of my work from that post. And I remember the reason was I felt that I simply had to produce that piece of news in order for Saverocity Travel to be ‘dominant’ or ‘relevant’ or some such bollocks. I remember thinking if I didn’t write it then maybe my readers would go elsewhere for their news…. I wouldn’t be the expert. I’m pretty sure if you looked at the posts side by side they would be different, but we all know deep down what happened and where it came from.
There’s certainly a difference between influence and plagiarism, but at the core this burning desire to be number 1 makes for a lack of creativity, originality and enjoyment for both the reader and the writer.
I’m not alone
There’s some blogs/bloggers that I think I might put in a TBB-esque ‘like’ category that do this too. I remember reading a post by The Devils Advocate over on FrequentMiler that told us how to use IFTTT to book flight alerts. Check it out:
I really liked the blatant rip off post, and it wasn’t until Yihwan joined us that I noticed the original! Why the need to repeat and rehash? I guess the same reason as I did it back then too…? Recently, we had a run in with The Forward Cabin for ripping content off as his own, I think he has changed his ways now, which is cool.
Then I learned that Dia our rockstar Momma found a deal for $34 hotel rebates which Points Miles and Martini’s ‘just happened to find’ a day later.
Even the good Doctor, who I think highly of reproduces a ton of content from other sites – one I just read with a ‘Hat tip’ to Leff, who in turn Hat Tipped to some dude on a Forum.
Blatant Rip Off Post which had a hat tip to Leff, why bother writing the same stuff all over again, hat tip or not? Why not just say ‘Senor Leff found this card <link>?’ I think it is that fear of losing relevance again. And I’m saying it not to gripe so much as to share that I’ve been there, and know the feeling.
It’s everywhere… but why?
We recently saw Ric from Loyalty Traveler confess that he needed to add more filler to his stuff to make more money. But I think that’s a real problem. In fairness, I think that this is in line with all the bloggers are doing, Frequent Miler posts a ton, but how many of those are the original, thoughtful posts vs those by staff writers, or recaps? Here’s a guy who knows so much about points, but then adds in a post about a mistake/low cost fare to Brazil..
So now we have a great blog and a great blogger who is posting some low cost fare and mixing that up with staff writers who are ripping off other posts. We all gotta make a buck right?
I don’t want to be that guy
You know, I get that we all need to make money, and I don’t want to sit here and bitch about this, but the reality is that there is less money in blogging than people think. You can make some good coin if you do it right, but all i’m seeing these days is people copying one another, either overtly with a hat tip and then ripping the whole thing off or covertly by just stealing shit directly.
Go get a real job.
Really. If you squeeze blogging too hard the price is huge. You are selling based on your reputation, and once you sell that out for more views, you lose trust. Some people clearly don’t care about this – there are blogs who only measure success in money and views, which I think is pretty crappy when you consider that they are slipping in nefarious stuff to convert their readers into cash cows.
You gotta find your voice
And if nobody listens then so be it.
For me, I’ve learned that I write to learn. I find pleasure in topics that interest me and I find that trying to explain them means I have to learn to fill in the gaps of knowledge. I think that this is the best way to blog about things. It may not be for everyone, but it works for me. Writing forms clarity.
You don’t get that feeling by ripping off Leff.
Apologies to anyone that may be offended by the post, I intentionally named some of the best writers in this space because I can’t see any value in calling out the crappy ones (excluding Points Miles and Martinis)