Mr. Ryan Plett, of such fame as You Have Broken The Internet, etc., has been hard at work on a new web thing called StyleSeek. You sign up, take a silly test where you choose from a set of pictures, and a profile is created whereby you are directed to buy a bunch of expensive things from the people with whom he is affilated. The problem? StyleSeek has lifted an extensive amount of complete blog posts wholesale from not only me, but other bloggers as well. Nobody there thinks they need to ask anybody anything. After all, the internet is a Wild West free for all, right?
My email to them:
I am the owner and sole author of An Affordable Wardrobe (http://www.anaffordablewardrobe.com/) a menswear blog dealing with tips and advice for men of lesser means with a sense of style to find ways of living well on a tight budget. As my masthead states, penury is not an excuse.
It has recently been brought to my attention by a handful of my readers that a number of my articles, photos and titles included, have been included wholesale on your new site StyleSeeker. While I suppose I should feel flattered or something that you and other big shot New York bloggers have deemed me fit to include, it escapes me how none of you will put a link to my blog in your blogroll, but have no problem using my content to help your affiliates sell their goods. The fact that I was never contacted prior to use and had to find out "through the grapevine" as it were I find more than a little irksome. The fact that you are using my content, pulled from a blog that deals specifically with thrift shopping and bargain hunting, to help sell expensive luxury goods flies in the face of my work. The fact that someone else is profiting by all this....well, lets just say that as a working Dad with a night job and a home business who does his best to do right by his kids, I am feeling somewhat violated. If my content is going to be used to sell things, I should be getting paid. My boss pays me to help him sell things, and I see little difference here.
For your information, I frequently turn down requests for ad space for products or companies that I don't wish to support.In the old days, we called that integrity. I do run ads on my site, ocassionally, but I am very choosy about what gets through. It's nice to get paid by the internet, but it's nicer to be able to sleep at night. How do you know I care to support the companies and products linked out at the end of the articles you've chosen to take from me? If Sid Mashburn wants me to write copy for his bow ties, he can pay me. If Barney's needs help selling seersucker, I'm open to a conversation. I'm sorry, but the pictures I took of myself, in my own clothes, are not "freebies" for you or them to use to sell things. If you had asked first, or given me any say at all in the matter of how my own work was to be used, I'd be open to discussion. This, however, is a huge turn-off. An Affordable Wardrobe, as I think you know, is all about how to successfully avoid this kind of thing and still come out on top, and you seem to have subverted my writing something fierce.
Or, maybe I'm just not getting this, being a 35+ year old provincial from Boston, and I need a young, hip, New York big shot to explain this to me. If I'm wrong, I'm glad to hear it as long as you can explain this to me. For now, I'm pretty angry.
I will certainly publish Mr. Plett's response, and I look forward with great relish to it. True, money and recognition are nice, but they are far from the goal:
Update, 19 July 2012:
It seems that my efforts combined with those of Jesse Thorn of Put This On, another blog from which content was plucked wholesale, have resulted in quick response, of a sort. Mr. Plett has apologized in his way, feigning innocence, and claiming that his intent was only to help poor little me and other small time bloggers. Apparently, the money to be made by him and his affiliates had nothing at all to do with his actions. To wit, his response in the comments, and this:
I am sorry to hear that you were unhappy with StyleSeek using four of your blog posts. We of course respect your desire for us to not post content from your blog and as such, we have removed the posts from the StyleSeek site. We had, in fact, provided attribution to your blog for each of the four posts, just as we do for all postings on StyleSeek.
Sincerely, Ryan Plett
I never said you didn't attribute the posts, I said I found it reprehensible that you were using them in an effort to generate revenue. Sounds a bit more like damage control than an apology, Mr. Plett. I have small kids. I know the difference between a sincere apology and being told what someone thinks I want to hear. Boo, Mr. Plett.
I will consider the matter officially closed, so my readers and I can move on to enjoying our discussions here again.
Thanks to all my readers who commented and wrote kind emails to me. I greatly appreciate your continued support in my owrk here at An Affordable Wardrobe.
20 July 2012:
That's more like it. Apology accepted, Mr. Spalding.