Wednesday, April 25

Kidnapping Posts: Story Indeed

Someone thinks they have a good thing going. The blog they are working on mirrors a questionable trend in social media that I've seen before. All seven of the associates listed on the somewhat unconstructed Story Indeed site seem to be joining the ranks of republishing blog posts without citing the sources. (My apologies if the links no longer exist after this.)

Sure, they all have their own blogs and some look pretty good. At a glance, I might even be flattered that they decided to rerun some of my posts, if not for fact that they do not cite the source. Hmmm... what was that word ... oh right, plagiarism. Who knows? Maybe they know it too, because when I commented on the blog in question, citing myself as the source, the comment was quickly removed, within five minutes.

To be fair, they are young, but seem just old enough to know better. Search for them yourself. While I only linked to one associate in the original post, I am all for giving credit where credit is due: Alex King, Donncha O Caoimh, Dougal Campbell, Matthew Mullenweg, Michel Valdrighi, Mike Little, and Ryan Boren. Any of them are invited to post a comment on my blog and clear up the, er, content confusion. Oh, as it turns out, someone else posted for them and noted the default setting on Word Press always lists them as associates. It seems a risky default when you don't know what someone will do with a blog, but it is what it is. For these talented developers, my apologies.

You know, one would think that with so many bloggers willing to participate on blogs, they could come up with volunteers for content. Yet, this is also not the first time that I've seen this misguided idea in action. To be clear, the idea is to kidnap posts from those who understand SEO Writing (Search Engine Optimization writing) in order to lead people to a site that has little to do with the author.

Instead of searchers finding what they are looking for, these content confusers are hoping to get people to click on Google ads and Google search engines located at the top of the page. The first time I saw this gimmick was here. It's a shame to see it again.

* this post has been corrected and explained in italics.


Rich on 4/25/07, 3:08 PM said...

Famous Last Words:

"I will add your source in at the bottom of story and add your web in my bogrool :) Thx for your sharing post , your post very useful." — Story Indeed Admin.

As I explained in my reply, sources should be cited in the headline or a byline when running someone's full post. Anytime a blogger runs someone's full post, they should ask the author's permission. As for Story Indeed, I have asked that remove our work entirely. Too little. Too late.

Rich on 4/25/07, 3:46 PM said...

More words:

Mr. King suggests I do my homework, and implies I'm a moron with the header "the actions of morons." Since I'm a pretty fair guy, I won't call him one in return.

Instead, I asked him on his blog if he denies being an "associate" of the Story Indeed, despite being listed and linked as one?

Because if that is the case, I will gladly apologize and post accordingly because it would seem his name and link were stolen too.


Unknown on 4/25/07, 4:11 PM said...

I am friends with Alex, and I think it is safe to say that he is only listed on the site because he is one of the main developers of the Wordpress blog software. The 'associates' list is a default on all new Wordpress installs.

He has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the Story Indeed site or its actual content. It seems likely that you have misunderstood the context in which 'the associates' are listed. They are associates of Wordpress, not Story Indeed.

-Daniel Pasco

Michael on 4/25/07, 4:11 PM said...

Found the link to your blog from Alex King. you might not be aware of the existence of spam-blogs, which are blogs created by spammers to pump up the hits on their own sites. they often take content from other sites and repost it, without credit, as it's easy to do and makes the site look like a real one.
As for why alex and co. are linked as "associates"? Those links are the default links in a new installation of Wordpress, the software they work on, which powers that spam blog.
So it seems you owe alex and his associates an apology

Rich on 4/25/07, 4:18 PM said...

Thank you for that clarification. I was not familiar with the Word Press default settings and will amend the post accordingly.

It does seem to me that Word Press development team might not want to be listed as a default, else they appear to look like associates when they are listed on a spam blog.

IAMWW on 4/25/07, 4:25 PM said...

Just as Michael said:

Alex King, Donncha O Caoimh, Dougal Campbell, Matthew Mullenweg, Michel Valdrighi, Mike Little, and Ryan Boren are actually developers that have worked and help to built word press. I do not believe any of them are "associated" with Story The template that the so-called author is using is Aalglatt.

The 'associates' list is the default link list on all new Wordpress installs.

Rich on 4/25/07, 4:29 PM said...


I really appreciate the comments and corrected the post accordingly. Unless your a Word Press user, it would be very difficult to know that.


Rich on 4/25/07, 5:22 PM said...

I apologized to Alex on his blog after he retracted the moron comment. Hopefully we'll find that he sees some humor in me mentioning that if my original post was a moronic action, then his was perhaps equally so. Only because I could have corrected it sooner.

Is there a lesson to be learned here... yeah, Word Press needs to fix its default setting. ;)

Was I too quick with this post? Hmmm... maybe. There wasn't much to correct.

Just to be clear, I never accused Alex in public. The e-mail, which was accusatory, was sent to him and the admin. Neither were listed as a blogroll. I wish it would have turned out differently, but it did not.

*As for the Word Press comment, it was meant to lighten the topic. Some people won't appreciate it and that's okay.

rob1n on 4/25/07, 6:48 PM said...

I think "moron" is still applicable, however.

Rich on 4/25/07, 7:41 PM said...

Well, I suppose you are entitled to think that.

Incidentally, the spam blog is taking down our posts. I hope they go a bit further and remove the Word Press developer names as well.

Unknown on 4/25/07, 10:48 PM said...

Just to be clear, I never accused Alex in public.

I certainly consider this a public accusation.

Rich on 4/25/07, 11:05 PM said...


A spam blogger took advantage of both you (and other Word Press developers) as well as our company and, unfortunately, the spam blogger came out best.

I have corrected the post and apologized as I said I would immediately upon learning you had nothing to do with the blog. What else would you have me do?

I admit my e-mail was hasty as it was the same last attempt to communicate with the spam blogger.

However, I have received similar e-mails to the one I sent to you. In one case, our company was listed as a sponsor of a spam blog. My response was a bit different. I simply e-mailed the messenger to clarify we were not the owners of the blog, thanked them for bringing it our attention, and had our names removed from the spam blog. The post that the messenger wrote was about our participation on a spam blog was corrected.

You chose a different course. It is not wrong. It is different. What else can I do?

Unknown on 4/26/07, 1:45 PM said...

Quite frankly, I think that you can withdraw this petty jab:

"For six of these talented developers, my apologies."


Rich on 4/26/07, 2:14 PM said...

Happy to do it.

Rich on 4/26/07, 5:28 PM said...

I am happy to see that the spam blogger has removed the Word Press developers names.

I have a better understanding of where Alex was coming from, having learned that he endured much worse and more colorful e-mails for a similar reason on Yahoo! Answers Visitors last year.

There was much discussion on the WP default then. The primary difference in this case was the spam blogger had changed the header "blog roll" to "associates," creating a tighter impression.

With about 150 posts going up with the developers first names every day, it would seem impossible to track them all. More than 50,000 list them today on Technaroti. Some are good blogs; some are not so good blogs.

Sure, it is a shame it now looks like I was trying to hide the original post and only one person asked me about what happened before e-mailing King, but it doesn't matter. I am still happy that I made good on my promise to correct it.

I would like to ask one thing though, and not for me. Given that there is now even more awareness of the potential for this to occur, yet again, with someone else, I might ask that give the next person the benefit of the doubt. Most people, when they make an error, are happy to correct it.

Rich on 5/20/07, 5:22 PM said...

A great article on splogs can be found on:

Rich on 5/20/07, 5:30 PM said...

And another article on blogrolls here:


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