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A Suite Mistake

Plagiarizing WeaselI can’t actually call it a mistake, but I can say I’m dealing with the fallout of having placed my articles on Suite 101.

Plagiarist’s Shopping Ground

Apparently Suite 101 was the go to place for plagiarists. I knew it as a problem, but chose to occupy myself elsewhere and not deal with it. Only when the plagiarism was too blatant to ignore did I go after the plagiarists.

The sad part is there were just as many law firms and professional operations as there were spineless weasels plagiarizing my work. One weasel even submitted my work to free article directories. He kept my name as the author but used his name as the person who submitted it. That really takes steel ones, don’t you think?

Dealing with the Fallout

My plagiarized Suite articles really slapped me in the face when I placed some of them on my own sites. After placing them on my sites I applied to become an affiliate for a few topic related items.

My sites were rejected a couple of times because “my content was not original.” Part of the reason could have been the empty Suite articles that still show up in the search engine results. I say empty because if you click on the search engine link, you’ll get the “File not found” wording.”Suite Fallout

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Several of my articles have been plagiarized more times than I’d like to count.

Serenity Prayer Time

As usual, I recited the Serenity Prayer and thought of how to resolve this problem.

Here are the options I came up with:

  1. Spend an inordinate amount of time going after all of the plagiarists. Aside from taking up a lot of my time it would most definitely raise my blood pressure.
  2. Add wording such as: I’ve become painfully aware that many unscrupulous writers have plagiarized my work. If you see this article posted elsewhere without proper attribution, it was copied without permission. All content on this site is original and written by me unless otherwise noted.
  3. Reword each article so it no longer appears plagiarized.

What I’ve decided to do is a combination of option 2 and option 3.

How are you dealing with plagiarism?  Suggestions are welcome.

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About the author: Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she’s not writing or commenting on NJFM, she’s either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites which include Tidbits and Stuff, BLULOW, A Dose of Health and a few other sites/blogs scattered around the internet.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jen March 1, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Question: If I take my articles off of Suite, could I post them as Squidoo lenses? If so, how long should I leave them completely offline first?

    • Felicia March 15, 2013, 3:41 pm

      Jen, you probably already found an answer to your question.

      I don’t write for Squidoo, so I don’t know if they have a problem with previously published work. Your probably also realized that your work has been plagiarized so no matter how long you wait before you put it on Squidoo, someone else out there has your work online. At least that’s what I found.

  • krista@justshopit.com February 15, 2013, 10:36 pm

    And an unrelated question – how do I get an avatar photo up? I would like to add one but I don’t know how :)
    krista@justshopit.com recently posted..80′s Fashion Inspiration: Flashdance

    • Felicia February 16, 2013, 7:31 am

      Go over to Gravatar. All you have to do is sign up for an account, upload a photo and associate it with your email address. Every time you comment using that email address, the photo will display.

      • krista@justshopit.com February 17, 2013, 7:16 am

        Thanks! Felicia, have you ever thought of adding a forum component to NoJobForMom – I like the community here – everyone is nice and supportive. I read come here regularly even when there are no new posts just to check out comments etc.
        krista@justshopit.com recently posted..80′s Fashion Inspiration: Flashdance

        • Felicia February 21, 2013, 7:46 am

          Hey Krista,

          A long time ago I thought of opening a forum, because I feel like I’m a bottleneck to the flow of comments here. The only problem with forums is they need moderation and attention. My ultimate goal is to have enough residual income to spend less and less time online. I felt a forum would force me to spend more time online than I’d like.

  • krista@justshopit.com February 15, 2013, 10:34 pm

    Well, I finally did it! I just took the step and had all my articles deleted from Suite. I just couldn’t leave them up there – I really do not like the new platform that Suite has created and the pittance they were paying. I had 156 articles so I am kind of excited to start creating some new websites and putting them up there.

    I don’t think I will ever write for places like Suite ever again unless it is to get link backs to my own sites. I won’t put the time and energy into it.
    krista@justshopit.com recently posted..80′s Fashion Inspiration: Flashdance

    • Felicia February 16, 2013, 7:29 am

      I’m with you, Krista. I don’t think I’ll be writing for online content sites anymore. Too much plagiarism and not enough cash.

      Good luck to you with repurposing your Suite articles.

  • Alina Bradford January 26, 2013, 2:27 pm

    I have been re-selling some of my old Suite articles (reworked) to publications that don’t mind reprints. I’ve also been posting them to my own sites. A few times I have had a great place to sell an article to, only to realize that someone has posted it on their website without my permission. I don’t want it to look like I’m the plagiarist, so I re-write the article, scrap it, or post it on my own site. Posting it to my own site is iffy in terms of people believing me, but I think readers will find the article consistent with the writing style of the rest of the site and not doubt my authorship. I hope.
    Alina Bradford recently posted..A Warning to Former Suite 101 Writers!

    • Felicia January 28, 2013, 3:24 pm

      Good to hear you’ve been able to resell some of your Suite work and sorry to hear that plagiarists strike again.

    • Grandma January 29, 2013, 11:58 am

      What kind of publications? Online or print? Glad you found outlets. Consider also putting some groups of similar topic articles into ebooks and sell on Amazon.

  • P Thomas January 24, 2013, 3:39 pm

    I employ options two and three already. They’re welcome to my first drafts. I’ll make the next one better, and then who’s going to look like the dummy in the dunny? Me with sparkly new content, original or creative commons photos, or them with older and out of date information? Plus, I report them to Google and their ISP, name and shame on my blog too.

    • Felicia January 25, 2013, 9:37 am

      The sad thing is, those folks are perfectly happy with rough drafts. It’s better than anything they could produce.

      I’ve only reported a couple of plagiarists to Google. One took the article down immediately. The other, well I didn’t follow up so my work might still be there.
      It’s unfortunate that you have to waste your valuable time protecting your work by reporting plagiarists to Google.

      Just curious, have any of the shamed offenders listed on your blogs removed your articles?

  • Loretta January 24, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Felicia, we know that unfortunately, plagiarism is a sad and prevalent problem. It is just one more of those negative “isms” that make me cringe. Plagiarism not only fuels the creative (or non-creative) soul of dishonest people who have not established their own credibility, it also smears the reputation of potentially rising stars, like former New York Times writer Jayson Blair; and even Joe Biden has admitted to doing it in the past.

    Unlike you I have not written for Suite or any other revenue producing sites. Although I have no qualms about being paid for what I write (in fact I welcome the opportunity), I write mainly for my own pleasure. But every time I create an article and post it on my blog, I wonder how much of it will be cut, pasted, and basically stolen by someone who did not want to expend the time and energy to create their own piece. It is a sad commentary that the Internet just makes it easier for people to engage in dishonest behavior.
    Loretta recently posted..Resistance to Change: A Baby Boomer’s Perspective on Computers and the Internet

    • Felicia January 25, 2013, 9:30 am

      When I think of people who plagiarize, I can’t help but think of one of my frequently used comments to describe human behavior, “inside out.”

      People who think and live inside out would never consider plagiarizing. Their reasons for doing, acting, living, etc. comes from a much deeper instruction book than those who live outside in.

      People who live outside in look for quick results no matter what the cost. In essence, they’ll sell their soul for results and accolades from the outside world. Accolades may come in the form of financial gain, popularity or other type of fleeting satisfaction.

      In our modern, immediate gratification world, I find more and more people are living by the outside in rulebook. Fortunately, there are still people like us (and the NJFM community) who believe in inside out living. We may not reap the quick financial reward or instant popularity, but there’s something to be said about being able to face yourself in the mirror with a clear conscience.

  • krista@justshopit.com January 24, 2013, 9:08 am

    All my articles have been plagiarized from Suite. I just leave them up on the site because at least then I can “prove” (hopefully) that I am the original author.

    I don’t write for them anymore since they changed everything. It is just no fun and there is no money to be made there anymore.
    krista@justshopit.com recently posted..Romantic & Easy Valentine’s Day Ideas

    • Felicia January 24, 2013, 9:18 am

      Isn’t it a shame that we have to prove we are who we say we are?

      Grandma has made several suggestions to me about writing ebooks. Maybe that’s the way to go, although I’ve heard of people stealing ebooks too.

      Maybe I’ll dabble with a series of short ebooks to see how that works out.

  • Liz January 24, 2013, 9:07 am

    Dealing with plagiarists is such a drag. I haven’t checked my articles in a long time. About six months ago, I sold an article on Constant Content for $75. The people who bought it were angry because they said it was already posted online. Turns out, someone went onto CC and stole it. That really takes some effort since you can’t copy and paste! CC gave them a refund and I ended up losing $45. I have gone through the process of reporting people to Google and contacting the offenders directly, demanding that they remove my articles. It’s so frustrating and such a waste of time.
    Liz recently posted..Probiotics and Pregnancy: Beneficial Bacteria Help to Build a Healthy Baby

  • Helene Poulakou January 24, 2013, 5:19 am

    I’d do the same thing — (2) + (3).

    One thing we learn when working with words is ‘Rephrasing’, and one thing we learn when working on the web is ‘Repurposing’.

    Personally, being on a re-design / re-focusing stage (my current blog is a very amateurish one, and my first year as active web-preneur) I won’t hesitate to bring down my content, to rewrite several pieces, eliminate others, etc.

    Some times it takes more work than others!
    Helene Poulakou recently posted..Who is Cassandra?

    • Felicia January 24, 2013, 8:13 am

      Helene,

      You’re absolutely right about the re-phrasing talents that we online writers develop. The only issue I have is I wrote those articles so many years ago when they where my passion du jour.

      Now several years later when I’ve moved onto new loves and passions, I’ve got to muster up the old mindset to do those articles justice. Re-phrasing is a good thing, but re-phrasing with passion is most effective.

      I guess it’s another talent we online writers are forced to develop. :)

  • Crystal January 23, 2013, 8:32 am

    The title scared me! My first thought was that the mistake was removing articles from Suite.

    A while back, I found one of my articles plagiarized, as well. I contacted the offender but don’t remember following up. My bad. And now I can’t even remember which article it was or how I found it.

    So, how did you find out about yours? I know your sites got rejected but is there an easy way to find out if specific articles are plagiarized and where? Do you have to do a search for part of the content? Or maybe you can run a whole site through a plagiarism checker? As usual, I’m finding out how little I know about all this.
    Crystal recently posted..Do YOU Qualify as Head of Household?

    • Felicia January 23, 2013, 9:00 am

      Sometimes I take the first sentence and run it through Google.

      Often I find my plagiarized articles because of research. I might be researching a particular aspect of a topic that is closely related to something I’ve written about before. When I do a search, not only do I find my related article but several copies of it on different sites.

      This last time I was updating links within an article. I used the linked wording as my search criteria and found my article on no less than 8 different sites. It took me a minute to calm down. I had to decide whether or not I wanted my plagiarized article on my own site.

      • Crystal January 23, 2013, 9:43 am

        I think that’s how I found mine, too. I was hoping there was some easy way to check a whole site. But then again, maybe that would be too overwhelming.

        You mentioned S101 being a favorite of plagiarists. But isn’t our content at risk no matter where it’s posted?
        Crystal recently posted..Do YOU Qualify as Head of Household?

        • Felicia January 23, 2013, 10:00 am

          Yes, Crystal. The minute you put something online it’s at risk. However, there is less risk at my own sites because it doesn’t get the traffic flow that Suite gets. Additionally, I take precautions on some of my sites to prevent the easy copy/paste type of plagiarism (copy protect plugin). It doesn’t stop them, but it makes it a little more difficult for them to copy articles.

          Additionally, Suite’s full content RSS feeds makes it much easier for plagiarists to copy text and place it on their sites. They get the articles delivered to their mailboxes and all they do is past it to their sites.

          I mention Suite because it’s the one site where I posted all of my work under my own name. This probably happens with other sites too, but Suite is the one that I have the most experience with.