5.30.2011

Let's Make Something Clear... RESOLVED

- UPDATE: Scroll to the bottom of the post for the other blog's response - 

Now let me just say this, it took me a lot of thought before deciding to begin this post, because I want to get my thoughts in order, my references in check, and my talking points accurate. I have been privy to biting peoples' heads off every now and then, but I figured that's just part of my charm. I don't think I'll be needing that charm right now.

Sometime last year I chanced upon this blog that was oddly identical to mine. Not by look or by writing style, but by the simple fact that this blog's name is just one letter more to my blog. THIS blog. ToT. For sheer refusal to promote said blog, we won't name it out loud, but my readers are smart enough and can probably do a Google search to figure it out on their own.

I didn't make a big deal out of it, even if I had an initial reaction to its striking correlation to ToT. But this past week there were several instances which now force me to make this admittedly passive-aggressive jab at said blog in hopes that, well, the blogger will get my drift. 

First, I met an acquaintance in Cebu who said, "OMG I'm a follower of Trip or Treats! (Me: Yay!) I'm excited to try Ukokkei Ramen, Nihonbashi Tei, ..." Then she proceeds to tell me about this buffet that I blogged about. I gave a quizzical look and said that's not me. Then she did some tinkering on her IPhone and said "Isn't your blog ___?" And I said. NO. Then she's like "Oh Trip or Treats, diba?! You know, I thought that was the same blog!" I calmly replied that there have been several mentions of its similarity, but that it's not connected.

Then, I receive a BBM from my brother, which was a link to the blog and its post on the buffet. Then he adds "Sino yan? Awayin natin!" (Who's that? Let's start a war!"

After my own brother surfaces with the similarity, I became quite agitated because so many people were commenting on why I wasn't commenting on its existenceSo I went on Twitter to get some healthy feedback, and I got several reactions which supported my case, such as:
no way.. It's your identity that you've worked hard to build up.. You have every right to react :)

Then, a follower sent me a personal email confirming the blog's identity, then proceeded to say this:
"Thing is, I personally know the blogger. I was in awe when I first found out that she named her blog like that. I just so happened that I first followed you on Twitter, that's why I know that you have the "rights" for that blog name. When she updated her blog, the similarities were so obvious to your blog."
"I already sensed that you won't go down to her level, by confronting her (sic). Anyways, I'm not kissing your behind here but your blog is waaay so much better than hers."

After that short online conversation, I realized, DAMN IT! I have the right to be upset. But I wanted a trusted voice in the blogger world and asked my friend Anton Diaz, of OurAwesomePlanet fame, for some advice and opinions on the matter. Here's what OAP had to say:

"Well, I would feel a bit offended as well because my concept was plagiarized in bad faith. Although, I would feel a bit flattered at the same time since the concept was copied. The online community frowns upon plagiarism and it is not tolerated."

So, Netizens, let me make this easier to understand:
  • Trip or Treats began in July 2009; copycat in 2010.
  • The only difference between ToT and the other is ONE LETTER. Make a wild guess.
  • It wouldn't have been a big deal if it was based in India, or US, or elsewhere in the world. The blog is in the Philippines. 
  • When you search for that blog, ToT is the first to come out on the list. (Hehe)
  • Format and tones are eerily similar to mine (not that it's a big deal, I plan to come out with a new look, anyway)
  • Blogging is all about creativity, self-expression and personal thoughts. 
  • Blogging is not about tagging along someone else's efforts in creating a personal brand and online identity, and attempting to displace a portion of my online traffic to your blog.
  • If you're a smart cookie, a blogger would scout around several existing blog names to see if there are 'toes" that the name might step on.
  • The web has made an industry of buying similar domains to popular brands and profiting from selling or auctioning the domains. Blogs are all about making your mark with your own brand.
  • Per my legal consultation, Intellectual Property Rights can apply to my situation, as the blog is basically feeding off my traffic and online demand.
  • And most importantly: I was in the blogosphere first, which means I GET FIRST DIBS.
  • Lastly, I didn't even need to spell that (above) out. It's kind of an unspoken rule around the blogging world. I don't think Mr. Diaz would be so happy if a Filipino blogger decided to name his blog My Awesome Planet, don't ya think?
This issue would be nonexistent if not for the fact that so many people are reacting on my behalfbecause it is my readers, friends and followers who think that someone is trying to gain fame by riding on ToT's coattails. I have invested on Trip or Treats heavily, monetarily, mentally, intellectually,  physically, calorically, and sleeplessly. Let's make this clear: I AM PISSED at the fact that some people truly refuse to respect people's originality and integrity and benefit from it by racketeering as an identical substitute. 

This is what you should do: HAVE AN ORIGINAL THOUGHT, and stay the hell away from mine. 

This probably is very passive-agressive, but until I see an improvement, or an actual effort to correct this wrong (ie. CHANGE YOUR BLOG NAME), then you can forget acting like your blog name being 99% identical to mine is just a "coincidence". 

It is bad taste, and you and I know it. And so do our followers. I'm putting "OUR" because after this blog post, I'm sure you'll gain a few readers too. Don't blame me if comparisons ensue.

ToT-ers: What's your take on this? Am I over-reacting?

UPDATE: The other blog has responded with an email:

"Hi, a friend sent me a link to your blog and she thought I should read it.

First of all, I would like to apologize if you feel that I was copying your blog. I started my blog last September 2010 mainly for my friends and thought of the name Trips or Treats (after reading Philippine Airline's promo that time, Trick or Treats). When I first checked with Blogger the name Trip or Treats and it was already taken, I thought why not just add an S in it.

I understand why you're so pissed at me right now, I just hoped you contacted me first before bashing me on your blog, madali naman akong kausap.

I never meant to "copy" yours, it was an honest mistake.

I'll come up with a new name soon. "

My Response:
Thank you for your email. Also, I appreciate the gesture to reach out and communicate, alongside your willingness to change your blog name. As you can see, I take Trip or Treats quite seriously, as well as the blog world. Just want to make it clear that I never bashed you or your blog. I put out the facts as well as my emotions about it, never discussing your content or anything personal. Nonetheless, I do admit that some of the comments went south.

I would, however, like to ask permissions to share your email (without your name, of course) on ToT, to put an onjective closure on this issue. Also, I'm sure everyone will think favorably of your response, as I did.

(sic)
"I understand if ever that happened to me and I had a successful blog like yours, I would probably get pissed off too. By the way, I already changed the name of my blog. I apologize again for the confusion I caused on your readers"

Quid Pro Quo, readers. Everything's settled. Let's move on from this. Kudos to the other blogger for taking the high road on this one. Another bloodless blog battle resolved."


25 comments:

  1. Wow, that sucks. I would probably understand if the blog was about a totally different area of interest... And just happened to coincide. But if its also a good blog, that really sucks.

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  2. John: You can be the judge of that.

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  3. It is good to draw inspiration from other things (or blogs for this matter) but to copy it 99% isnt acceptable. Even the layout Is practically the same. There are a million combination of words for a travel and food blog. Adding just one letter isnt the best show of creativity in my opinion.

    I just find it repulsive that someone "leech" on someone elses hard earned reputation and even takes it a step further on the wrong direction by copying it exactly. Hoping maybe that someone makes a typo and wont notice the difference?!


    Usually the blog world is an online extension of a person and their personality...

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  4. A copycat is a cheap imitation of the real thing. An imitation is made with cheaper raw materials and in this case, probably, inferior thought. For this person to not even have an original name would probably be prime evidence for inferiority. There are those who like cheap imitation, but for superior, original, real deal thoughts, opinions, insight, etc. I'm sticking with the original Trip or Treats. The imitation just may be too dull to realize that she's a cheap copycat, like a C grade fake Chanel purse.

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  5. Its 4am over there and I'm so sure that you are really really pissed off. I would be too. I know how hard you worked on this blog. I even remember you conceptualizing it and telling me that you will start a food and travel blog. I find it very pathetic that someone would try to imitate you just so to ge recognition. I am 100% sure that your blog makes more sense than hers. I say FIGHT! I will back you up on this.

    Oh you're hotter and sexier and smarter than she will ever be. Lol.

    Guess who this is!

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  6. I've been reading your tweets over the weekend so I checked the copycat's blog and read it from the 1st entry to the last. It was eerily like yours even the banner before you changed it to your current one. Coincidence? I don't think so! It's like me writing Romeo and Juliet and claiming it's coincidentally similar with Shakespeare's if I make both characters commit suicide in the end. If she wants traffic into her blog, well she gotta find other ways to get it, just like all of us when we started blogging! Raise hell if you have to hahaha not making sipsip or anything but I'm sticking to the one and only ToT!! :))

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  7. ok i just clicked on "report abuse" on her site. lol! -

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  8. As a blogger myself, I would like to believe that I would handle this unfortunate situation with your grace and patience.. Although admittedly, my first instinct would echo the sentiment of your brother hehe..

    Your passion for your blog is clear with every post.. It's basically your "baby". For someone to ride off that feels like your "baby" is being violated, so you're within your rights to be upset and call the copycat out. I haven't been blogging as long as you have, but I can see that you've invested in it, not just financially but emotionally too, so the mere fact you haven't hunted this person down yet is commendable.

    On the lighter side, I was thinking.. Maybe we can convince her to move that other "S" to the front? If traffic is what she's after, I'm sure she'd get a lot of hits as the owner of "Strip or Treats"? Just a thought.. hehe

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  9. Saw her blog na last night and didn't finish reading her post. Her blog is kinda BLAH. But I was so tempted to comment on her blog and give a link to yours! HAHAHA!

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  10. kase naman.. walang originality.. I tried reading it too..nakakaloka..

    someone send that girl to writing school to teach her the basics of sentence construction...a six year old can write better (and more interesting) blogs.

    and I would advice her to hire a stylist as well...and while she's at it, maybe take a short course or two on photography.. and does she really HAVE to be in ALL the photos?!!?

    sorry. I'm as pissed as you are. I HATE COPYCATS

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  11. sabi ko nga eh.. youre way hotter and prettier. baka kailangan nya to be like you para mag ka traffic?! kaso if youre known as ToT people will be wondering i thought ToT was hot? JEJE PALA.

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  12. Ok, let me clarify my earlier post and correct "auto-correct"...

    "But if its also a good blog, that really sucks." ... I meant, if it's also a FOOD blog, that really sucks.

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  13. i saw the blog, yours is FAR FAR BETTER that's why I am reading yours :D

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  14. I saw it and all I can say is... copy cat much! I really think she's been mooching on you traffic...she should be made aware that what she's doing is not right. Baka papalabas nya patay malisya sya and she's not aware of the similarity... I posted a comment on her blog na it's not the original TOT can't help it-karina

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  15. saw the other blog. Geez! It's almost exactly the same! Yours is way better! :)

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  16. soo.. what'd i miss? I'm with the bro on this one...

    (except fear i admit that i don't think i'm smart enough.. couldn't figure out the one letter thing! hahaha! blah. saves me from sending traffic to that blog's way...)

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  17. Oh my golly! It's good you brought this up. I first chanced upon your WONDERFUL blog which is now my favorite when I was led to it by another blog. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your reviews, etc. so decided to go back to it the next day. I googled ToT and was surprised that it led me to another site. I was shaking my brain wondering why on earth there is a "Vikings Buffet" review, just so not you. The trips, the pics, not to mention the obvious physical differences between the 2 of you - I could not see why I was being led to another blog. It was only after my sister pointed out that the missing letter that I got it. REALLY DECEIVING. I never went back to her site but I always go back to yours. Keep up the good work!

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  18. That 'one letter difference' didn't take me long to guess. I went to her site. Didn't like it. Well, I am biased. Good thing I have your blog bookmarked, that way I don't land on copycat websites.

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  19. are you guys for real? dude i know you're all passionate about your blog and your bloggy life, but to make a big fuss about another blog cause it's similar to yours is a bit childish. i can see that you put a lot of effort into your blog and i guess your "blog traffic" and popularity means that much to you. but common, ano bang nawala sayo?? so what if i few of your readers accidentally stumble across the other blog? you have your loyal minions that obviously follow your blog, so don't feel insecure already. i hope you take this comment constructively, you didn't have to make a scene in your blog na someone is "stealing" from you, at the end of the day, i believe you made the blog to share and express your wonderful experiences in life, and i'm sure millions of people share the same sentiments and passion. so i don't see the point why you have to rally up a mob to boost your confidence and thirst to bash someone, and yes you were bashing, maybe it was still "civilized" fact stating, but it still came out you were bashing.

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  20. Jon: It may seem petty, but if a blog is an extension of your life, like Anton's, it's probably safe to say he wouldn't be happy if someone had a similar blog with the same content, no?

    I'm glad the other blogger understood how I felt and probably wouldn't want the same thing to happen to her if she were in my shoes.

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  21. Jerico "the brother"Jun 1, 2011, 12:00:00 AM

    Why dont you guys do a collaboration food tasting now that your friends... kidding aside, Theres always a classy way to solve things and both TOT's did it pretty well...

    I sugest that the two of you have dinner together and write about "She Ate" haha!

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  22. TOT: i have to say jerico's idea isn't that bad. for me you guys should have tried to talk to each other first, and if talks fails then you make your public vendeta. i mean what if the other blogger wasn't really "stealing" from you, then all your accusations was just based on assumptions. people should learn to communicate first before assuming stuff don't you think? but i'm glad you guys sorted things out. the other blogger seems pretty nice, at least she was mature in replying to your accusations. well i'm sure a lot of us now would want to see some collaboration between you too...you might even enjoy each other's perspective in life :)

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  23. RichieZ: I Love you na! hahahahaha

    To All: And you guys too :) Big hug.

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  24. I agree with Jon. I think it would have been much classier to get in touch with the otehr blogger first, before publicly making all these comments. Made TOT sound a tad too defensive, and insecure. But seriously dude, a blog is just a blog...just a BLOG; no matter how seriously you think the "blogging world" perceives yours.

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  25. sorry late just read this now (ano ba...huli sa balita haha) but im glad the blogger decided to change her blog name. how misleading nga naman na she just added an "s" to her name... i would react the same if someone would name her blog "prannywanny" hehe

    see you soon jean!!!

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