Can You Respect A Copy Shark?

This blog post has been simmering for a few months. It’s not just with me, I notice it happening to other bloggers as well. And now it’s popped my nose elsewhere.

Copy Sharks Don’t Achieve Credibility

Here’s a tip on how to be a credible blogger and trusted online resource:

  • When posting a tip or info bit you read elsewhere – you come across as a Lame Copy Shark if you don’t link to the original source.

It happens to the best of us and I’ve had to do it a time or two too – but consistently ripping off someone’s information/tips/brainstorms with the constant caveat: “I don’t remember where I found this”, starts to smell real bad.

It’s worse when someone tries to present it as ‘his/her own idea’.

And hilarious when they consistently link only to the biggie’s as the source (cnn, boingboing, techdirt, etc.). No hat tip to the blogger or resource that brought it to their attention? Do they really think readers believe that they sit and follow news and blog feeds 24/7?

Eventually it becomes clear this type of blogger is just riding everyones coattails and “hello, why am I wasting my time following your blog when it’s just rehashed copycat stuff?”.

  • Mimicking someone’s work doesn’t make you fresh and authoritative – no matter how much you try to present yourself that way

At the beginning of this year (2005), there was a handful of people and blog authors that I had some respect and admiration for that I no longer do. Some people in the biz really aren’t ‘all that and a bag of chips’ like I originally thought. Self serving and it’s been disappointing to watch them fail in giving acknowledgement where it’s due – not just my stuff but many others.

I don’t like being riffed and treated like a personal candy tray. Take a bit from me here, take a chunk from me there, and yet never giving any type of acknowledgement.

Since I don’t read just one blog, and assume most people read more than one blog, I know that if I don’t give credit where credit is due – it won’t take long for me to get found out.

I don’t kid myself – people see it.

I think the reason SuperAff has grown and is being read by more than me, my family, coworkers, and a friend or two, is because of a goal I had right from the start:

Don’t think of other blogs and websites as the competition. Link Link Link to good information and resources and readers will appreciate the wide road of information I provide – rather than the tight, restrained and narrow ‘branding me road’.

There’s nothing wrong with the ‘branding me road’ and keeping the flow of traffic to me, myself & I. I’m not condemning it at all. Although over time it becomes clear that it’s a very controlled environment that isn’t as info rich as it could be, it can still hold some worthwhile purpose. But by it’s very nature it can’t be as well rounded or as full a resource – which is what my goal is. I notice that same outlook on the smaller, more grassroot blogs. We tend to not be as threatened by other blogs and feel we can afford to widen the range.

One thing about being copied – it is an acknowledgement, whether it’s public or not – that what you have to say and how you say it is worth following. And since I know I’m not the only one recognizing the Copy Sharks – for mine & others work – in the end it does tip things in my favor ;).


I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.

2 thoughts to “Can You Respect A Copy Shark?”

  1. I always like to make sure to credit the original source, and I’ve been amazed at the number of times the author comes to investigate my site, often leaving a positive comment. That is encouraging for a new blogger, and the links help get traffic to my site. Double win, in addition to being the ethical thing to do.

  2. I’ve been amazed at the number of times the author comes to investigate my site, often leaving a positive comment.

    I noticed Todd at did this a few times here and you know – it is a nice touch. That’s something that I didn’t do at all – visit and post a note at the places that linked here. I’m going to try making more of an effort to do that because I think it’s important to acknowledge those that do support or mention your blog.

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