Having original content can be hard, especially when you are trying to write papers or articles around a specific subject with an original tone to it. Because I ghostwrite every day, I know how hard it is to come up with original ideas and views.
Sometimes things need to be said that have already been said, and that requires a little bit of duplicate content that gives credit where credit is due.
Sometimes you use other people’s pictures or videos to highlight what you are trying to say in the article. But of course credit is always given by way of a link, mention, or in the case of YouTube, direct link to the original video.
Sometimes you talk about a certain website, person, or concept, and you have to replicate what they have said or done, but again you are mentioning them in the content.
Sometimes, though, people outright copy other people’s content or ideas and try to pass it off as their own original idea.
Who Would Copy Other People’s Content?
Since I am online a lot, I see it all the time. I constantly have my articles (old and new) copied by people. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time I have had this happen to myself in the past six years, I would be able to take a nice vacation. I’ve even had whole eBooks copied and passed off as their own.
Of course, many other online marketers, writers, bloggers, etc. probably feel the same way.
But today I saw something ridiculous that I have NEVER seen in my five years online.
Today I saw an article that had gone viral (almost 6 million views) get essentially copied by another popular website who has also seen some success with the article (859k likes so far…I can’t tell the views).
The original article, ‘37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old‘ is at BuzzFeed here and the copied article is at ViralNova here. Essentially what ViralNova did is use the same EXACT ideas in the original article, reword it, and use different pictures. They even used it in the same order!
Worse, they gave it a horrible title. As if dying people have said all this stuff that they regret and that all the readers should learn from the dying people’s last words! When really is it just content they copied from Buzzfeed.
I don’t understand how that works! They use no originality, they steal someone else’s idea, and they get thousands upon thousands of views? Is that really OK?
And could they not come up with 37 original ideas of their own? Is it really THAT hard?
It’s almost enough to make me want to steal viral content, reword it, and use it for myself!
[box]Learn how not to steal people’s content in this great article from HubSpot.[/box]
How Great Can It Feel To Copy Content?
I imagine that it must feel great to get all those views; however, how does it feel to know that you are essentially getting those views because of someone else’s idea?
I know that when I accomplish my daily goals or a huge goal I feel great.
When I come up with an article that I’m really proud of I feel great.
When I make a point that I feel can help other people, I feel great.
When I share someone’s brilliant and helpful work, I feel great.
If I were to copy an article and try to pass it off as my own, I would worry about whether or not people would think of me as someone who cannot put out ideas of my own into the world, and as a creative person that makes me cringe.
It Hinders Your Image
For me, ViralNova is somewhere I will not visit anymore. It is a place I will not share from, ever, because I will always wonder if there is an original author out there who deserve the shares and recognition more than ViralNova does.
I view ViralNova as a place where people scour the Internet looking for content that is popular and then use it for themselves. I can’t respect a website that uses other people’s content and doesn’t give credit where credit is due…I just can’t.
This copied article is a reminder to stay true to my character and give credit where it is due, so I can at least think ViralNova for that – I wouldn’t want anyone looking at me the same way I am looking at them.
As a side thought: Maybe the original author sent this article to ViralNova after finding success on Buzzfeed. I don’t know. But the point is, since Buzzfeed had the content first, they deserve to get the social shares and “this is so true” comments. Or do I live in a completely different world than other people?
Does Copying Other People’s Content Further Your Success Or Hinder Your Image?
In the case of ViralNova, I would say both.
They obviously are getting a lot of exposure from copying the ideas behind the orginal article at BuzzFeed. It is working for them. In fact, I saw the article because a friend had talked about ‘how true’ the article was.
She had no idea that the original idea came from BuzzFeed, and it probably doesn’t really matter to her because she does not create content to be copied from and doesn’t understand how annoying, frustrating and wrong it is.
I’m sure I am not the only one who thinks it is wrong, and that means that ViralNova likely has hindered their image in a lot of people’s eyes.
If you want to steal content – maybe it will work for you…I don’t know.
But if you want to feel good about yourself, your work, and your originality (and trust me it feels good), come up with your own content and give credit where it is due.