February 11, 2016

Horse 2072 - The Huffington Post: A Band Of Sweary Thieves? Maybe.

A funny thing happened to me on the way here tonight... No, seriously. This is odd.
Of all the people who I knew who started a blog in the late 90's, I am the last one who generates anything on a semi regular basis if at all. As soon as a platform came along which allowed comments to be posted, I allowed those to appear as well. Mostly the comments that I get these days are spammers who are trying to sell something or drive traffic to their own clickbaity domains but occasionally I will get genuine comments.

Last night, I got a comment on a post which I'd written about the US Presidential race which was so poorly written that it was laughable, so laden with profanity that even a tradesman would have asked for an apology, and carried threats of harm to my family and children (I don't have any children; so good luck with that). The comment would have gone straight into the Deleted Folder, which would have gone into the Recycle Bin, which itself would have gone into a Nuclear Waste Holding Container to be buried for ten thousand years if it wasn't for the accusation that I'd stolen the post from the Huffington Post.

I did a quick search to have a look for the various key phrases in the posy in question but I couldn't find anything and immediately wondered what in Lincoln's name was going on.
It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest that the Huffington Post had stolen a blog post of mine. For reasons that aren't clear to me, other than the bigger army method of diplomacy, copyright law doesn't apply to large firms when they steal content, freeboot and monetize individual's stuff but if an individual were to do likewise, they'd be all over it like a swarm of wasps on a cake that had been left out in the rain. It also doesn't surprise me that the Huffington Post, which is renowned for exploiting writers would either plagerise or spork content either.

I have a pretty good idea of the number of people who read this blog on a regular basis, where they live in the world, whether they arrived by Twitter, Facebook, Paper.Li, various news aggregators or even directly. I can even tell how many bots sweep by, searching fo r URLs to link to. What I can't tell is how much is plagerised, sporked and stolen. That's frightfully difficult considering that I've generated blog posts which comprise well over two and a half million words over the years. I suppose that I could get some sort of program to trawl the web for me but it's just not worth the effort.

This brings me to the subject of the Huffington Post. When the Huff Post started an Australian arm, they sent on email to various journalists and bloggers to ask if they would write for them. I had the tenacity to ask how much I would be paid to write for them and they told me that I would be paid nothing. In return for writing for the Huff Post, they would give me "exposure", they said. I sent them a curt by polite reply explaining that you can't pay the bills with "exposure" and I declined their "generous" offer. I have subsequently found out that this was not uncommon and that the Huffington Post solicited lots of bloggers to write for free for them.

So when I got a sweary, badly written and threatening comment from someone claiming that I'd taken content from the Huff, I was both amused and confused. If this was just some random person on the internet who likes to spit bile, then that's fine because those people are as common as house flies, buy what bothers me about that is that they've seen something on the Huff Post and are blaming me of theft, while the Huff Post is selling advertising space. If however this was someone from the Huff Post themselves who are firing a warning shot because their web trawlers have found similar content, and that is something which I wouldn't put past them, then it seems strange to me that you would want to chop down the very cherry tree which you've been stealing cherries from.

If there is someone who would like to actually pay real money for me to write for them, then that would be just fine. Everyone has their price and my price just happens to be some number of dollars. If you want to throw a bucket of many thousands of dollarpounds at me, then I would gladly accept your burden however gigantically massive it is. Capitalism, Ho! If however, you are the freebooting, invective dripping, thieves at the Huffington Post, then I'm afraid that you've made your mission and objective clear. Let's see ye be stealing this.

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