Sunday, October 24, 2004

Serial plagiarism exposed

I recently lost out on a boatload of potential new readers because a blogger plagiarized my work verbatim. A high-traffic blogger (Michelle Malkin) then unwittingly linked to the plagiarist's blog instead of mine, and I missed out on all the traffic that came before I found the mistake and asked Michelle to fix the link.

I decided to look at the plagiarist's site, "Dave's Blurbs" (yes, we share a first name; otherwise I have no connection to this guy) and found a pattern more blatant than I expected.

I first found where the plagiarist congratulated himself without embarrassment on getting linked by Michelle:

I am honored that a well-known writer like Michelle Malkin would mention Dave's Blurbs in her very well-written O'Donnell article. Michelle makes mention in passing of my article of October 16 discussing George W. Bush's faith in God.

Arg. That was my post and should have been my link.

Turns out the guy has been blogging for years, but in the interest of time I decided to just check out his entries from this month only. He tends to post one entry per day (sometimes zero or two) and his entries frequently appear to be blatantly plagiarized. I googled a key phrase or two from each entry, and in many cases I found another blog with the same posting. His most frequent source seems to be Betsy's Page, which he has ripped off without attribution at least nine times already this month.

Following is a day-by-day list of the posts which "Dave's Blurbs" has plagiarized this month, and my best guess as to the source of the material. Each post below is fully or largely "borrowed," and in none of these cases is appropriate attribution given. Where I have noticed any potentially mitigating circumstances, I have noted them next to the link. In some cases he has combined two other blogger's posts into one of his posts; in these cases he leaves each post intact and just puts one after another.

Here is the list:

Oct 1:

Oct 4:

Oct 8

Oct 9

Oct 10 (two plagiarized posts in a day)

Oct 12:

Oct 13:

Oct 14

Oct 16

Oct 20

Update: Betsy takes it in stride: "That's the blogosphere. You can find anything out there, even your own words." Another post on the topic from Betsy here.

Michelle Malkin weighs in:

Apparently, the blogger at "Dave's Blurbs" has a rude habit of filching other people's blog entries and passing them off as his own. That's not blogging. That's plagiarism. Knock it off.

Update: As commenters to this post have pointed out, the plagiarizer has removed the plagiarized messages. Trying to access one of the plagiarized posts yields a message, "Sorry, but the entry you were looking for is no longer available." In fact, it seems he has removed all posts from his blog, plagiarized or otherwise. Wonder if he'll set up shop with a different name or give it up.

By the way, here is my first post on finding out I'd been plagiarized.

Update: Yale Asst Prof Dina Mayzlin et al cite this incident, and indeed this blog post, in the June 2006 paper "Link to Success: How Blogs Build an Audience by Promoting Rivals."