18 June 2017

The Shocking Story of How My Blog Got Stolen By A Stranger

I had other plans for this post. I imagined pictures of the mediterranean ocean, sandals and a whole lot of summer. But, alas, it seems like that's just going to have to wait. This is the story of how I went to bed one night and woke up the next day with a stolen blog.

After my first evening out in the ever-beautiful Athens, I came home to check on my blog like I always do. I found that I had quite a bit of traffic coming from one particular URL. But, as always, I hoped that someone had maybe mentioned my blog's name. With that, I rolled over and fell asleep, only to soon realise that my pure and innocent thoughts couldn't have been further from reality.

The next morning rolled around boasting freshly made breakfast, curtesy of my yiayia, or granny in greek. The new day promised a day frolicking on the beach and exposing my vanilla-coloured skin to the ultra violet rays and vitamin D it so needs.

As I always do, I checked my blog. My eyes crossed paths with that URL from the night before that continued to bring me traffic overnight. Expecting to see a 'shoutout' I clicked on the blog. In a click of a button, my intended plans for the day ahead shifted. Call it what you like: captured, hijacked or copied. But, I'm going with stolen. My blog was stolen.

As a kid, I loved playing a game called 'spot the difference'. I think now's a good time to play.
HINT: There aren't many differences.

Same photo different name. I'm 100% the person in that photo is me... unless something is seriously misaligned with the world.
I think anywhere I put my name is automatically changed to 'Natalie Obeirnes'.
Out with the old and in with the new. My blog copy cat removed my email address from my 'contact' page and put theirs in.

I think my blog header looks better #SorryNotSorry 
The top header is my blog's copy cat. The lower one is the original.

Things get a bit fuzzy when you copy directly. It's kinda like my blog copy cat was sitting next to me trying to copy from my math homework but got it all wrong...

I wish I could tell you what the purpose of all of this has been. If its been to piss me off, mission accomplished. 

So, I didn't quite get that blogger 'shout out' I was hoping for...maybe it's about time I lower my expectations. 

As of right now, any changes I make on my blog reflects on the copy cat's side too. My IT-god of a brother has contacted the copy cat's hosting site to get it taken down. I've also filled in a DMCA infringement notice with Google. But, I think as for now, it's a waiting game. The copy cat created the site on 5 June 2017. So, its been running for a while without my noticing. I also emailed 'Natalie' with a threat... although I doubt much will come of that.

I have no doubt my blog copy cat will read this, so to her/him:

Social Spying is surrounded by an incredibly compassionate group of people. If anything, this shenanigan of yours has only brought this out more. The love, care and consideration shown to me in and amongst this confusion has been overwhelmingly positive. So, thank you for highlighting that to me.

I am so incredibly proud of this space; I have truly put everything that I have into it over the last year or so. I am so proud of every letter on its pages. Inscribed in Social Spying is passion, care for people, a celebration for all aspects of life and community which I have no doubt you noticed and wanted for yourself.

Well, this blog and its community will forever hold honesty and openness at its cornerstone.

Your intentions for Social Spying are unclear. But, I think it's safe to say you failed. Social Spying will always be ours; As long as it's my name in that bio, this space will always be for the people who read and enjoy it; The people who seek refuge in its words and find a companion in me. It's ours. And you're not included.

To you, the reader:
As I work tirelessly behind the keyboard to take down the copy cat, I will update you on how you too can protect your own blogs and learn from my logistical weaknesses.

Admittedly, I am part furious and part flattered. I'm always very pro-people finding inspiration from others, but, this is taking it 11 and a half steps too far.

Thank you to all of you who have sent me messages of support. It's in instances like these that truly bring to light what an astonishing group of people I have come to befriend through this space. I'm so grateful for you.

If you refer to the 'about' page of this blog, I've written:

I don't plan on going anywhere. It's going to take a lot more than this to get rid of me. 

As I promise each time,

I think awareness can be a powerful tool to prevent this from happening to you and your blogging friends. Please share this post online, in your ow blogging communities, to raise awareness and prevent blog copy cats. If you'd like to read more about 'content scraping' this article is really good: https://blog.sucuri.net/2016/04/cloned-website-stealing-google-rankings-seo-serp.html 

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  1. So sorry to hear this Steph, it's awful! Hopefully you'll get the copy cat site taken down ASAP!

    Hollie // Hesperosaurus

    1. It is terrible.
      Unfortunately, nothing has happened yet, but I'm still working on it!

      Thanks Hollie!

  2. Some people do really crazy things. They just want the attention and have nothing better to do with their life. x Nikita

    BLOG//Jasmine Loves

    1. Some people definitely have a lot of time on their hands. A LOT!

      I think it's sad how someone even figured out that you could do this. There are strange people in the world.

      Thanks N!

  3. Oh my god! That's so bad, I would be so upset!! Hopefully you can get the other blog shut down soon!xx

    Honeypot Blogs

    1. Thanks! That's definitely the goal- the sooner the better!

  4. This is so weird. Sorry you had to see that steph. :( Hopefully everything works out in the end. :)

    Nabila | Hot Town Cool Girl

    1. Very weird, right!

      I'm sure it will!

      Thanks Nabila!

  5. I'm so sorry! I don't get why someone would do something so terrible. I hope that the other blog gets shut down soon!

    1. That makes two of us!

      As always, thank you, JG!

  6. That's just dreadful - and so blatant. Hope it all gets sorted for you

    1. Blatant is a very good word to describe it!

      Fingers crossed it all gets resolved soon.

      Thank you fro stopping by and reading, Laura!

  7. Dear Natalie,
    Just stop. Pls. Thanks.

  8. Oh my gosh, I can't believe that this happened to you! It's like something off Catfish! I can't understand why anyone would want to do something like that, so I hope she's learned her lesson from all this.

    Olivia - The Northernist

    1. Oh my goodness, I thought the EXACT same thing!

      I doubt this person has learnt any lessons, rather unfortunately.

      I'm sure they've done it before, and they won't hesitate to do it again!

      Thanks for your support, Olivia!

  9. Oh my goodness. This is absolutely terrible and scary... so sorry this happened to you but thank you for making readers aware. Hope you find this culprit!


    1. Scary is definitely the word.

      I even de-activated all my social media accounts (out of fear) a few days ago.

      Thank you Allie!

  10. Can I just say...Handmade Ornament is the WORST blog name ever. What is it? A Christmas blog?

    Good on you for not letting this get you down. And hopefully you can put an end to it soon.




    1. Hahaha, Bobbi!
      I thought the EXACT same thing. Maybe they're preparing to get rid of my blog and get ready for Christmas. That would actually be great for me, because it means my blog won't be there anymore!

      I love blogging too much to stop- and who knows how long I would have had to stop before the site gets taken down! I wasn't about to sit around and find out!

      Thanks Bobbi!

  11. I feel very bad because it happened to you, you know that your blog is one of my favourites! Hope that you can solve it quickly, if you need me, I can help you to report it!

    1. AW, that is so lovely of you, C!

      Thank you!

      I have reported it. I'm just waiting for a reply now!

      I really appreciate your kindness!

  12. I can't believe someone would actually do this. What is wrong with people? I'm so sorry to hear this.

    1. There are some crazy people out there with non-conventional intentions and a lot of spare time on their hands.

  13. Oh my gosh! That's insane, who would do that?! I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this lovely <3

    1. I'd love to find out who it is, but I think the internet is too much of a dark and scary place to ever find out, unfortunately.

      Thanks for the lovely comment!

  14. Oh my gosh, That is so weird! I honestly wonder why the copy cat did that, There wasnt that much they would get out of it, It's just mean and of course you would've found out.
    x Skye // A little inkling // alittleinklings.blogspot.com

    1. I just googled her and it's so creepy how like my comment I made on your about page is there under my username and every comment is done in the 18th June pretty much, Please take her down Steph

    2. The copy cat has EVERYTHING. It's honestly one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me!

      Apparently, similar copy cats do this for page views. I'm not sure how though!

      Thanks for being creeped out with me! I appreciate the moral support!

  15. How do we know this is you now?���� Joking! Although, this is a serious matter. Truthfully, I'd be too panicky and upset to even write a post about the hijacking of my blog. In fact, I'd probably have doubts about whether I should even blog again. Therefore your reaction to it is like a breath of fresh air (in a good way).������

    #sweetreats xxx www.bakingboutiquebirds.blogspot.co.uk/

    1. This could be a completely different person...and no one would ever know it!
      HAHA! I did have my doubts! I was ready to lock up shop and call it a day.

      I'm still panicky, confused, annoyed, tired and impassioned to fight on!

      So many emotions!

      Thank you!


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