B-Tips is less a tutorial and more a brain-dump of all the stuff I’ve learned how to do over the last couple of years. It is inspired in part by more knowledgable bloggers than myself, as well as the multiple conversations I’ve come across on Twitter, where the topic is fear of coding (usually in relation to switching from Blogger to WordPress). (This is NOT a how-to on switching. I had hiccups and help in switching, and it was many moons ago, therefore if you need or want to switch, I recommend reading one of the many tutorials out there to help guide the way). My point is, HTML and simple code is not a scary thing as long as you have Google. Or friendly bloggers to brain-dump on you. Other great references are Parajunkee’s View, NoseGraze and Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. All of them have more knowledge than me.
Today we are going to talk about Blogger Ethics! This is a really Big Deal and is something newbies and oldies should care a lot about. I thought about making this a discussion post, but frankly, ethics also sort of belongs in Tips, because everyone could use a little refresher. So let’s talk about Ethics!
Part of the delight in the book blogging community is the people. We meet all kinds of people in this community, forge new friendships and sometimes this means bloggers decide to join forces, which is awesome! But, like people in real life, things happen and co-blogging with someone doesn’t always work out thus “divorcing” on the blog becomes a tedious and delicate process.
So what happens to all those posts? Well for starters, they belong to The Blog. Whoever stays with the blog gets to keep the posts. If you are leaving a publication, regardless of the media on which it is published, you do not get to take your posts (reviews, guest posts, blog tours, etc) with you. This would be like if you worked for the New York Post and decided “Hey! I feel like moving to Boston and working at the Boston Globe!” and trying to take your articles with you. This is THEFT. Your articles belong to the publication. Always. No exceptions.
“But Jennifer, how is that stealing? Those are MY WORDS!”
Sure, they are your words, but let me present a scenario to you: A publisher approaches you about a blog tour for your blog ABCXYZBookBlog.com because they like the blog’s stats and following. You love the book they have asked you to promote, so you sign the blog up for an author interview. Winning! The publisher then links back to your interview from the tour page, possibly the book’s page, and maybe the author page, too. If you move your post from ABCXYZBookBlog.com to another website, you create a dead link for the publisher (or whoever is hosting), which can cause bad SEO scores for them. Dead links = bad SEO. And whomever goes to their site and tries to follow your link will never find your post, by the way. Who wants that?!
And honestly? The publisher/author/blog tour organizer came to you because they liked ABCXYZBookBlog.com, NOT YourNewBookBlog.com.
“Okay fine, Jennifer, I’ll leave my post up, but I can copy it and re-post, right?”
NO! Hell no, you cannot. This is stealing and Google thinks so, too, FYI. This also hurts yours and their SEO ranking, and content-scrapers (as they are called) get DMCA take-down notices for this all the time. You could lose your entire blog for doing this. It doesn’t matter that YOU wrote the article; it existed somewhere else first. It belongs to the publication, NOT TO YOU.
Like authors who write books and send them out into the world to be divulged, dissected and loved or hated, once you write a review, blog tour, guest post, or interview and then post it, you no longer own it. It Is Not Yours. If I decided to leave The Bawdy Book Blog tomorrow and Jessica wanted to keep it going, everything would belong to blog. I’ve written hundreds of posts on here, but they belong to Bawdy, not to me.
If you decided to throw all of these ethics out the window and you still steal content to take with you when moving to a new blog, it would at least be a good idea to note on each individual article that it was originally posted elsewhere. At least give credit to the original publication, but what am I saying?! Nobody reading this would ever do any of these things! You guys are all ethically awesome!