What do you do when another blogger copies your recipes, ideas, and even gets the same freelance gig? That’s the situation food blogger Jennifer Strohmeyer of Virtually Vegan Mama found herself in recently, when another blogger took Strohmeyer’s recipe ideas for her own blog, and even got the same freelancing gig at the same website where Strohmeyer contributes.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. We’ve had lots of discussions here about adapting recipes. Everyone modifies everyone else’s recipes, it seems. Maybe Strohmeyer was imagining things?
I think not. Let me tell you what happened.
But first, a little background on Strohmeyer. She started her blog in mid-January (full discloser: Strohmeyer is a former client), sending photos to Food Buzz and other photo sites to drive traffic. She got higher visibility all right, when another blogger noticed Strohmeyer’s site. These four coincidences happened, one more infuriating than the next:
1. The case of the similar truffles
In March, Strohmeyer wrote a post on quinoa date truffles. She sent her photo to Food Buzz, where it appeared. Shortly, a photo of similar truffles with a different offbeat ingredient appeared on Food Buzz. “She pretty much ripped off my content and made it into the Top 9, ” Strohmeyer recalls.
At my suggestion, Strohmeyer left a comment on the blogger’s truffle post, saying something polite about how fun it was that she had used a similar unusual ingredient (I’m not linking to her blog because I don’t want you all to go postal on her). The point was to make the blogger aware that Strohmeyer knew about the similar recipe. The comment appeared, but then the other blogger removed it.
2. The case of the similar pie crust
Soon after, Strohmeyer blogged about a no-bake date almond pie crust. She wrote that she wanted to make tarts, but she didn’t have tartlet pans. A week later, the other blogger wrote a post about tartlets with a similar crust, but made with a different nut. Her photo made the Top 9 in Food Buzz again.
“She was obviously reading my blog and getting inspiration from it,” said Strohmeyer. “Ethically she should have acknowledged my recipe.”
3. The case of the mentioned pasta dish
Two months later, Strohmeyer wrote in the comments of her pasta post, “I’m making Penna Alla Vodka next…yum!”
Guess what happened? Yep. The other blogger made that same sauce, using a different title, and posted it on her blog. “This one was kind of an F U,” said Strohmeyer. “Was it a coincidence? I don’t think so. I’m not crazy.”
“I thought, ’91How dare you? You took my next post. ’91I didn’t do the next post on that subject.”
4. The case of the same freelance gig
Strohmeyer landed a gig where her blog posts appear on a website that attracts vegans. She added that info to her bio. Soon, the other blogger’s vegan recipe posts began appearing on the site as well.
Was it a coincidence? No. Strohmeyer figures the blogger read her bio and pitched the site.
So what’s a blogger to do? Should she contact the other blogger and confront her? “I don’t want to start a whole big blog war,” says Strohmeyer. “I don’t want the negativity. I try not to look at her website, but I see her photos on Food Buzz, Foodgawker and Tastespotting. I don’t know if people are going to make the connection.”
“She has a great blog,” Strohmeyer concludes. “She has a lot of great things going on. I feel like: Do your own thing.”
So far Strohmeyer has put on her big-girl pants and looked the other way. What would you do in this situation?
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