By: Melanie | May 31, 2013 | (12) Comments

Hello guys! I am participating in the Armchair BEA. If you are unaware of what this is, click here to hear more about it!


 I will be talking about the ethics of blogging today.
I’m not usually the person to be talking about such heavy topics. Usually, I like to steer away from all the commotion but today, and just today, I will share you the thoughts of a 13 year old on this topic.
I try my hardest to follow the rules, whether it’s crediting my source of the book I’m reviewing, pronouncing that my ARC copy may undergo changes if I include a quote. (Which I think I’ve forgotten to do lately. Yikes!) But overall, I don’t deem that that’s one of the important issues. Plagiarism holds a much larger level of necessity and awareness. I don’t think I have been a victim but I have certainly observed someone getting plagiarised. I will share my experience but will not mention any names whatsoever.
So I used to take part in this ‘Follow for follow’ groups on Goodreads but began to think it was a bit of cheating and useless. But, like I’m sure you are all aware, once you delete yourself from that group, your previous comments are still visible. Anywho, ‘Bob’ sent me an email saying, “Hi! I followed you blog!(: I love your header ! Follow back?” So, because I only wanted to follow blogs that I was totally interested and didn’t want any fake stats anymore, I replied with, “I’m actually stopping this follow/follow back system for me now as I think it’s not right to do. I only needed to get my blog noticed more among the sea of fellow bloggers so I did this system. I try to follow the blogs I like and are genuinely interested in as a current issue. If you are only following my blog for a follow back, I will not be offended if you unfollow me. So I guess the question is, are you really interested in my blog? If you are, I will always comment back on your blog and probs follow. But I wish to be left out of the follow/follow back system. I am sorry about this but I have really got to stop somewhere, don’t I?”

However, before I hit send, I decided to check out her blog to see if it appealed to me. What I found was so eye-catching about it were her “ADD TO GOODREADS” and “PURCHASE” buttons. They were the exact same as one of my favourite blog’s ones. Literally a mirror image. I thought I was just hallucinating but, nope. I compared ‘Bob’s’ blog with ‘Rob’s’ over and over and added this into my reply, “Additionally, I noticed on your blog, your amazon and Goodreads button links are identical to ‘Rob’s Reading Corner’. Rob (the owner of the blog) is my friend and greatly appreciated over the blogosphere. He has a copyright law on his products as he created those buttons. Please take precaution on what you are taking from as some can be others’ work. My advise is to create your own or use the standard one. If Rob has already allowed you use his material, I’m sorry for my meaningless caution but as I am aware that you are a new blogger, so please understand the copyright laws also applies in the blogging world. I know Rob is a hard worker and I really feel worried that his work is being copied. His link:_________”

(Oh and just to let you know, Bob and Rob are just pseudonyms!)

At this point, I wasn’t awfully bothered, I mean, new bloggers make mistakes so I sent the email and just left it alone for a week. What irked me was after this week, I had no reply whatsoever. I clicked on Bob’s profile and saw that his latest uptate was just recently on the Goodreads group asking for follow backs. Clearly, he had read my email and clearly had ignored it and clearly did not take action as I checked the blog for about 2 days. Taking a different approach, I contacted Rob about this whole issue, and guess what?! Rob detected the plagiarism just 2 hours before my informing. And guess what else? One of the reviews on Bob’s blog was a copied and pasted one. He had freakin copied word for word a review that someone else took time to write that Rob followed.

Now, finally after ALL this, Bob retreated, took off the review and changed the buttons.

So yeah, that was my experience and hope to never come across it ever again.

So here are my tips for bloggers:

1. Don’t plagiarise.
Simple enough, it applies everywhere in real life and is no exception in the blogosphere.

2. Make clear disclosures and credits.
Thank the publisher/publicist/author that sent their work to you publicly. Not only is it a nice gesture but it’s helpful to others to know.

3. Be honest.
I really detest it when I detect someone who is being dishonest in their review. Just because you have an ARC for review, does not mean you have to give positive feedback. The point of sending you the ARC was to make it more publicised and be helpful to buyers and fellow readers.

4. Don’t make fake accounts.
I’ve been on numerous self-published blog tours and to be honest, the some of the books are pretty… horrifying. Then I go on Goodreads and see the average rating is 4.76 or something. Yeah… so maybe I’m the black sheep, but what makes me become more assured about authors creating fake profiles is when I read the reviews. Especially if the book has not been published. Here’s my evidence:

  • No profile picture
  • Same month joined
  • The review is short and talks about same things
  • Friends with other no profile pictured users
  • Only have written one review or even worse…
  • Only have read one book
  • No link to blog (as they received an ARC copy)
  • The fake profiles like each other’s reviews to ensure that they are on the top

Yeah, I’m not too convinced. After the blog tour the rating drops down to like, 3.68. Am I being too picky or does my reasoning lead to some truth?

5. Link
If you haven’t noticed, I link where ever possible. If I mention Goodreads for the first time in a post, I link to them. If I mention a publishing house, I link to them. It’s a quick, painless procedure so there shouldn’t be any excuses.

I hope that’s helpful and have fun blogging, guys! Link me up to your post!

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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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12 Responses to Armchair BEA Ethics

  1. What a lovely post, Melanie! I’m the kind of person who tries to stay as far away from drama as possible, and it usually is, by following the rules and completely ignoring people who don’t do the same.
    Anything else just makes my head hurt and my head happens to be very precious to me. 🙂
    Again, great post!

  2. Ashfa says:

    You’re only 13 and you’ve such an amazing blog- Wow hats off girl and loved the post. The fake accounts on Goodreads is a new thing to me, I haven’t noticed it but I joined fairly recently.

  3. V mature approach to a very difficult situation. Well done, you! Thanks for sharing :0)

  4. I was part of such a group too. I never wanted to follow everyone, but it was a great way to get started and to find new blogs I still follow. Sometimes you need to get started somewhere, but I agree: I now feel like it’s cheating. Oh well, we all learn from our mistakes right 🙂 I hope I never have to deal with plagiarism. It makes me sad when I see a new case of plagiarism popping up on Bloglovin’. Luckily, it has been a while now.


  5. Stephanie B says:

    Great post, Mel! I agree with it all.

  6. Sandy Farmer says:

    Wow…that is one crazy story. It’s hard for me to comprehend someone copying a review word for word. Just blows my mind. HAHAHAA….I’ve wondered about a few authors creating fake profiles on Goodreads in order to up their ratings too. I totally thought I was just being paranoid though. Nice post.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  7. 4. Don’t make fake accounts.

    That’s really annoying. I have seen a number of shady looking accounts on Goodreads.

    The worst case that I have seen was an author that wrote under 3 different pen names. “Mary” had 3 reader accounts under her pen names on Goodreads. She gave her each of her books three 5-star ratings using her reader accounts. Hers were the only reviews for the books.

    In my opinion, the book was a 2, on a generous day.

  8. Bob clearly needed to get a life, that would annoy me to no end. Glad you and Rob got it sorted out and stopped the cheating. I always wonder on Amazon/Goodreads if there aren’t many reviews if there are fake profiles or maybe just friends/relatives of the author. A few bad apples brings down the integrity of the blogging/reviewing process.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, enjoyed your post!

  9. It always makes me really sad whenever I hear about any form of plagiarism 🙁 You handled it really well and I agree with everything you mentioned. Great post!

  10. Whoa, i thought srating on goodreads are real! I always judge by it before buying the book.

  11. Sam says:

    I usually steer away from all the commotion too, which is why I appreciate your post more than any other right now!

    One thing I’m not very good at is stating whether or not my copy was received in exchange for a review. For a start, I’m not entirely sure if this is imposed in the UK (certainly not the same way the FTC guidelines seem to be in the US), but mostly because I never bothered in the first place and now I always forget to. I am always honest though, regardless of where I got my copy from. I never did understand what could be gained from false praise, and it’s usually very easy to tell when it happens.

    Great advice, Mel!

  12. Marie says:

    I simply don’t understand why people would want to plagiarize! Blogging isn’t an obligation, it’ something fun you choose to do, and so if you don’t want to write reviews and create a blog then don’t! But why copy someone else’s stuff? How is that fun and rewarding? No entiendo. >o< Marie @ Marie’s Bookworm Blog

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