That one time that Buddy the Elf stole my blog…

You probably saw the title of this post and thought,
“Oh, that silly Jenn. She’s probably going to tell us a story of some weird crazy dream she had about Elf and her blog!”
But, no. I’m totally serious. Buddy the Elf stole my blog. Sorta. Except not really. But he kinda did.

Elf stole my blog

Yesterday at 2pm my husband sends me a message “Buddy the Elf is posting your St. Patty’s Day post on Facebook.” and I’m like, “I have no idea what that means.” So he tells me that his sister sees this picture of our house in her Facebook feed and she called to tell him, and then he told me.

At first I was excited thinking about how awesome it would be to get a ton of unexpected traffic from a Facebook page with over 11,000,000 followers. And just in case you have trouble following all of those zeros, that’s over 11 million people. Woo to the hoo!

So I go to the Buddy the Elf Facebook Page and I see my photo has been “liked” over 6,000 times and shared on Facebook over 1,000 times. And my heart sinks. Because here is no source link back to me included. In fact, there’s no link at all.

Elf stole my blog

To make things worse it was an older version of the photo from 2011 that wasn’t watermarked. I hadn’t even been blogging an entire year yet when I published that post and it never crossed my mind to watermark my photos.

Elf stole my blog

Then I saw a glimmer of hope. There was a link in the comments to a pin…maybe I was given credit after all! The link goes to a pin on Buddy the Elf’s Pinterest account with the description, “Have you seen these toilets? They’re GINORMOUS!” And when I click on the pin…

Elf stole my blog

It leads nowhere. Well, actually it leads here. The original pinner (Buddy?) had pinned the image url instead of the post url, so when you click on the pin it just brings up the photo instead of leading directly to the post. The good news is that “coolestfamilyontheblock” is included in the image url, but most people aren’t going to take the extra step to search for the blog.

So this is a cautionary tale for you, girls and boys. Always watermark ALL of your photos before putting them on the internet, because you never know if your content will be stolen by a 6 foot tall elf with a following of 11 million people.

Furthermore, never pin or repin a photo without a proper link to the original source! This means that you should be clicking through and checking sources before repinning. I know that Pinterest can be addicting and you can get pin happy and just start pinning all of the things and who has time to click through when I’m so busy planning my dinner/wedding/birthdayparty/dreamhome/workoutplan?!

Elf stole my blog

But you seriously need to slow your roll, pinner, and make sure that you are pinning responsibly! It doesn’t do anyone any good to spread “bad” pins around that lead nowhere or that lead to the wrong place. It’s frustrating for fellow pinners who are seeking the original source for content/information and frustrating for the bloggers (content creators) who are missing out on traffic and potential new followers. Follow the golden rule while pinning, if you wouldn’t like someone else spreading around an unsourced photo of yours then please don’t repin without checking the source first.

Elf stole my blog

I know that you’re busy. So am I. (sorta) If you really like a pin and you really don’t have the time to check the source, please repin to a secret board and then go back and check the source later before pinning publically. (“Woah, Jenn, what a great idea!” You’re welcome, imaginary blog readers.)

Elf stole my blog

As I’m writing this my image has now been shared on Buddy’s Facebook page over 2,000 times and has over 10,600 “likes” and his pin has been repinned 250 times. And mama ain’t seein’ none of that traffic :(
Woo Boo to the hoo.
I could report the photo on both Facebook and Pinterest and have them removed for not crediting the original source and copyright infringement or other fancy legal sounding what-nots, but I have no interest in this at the moment. I don’t care if they shared my photo…I just want my traffic. In an attempt to remedy the situation, I started dropping my link in the comments on both the Facebook page and on Pinterest. I started “liking” the positive comments and replying to some of them. Did it help? I don’t know. “Buddy” hasn’t responded to me at all.

How can you help?! I’d really appreciate it if you could help me get the watermarked version of this photo along with the source link out into the internet, particularly on Facebook. It would be great if you could share it on Facebook through your personal profile and/or Facebook page.
I’ve included some links below for quick and easy sharing!
*Share/like/comment on Facebook
*Repin
*Share/+1/comment on Google+
*Retweet

It would also be great if you could head over to Buddy’s Facebook page and find my comment where I left my link and “like” it so that it gets bumped higher in the comment thread. Click here

Leprechaun footprints and green toilet water

Do you always watermark your photos? Do you check sources before repinning? Has an elf ever stolen your blog content? Let me know in the comments!


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This post is linked to SITS Sharefest

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About Jenn Rian

Jenn is a bored and sarcastic stay-at-home-mom of two who blogs and vlogs because the voices in her head tell her to. She blogs about as often as she showers, which isn't very often. (Author of "humor" blog www.imakemyselfthequeen.com and family blog www.coolestfamilyontheblock.com)

Posted on February 22, 2014, in Blog Stuff. Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. I promise to pin responsibly from now on. LOL So sorry this happened. Have you tried to send a msg to buddy and ask him to edit the post to include your link? I’m guessing that photo will get shared all the more as St. Patrick’s day approaches.

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  2. Oh no! That’s such a bummer. I just liked your comment–hope it helps drive traffic to your site. Thanks for the warning. I’m TERRIBLE about watermarking my images. I should probably get on top of that.

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    • Honestly, Bev, it’s such a pain! As it is, it already takes forever to go through the photos and crop and edit them and now add watermarks too! I still have 2 birthday parties and playroom posts that I haven’t worked on yet because the photos are so time consuming! But as you can see, it hurts not to have them, so it’s a necessary evil :( Thanks for your help!

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  3. I liked your comment! I read some other comments about how the footprints might scare a child…what? They wouldn’t scare any children that I know!

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    • hahaha, thanks Ginny! :)
      Actually, the first time that we did Easter bunny paw prints Adaline was a little freaked out by them, which I found odd since she didn’t mind the leprechaun prints at all. So I guess you never know ;) She loves all of the paw/foot/boot prints now and always asks when certain “characters” will be visiting. And I just know that Jonny will love it this year! :)

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  4. GAH this still makes me so mad girl. You would think Buddy would say something – !! So irritated! Liking your comment on his page right now, that crappy mean elf.

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  5. I’m sure some Pinterest users are doing this because they don’t know any better (and I, for one, am going to re-check my pins) but hard to claim ignorance for this one. I’m sure you’re not the only one affected.

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    • For sure, Sarah! It’s an extremely common problem on Pinterest. It’s probably more prevalent among non-bloggers that don’t really consider a source unless it’s necessary (need a recipe for cookies, not just a picture of cookies), but even bloggers are guilty of this. I find numerous bloggers that even pin their OWN stuff wrong. Some that upload photos with no link at all, others that link to their homepage but not the specific blog post, etc. I’m definitely not the only one affected by this :( If my SIL hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have even known about it!

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  6. I’ve watermarked my photos from Day 1. It only takes a few seconds and you’ll thank yourself later. So sorry that happened :( and I too HATE it, when you seen people pinning to the wrong source. I simply “Like” things, to save them, and then check the source before pinning them. Thanks for sharing!

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    • You’re a smart cookie, Sarah! :) It just never crossed my mind all of those years ago to watermark, especially without Pinterest really existing yet. It’s taking me forever to go back and watermark old photos :(

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  7. Thank you for the heads up on this! I haven’t been blogging long and don’t watermark, but this cautionary tale makes me think twice. Also, what a cute idea with the footprints!

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  8. I am so mad for you – how frustrating! Have you contacted the webmaster requesting him/her to edit the Pin? He can change the location of his link on Pinterest, and at least then you would get some of the credit.

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    • I just went to the Buddy the Elf facebook page and it looks like they “borrow” a lot of images from people without crediting them. No good :/

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      • Yeah, I didn’t really notice that yesterday, but I scrolled a little today and noticed that seems to be his “MO”. Everything seems to come from the Pinterest account. Not cool.

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    • Hi Jenny!
      He should be able to edit the pin and change the link to go to my blog. Pinterest doesn’t have a messaging system, so I left a comment with the source link right on the pin but he hasn’t changed it yet :( He has messaged turned off on Facebook as well, so again, I’ve been leaving my link in the comments, but no response :(

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  9. Aggghhh….great reminder. Thank you! Visiting from #sitssharefest this morning.

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  10. I always make sure that my pins lead to a source!

    I guess I should look into watermarking. I don’t mark any of my own images.

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    • YES! I always check too. No/incorrect source on Pinterest is one of my biggest online pet peeves!
      Definitely do something because you just never know. I call everything “watermarking” but as long as you put your url on there, it doesn’t have to be a fancy logo or anything. Most photo editors have a “text” option. You can also create a watermark in PicMonkey.

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  11. That stinks…I repinned, liked, commented on the FB thread and retweeted because helping is my favorite.

    Sometimes, cautionary tales make we want to punch an elf in the nose.

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    • “helping is my favorite” ha, I love this! Thanks so much for all of your help, I definitely saw you all over the net today ;) I appreciate it.

      And I agree, if I couldn’t laugh about it I may have to bludgeon a beloved movie character to death. Lucky for us both, I found some levity. Some.

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  12. OMG I will never think of Buddy the same way! I recently started watermarking my photos, mostly because it reinforces my “brand” and looks more professional. But now I will o it to protect my content!!! Great cautionary tale.

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    • Elf is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Hope this doesn’t ruin it for me now :( But I haven’t been able to figure out if this page is officially affiliated with the movie. I have a hard time imagining that it is because surely they’d have a more knowledgeable social media manager that wouldn’t be making such an enormous rookie mistake!

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  13. This reminds me that I need to go back through my older posts and watermark photos because I didn’t watermark any of my photos in the beginning. Fingers crossed that somebody from their page responds back to you soon and edits the post to give you credit. A viral photo is a great traffic booster.

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    • I haven’t heard anything from them so far. I mean I could’ve went in there angry and posting things all over the wall and reporting them, but I’ve been nothing but polite in requesting that they add my link. We’ll see what happens. The traffic is what I’m really disappointed about. I’m not a photographer and luckily this wasn’t a picture of my kids, so I don’t care about the photo itself so much, I care more about the fact that they have a ginormous fan base and MY photo was being shared thousands of times and I got zero benefit from it. :(

      Luckily, I have an awesome group of bloggers all trying to help me spread the word and I’m seeing way more traffic today from their efforts :)

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  14. I used to not watermark either– I really need to update a whole bunch of posts. I did all your sharing links, but both your g+ and your twitter go to twitter.

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  15. Ugh, I’m sorry that happened to you. I just posted to the folks on my private page about checking resources (again) earlier this evening. I’ll share your post with them too.

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  16. Yes, I’ve noticed that some pretty major bloggers in my design circle do it….unbelievable! As an artist/designer and someone who has a blog (on which I rarely ever post), it drives me batty when people poach photos, including my own. Thank you for mentioning, too, that many of us would like to actually visit the pages of the true sources of the work. Hopefully, more people will learn how to properly enjoy the creativity of others.

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  17. I am so embarrassed to admit this so don’t judge me. I’ve never pinned a thing in my life OR watermarked any of my photos. What do you use to watermark? I am absolutely clueless. I know. Pathetic, isn’t it?

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    • Pinterest is a trap…don’t go there if you value your time ;) I LOVE it but it sucks my life away, hahaha.
      As for watermarking, I first started out by just opening up photos in the photo editor that comes with my camera and using the text option to add the url to my photo. Now I use PicMonkey. Sometimes I use a “watermark” and other times I still use the url, just depends on the shape/size/color of the pic in question. I still have a ton of old photos that I need to go back and watermark. I’ve been working on it for the past year or so, but it takes forever!

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  18. Oh my, I’m so sorry this happened to you, but thank you for such an important cautionary tale. And one that’s amusing, to boot. I always love your humor :)

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  19. Well I better start adding watermark to all my pictures too! I see that they have updated the pinterest photo with the correct source!

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    • Yes, start watermarking right away!
      Unfortunately the Pinterest source is still incorrect. It’s only leading to the image hosted on my blog here, which doesn’t count towards clicks in my traffic. The pin should lead to the actual blog post that contains the photo here. Then visitors can see the entire post, where there are several other great ideas for St. Patrick’s Day. “Buddy” seems to be ignoring me :(

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  20. Great advice to all of us! I hope that you will get credit going forward. It is a cool picture!
    -Karen
    http://www.yourstylistkaren.com

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  21. Totally great advice. I forgot(again)about setting up a secret pinterest board. I guess I am stupidly naive. And I have been forgetting to watermark my photos. Adding that to my sticky note!

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  22. What a jerk! I can’t believe the thief hasn’t responded. I need to remember your advice.

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  23. Oh no! I am so sorry that happened! I love love the idea though!

    xx Kait

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  24. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell your story. I’ve been contimplating adding a watermark to my images for awhile but thought it would be way too much trouble. Your story made me realize how important it is and prompted me to look up how to do it and now know it’s not so hard and my pictures are worth taking the time!

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  25. I laughed my entire way through this post! Now to make myself a watermark…

    Like

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