I think I have only ever used this blog to rant once or twice. But now I need to share a story that is relevant to all bloggers of all genres.
I wrote this piece about a month ago and then I sat on it, trying to decide whether I would or should post it. Clearly, I have decided it's something important enough for me to share.
So, what’s in a blog name?
An awful lot.
Especially when other people benefit from the brand profile you have built, innocently or not.
I started my blog back in 2006. Since then I have built up a regular following of kind, wonderful readers (many who lurk without commenting, but my stats show me you’re there).
Through my blog I have found friends from all over the world.
When I attend events or eat at restaurants I am ecstatic to find readers hidden among strangers and foodies. It’s a source of pleasure and pride for me to learn I have influenced a chef, inspired someone to try something new or helped someone cook a winning meal.
I’m not claiming to be one of the top blogs in Australia, nor one of the most famous, but I have certainly invested a lot of time and effort into building my “brand” which is synonymous with my blog name, Morsels & Musings.
My achievements over the past 6 years are now resulting in great opportunities and paid writing gigs on a subject I’m truly passionate about: gastronomy.
It’s a dream come true and Morsels &Musings has led me here.
And now I feel distressed that someone might possibly steal this identity away from me, even if it’s unintentional.
In the last 6 months I have been dismayed to discover two Australian food blogs with names that people have easily confused with mine.
In June 2010, Musings and Morsels arrived on the scene. They are an Australian-based duo covering both food and film.
Then in September 2010, Morsels & Musings (YES! my exact blog name) was started up by another Sydneysider to blog about food.
Same blogging platform.
Blogging about food too.
At first I felt shocked, and then angry.
Then I questioned whether I had a right to be angry.
And I decided, I did.
When I started my own blog, I googled the name I wanted to use to check whether anyone else out there had anything remotely similar. No one did, at the time.
Did either of these people do that?
Surely one of them has done that since?
If they did/have they would have found my blog!
Surely then they would have questioned whether they should use the same/very similar name as an existing, well-established Australian food blog? Especially if they were going to create their own Australian food blog!
Didn’t they care that they’d be competing? (SEOs?)
Possibly plagiarising? (originality?)
If they were writing about another topic then maybe I could have shrugged it off, but they are both food blogs! In Australia!
It’s sickening to have people use my blog’s identity, something I have poured my heart and soul into over the years.
I’ve had content ripped off before, and photos stolen without crediting, but while that’s unfair and annoying it’s not the same as someone using my blog’s identity. That’s a much deeper breach.
For instance, Musings and Morsels is on its way to being a good food blog and has become quite active. There are some lovely photos and interesting recipes. I would have liked this blog if they hadn’t used my name.
Already I have received emails and messages from fellow bloggers and PR agencies confused as to which blog is my blog. They are looking for me and finding them. They are getting comments/messages from them and thinking it’s me.
What if the authors of the other two blogs are offered opportunities based on the brand and goodwill I have generated? What if they write or do something that others somehow negatively attribute to me?
I have to think the best of people and assume that both blogs’ authors meant no harm and just blundered along unwittingly, or didn’t think things through.
But that doesn’t change the fact that now there are three Aussie food blogs out there, all bearing similar names and that I, as the most established and recognised blog, certainly have the most to lose.
This problem is certainly poignant to every blogger but, short of taking legal action, there’s not much I can do about this situation.
It’s upsetting and disappointing, and even if it’s not illegal (which it isn’t) it breaches all blog etiquettes and basic common decency.
So what would be the best outcome now?
Well frankly the only real resolution is for the two newcomers to pick some new names that are original and unique to them. Not only would it reduce confusion around the profile that I’ve built for the past 6yrs but it would allow these blogs to grow and find their own special place in the sun.
But in the end, that’s up to them.
Thanks for taking the time to hear me out on how this experience has made me feel.
Your continued support to Morsels & Musings will always be appreciated.