“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” – old proverb

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” – Herman Melville

A very wise and successful business woman once told me, “There are no new ideas. Women in business need to stop holding so tightly to their ideas thinking they’re completely original or they’re never going to get anywhere.” She’s right, of course. There are new variations, new versions of old tricks, certainly. But there are very few original ideas that have just never been thought of or implemented in the past.

In the blogging world we see many versions of the same. Thousands of foodie sites with recipes around similar themes, headers that look very much alike, and names that confuse the best Google search. Parenting blogs? There are thousands with nearly identical mommy cartoons. Frugal living? Get in line.

But how would you react if one day you – a frequent visitor of…

…came across…

You happened upon this shockingly similar site that also talked about giveaways, reviews, parenting, organization, Disney. You were surprised that the Twitter name of this person was also nearly identical.

What would you do as a reader? And I’m not asking hypothetically. How would you respond to this new blog and its owner, to me, to our communities?

What would you do if you were a blogger and this happened to you?

The truly unfortunate thing is that there is no way to know a person’s intentions, and even when the outcome appears to be egregiously bad, the intentions may have been completely innocent. Very few bloggers have registered their trademarks despite the fact that they’ve used their blog name in trade and can prove it with document upon document. And even if they had registered their mark, how many moms say, “Hey, I’d like to start a blog! Let me begin my searching the US Patent and Trademark Office?”

The bottom line for the original blogger is that if she has used her blog in business be it for ad sales, consulting, or freelance writing, it’s her mark. She may need to work to prove it, but the fact remains that first use in business is all important.

So tell me…what would you do?

Disclaimer: I am not a trademark attorney, paralegal, or guru of any type nor do I play one on t.v. The second Resourceful Mommy logo was made up by me on picnik to illustrate a point, and the alternative universe Resourceful Mommy does not exist. Many in the blogging community have seen this sort of thing occur, be it this blatant, sneakily subversive, or totally by coincidence. There are no known side effects from commenting on this post.

Update: While this post was inspired by many stories not unlike those shared in the comments, the impetus for posting today was seeing this happen to a long time member of the mom blogging community who is also a friend. The update is that it goes beyond a name and format and actually involves posting multiple examples of nearly identical content. Again, no assumptions are made about intention in this case or any others. Does this new information change anyone’s opinions on how to react?

Leave a Reply

1 Comment

  • Di

    I had to come back to this post today because for the third time this is happening to me. I needed to reread people's responses before I let the anger take over and post something I would regret.

    The first time it was someone ripping my feed, exact post down to what I wrote and pictures. I contacted the person and she shut down the site but never responded to my request.

    Today, I found a site with the very same name as mine but with tacked on the end although her Facebook page is my name. Her site is the same niche, has the same font and same colors.

    I did post something on my site basically alerting people that I am in no way affiliated with the site even though it has my name.

    Right now I am angry, frustrated and in a weird way flattered. I know that it could be a huge coincidence but in reality I just think it's a way to cash in off of a name.

    I need some input as to what to do now, do I let it go and be the better person or do I contact this woman?

    (Just a note, I started 4/2009 and she in 3/2010).

    Thanks all.