This post, "Tired of Sharecropping for TheGrowSpot", was written for my blogspot blog, The Transplantable Rose, by Annie in Austin. - Edited Friday night, 12/ 7/ 2007 with more information added at the bottom of this post.
Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening recently asked why there are so few older garden bloggers, with ‘older’ defined as over 70, close in age to her parents. In the course of this lively discussion a similar question was raised – where are the younger garden bloggers? To answer that question I added a comment that listed some garden bloggers who’d spoken about being under 35. I have those bloggers linked in my sidebar.
I was quite happy to tell people about those young garden bloggers and give them links, but I’m not happy to tell you about another young woman with a garden blog, the so-called “grow spot” – and I’m not giving her a link, because the garden blog she has is not her garden blog… it’s mine, and it’s Kim/BlackswampGirl’s Study in Contrasts garden blog, and it’s Kerri’s Colors of the Garden and Don’s Iowa Garden and Yolanda Elizabet’s Bliss Garden, Colin and Carol’s Mediterranean Garden, Green Thumb’s India Garden, Nicole’s Caribbean Garden, Deviant Deziner’s Garden Porn, Dawn’s Suburban Wildlife Garden, Sylvana’s Obsessive Gardener… and a lot more. At this site, our posts appear on a neutral background and the site uses the photos we have taken, reproduces our words, and gives the unlinked names of our blogs - but you have to read the whole page and then click ‘more’ to go to the bottom of another page before you find a link to the actual blog. Our sidebar links, icons, buttons, tags, archives, etc. do not appear, so when read at this heavily promoted site our posts are disconnected from the page we have made.
There’s a comment forum for signed-in members, and it appears that the commenters assume they are speaking directly to the authors. But I don’t think the real authors will get to read these comments unless they’re signed in at the forum, and I haven’t seen any answers from the actual authors on the forums.
Colin and Carol – do you know there are comments on your roadkill post at this grow spot site? Don in Iowa, did you know there’s a comment on your “In Praise of Disorder” post?
Maybe you do already know about this, and maybe some of you are okay with it… but I’m not okay with someone using my work to raise the number of hits, ride piggyback on my page rank and prevent readers from talking directly to me. We genuine authors sweat blood over our posts while this chick swipes someone else’s work, stuffs it into her little gated community and demands that readers sign up to get inside.
The garden bloggers that I know can tell you about their experiences and experiments in every kind of gardening, and we've become a large and loosely organized community. TheGrowSpot. com bills itself as "a gardening community with forums on Urban Gardening, Organic Gardening, Growing to Eat, and more. The Grow Spot is also resource for information on all sorts of garden plants, flowers, trees and all things that grow. No green thumb required!" How can a few individuals who reuse posts be considered a community? They have taken the content of real gardeners in order to repost it on their pages, plunking in their ads next to our words and images. And in the end, those ads, perhaps for products that we totally hate or object to, are the reason for the existence of the Grow Spot.
We real garden bloggers write about all sorts of garden plants, flowers, trees and all thinks that grow. But instead of saying “No green thumb required”, as does this scraper site, we say “Grow things and your thumb will turn green!” as you gain in experience.
I am also not happy with the person who apparently runs this Grow Spot [it’s smushed into one word with the and dot com added – if you want to see it, go ahead, but I’m not helping!]. She shows up as a 33-year old woman named LUBA SPICHKIN from Santa Monica, California. She wears size 7 shoes and likes music by the late Elliot Smith, And who knows – maybe she's some kind of a gardener, but not a genuine one. Instead of hoeing her own row, she looks for other gardeners who are weeding and planting their plots, then rushes in from behind, jumps on their backs, steps on their shoulders to reach over and grabs the harvest from the true gardeners’ hands.
And she’s just one of a hoard of bottom feeders. I feel sick at what has happened to many of the stolen and reblogged Garden Bloggers Book Club posts about Eleanor Perenyi and Green Thoughts… some of them link to porn.
Take a representative phrase out of one of your own posts and use an exact search to see what happens – you may have written those words but will you get credit? Your site may come up in the middle of the page and clicking on your words as reblogged by other sites may trigger the installation of spyware or worse.
I think this post will go out on the feed in its full size, but as bloggers like Carol of May Dreams have advised me to do, the next garden post will probably be in the preview size. I know it’s not convenient for some of you, but the barbarians are at the gates and since I don’t have a moat, the least I can do is take up the welcome mat.
[Many heartfelt thanks for technical assistance and editing advice go to the wonderful Mr Brown Thumb, who has opened my eyes to more than plants.
Edited, Friday night: Mr Brown Thumb has posted to explain the technical aspects of scraping and RSS feeds. Read this post and you'll understand why the arguments of the growspot owner are a smoke screen for what is really happening].
This post, "Tired of Sharecropping for TheGrowSpot", was written for my blogspot blog, The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.
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