A letter to advertisers

Posted on Sunday, at • 179 views

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A letter to advertisers

Beauty blogs have recently (in the past four months) and repeatedly had their content duplicated, without their permission, on paid-blogging site Luuux.com. Initially Luuux.com claimed that they would get to work screening content, putting up mechanisms for people to report content violations, et cetera. While it seemed a bit improbable that someone on the initial Luuux development team wouldn't have seen this potential for IP theft and built in ways to avoid it, we all collectively gave Luuux a bit of space to clean things up.

Now it's November 2011, and one of the more notorious content thieves has reopened an account with Luuux.com and resumed her old tricks. Meanwhile, the "Report" button doesn't actually function for me about half the time - and I've heard complaints from other bloggers who are also unable to report stolen content by using the mechanism Luuux provided. The individual bloggers don't care, they want to get the prizes they "worked so hard for". Luuux doesn't seem to care about not allowing content violations as they do about avoiding blame. So now it's time to involve the other party in this whole megillah: the companies who advertise with Luuux and who provide prizes for their "company store".

I've written a letter-template to send to advertisers (downloadable MS Word document), and am making it available here. Anyone may use it in whole or in part - you may even, if you choose, download a copy and make it available off of your own site. Just a few words:

  • I plan on adding more letter-templates, using different tones and appeals. The first letter targets the advertisers losing money by working with a site that won't necessarily send them potential buyers, because of Luuux's negative reputation. I will be writing a "do what's right"-tone letter, but I honestly don't know that this approach will be most effective with most corporations.
  • Whenever possible, include documentation to prove to advertisers that their ads are appearing alongside plagiarized content. Include screenshots of the Luuux.com page, a screenshot of the source-URL, and URLs to both pages so that the advertisers can check it out for themselves.
  • Try and keep your letters as factual as possible. Corporations may or may not care about bloggers' content being stolen; but they do care about losing market share, goodwill, and money.
  • While it may be tempting to use the threat of boycott right off the bat...I personally would avoid using that stick. It makes us bullies; and if you threaten a boycott but don't actually boycott the company, they'll not see a reflected threat in their quarterly profits. Search around, find alternatives, start using those, THEN write the advertisers again telling them that you're no longer using their products and why. If at all possible...include information about how much you spent a year on their products. When they've got numbers to add up, they've got measurable results.
  • DO NOT berate other bloggers if they don't support this in the exact same way you do. Your choices are yours, their choices are theirs. I personally will no longer shop with two major chains after these companies gave large contributions to a candidate who supported a group that openly advocated vigilante-lynchings of homosexuals - because in this day and age, advocating killing people because they live or love differently than you do is hateful, fearful, and immature (to say the least). That boycott is my choice - but it's not the choice of many other people. I don't believe that I have the right to tell others where they can and cannot shop, just like I don't have the right to tell other people what they should or shouldn't wear, eat, read, listen to, or think. I can tell them why I think they will be happier if they do/wear/eat/read X, or if they do/wear/eat/read Y instead...if they ask. If they don't ask, I do not have the right to try and dictate their choices to them or even to "helpfullly influence" them. So before you comment or tweet some "helpful" comment to someone asking them if they realized that X is advertising with Luuux, why are they still buying their stuff...just step back. It's one thing to talk with someone you know, with a friend or a close family member. It's another to try and leave "helpful" comments on strangers' blogs when you don't know how they're supporting a given cause. Respect other individuals' right - and responsibility - to make their own decisions and live by them.

In the coming week, I'll be starting a page listing all of the Luuux advertisers, their advertising contact addresses, and their parent companies...but I'll need help gathering that information. If you have time to contribute, collect advert screenshots and email them to me at sparklecrackcentral at gmail dot com.

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