When you write a piece of content which goes viral, there are people and websites that approach you for re-publishing it on their websites. Most bloggers do allow a few reputed websites to do so and I also did so with on of the website called IndianExponent , but it turned out to be a horrid experience.
Note: I had multiple people asking for the content but I chose to give it to only 2 websites because of their reputation
I wanted to write this article to let bloggers become aware of how larger websites can be manipulative and deceitful.
Lets start by my motivation to give my content
- More readers
- Back Link from a reputed website
I would not make any claims that a back link was not important, as a rule I refuse to give my article to Anyone without proper attribution and back link.
So Mr Ishaan Mohan Bagga of IndianExponent contacted me to copy my article “4 reasons to not vote for Aam Aadmi party” The article was already going viral and perhaps he thought it may be a good fit for his websites. I gave him the permission
But lo-Behold after many days Ishaan decided to take the liberty and publish not one but 2 article of my websites . When I protested he said that I took the liberty to publish as there were multiple articles of that nature already, and left the decision on me to remove the articles if I wished.
The other article that was copied without first seeking permission was about Paid media and Media manipulation against Aam Aadmi party.
If I had not checked my email for say a year , he would have simply enjoyed it as he did his job of informing me, it is like saying “hey I stole your content , if you want it back let me know”. And hence I am not guilty because I am letting you take it back.
For the first time i heard of someone first taking content and then seek permission.
Nevertheless, I decided to let it slide and gave him permission to use both. But I did ask for certain things
1. On a cursory look I saw that the first article of mine “4 reasons to not vote for AAP” had some more content added to it (new links) and I felt that they killed the satire. Hence I requested him to please add a by line that you have made changes to the article , but he refused
2. I requested link back to the original article and not just the main blog, he again refused politely
3. Nowhere did he mention that this article was copied from another website
But silly me, i decided to let everything slide and due to paucity of time did not even read each word. My Mistake, i believed in him.I thought that was the only change he did.
Both articles did very well garnering more than 1000 likes on FB and 100s of retweets(the first article was already viral on my site)
After a few days , I happened to read the article about paid media and was shocked to see manipulation
When I wrote that article I was very well aware of my tone and my own biases. I knew I did not have sufficient information to accuse all media and hence I had originally written
“It’s no secret that many people believe(including me) that media can be influenced easily by the powerful to “
If you read clearly ,I spoke about my own beliefs but what IndianExponent published was
“It’s no secret that media can be influenced easily by the powerful to “
The irony of the situation was that the article spoke about missing context, missing words in AAP sting my mediasarkaar to paint a wrong picture and IndianExponent did exactly that to the article.
I even had a line at the end where I accepted that I do have biases
I said ” I know I have a bias and would love to be proven wrong”
But IndianExponent decided that I on my OWN article had no right to express that I might be wrong and hence simply omitted these lines.
I was never ever informed that the content is being changed, no permission was sought and no intimation given. Hence I was infuriated and wrote to Ishaan to change it back to the original form.I did not even read the whole article because there 2 things were enough to infuriate me.
Now let me set the context again for IndianExponent , delhi elections were over and the articles were worthless to them as they were not driving any traffic anymore. The only thing these articles did was give SEO advantage to the author in terms of back links.
So Ishaan decided he will delete both the articles , as he had had the benefit of the articles already. When i object to it his response was
- Keeping the articles or removing then at will is their wish and listed in their Terms and Conditions: My Response: Oh really? I never approached them, they did and did not speak about temporary Lending of articles. It is their duty to inform me about any such thing and let me make an informed decision .
- I delayed in raising the issue hence it is my fault that the edited article was on their website: My response: When did we discuss editing the articles context?If I had not read them for 1 year, would he just use them . It is your duty to inform exactly what was modified and after I give permission can you publish it, not vice versa.
- It was an editorial change : My Response: Changing context is not
- I am only concerned about link back : My response: And IE is all holy and pious by making an article more inflammatory that it actually was and if the author does not like it, it’s his problem
- IE has been very accommodating to my requests: My Response: Seriously? When? One small incident please
Now all I wanted was that my article be presented in the way I had written because it was published under MY name. I did not want to make inflammatory remarks and blanket statements that all media is paid . Was it too wrong a thing to ask?
Hence it is proved beyond doubt that
1. Indian Exponent edited the articles because they too are biased like any other news agencies. Others might be for BJP and Congress but IE is possibly for AAP and even that is not good
2. They are no better than a TOI and do not mind editing the context to get some good traffic
3. They will not be willing to stand on their promise
What IE was supposed to do was issue and apology, to me and to it’s readers and publish the article in it’s original form. Instead they decide to delete the article and not accept that they did the exact thing that the article spoke against
Hence my fellow bloggers if Indian Exponent approaches you to republish your articles or to guest blog ,be very careful.