Friday, 13 November 2009

Bad Blog Karma

I had a rather peculiar experience yesterday. I returned to a place I had blogged about - I am not going to name them, because I do still wish to lend them my support despite the following story. I went in by myself, intending quietly to read through a script. Instead, a lady I presume to be the owner confronted me: 'Are you Giulia? The one whose blog we've been hearing so much about?'. It transpired that, while she was, on the whole, happy with what I had written she was not happy at all with my photographs. Some confusion arose around this point: she said I really should have asked before taking any; I replied that I had. I offered to take the photos down anyway if she liked; she said that I could keep them up.

She was concerned about copyright, and the fact that once something is on the internet it is difficult to control how it is used. I'd be most interested to hear from people who are more legally minded than I, but I was under the impression that I own the copyright to all images on my site. While it would be possible for someone to copy one without my knowledge or permission, this is equally true for any website, including this company's official one. I have so far resisted putting up an explicit statement about the copyright of my content, but I am now considering it and, again, I would love to hear from anyone who knows more about this than I do. I must admit I was also a little upset from a personal point of view, as I have really been working on taking better photos recently, and wasn't sure whether she was implying that she didn't think those I took were good enough to represent her business.

This has been my first experience of being recognised by someone I don't already know because of my blog, and, as you may have gathered, it was not an entirely positive one. The on-line craft community is such a supportive one that perhaps it has made me a little naive about the rest of the big, scary internet. I guess I am most surprised in this case as I had originally gone out of my way to support the company in question; I will think more carefully about doing that in the future.

I do hope it doesn't seem petty to relate all this, but I was somewhat nonplussed by the whole experience, and thought maybe the best way to get it out of my system would be to write it down. How do you go about blogging about places you like (or, for that matter, don't like)? Have you ever been recognised because of your blog? I'd love to hear other people's stories, especially happy ones!


  1. Oh dear. I think, especially in view of the content of your review, that you did a thoughtful and generous thing for her business, and that anyone with an eye for publicity would have quoted you!
    (eg have a quotes page, and very well it serves them too!)

    I am so sorry you had to have such a negative experience in the face of a small, kind act.

  2. What a strange reaction! Looking back at your original post, it seems so relentlessly positive that I can't imagine how anyone could take offence. Strange.

  3. Wow, I would definitely be put off by that experience, too. Yes, you do own the copyright to all of your photos, and I *think* that you don't legally need her permission to post them (but I'm not sure about that and in either case, you did ask permission!). I'd be tempted to take down the whole post, but I'm spiteful like that!

  4. Thanks so much for all your kind comments - it means a lot to me! Alli - yes, I did consider taking down the whole post, but in the end decided that I stood by what I had said, despite the unpleasant aftermath.

  5. I would say that your kindness should have been repaid with thanks and a whole heap of cupcakes (if that is the cafe in question...). And should they ever say anything else, a gentle reminder that rudeness to a loyal customer is the quickest way to lose support.

    As for your photos, you had permission, and unless they want to give you their own photos to use, they'll have to be satisfied with a lovely set of images that are inviting and tasteful.

  6. I think that is outrageous! What a small-minded and irrational reaction. Surely anyone would be delighted to have such a positive report when they're setting up a new business, particularly in the hospitality sector. If she's heard about the blog, it means people have liked what you wrote and acted upon it. How ridiculous for her to complain when you've brought her custom. I would look for a more welcoming coffee shop if I were you.

  7. That seems a very odd reaction to a positive blog post, particularly if you did ask to take photos of the place. You are correct in thinking that all of your photos on your blog belong to you if you took the photographs. I agree with Anne, I'd be looking for a friendlier coffe shop as well.


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