Saturday, November 6, 2010

So, who advertises at Cooks Source? And why Monica Gaudio makes me hungry.


Both Jake Kuramoto and Jim Ulvog are talking about this. To summarize the mess, I'll quote Ulvog (with attribution):

Summary in one run-on sentence: magazine lifts entire article without permission, author complains, magazine sends multiple condescending replies, author posts story to blog, posting goes viral, several thousand harsh comments posted to magazine’s Facebook page, most of internet world lashes magazine, bunch of advertisers pull ads, crowd sourcing identifies dozens of other apparently stolen articles, crowd sourcing accumulates the results on-line and starts notifying the original authors, Washington Post/MSNBC/LA Times start reporting, there are 15,600,000 hits from searching the magazine’s name, reputation of magazine and editor completely destroyed.

I read Kuramoto's story first, in which he wondered about whether it would be worth the trouble to bring Cooks Source to justice, and in the back of my mind I wondered if pressure could be brought to bear on the advertisers. Ulvog's story indicates that such pressure was applied, and that advertisers yanked their advertisements.

One list of Cooks Source advertisers was posted on Facebook, along with the warning "Be polite!" and a reminder that the advertisers were probably unaware of what Cooks Source was doing - heck, the original authors who wrote the lifted material were unaware of what Cooks Source was doing.

How was the list sourced? According to commenter Aliya Zaidi, Cooks Source helpfully placed issues on the web (even though they believe that stuff on the web is public domain???).

Cooks Source prints all copies of its publication on its Facebook page, which allows users to see which advertisers have partnered with the magazine. Angry Facebook users are now contacting Cooks Source's advertisers to convince them to pull advertising.

Although that particular issue (with the plagiarised content) has been taken down, the list of advertisers is still up on the Facebook page.

Now I originally wasn't sure whether the issue was posted on the real Cooks Source Facebook page, or perhaps on a Facebook page created by someone else. If someone else posted Cooks Source copyrighted content, then that kinda sorta negates the original point. However, Cooks Source redirected people from their website to their Facebook page. Well, sort of - they told people to go to Facebook, but didn't provide an explicit link to the page itself. Of course, Cooks Source never imagined that multiple pages would be springing up, most of which were angry at Cooks Source.

Back to the advertisers. Kristin Nielsen suggests that Cooks Source ex-advertisers should be rewarded. And if you live in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, perhaps you may want to patronize 2nd Street Baking Company. They pulled their advertisements, but apparently some people don't know this yet. Here are some of the messages that 2nd Street Baking Company has posted:

2nd Street Baking Co. As
an advertiser, we are disappointed in Cook's Source and we are pulling
our ads from this publication.
Thursday at 12:30pm

2nd Street Baking Co. Many of us (as is the case with our
business) paid several months in advance for advertising and are
unlikely to get any compensation back. We ask that you please stop
calling and emailing our business; we agree that the publication made a
grave error, but the blame should be placed with them. Please do not
make small businesses like mine pay for their error in judgment.
Thursday at 12:30pm

2nd Street Baking Co. As one of the advertisers in Cooks' Source, we have been posting for the last 12 hours that we have already been in contact with them and asked that our advertising be pulled from their publication. We've posted all of this and still the calls and emails come flooding in. Contacting us about this further disrupts our b...usiness and is making it difficult for us to operate and get calls and emails from our customers.
Yesterday at 12:31am

Apparently after these messages were posted, people were offering to give money to 2nd Street Baking Company to make up for the advertising fees they lost. So what did 2nd Street Baking Company do? They told people to donate to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts instead.

I hope Judith Griggs isn't dumb enough to demand a cut.

Incidentally, "griggs" is now a verb.

"I griggs'd the professor's doctoral thesis from her website, and I even cleaned it up for her and told her she should give me an A, but she failed me anyway."

Oh, and if you want to see the original post that started this whole snowball - I mean snow blizzard rolling, Monica Gaudio's original post on tarts can be found at Gaudio wrote an absolutely fascinating post on how socio-economic changes affected apple pies between the 14th and 16th centuries. Frankly, I can't imagine an apple pie without sugar! Gaudio's conclusion:

The greater availability of sugar that came about due to an increase in trade and the creation of finer flours completely changed a simple dish known as an apple pie.

Hmm...maybe 2nd Street Baking Company will offer both varieties.
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