As a blogger, I take a lot of pride in the content that I create for people to read and enjoy. I don’t make a lot of money doing it, and what I do make from the work I do is really a lifesaver. When big companies use a blogger’s stuff without permission, it’s pretty crummy. That’s why there’s such a thing now as the Soggy Noodle Award. I felt it necessary to bring attention to the issue of plagiarism and so here’s the story.
Last year, I found this image floating around the internet (click to enlarge). It was by a grocery chain up in Canada called T&T Supermarket. I was familiar with them – they’re just over the border and have lots of great noodles for sale. What I first thought was ‘wow this is neat!’ Then I took a closer look. They used all my images – even to go so far as to use the pack images that still have my watermark on them. They hadn’t asked permission, and they were using this in their stores and advertisements online. I was a bit annoyed; they’re using my name. They’re using my images. They misspelled noodles as noddles.
I decided to contact them. I spoke to a woman (who I’ll leave unnamed) who She was very apologetic and actually said she was a fan of the site. I thought maybe instead of being cranky about it, maybe these folks might want to work together for mutual benefit. She agreed and decided we should meet and discuss some kind of way to proceed.
After countless issues getting directions and setting the date to meet, me and my partner at the time drove up to Richmond, BC and met with them. They were really nice – even gave me a couple copies of the poster and mentioned how much response it had gotten; they had sold out of almost everything on the list that they’d had in stores! The idea was that I’d do a couple appearances up there. They also were interested in a Top Ten List just for T&T and the products they had available (it’s tough to source everything due to import restrictions etc.) and I thought that would be fine too. They were kind and sent me along with a ton of instant noodles and a promise to contact me with a proposal for doing the appearances.
Well, they never got back to me. After multiple attempts to reach them, I got dead air, which led me to the feeling that they decided that giving me some noodles was enough and it was settled. Kind of a crummy feeling.
I got an email from a reader a couple weeks ago mentioning this (click image to enlarge). Apparently, they forgot about our meeting last year and thought it would be just fine with me to go ahead and do the same thing again. During the meeting last year, I told them they had used the incorrect images for the #1 and #2 (now #2 and #3) and had them backwards. Looks like they remembered that. They also kept noodles misspelled as noddles.
Here’s another one. Using my name and list to make profit. Also, again with the noddles. It’s really disappointing to me; I think I’m a pretty easy guy to work with, and I would have given them permission to do this maybe if they had at least contacted me and offered me something. It’s not much to ask. I want to make clear too – I have absolutely nothing against any of these brands they’re selling – there’s a reason they’re on the Top Ten list – they make great stuff. I also think it’s great that T&T has made them available for people to get up north – at good prices too. But T&T Supermarket gets my thumbs down for this. Hopefully this is the first and last Soggy Noodle Award I’ll be giving, but this kind of thing happens a lot, not just to me, but to bloggers around the world.