Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Freedom Communications - Knock it Off!

Rant by: April
Boutiquing.com is a blog written by myself and Erin, two kindred fashion spirits who adore the boutique shopping experience. Our main goal is to bring much needed attention and online exposure to local boutique businesses in the Orange County area. We publish reviews of boutiques we love and promote their various events in the hope that we will help these small businesses remain in their vital role in the retail landscape.

Okay, sorry to sound cliche...but all of us trendsetters know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...true....but give a girl some credit. Today we found out we have been knocked off! Not in your standard, "G" instead of "C" Coach bag kind of way...in a full blown, didn't even bother to change a thing kinda way. How rude!

Here's the deal - Freedom Communications, the large Irvine based company who owns The Orange County Register as well as over 25 other newspapers and various TV stations and online publications, recently launched a new website called orangecounty.com. This site launched April 10th and covers all things OC. A welcome and long overdue destination that serves businesses and charities throughout Orange County, by offering event calendars, restaurant reviews, concert information etc. We were contacted yesterday by their product manager, Kris Heineman to talk about a possible partnership featuring boutique reviews from boutiquing.com....only to realize - they were already using our stories, without crediting us as the source, or licensing the content. Forgive us for the Legally Blonde moment...but we have exhibits:)

Exhibit A
Mi Place Trunk Show - Read ours here

What we discovered on orangecounty.com:

Exhibit B

Chelsea Monroe Couture Debut - Read ours here.

Screen grab from orangecounty.com:

As I said before, boutiquing.com is a blog written by myself and Erin, we have no advertising, the reviews are NOT paid for, and we have developed this blog in an effort to help give reliable and relatable inside views into the Orange County boutique experience. Orangecounty.com is a corporate owned website with many paid advertisements and sponsorship by Fandango, and the ability, one would hope, to write and think for itself. So, why the need to steal content? We are more than happy to spread the word about the boutiquing spots you shouldn't miss...but if you are going to use our content, we expect the credit. At this time we have chosen not to respond to orangecounty.com's request for a partnership, because we feel their actions breech not only ethics, but trust...We are dedicated to bringing our readers the most accurate version of our experiences...and we ALWAYS give credit and links to our sources....and we weren't even journalism majors! We wonder how many others are being knocked off to make this company look good? There are three instances in which boutiquing.com was plagiarized by orangecounty.com... Coco Chanel made the wise recommendation of taking ONE accessory off before you leave the house... orangecounty.com - will you please take off THREE?

For more information on boutiquing.com's mission CLICK HERE.

See Freedom Communications' response to this post.


  1. Evidently orangecounty.com lacks originality as well!!! Your articles are so charming and well written we will always visit for creative reviews...Orangecounty.com better think of an incredible way to make up for this blunder.-Clare

  2. I've been disgusted with Freedom Communications for a long time and this doesn't surprise me at all! I'm just sorry it had to happen to the two of you! What they did was straight out copyright infringement. And to think someone got paid to copy and paste your reviews!

  3. *sniff* *sniff* lawsuit *sniff* *sniff*

  4. And that incredible way of making up for it should include one helluva mea culpa, at a minimum. - Steven

  5. Wow! That's CRAZY! Your articles and reviews are awesome. It's seriously pathetic and shameful that they can't come up with their own original work. What are you guys saying about their proposal?

  6. I would like to say I can't believe it, but sadly I can. Someone there should be fired over it and you guys should definitely get a lawyer. Just because they are bigger doesn't mean they should win and I'm willing to bet you aren't the only ones they stole content from...

  7. One of my favorite things about boutiqing.com is the WAY that they write.You really get the enitre experience.Erin and April have created such a great way of bringing its reader right into the shop,helping you touch,taste,hear and feel exactly what it is they are writting about.
    If someone takes the time to visit these boutiques,create relationships with their stories and back rounds,then they should at least be given kudos when it is DUE.
    I am a clothing designer and time and time again our designs are ripped off and hung out for the world to see with someone elses name on it.There is nothing more invasive than someone tring to take your creativity and use it as their own.Boutiquing.com is THE MOST unique experience for online information regaurding Orange County.I challange orangecounty.com to hire anyone who can do such a job as these two girls,and if you cant then hire boutiquin.com.It is the right thing to do.Shame shame shame.The word will travel fast with this,we are a tight knit community and we ralley behind out creative kind.I think my next letter will be to Fandango,perhaps they too might be outraged.I know I wouldnt want my name anywhere near this kind of behavior.

    Good luck ladies
    Fight the good fight.

  8. Total bullshit You should be pissed but not lose your focus. I am going to call them out on Twitter.

  9. They even copied your typos. No offense. it's "Sex AND the City". But I would think that more than helps prove your case. Not that it isn't so blatantly obvious the way it is with NO effort to change a thing. I would totally take them to court.

  10. I can't believe someone would be so blatant about ripping you guys off! Clearly they have no originality or creative thinking…they couldn’t even muster up the ingenuity to change at least parts of what they plagiarized! You both are so talented, creative and have such way of telling people about the amazing boutiques and fashion events Orange County has to offer. I am behind you guys all the way!

  11. Girl! I think it must be in the water, b/c yesterday, I had a reader of mines tell me that this guy was passing off my article as his (although he tried to change and water it down some) and what was even worse, I write for Ezines and he was on Ezines trying to pass of my ish as his! UGH! I reported it! And things are on their way.
    I would suggest talking with a lawyer, and taking this to heart. These are YOUR words and not anyone elses too use as freely without giving credit to where its due!
    How funny for someone to presume that no one would "Notice" that your articel is somewhere else without your name... thier bad for assuming a lil ol blogger would not matter- show them just how much you do!

  12. This really sucks! I'm afraid it is probably just the beginning of this kind of crime though. All the newspapers and tv stations that are laying off quality educated reporters are going to need to get content somewhere and my bet is that they will rip off online sources. Sad, sad, sad. Don't let them get away with this. Is there a lawyer in the house?

  13. glad to see that this news is making it around the twitterverse! you're raising an important issue for both bloggers and consumers. thanks for posting this

  14. Well, you know the terms "Big fish trying to devour a little fish" and unfortunately it is shamefully so.

    I think boutiquing.com has a great future, and you guys must be commended for such a GREAT job. I am sick and tired magazines coming to my store to sell me ads and all they offer is the same old thing. If publication companies do not start thinking outside the box they will be gone soon.

    You have a great niche, KEEP IT UP.

    Eric Hanan Jewels
    Crystal Cove Promenade
    Newport Coast, California

  15. That's hideous. I have a Creative Commons badge in my sidebar that links to a page that clearly outlines how I allow the content on my site to be used. You should look into putting one on yours. Although you think people would know better than to think they can use your exact words, but I know of a few blogs that are copied in their ENTIRETY! Even the personal accounts and stories, profanities and everything!

    Occasionally I will copy and paste a few sentences from one of my blog posts into google to see if it comes up on someone else's site. Lots of others have used my posts but so far they have credited me (although sometimes it's not all that obvious!) Best of luck getting some kind of satisfaction. I will RT on Twitter (that's how I found you!)

  16. So sorry this happened, you guys! This is awful! But brings up an issue that we should all be talking about more.

    Keep up the good work, ladies. The site is looking great!

  17. This is an obvious case of copy and paste... and that is just plain lazy. You have a GREAT blog and a partnership would have greatly benefitted their start-up site. They should have thought of that before ripping you off.

  18. This is just beyond ridiculous, you should definitely do something, send them a cease & desist letter asap!

  19. wow. sounds like someone need to stopcrying.com
    one. noone reads those kinds of articles. they are obviously fillers for orangecounty.com
    two. if noone is reading those articles on orangecounty.com then definitely noone is reading your articles.
    three. how sad that you guys post your own first few comments to make freedom look bad but make yourself look good. pretty much all unread articles will post their own comments anonymously or have friends do it to make them look official. duh.
    four. you just said freedom has already tried contacting you to give you opportunity to help you. but since you started crying. you will simply hurt yourself.

    take some advice from a pro blogger, just be happy that someone is seeing/reading your posts and willing to work with you. you will only burn a bridge that you already dont have.

    this economy sucks right now and everyone needs a bit of help. what do you think.

  20. The advice about from "Anonymous" is just about the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. No "professional" writer should ever consider plagiarism a part of the trade. You have ever right to be angry and to contact the publication that has stolen your work. The attitude that bloggers should "just be happy someone is seeing reading posts and willing to work with you" is insane, and set all of us back. Stick to your guns , and proceed!