I learned last week through the WordPress pingback feature that a substantial number of Brain Drain posts had been mentioned on another site. As any blogger would probably agree, to see a pingback to what you’ve written is an honor of sorts, a hat tip to your brilliance or at least a mockery of something quirky you’ve said. You smile, feel full of yourself for a minute (sometimes two) and move on. Instead, this list of pingbacks aroused suspicion. This is a partial view:

literature linked here saying, “Silence Speaks Louder In response to Richard Barsa …”
literature linked here saying, “Anne Finch: Creating Her Own Space The poem ?The …”
literature linked here saying, “Quills: Voyeur as the Voice of Reason The Voyeur a …”
literature linked here saying, “Objectivity: A Question of Perspective In referenc …”

Although I’d like to think I’m that important, nobody is worthy of being legitimately quoted twelve times in a single day.

I followed the pings to their source. There, a solid, orange banner bore the photo of a young woman-child. She wore a skimpy, green silk halter and cowboy hat. Her long, blonde highlights were seductively fanned by some off-screen electronic device yet there was an innocence about her that threw me. The small image was cocked to one side and framed as if it were a film negative but that didn’t produce the negative feeling in my gut as much as the title ”literature” in bold letters (with a lower case L and quotes included) under which were all my latest posts. Only one, Aisha in Rwanda: In Need of Humanity, had been offered up for redistribution, NOT MY WHOLE DAMN BLOG.

While one knows that to blog is to run the risk of having your thoughts hijacked, still, the kicker was seeing a copyright symbol at the bottom of the page alongside the words “posted by Smite jonz.” Funny, Smite, you look a lot like ME in that picture linking to an article all about ME in the Saint Rose Chronicle.

Smite chose Blogger to host his (?) site, which works hand in hand with Google’s AdSense Program. From the look of it, this thief stole material from all over the web for two months, increasing the chances of drawing site traffic through numerous keywords. Cha-ching. Any visitor clicking through a sidebar ad generated a small pittance for Smite. The problem is this (as if there is only one here). The last time I looked at Smite’s tracking widget by Geovisite.com, new visitors were pouring in by the minute from all over the world to read my material and with no kickbacks to me.

Ad-ing insult to injury, the kind of advertisements I was generating was astonishing. According to Google:

AdSense for content automatically crawls the content of your pages and delivers ads (you can choose both text or image ads) that are relevant to your audience and your site content?ads so well-matched, in fact, that your readers will actually find them useful.

How does my text translate to “Pro-Republican” in bot speak???? There were seven Republican spots on “my” page.

I notified the folks at Blogger last week, following their procedure by attaching a copy of my passport photo for proof of identity. By using my real name and photo, not just my screen name, Smite may have temporarily dealt a heavy blow to my identity but he also gave me legal leverage in pursuing him. I’ve been watching to see how Blogger would deal with the offender and the site was finally removed today.

Of course, I’m pleased to be me again. More than that, this experience has taught me that it’s possible to make some dough off my own work. It’s been proven by Smite and his boatload of field testing, field testing that I’ve already paid for and learned a great deal from. Thanks for all the hard work, Dude. I’ll use it wisely.

Then again, perhaps the wiser choice is to stick with WordPress whose policy states:

We have a very low tolerance for blogs created purely for search engine optimization or commercial purposes, machine-generated blogs, and will continue to nuke them, so if that’s what you’re interested in WordPress.com is not for you.

It seems, once more, capitalism has been proven to gum up the works of “free” speech.