Plagiarising a post on plagiarisation: The truth about freelancing

Something interesting happened to me a few days ago. My articles from this blog were plagiarized. I was a little surprised, because this blog has a very small readership. It’s new, only has a handful of posts, and most of my viewers come from my social media channels, where I promote the blog. So, I wondered what the odds were.

But then, I realised that there was another place that my blog’s readers came from. It’s freelancing platforms. I work regularly on a freelancing platform that will remain unnamed here. Over there, when people ask me for samples of past work, among other links, I provide a link to my blog. It has a couple of articles, and there are no copyright (ghostwriting) or NDA issues involved, so it suits me well.

Now, you might ask me why I’m sure that the plagiarizer comes from the freelancing website. I have no way to confirm that unless I can hit upon their username, that’s true. I got to this result by eliminating unlikely sources.

On Twitter, I follow carefully vetted accounts. These are either people that I find amusing, interesting, or people who I think might find me interesting. Of course, there are some misfires, but a person’s username, picture and bio together present a pretty good summary of their Twitter profile, I’ve found. So, I eliminated that.

LinkedIn is hardly worth mentioning, because I’ve shared very few blog posts, very rarely, and my contacts there are all consummate professionals – very few of whom are involved in writing, or interested in the environment.

My Facebook page is rather small, with only a handful of followers – mostly my friends. Some strangely named accounts (“PrInCe$s GuRlL”) did follow me, but I believe they’re bots. So, that can be safely eliminated.

Now, we come to the freelancing platform. Let’s call it ‘Circle’, for convenience’s sake. I’d use a ruder name, but I don’t want to face the ire of the support staff if they ever happen to discover this post. Now, on Circle, I regularly come across sketchy characters, people who steal bits of my writing (more on this in later posts), and people who blatantly harass me.

In fact, if I tried a little, I’m sure I could trace the blogger’s name back to Circle. But I haven’t, because it’s no use. Over the last month, I’ve reported dozens of accounts. But the website has some odd priorities, it seems, and their privacy policy means that I can’t ask for an update on my report without getting told off.

So, instead of ruminating and wringing my hands, I’ve decided to start a series. This series of blog posts, called ‘The Truth About Freelancing’ will expose various issues I’ve noticed over the years on various Freelancing websites – and in some cases, how I deal with them.

I’ve decided to go with this option because I realise that there’s no way that these people can actually be stopped. It’s a little bit like corruption – they have many tricks up their sleeves, a widespread network, and if you cut one head off, they’ll grow two to replace it. The most effective way to solve these problems, in my opinion, is on an individual basis – because one or two isolated incidents are not a big enough hurdle for them to create a workaround for.

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