Blog header nightmare

I’m not a ‘big’ blogger, but in my own small corner of the blogosphere and social media world, I’m reasonably well known. I’ve been blogging for five and a half years and I have nearly 6,000 followers on Twitter. I have regular readers who like what I write about. They know what they will find when they visit my blog. They know I’m always up for a chat on Twitter. Above all, they know my brand – my blog header.

In a world of hand illustrated blog headers and stylish magazine formats, my header stands out a bit. It’s unique. Nobody has anything quite like my road sign. The original concept was designed by an old colleague just after I started my blog. I had a subtle redesign by my blog designer a few months ago, to reflect the fact that I don’t have three kids who are smaller than me any more. Needless to say, I paid for that redesign. That blog header is mine.

I never expected it to be stolen and I never considered how I would feel if it was.

Then last Monday I got a DM on Twitter from my friend Natalie at Plutonium Sox blog. It simply said ‘This isn’t you, is it?’ and included a link to a Twitter account. A Twitter account that most definitely wasn’t me. A Twitter account that included MY header.

And suddenly I knew how I would feel if my blog header was stolen. And it wasn’t a good feeling.

Sad. Angry. Shocked. Violated.

It’s not my laptop, my TV or my car, but it’s still my personal possession and it had been stolen.

It was probably an innocent mistake. It was clear she was very new to Twitter. We all make mistakes when we start out. But how incredibly naive. Doesn’t everyone know that you can’t steal images from the web?

To make matters worse, the account name included Sarah. With the whole three kids thing, her account name and identity was pretty similar to mine. Could it be worse than a silly mistake? Was she trying to be me, to steal my identity?

I remained calm and I sent her a polite and friendly tweet telling her the header was mine, she had nicked it and she needed to take it down.

And I waited. And I waited.

I checked her account. I checked it again.

Nothing changed.

It would be OK. She would see the tweet as soon as she next went on Twitter and she would change it.

A couple of my friends saw my tweet and retweeted it.

It would definitely be changed within the day.

It wasn’t.

Then I realised she had been back on Twitter and she HADN’T CHANGED IT.

I started to feel more upset, more angry, more violated.

I tweeted her again. I went to the blogging groups on Facebook to ask for help. More friends started retweeting my tweets and some wrote their own original tweets, pointing out that my header was copyright, using it was theft. She needed to change it.

But she didn’t change it.

I became obsessed with checking her account. And every time I did it, I felt sick. And sad. And angry.

I reported it to Twitter, but it was rejected on the grounds that she hadn’t stolen my identity. So I had to start getting material together to prove that my blog header was copyright.

It made me angry. I’ve got kids, a house to run, a job to do and I was wasting my time trying to prove something that is most definitely mine, is mine. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people, who could tell Twitter that it was mine. It was becoming a huge drain on my time.

And all the time I was starting to feel sadder and sadder. Sicker and sicker. It was affecting my sleep. I was waking up at 4.30am and was unable to get back to sleep.

Would it ever change?

More and more people were supporting me and I am so grateful to every one of them. I knew I had friends online, but I didn’t know I had quite so many and they cared so much. They are what made this whole sorry nightmare just that little bit better. They kept asking me how it was going, retweeting my tweets, contacting her themselves.

And not once did the woman who had nicked my header get back to me. Not once did she acknowledge what she’d done or apologise.

Not on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning I got up and, yep, the blog header was still there. I felt like it might be there forever. I tweeted her again. I was just going through the motions now. She’d stolen my image, my identity, and she wasn’t giving it up.

And then an hour later, one of my friends tweeted me – she’d taken it down!

She tweeted about how she’d been bullied (she hadn’t, we had been polite, said please and never sworn). She said it was hardly ‘nicked’. It was an honest mistake. I get that, but why didn’t she take it down as soon as she saw my first tweet? Why did she wait nearly four days and put me through so much stress?

I tweeted people to let them know, to thank them for their support so they would stop contacting her. One friend tweeted that she didn’t think she’d ever been so happy for someone she’d never met!

But that woman never once apologised.

Apparently she sent me a message. But we all know you can’t send a message if someone isn’t following you. You can draft something, but it won’t send. It’s quite obvious it’s not sending. And as I didn’t receive the message, maybe she could have tweeted me openly, so I could have seen it, along with all the lovely people who had supported me?

She didn’t.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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32 Comments

  1. I’m so cross for you that this happened. I’m sorry that I put you through all that my telling you, maybe I should have tried to get her to take it down before I mentioned it. I’m glad it’s sorted now although I’m annoyed that she tried to shift the blame on to you by saying she was bullied rather than just saying sorry.
    Nat.x

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    • Thanks very much! I’m very grateful to you for telling me and I think you can tell from this that she wouldn’t have taken it down easily if you’d asked. Saying she’d been bullied was so untrue and just made an already frustrating situation even worse! 🙁 x

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  2. Oh no I think I missed all of this. I’m glad you got it sorted in the end and she took it down. I agree some people may not realise they can’t use just any old image but why wait all that time to take it down. She clearly saw the messages asking her to

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    • Thanks very much! It’s like she didn’t care and didn’t think it mattered. Very annoying!

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  3. I don’t buy the whole “innocent mistake” thing, given the close proximity of her Twitter handle to yours. I’m not saying she did it maliciously but surely people KNOW you don’t copy and replicate and ‘borrow’ like that? When she flipped it around and started claiming bullying, what she really meant was “damn, I’ve been caught and i need to find a way to make MYSELF look like the victim somehow” rather than owning up and saying sorry. Childish behaviour but I’m glad you got it sorted, even if an apology would have been preferable.

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    • Thanks very much! An apology definitely would have been preferable, but it was just a relief to get it sorted. I thought everyone knew you couldn’t ‘borrow’ stuff from the internet like that too 🙁

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  4. So glad it got sorted in the end, it probably was a innocentish mistake in the beginning but the fact that she didn’t rectify it straight away just shows what type of person she is.

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    • Thanks very much! Exactly that! If you make a genuine mistake, you apologise and put it right straight away.

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  5. So glad it’s sorted for you now. I can understand her not understanding that people were tweeting her, but that doesn’t excuse stealing an image and not apologising. Difficult to see how it could possibly be ‘hardly nicked’.

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    • Thanks very much! It was like she really didn’t care at all. Not apologising just made it worse.

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  6. We would be so cross and upset too if that happened to us! Glad it’s all sorted but sorry you didn’t get an apology 🙁

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    • Thanks very much! I can’t believe I didn’t get an apology!

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  7. I must admit, while the header is on Google, I have my doubts how innocent it was because of the way she reacted, as in defensive AND no apology. I’m glad you got it sorted. I would go mental if somebody nicked mine. when you have helped to design something and paid for it, you don’t take kindly to it being half-inched. X

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    • Thanks very much! You really don’t take kindly to it! So annoying that she couldn’t even apologise. Grrr! x

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  8. Oh I am so pleased it is down. I hate that the bullying card was pulled and what a cheek to say it was hardly nicked and not to apologise.

    And you are a big blogger – you’re an award winning blogger x

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks very much! I’ve been a finalist, but never won an award – those were my glory days, I think I’ve slipped a bit since then!
      It’s horrible that I and everyone who supported me was accused of bullying 🙁 x

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  9. Yeah Sarah, you’re an award winning blogger….and a role model ;p
    Glad she took it down…I kinda thought she may not know how to use twitter but to not give an apology just says it all really.

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    • Thanks very much 🙂
      It’s one thing not to know how to use Twitter and I initially cut her some slack over that, but like you say, not to apologise really does say it all!

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  10. It’s horrible when this happens. I had some photos stolen from IG and someone passed them off as their own. She did reply and say ‘she didn’t know it was mine’ which I knew was rubbish because it had only been posted 3 days previously and no way was it coming up on google. She still didn’t take it down or even credit me as the original photographer. I’m so glad she took it down at last. Sadly it sounds like it will never be fully resolved xx

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    • What an awful thing to happen! Photos are so personal too. I don’t know how people can lie so blatantly 🙁 x

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  11. Oh my goodness, I am not on twitter much at the moment so I missed all of this. How awful for you!! What a terrible thing to do, I can totally understand why you were so upset. I’m so glad that you managed to get it sorted though.

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    • It really was awful! She eventually caved in to the pressure. But it took a lot of people getting in touch with her for her to sort it out.

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  12. I followed this with interest. I’m currently in a similar boat with my business as there’s another company passing off as mine! It’s clearly not me – to people who know me – but to new clients looking for me it’s not a good reflection. I’m in the process of trying to find a contact name and address (as there’s none!) in order to send them a solicitor’s letter. Well done you for resolving this so quickly!

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    • Oh my goodness! So sorry to hear this! It’s bad enough with my blog, and that’s just my hobby. It’s awful that someone is messing around with your livelihood 🙁 I really hope that can be sorted soon!

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  13. So pleased she removed it. Unbelievably rude she didn’t apologise. And 4 days when you’ve been back on Twitter is disgraceful.

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    • Thanks very much! Four days is definitely too long as she had been on Twitter several times during that time 🙁

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  14. I am so pleased you got it sorted and if she had just replied and made the change promptly then she wouldn’t have had so many do it. I can get it might have been a mistake, but an apology costs nothing. Glad it’s resolved. x

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    • Thanks very much! You’re so right – she should have changed it promptly and she should definitely have apologised! x

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  15. Sarah,

    About the only good thing to come out of this is that we’ll all know what to do if anyone pulls a similar trick in future.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks very much! The other good thing was knowing I have so many lovely, supportive friends on social media 🙂

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  16. What an ordeal! So glad someone spotted it and you got it sorted! Some people just like to parade in other’s plumage. Obvious it was impersonation.

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  17. I really felt for you when this was happening, and I would have been exactly the same as you. This is your identity and something that you paid good money for too. And then not to receive an apology was out of order, If it had been an innocent mistake I would have been so apologetic to the person. Thankfully all resolved now and really hope she realised how much distress she caused x

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