On Blogger Identity Theft

A good friend and supporter of Wizbang, the lovely Moxie has a stalker that has gone to troubling new heights in blogoshpere terms… identity assumption.

Creating a rip-off site that plays on the success of the original. Someone named MoxiePop has basically gone for a similar look, feel, and persona as the original Moxie site.

Moxie has had to take down comments on her post temporarily, so the battle has moved to the comment section on Dawn Olsen’s blog. Dawn’s original post help whip up the fight. Bravo Dawn! Commentary du Jour weighs in the situation here.

While no one who knows Moxie would be in any way fooled by the MoxiePop site, the emergence of sites like this (and there will likely be more) raises an interesting question: What protections do bloggers have from virtual identity theft?

The general consensus is not much…

There’s “being inspired by” and then there is this identity assumption concept; as in recreating the identity of the more “famous” blogger. There are plenty of InstaPundit clones out there, but most quickly realize that the devotion and energy required to build that kind of following is too much for them. The tools of the trade make it easy to design a site that looks like another, but when you start assuming the persona of the original bloggers, then you’ve crossed the line.

All we can do as a community is keep an eye out for each other. When the next person who wants to present themself as Michele, Glenn or Frank comes along, maybe ignoring them might be the best course.

Update: Jaboobie throws out an interesting tidbit in this post: I first became aware of MoxiePop right before she changed from Veronnika. A few weeks later I saw Moxie at moxie.nu and wondered if “Veronnika” had changed domains again in such a short time. I then realized it was two different people.

I had not heard of the name change. I just figured that she appeared out of thin air. Why, exactly, was being Veronnika not good enough?

Update 2: Acidman points to an article that reverses the charges. Acidman points out that even though Moxie is not in his blogroll, he reads her occasionally and knows of her. But he clearly realizes that it may be Moxie this time, but it could be him next. After investing the time and energy to create a “brand” it would really suck to have someone come along and try to ride your “brand’s” success. Don’t be deluded into thinking that there is not some level of brand management in successful long running blogs. Even if the blogger is not actively managing their “brand”, every post they make and layout they use defines that bloggers “brand”.

Update 3: For late arrivers, the storm has pretty much subsided… There appears to be only wonton destruction left in the wake of this controversy. Continue on with your life as normal. All of the invective that could be spread has already been spread in other places. Two things seem perfectly clear… Moxie was in the blogosphere first, and MoxiePop (aka Veronnika) doesn’t care. Each reader can decide for themselves who is the “real” Moxie.

Dawn’s comment below wraps up the common courtesy angle pretty well…

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