When Imitation is NOT the Sincerest Form of Flattery - The Kim Six Fix

When Imitation is NOT the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Instead of my regular Flashback Friday post, I instead wanted to write about something that made me really really angry today.  Some of you may have heard about it already, since it has been swirling around social media, but in case you missed it I thought it was important enough to bump today's regular post.

Yesterday Target's marketing team (specifically TargetStyle) copied a room design originally posted by Mandi of Vintage Revivals (without her knowledge or consent) and shared it all over their social media channels. Even though it is clearly an exact knock-off, they didn’t credit her at all.
Image source (and another interesting read)
You may be thinking: Why is this a big deal?  Shouldn't she be flattered that Target liked her idea?

To understand my outrage you first have to understand how bloggers ‘make their living.’  I use that term loosely since many many many of us [myself included] don’t make enough money to LIVE on, but we do earn a small revenue stream from blogging.  We do that mainly through advertising revenue which is tightly correlated to page views (how many people visit your blog).

That is why some the most financially successful bloggers tend to be those with the most creative, unique and beautiful content.  A post that features something that has never been seen before can easily go viral and drive thousands of people to a bloggers page (and result in a decent adverting profit.)  On the other hand, once an idea has been shown on a much larger site, it is much harder to compete for those same page views if you are the 'little guy.'

Bloggers work really hard to make sure they put out the best content they can, and it may take dozens, if not hundreds of hours to come up with a post that is a ‘game changer.’  Mandi’s fantastic hexagon wall was one of those ideas.  It is something most of us had never seen before, and it was visually stunning and completely unique.  She did it first.

And then Target stole it.

The blogging community is keenly aware of sites who steal content, often chopping off watermarks and reposting images in order to get page views without having to actually do any work.  It has even happened to me dozens of times. It isn’t a new phenomenon. Those sites (called scraper sites) have always been a problem, and yes they PISS us off,  but they are normally run by anonymous cowards who typically close up shop when they get caught.

On the other hand, scraper sites aren’t usually wealthy multinational companies who operate in almost every state across the country.  They don’t have multi-million dollar adverting budgets and huge social networks which can expose thousands millions of people to their content.  Target does.
Image source
That is why what they did to Mandi is so horrible. That is why they are worse than scraper sites. They knew better and they did it anyway.  Maybe they didn’t think they would get caught. Maybe they justified by saying it was merely an ‘imitation’ of her work and thus she should be flattered.

It wasn’t, and she isn’t.

Target stole, not “was inspired by” but downright STOLE Mandi’s room design.  See for yourself:
Image source (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?! I CREDITED HER!)
And it isn’t like Mandi wouldn’t have agreed to work WITH Target.  Her room had just recently been featured in HGTV magazine and so it is clear she was open to sharing to her content, as long as she was given credit for it.

Mandi addressed this issue on her blog today, and honestly, she is a LOT more understanding about this whole thing than I would be.  She just wants Target to give her credit now, after the fact.  She still is willing to work with them.  I don’t know if that is how I would feel.

I know this is a David and Goliath story and she probably won’t win, but that doesn’t mean Target should get to run roughshod over the little guy.  Target needs to be held accountable for the way they promote and market their products when using other people as 'inspriation'.  If Target wants to use someone for their creative ideas, they need to put them on their payroll or at least get their permission.   

I hope you can now understand why I am so outraged, and agree with me that what they are doing isn’t okay. I know most of you aren’t going to stop shopping at Target because of this (although I will), but I want to encourage you to reach out to Target on social media (Target and TargetStyle's Facebook pages, Twitter Account, or Customer Service email) and express your opinion on this situation.   Tell them you know the content they are using is stolen from a blogger and she deserves the credit.

The blogging community (and I include blog readers in that community) needs to stick together and watch out for each other.   When one of us is wronged we need to speak up and tell big companies that it isn't okay.

Target needs to understand that they are stealing a blogger's livelihood when they steal their content. 

And even if nothing changes, I want Mandi to know: 
We've got your back girl.  #TeamMandi #LoveYourGuts
image source


EDITED TO ADD  (March 21 10:30 PM) :
It appears that the social media campaign got Target's attention.   Mandi just updated her Facebook page with the following: 
Hey everyone! I just got an email from Target, hopefully we can connect next week! THANK YOU for all of the love, you guys constantly blow me away with your support and encouragement!! MUAH!
When Imitation is NOT the Sincerest Form of Flattery Reviewed by TheKimSix Fix on 7:31 PM Rating: 5 Instead of my regular Flashback Friday post, I instead wanted to write about something that made me ...