AdPulp Tied To Whipping Post

Did I miss the mandatory ad blog etiquette meeting? I must have, because not one, but four, prominent ad bloggers have gone out of their way to school me recently.
Ad-Rag’s DaBitch wanted to know why I felt the need to “take” copyrighted photos from Flickr.

I thought
“Additional Information
This photo is public © All rights reserved ”
Meant that you can’t repost it. Or shant rather, because clearly, you can.

Then, Piers Fawkes of PSFK objected to my coverage of the ads-on-eggs story, while questioning why I could not recall every last bit of ad trivia.

It’s not “yet another medium for advertising” – it’s an old medium whose time came and went. Remember?

Piers went on to say much nastier things on his IF blog. But none of this compares to today’s admonition from Steve Hall, the king of all ad bloggers.

I’ve refrained from saying anything about this for a long time, your practice of pasting content from other’s blogs and news organizations without adding much, if any, of your own words is, well, troubling.
Sure blogging is about linking and all that but many bloggers, myself included do a lot of hard work to write original stories that, while yes they may link to other content, provide the reader with something new, informative, insightful and hopefully rewarding.
Your blog is getting a lot of notoriety now and sooner or later people may not take kindly to this editorial approach.

And he was correct, for BL Ochman added her two cents in a timely manner.

It’s not that I don’t want you to point to my stories. It’s that you used my post verbatim but did not put it in quotes and say “B.L. Ochman wrote:….
That is what I do on my blog and what I would appreciate you doing when you quote me in the future.
That is also what my and a lot of other bloggers’ Creative Commons licenses require when our content is used.
What you wrote is the headline, and it’s a good one. There is a way to do this that is fair, and it’s not the one you have chosen to use.

I work in advertising. Thus, my skin is elephant-like. In other words, I’m open to criticism and regularly learn from it.
I always link back to the content I lift. How that violates the nonexistent style guide we’re all working from, I’m still trying to understand. But with all the help I’m getting, I’m sure it’ll become clear in no time.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Indiana Gividen says:

    Sounds like a bunch of arrogant cry babies who are hopelessly wrapped up in their little world of advertising. Blogs, in general, will always be unprofessional. Get used to it.
    Never the less, I believe your blog will benefit from their suggestions.

  2. Wow. DaBitch, Piers, Steve and BL have way too much time on their hands. And probably too much caffeine in their systems.
    I’ve always found it asinine that a few of these critics often present posts with links to source sites requiring passwords and/or payment for access. What’s the fucking point?
    There may be copyright laws regarding reposting work, but who cares? In the case of AdPulp, most of the folks you reference probably appreciate the additional publicity. After all, do you think anyone outside of Chicago would ever give a rat’s ass about the opinions of Lewis Lazare? Heck, a lot of Chicagoans don’t care to read his stuff. He’s lucky that you give him national exposure. And I never even heard of BL until this post, although I’m admittedly a heathen. But I digress.
    Hall seems a tad oversensitive in his moaning about the hard work involved in writing original content. But hey, that’s his full-time gig — at least according to DaBitch, who categorized Adrants in the commercial blog category in The Battle of the Ad Blogs.
    I’ve always viewed the content on AdPulp to cover a range of “writing” — from original columns/editorials to reviews to news briefs to directing visitors to obscure tidbits. It’s pretty clear when you guys are writing original content or referencing other sources. Plus, every item does not require your personal opinion or writing flair.
    These four critics have presented their beefs. But it sure would be interesting to see if the regular visitors care one way or the other. I’m guessing most of us are ok with it all.
    To be honest, I’m most outraged by all the typos that regularly appear in places like Adrants. But again, I digress.

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  4. There’s something fitting about this entry being spammed so fast. Therefore, I’ll leave it.
    Blogging is not all fun and games, kids.

  5. Carl LaFong says:

    I’m with Mr. Jive on this one.
    That’s not to say that the aggrieved parties don’t have some valid points to make. But like Mr. Jive, I’ve always been able to distinguish between original content and items picked up verbatim from another source; they are always clearly identified as such. It’s not exactly like you were trying to pass off, say, Ms. Ochman’s post as your own.
    I frequently visit Mr. Hall’s site (typos and all) as well as DaBitch’s (whom I happen to have a major crush on). But just how much of their content is “original?” Lifting a story from another site or source and adding your own spin to it does not necessarily make it your own.
    Then again, as Mr. (or Ms. as the case may be) Gividen notes, you would be well served to heed their suggestions.
    (Man, my posts have really gotten lame of late. Gotta cut back on my saltpeter intake.)

  6. teeveedubya says:

    adpulp is the most accessible and populist ad blog. therefore it’s also probably the most successful. what you’re seeing is what we in the offline world call “jealousy”. keep doing what you’re doing. isn’t that the whole point of blogging?

  7. Steal my blog. Please!
    Keep up the good work David.

  8. Thanks for the support here and via email. It means a lot to me.
    Oh, and for all you up-and-comers out there who don’t want to get yourself into this position in the first place, you can sail the high seas with Hall and Ochman next October, and learn from the experts first-hand.
    Jason says it’ll be “hilarious.”

  9. This squabble sounds like your classic domestic mountain-outuva-molehill blowout (my wife and I can explain in great detail) — a touch of impropriety here, a dash of misunderstanding there, and a drawn-out Battle Royale that could have ended with a little “I apologize; I’ll try to see it your way next time.” Please: kiss and make up.
    But these bits from Giveden and teeveedubya about “crybabies” and “jealously” just slay me: as a writer who has been plagarized, I get knives-out about this stuff — if you did the research, if you have a fresh take on someone else’s, if you attribute, cool. If you do none of the above but put your name on my work, prepare for a beat-down.
    Ochman’s gripe is legitimate — that is, unless you’ve had your work outright stolen and liked the feeling. Let’s be clear: Mr. Burns didn’t steal. He made a good-faith effort to attribute. And a little extra propriety might have helped, that’s all.

  10. Let’s be clear: Mr. Burns didn’t steal.
    The name’s Burn. But thanks for saying I didn’t steal.

  11. talk about a steal — how about those phone deals melvin’s offering? of course, his special promotion expired a few weeks ago. the only thing worse than spam is outdated spam.

  12. David: I tire quickly of my own or others’ moralising about what blogs ought to be doing. I am all for folks stating their personal preferences.
    My own preference when quoting others is to put what I’ve copied in blockquotes so it’s easier to separate what they said from what I think.
    From my conversations with you, and from long reading of your stuff, you seem always will to give due credit to others for their efforts. So this seems to be more a question of a posting “grammar” that is just a bit clearer about what’s a quote and what’s not. I think BL may have misread your intentions.
    I think it’s perfectly cool to sometimes link, sometimes quote and sometimes comment/pontificate, and in any combination… after all, no-one is being made to read any of this stuff.
    When I quote or link and don’t add comments of my own, of course readers are free to decide what exactly I mean by doing it. They may decide all sorts of things that I “mean” by it…that’s up to them… and sometimes they make some very strange meanings.
    In fairness to Steve Hall, he did soften his comment with a self-effacing note at the bottom (“Pompous lecture over:-) Carry on.”)
    Anyway, more power to your elbow David… and this kind of controversy makes your blog more interesting.

  13. I remember when I first started two years ago everybody told me I what I should and shouldn’t do. I pretty much decided to just do what felt right, and that’s what I continue to do. If AdPulp has found it’s purpose as an aggregator of the most interesting ad stories around, so be it. It works because people have obviously decided that’s what they want. And in terms of attribution, it always seemed to me like you give credit where it’s due every time. So I don’t understand what the problem was. As long as someone says they got their story from my blog, then I’m happy.
    Lately I’ve noticed several of the top bloggers taking it upon themselves to categorize the rest of us, name us, explain what we should and shouldn’t be doing and decide whether we have any business having a blog in the first place. It comes off to me as complete arrogance. Let the readers decide, not the elite few. Unless I’ve missed something, there is no senior management in the blogosphere, despite some people’s best efforts to take the posts as CEO and such.

  14. Just for the record, there is personal opinion and there is the law. Taking content in any form, without permission, is a violation of copyright. That is stealing. It is illegal and LOTS of people care–usually the people who created that content. It is worth money. Content is what makes people read sites and the hit count is what sells advertising and that how money is generated. Crappy content = low visitation = no (or little) money.
    So don’t steal.
    Btw, if the creator has registered her/his copyright, you can get nailed for $150K per violation…plus legal fees. Just thought you should know.

  15. Aren’t there laws pertaining to stuff like this?
    I say if you are following the law you are good, and if not then you should have to deal with the ramifications. It is really simple isn’t it?