Voncigars: shame on you blog thief!!

If you have a blog, I’m sure you’ve had your stuff stolen by blog
thieves who take contents and photographs from other bloggers and
present them as their own. I don’t usually write about it every time one of my posts is stolen, because writing about these thieving blogs and and linking
to them would surely increase their page views –from the pitiful twenty or
so a day to thousands. But I found a particularly onerous one today,
and I think a public shaming is called for on this one.

These vampire blogs are the bane of a blogger’s existence. They are
far too stupid and unimaginative to have their own content, and must
get by with stealing other people’s work. The marginally less annoying ones
disguise themselves as aggregator blogs, but –unlike legit aggregator
blogs- they often take post contents without permission and use dubious
and obscure credits and link-back.

This particular one I just found, Voncigars, is much worse. This guy
took my post on Paco Meralgo, a tapas bar in Barcelona, and reposted
the pictures and shamelessly edited the post texts into his own voice
–so that it
appears that he himself was the one who visited the tapas bar, ate the
meal, and wrote the review. All that with not a mention of Chez Pim as the source for anything on that post.

From the look of his blog, with texts and photographs done in so many
different styles, I bet that this wasn’t his first time. He might have
stolen from you even. You might want to check out his archives.

I left a comment on his blog calling him on this outrageous theft, and told him to take the post down. These guys are often cowards when caught, so I suspect he’d get rid of that post soon. No worries, I’ve saved a copy as evidence. If you can’t see my stolen Paco Meralgo post on his site from the link, here’s the PDF copy of it. I’ve also saved a PDF of the Google Search Result page from my query "Paco Meralgo" which led me to this thievery in question in the first place.

I am going to report him. If you found that he’s poached contents from your blogs you should report him too. Gather all your evidence, not just links to the stolen content but PDF of the page(s) too, and report the theft to the blog service provider (in this case Blogger). You can trace the ownership of the domain by searching here –the guy is stupid enough to be listed.

I’m also going to report him to Google. The best way to deal with these bloody thieves –even better than public shaming- is run them out of existence. Reporting them to Google and requesting that they are excluded from the search engine will do just that. If the tree is not on Google, you won’t hear it fall.

Also, if the thieving blogs or sites run Adsense –which in this case it doesn’t- you can report them to Google to have their Adsense removed. Cut off their income stream, that’ll teach them. (Thanks to Elise for that link.)

For more information on what to do when someone steals your content, check out this excellent post on Lorelle VanFossen’s blog. (Note to thieves: See that link out to Lorelle’s blog? That’s a proper way to refer to someone else’s contents. Try it sometimes!)

By the way, there’s a picture of him –or some dude purporting to be him- on his blog, wearing pimp sunglasses and with a cigar stuck in his mouth. And you know what, sometimes a cigar is NOT just a cigar.

Edited to add:
Ha! I knew it. His post on Pierre Hermé’s macarons contains some texts and a picture poached from Clement’s blog, A La Cuisine. The funny thing is the picture he lifted wasn’t even of Pierre Hermé’s macarons but one of Clement’s own creations. What a dolt!

You really should all check out his blog to see if he’s stolen from you too. And then report him. We’ll run him out of existence and make an example of him!!


Edited again to add:

Perhaps there is no end to this? In his post on Aubert Chardonnay, his tasting note reads "…is the real deal; Pale gold
with a tiny greenish tinge, slightly opaque, showing real great body.
Powerful nose of rich butter and sage upon opening; notes of butter and
citrus in the glass. Absolutely marvelous!"

That comment was lifted word for word from this tasting note on Cellartracker by a user called Quequeg, who said "This is the real deal; pale gold with a tiny greenish tinge, slightly
opaque, showing real body. Powerful nose of rich butter and sage upon
opening; notes of butter and citrus in the glass. Absolutely marvelous!".

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34 Responses to “Voncigars: shame on you blog thief!!

  • Polly said:
    June 8th, 2007 at 11:51am

    Thanks for this caveat. This happened to me once, with a somewhat obscure Paris website that re-wrote a post of mine about a week after mine but — aha! — included incorrect information that was exclusively mine!
    I merely wrote them a caustic thank-you note & link saying how flattered I was that they liked my blog. (I’m a chicken at heart, perhaps?). Next time I’ll follow your example…

  • Steamy Kitchen said:
    June 8th, 2007 at 2:20pm

    My 3 year old son told me to tell you, “Mr Ceegar, you are a bad boy! you need time out! God is gonna be mad at you!”
    Andrew was on my lap while I was reading…and I explained to him what happened.

  • foodette said:
    June 8th, 2007 at 2:40pm

    Wow, how did you find out this happened? I am new to the whole blogging world, and never knew about this problem before. Thanks for all the advice in case I ever run across this!

  • Dolores Ferrero said:
    June 8th, 2007 at 3:19pm

    What I find equally fascinating and annoying is that he’s got a Creative Commons “with attribution only” license at the bottom of his blog. So he can ignore copyright/ownership issues, but his readers are advised not to?

  • ddb said:
    June 8th, 2007 at 3:36pm

    We have published a post (Paco Meralgo) using original pictures/content from “Chez Pim” without properly crediting “Chez Pim” for these. We do apologize for that to “Chez Pim” and its readers. We have removed the pictures and added an adequate editors-comment to the respective post. We hope that this matter can be concluded that way and would ask everybody to abstain from leaving vulgar and obscene, anonymous comments on our site. Again, we do apologize.
    ddb/editor VONCIGARS

  • liz said:
    June 8th, 2007 at 5:38pm

    So this guy thought this would do it? I won’t use vulgar language, just use your imagination.
    posted by ddb at 12:06 AM
    ddb said…
    We published this blog originally with pictures/content from another blog called “Chez Pim”. We did not properly credit “Chez Pim for these. We do apologize to “Chez Pim”!

  • adrian said:
    June 8th, 2007 at 11:52pm

    He looks like a major jerkoff – I mean, he promotes those stupid kaballah bracelets…

  • ol said:
    June 9th, 2007 at 1:01am

    No it’s not ideal to have someone pilfer your content, but likewise, it also isn’t so classy nor productive to put down other folks’ websites (“from the pitiful twenty or so a day”), either. Such comments don’t do much for bringing a bit of harmony to the situation.

  • JenMarie said:
    June 9th, 2007 at 9:44am

    I wonder who he stole those new pictures from…

  • Ivonne said:
    June 9th, 2007 at 1:32pm

    Good for you, Pim! I can’t believe this outrageous behaviour …

  • Steph said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 2:44am

    Karma Pim. You have raised our awareness but by outing him you have driven so much traffic to his site.

  • Mark Manguerra said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 2:58am

    “We published this blog originally with pictures/content from another blog called “Chez Pim”. We did not properly credit “Chez Pim” for these. We do apologize to “Chez Pim”!”
    Oh, that is creepy! It looks like some macro where you just fill in the blank for an auto-apology! Maybe he plans to reproduce such statements over and over for a while.

  • Ros said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 3:37am

    I actually don’t understand why people do this. What’s he actually getting out of stealing your content (apart from a deserved torrent of abuse)? I doubt it would increase his advertising revenue much. I’m genuinely confused.

  • ParisBreakfasts said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 6:44am

    The guy doesn’t look like he’s every left his armchair much less gone to Barcelona!
    I left a comment but bet it’ll never see the light of day like that idiot’s brain 🙁

  • ParisBreakfasts said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 6:50am

    The May 10th post is yours too.
    Hey he’s a fan..one you don’t need for sure.
    193 eyes have looked at his profile…
    Probably all of them from PIM…
    What a twit

  • ParisBreakfasts said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 6:58am

    If you do a Google search on this thief, your post is right up there revealing all!

  • Pim said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 8:25am

    Polly: That is not cool. Just not cool. You really should do something about it next time.
    Steamty Kitchen: I love that!
    foodette: Google is a good thing, and, you’re welcome.
    Dolores: That’s outrageous, isn’t it?
    ddb: Whatever.
    liz: I am using my imagination. lol.
    Adrian: He is. You’re right.
    ol: You’re probably right, but I don’t have any respect for these thieves. They don’t deserve one. Also, most people don’t make a stink out of these thefts when they discover them, precisely because no one wants to give these wankers any traffic. Traffic is what they are after, and traffic is something they are not original or imaginative enough to build on their own so they resort to stealing from other people’s work.
    JenMarie: My thought exactly!
    Ivonne: There’s no end to it either! Yowza!
    Steph: Karma indeed. I may have driven more traffic than he’s ever seen in his sorry blog life to his blog, but now five out of the first ten Google search results on the query “Voncigars” are calling him a thief. Karma indeed.
    Mark Manguerra: Creepy indeed. You’re probably right about being a form apology he’s used before too.
    Ros: I think you need a psych degree to understand this guy.
    Carol: lol about his armchair. You might just be right. And speaking of his ‘profile’, he claims to have gone to boarding school in Switzerland. Yet he wrote about “Terrine De Foie Grass” (caps and typo all his) and didn’t know a Romesco from a Romanesco -or his arse from a “pardon” pepper, probably. Comical, really.

  • Hilda said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 10:42am

    His “extensive” education aside, he seems to think macarons are macaroons, little does he know… Were I him, I would not want to encounter Pierre Hermé in a dark alleyway.

  • Adele said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 6:05am

    Thanks for posting information on how to deal with this type of thievery. I recently found another site (also related to Barcelona) that had copied substantial passages from a popular blog and I just wasn’t sure what steps to take. Kudos to you for exposing the slimeball.

  • radish said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:12am

    pim, how did you find that he stole? how do the rest of us search for that kind of stuff??

  • deb said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:21am

    Oy. Ann from Chicken in a Granny Cart pointed me to this conversation and this wanker has taken a photo of mine, as well, and not credited it, straight from my Flickr photostream. I’ve left him a comment that he needs to credit me or take it down. I love spending hours of a busy day dealing with bs situations like this, don’t you?

  • Karin said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 8:44am

    97 of my blogpost are copied at http://www.loupatou.com/
    This person is a Russian registrar, has a Brazilian host and a Washington DC IP address. I looked it up at http://whois.domaintools.com/
    Besides he is a registrered member of uncountable and different forums all over the world. Swedish, Chinese, Russian, American ……. you name them. Username: okingniels.
    However, he never writes anything, only registers himself with as few details as possible. He seems to have made all the registrations about the 13th and 14th of April this year. What´s the point???
    I happened to find a forum that told me this is a man, his age and an e-mail. So, I have written a rather polite letter. Don´t suppose I´ll get any response.
    And, besides, English isn´t my first language. Then, it´s hard and time consuming to be a detective.

  • Carol said:
    June 13th, 2007 at 3:02pm

    If someone steals one of your photos, replace it on your server with a picture of something gross or obscene…or a graphic that says “THIS &^%$^& STOLE MY PHOTO”. I had a photograph of dog-doo that I used for this purpose. Very effective.

  • rompicolleone said:
    June 14th, 2007 at 10:22pm

    Since the guy obviously lies about everything, dontcha think he’s lying about his age?
    (I love the dog-doo replacement idea…)

  • avocado green oven said:
    June 17th, 2007 at 8:17pm

    From Mr. Voncigars’ “blog” :
    “In no way do I claim to create original content. Most of what I bring to the attention of my subscribers has been covered or uncovered by other media before.”
    Then, Mr. Cigars, please attribute!
    By the by, Pim, I think the WD 50 pictures are yours, too. They look very similar. Shame, shame.

  • i hate thieves said:
    June 18th, 2007 at 1:08pm

    The stupid red kabalah bracelets are using the (RED) product trademark likely without license or attribution. Wow. He doesn’t just steal from blogs, he steals from charities, too.

  • shuba rao said:
    June 26th, 2007 at 3:28am

    An easy way to deal with content theft is to constantly save it on a live web archiving system. I know www dot hanzoweb dot com archives webcontent and is a social and business archiving enterprise. I save my content live there for posterity. Of course private users have limited free space but businesses can buy space for a small fee. It is one way of making sure that, web content, even if deleted will remain for future reference or even evidence.

  • Figs Olives Wine said:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 10:08am

    This is unbelievable, and SO wrong! Scary.

  • HAAA said:
    November 10th, 2007 at 6:23am

    That is hilarious. Paco Meralgo is one of my favorite restaurants in barcelona and its a very accurate review. Its great that he doesnt even try to mask his theft by switching the order or changing a few things. Its almost the exact thing just re-written , by like a 15 year old. then the errors and ommissions where he pretends he forgot to site this blog or something. what a tool. THe best part is that he tries to paraphrase the chiperones dish and say its squids with little peppers not realizing pimientos de padron are a totally different dish.

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