MLT Blogs sorry not sorry apology letter

So here is a more in depth recap of MTL Blogs “A Love Letter To Montreal” or as others have been calling it, the sorry not sorry apology.

The first thing I noticed is this is long, like really long. MTL Blog never writes this much so it seems that people’s complaints are not falling on deaf ears.

So yesterday we briefly went over this gem of a letter and gave an initial gut feeling on this Love Letter To Montreal as well as a link to the Twitter responses you can read that post here.

So lets take a closer look at some of their claims and apply logic and reason, i.e. expose the lies.

MTL Blog apology letter

Let’s start with “We are sorry to any we have led astray, or made weary with informational/grammatical errors. A small team of only several individuals, we lack the resources to ensure perfection in the plethora of content pumped out each day, yet we should regardless. Continue to keep us honest, because under your watchful eye we will be ever vigilant to maintain a level of excellence fitting of your viewership.”

OK so we all know they can’t spell and maybe the small army of 29 people working there in some fashion can’t spell either apparently. One would assume with such a “small team” this would not be an issue, even if you remove the photographers and only focus on content producers (I have issues calling them writers) then you should be able to get a competent editor or 2.  I mean, they aren’t checking for facts or that photos aren’t stolen, so what exactly are they doing?

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Now I can’t help laughing at the part they say “to maintain a level of excellence fitting of your viewership.” So when they say viewership, who do they mean? Well since their audience is mainly from Facebook, which constitutes around 70% of their traffic, we can safely make that assumption. One of the nice things about Facebook is that you can see stats on Facebook pages. So when we see that the age group is 18-24, this reinforces our theory that this site is targeted to Cegep kids and University kids.

FB Stats

They get to addressing the part where they have been stealing bloggers content as well as media stories and repackaging them. Well sort of … “We are sorry to any and all in the Montreal community, from artists to fellow media contributors, for whom we have slighted, in any form. The ethics of the internet are ever-evolving, and our lack of initial experience on the subject has led to unacceptable errors on our end, creating a rift between ourselves and certain others. We have taken note of your griefs and concerns, and know we will do all in our power to remake our relationships into an equal exchange, where all can benefit. Help us to improve, and so will you.”

Here is a tip on how to help them improve. Stop stealing stuff. Ask permission before taking pictures. If you find it on Google, look where it comes from, there’s a source for everything. Also there are services out there than scan images for the original copyright holder. You should try using them. In fact, look at all your food posts and assume they are stolen. You can narrow it down further and look at articles from Bledstein/Joseph, Fulginiti and D’Alimonte. Those are the 3 whom we get the most results for in terms of posts with stolen images or stolen / re-edited content. What’s odd is that Bledstein (or Joseph as he switches names) has journalism experience with the McGill Tribune so one would assume he would know better but his posts are loaded with stolen pics. Fulginiti is a blogger herself  with a food site (http://agrowingappetite.me/) and of all the people MTL Blog pissed off, bloggers are up in arms over their content being stolen. It’s sad one of their own is part of the problem.  As for D’Alimonte, all I can say is I hope you don’t plan a future in real journalism because many reporters already hate you, trust me, I get their emails.

 For anyone working or considering working for MTL Blog consider this, you are in poor company and if you think it’s good to have on your CV, think twice as it will not open any industry doors if they look at the content on the site and MTL Blog’s poor track record.

Rounding out our last section is this doozy “Lastly, we are truly sorry to any we may have offended with our content. Displeasure among our viewership is never our intent, and at times we have seemed insensitive and altogether crass and uneducated. We will never hold back our thoughts or opinions, but we understand the emotion certain topics and themes can invoke, and so, moving forward, we will always think about how you will feel, and not solely use our own personal perspective when sharing across our network.”

 All I have to say is why is this post still up? What does it have to do with Montreal? Why are you such douchebags? If you really care how people feel, take it down.

mtl blog no class

 

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

As a bonus here’s some of the comments from the initial post. Normally we don’t suggest you ever go to MTL Blog which on the reasons we use screen grabs, but the comments on their post are pure old. Here are some exerts so you get an idea of peoples frustration.

“This is such a long-winded half apology. Being “youthful and inexperienced” isn’t an excuse for lacking basic research and editing skills. Let’s call it what it is: laziness. Righting your wrongs is something you should’ve done a long time ago. If a reader points out a mistake, whether it big or small, fix it and make sure it never happens again! So simple. And don’t be so bold as to rebuke anyone who challenges you. Point is, you could’ve avoided having to write a post like this. Regardless, I wish you luck and hope you achieve credibility.”

“Yes, the ethics of the internet are ever-evolving. Because in ancient times there was no law or ethics or common sense; ’twas a Sodom and Gomorrah of content theft, neighbour pillaging neighbour, Judean blogger, Galilean photographer and Samaritan tumblr alike; until the Webmaster Moses came unto them with a tablet device full of commandments and terms of service and said unto them THOU SHALT NOT SIMPLY COPY-PASTE, PLUS THERE’S THAT LOGIC AND GRAMMAR THING but lo, they did not heed in their prideful wickedness; and verily did the Lawyers smite them with the hammer of DMCA.”
“This is an incredibly pretentious and terribly written piece. It veers between overt self-congratulation, pointless floridity, and unconvincing humblebraggy apologies.I never had a huge problem with MTLBlog. Sure, it was full of errors (both grammatical and, more concerningly, factual) and most of the content was useless fluff seemingly designed for 19-year-old McGill kids straight out of rez who were looking for cool things to do in the city. But a select few of the articles were entertaining and I legitimately learned about a lot of interesting events through it. Montreal has so many things happening that we’re in desperate need of a good blog that collects some of the best ones for us.But to respond to the genuine criticism of the site with this is just inexplicable to me. You didn’t need to write an open letter taking single-handed credit for bringing about “a level of adoration and glory for Montreal unseen for many decades,” you just need to hire a goddamn copy editor–or at least have SOMEONE read over the articles once or twice before hitting “publish.” Also, vaguely fact-checking the things you write would be appreciated.I genuinely hope you guys can turn this blog into something awesome. Best of luck.

EDIT: Oh, wait, just realized you guys are getting hated on because you stole content and photographs from other websites, not just for posting shitty articles. Screw you guys.”

 

 

 

 

MTL Blog and their non apology

So MTL Blog posted its apology letter or, as they call it, love letter to Montreal with the title of “You’re welcome, and we’re sorry.”

I’m on vacation with limited internet so I will keep this reply short. It’s barely an apology and the Twitter comments on this are golden.

Feel free to click on this link for the twitter blow up.

The first few paragraphs are basically them professing how great they are and how they are changing/challenging the media establishment – “we’ve proven anyone can disrupt the media monopoly and social dynamics built and enforced by the generation of our elders.”

If by disrupting the media establishment they mean stealing other peoples images and content, then I guess they are right.

Let’s be clear, MTL Blog is not Vice Magazine, not Eater, they are not revolutionaries like Che Guevara. They are a very douchy version of Buzz Feed.

I love the part where they say, “Our unmatched knowledge of events, parties, and general goings-on has given you a new level of understanding of the city.”

I should point out that they charge for event coverage (rates aren’t public) but when other blogs do that, it’s called a sponsored post and it’s clearly stated. MTL Blog does not state anything regarding fees.
MTL BLOG RATE CARD

Here are some of our favourites Tweets

MTL BLOG too lazy to write its own stuff so steals from MTL Gazette

Original content, that is the key in web traffic. Google always says that content is king and engagement a close second. For those who don’t work in the industry, original content is not easy. It takes time, research and money. Engagement is easier to pull off because all you need is something entertaining and people will spend time on it.

So after having exhausted almost all of its permutations of Buzzfeed style lists like top 17 Ramen restaurants in Montreal, MTL Blog moved to stealing content. I do want to take this moment to say that anything beyond a top 5 (i.e top 17 is not a top anything list but rather just a list). Now back to this week’s theft by MTL Blog.
Take a look at the July 28 article from the Montreal Gazette
 where writer Colin Harris (an actual real journalist) clearly spent some time researching it and preparing and where an actual qualified editor reviewed it.

air b n b gazette

Then take a look at the MTL Blog post later on the same day. They took the idea and ran with it adding little original content. Normally we would expect them to not cite their source but this time they did. Which makes my job easier (so thank you). The only extra info they added was from another Gazette article on the fines which you can find here.

air b n b mtl blog

So why is this wrong you may ask. While this is not 100% plagiarism, this is recycling someone’s work (in the twitter-sphere we call that a RT). They glanced over the article, found some extra content, slapped it together and voila, original content on their site. This is a part of the SEO game for traffic and engagement. It fills pages and gets them greater ad revenue.

Now journalists have a code of ethics they must abide by and it can be found here. Here’s where it gets tricky. MTL Blog is not a newspaper nor do they have real reporters. They just provide content like a PR company. Although they give the impression that they report news with articles like this and subtle tips like having newspaper on their Facebook page.

mtl_blog

Journalist who have their hard work stolen/lifted aren’t rewarded for it. Do you think that Colin Harris wants to be associated to MTL Blog? Did they ask him or the Gazette to use their work? I mean imagine how you would feel if you spent time working on something and then someone stole it, changed it up a little and made money off of it?

Oh well, let’s file this under just another example of MTL Blog ripping off content from other journalists, bloggers, writers and content creators.

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

 

 

 

 

Virgin Radio 96 -Should know better

Today Virgin Radio 96‘s Facebook Page shared an MTL Blog post re: Jessica Biel. Now normally we complain about how MTL Blog steals photos and has questionable content but today we will call out Virgin Radio 96 for sharing and encouraging this.

Virgin_Radio_96

 

 When a legitimate media outlet like Virgin Radio 96 shares MTL Blog’s postings, they lend legitimacy to posts like this:
top half
Yup all class all the way… Good job Virgin 96.
As well, on a related note, the post from the Virgin Radio FB post has an embedded photo from the moment it was posted. That photo is no longer there because it belongs to Journal de Montreal.
Jessica_Biel_et_Justin_Timberlake_à_Montréal_Jet_Set_Célébrités_Spectacles
Now MTL Blog no longer has that pic up or links to Journal de Montreal. But when you post a link from FB, the image gets stuck in the post, it does not change unless you delete and re-post it. So Virgin Radio shows that photo was on the MTL Blog page. Someone at Journal de Montreal likely complained. We can’t tell for sure since we didn’t see the initial post, but MTL Blog’s poor track record and the Virgin 96 post would make us guess they stole that pic too.
This should not take away the fact that Virgin 96 should not be sharing and distributing content from a site that posts questionable content. Simply put, they are on par with a tabloid magazine in this instance. In fact, Le Journal the Montreal broke this story on July 23, while MTL Blog “broke” the story or, in this case, re-did it on July 24. Virgin should of just used the Journal de Montreal as their source, someone legitimate.

MLT Blog steal from La Presse

So on our last posting we spoke on how MTL Blog stole a pic from Resto Montreal, a large Montreal site. Now it seems that MTL Blog upped their game and went for a bigger fish and stole from La Presse.

In their “Spécialité falafel”, writer Eve Dumas has a write up on Falafel Freiha and a photo clearly credited to Marco Campanozzi, of La Presse. The article is dated 03 octobre 2011 and the photo credit is quite visible as you can see in the photo below.

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Now comes MTL Blog’s “Best Montreal Falafels” – all 20 of them. On  a personal note, picking 20 falafels in Montreal and calling them Best is not really a “best of” list. Usually people choose top 5 or top 3, not 20 spots which likely covers a good portion of places that serve falafels. I would also like to add that having a spot situated in Laval  (Falafel Freiha is situated on 3858 Boulevard Perron, Laval) is kind of nonsensical when you are doing a “Best Montreal Falafels”. . The Montreal part should be rather important.

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That being said, MTL Blog felt it would be nice to use the pic from La Presse (take a look at the screen grab above). Maybe they felt they wanted to feel like a real news organization so taking the pic would make them legitimate.  It’s more likely that they were lazy and sloppy as seen by the multiple instances of taking photos and not crediting them. Although I doubt that La Presse would allow their image to be used on another site which is kind of a competitor for web traffic.

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

 

MTL Blog steals from RestoMontreal

Sometimes MTL Blog impresses us by how lazy they can be and this time, they kicked it up a notch and stole not 1 but 2 pictures and not from small local bloggers but from RestoMontreal an actual business whose Legal notice starts with “WARNING: We take copyright infringement very seriously.” It’s a doozy and we included a screen shot in case you don’t feel like clicking on the link above and reading the whole thing.

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So in a less than inspiring article on MTL Blog, they did a “10 Montreal Middle Eastern Restaurants You Must Try Before You Die”. They felt that the pictures from RestoMontreal would add some credibility and style to their article. So why steal 1 pic when you can steal 2! First up is the food picture for Rumi. You can see it here and then after see the stolen/ un-cited one from MTL Blog.

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Next up is the exterior shot of Rumi the 1st being from RestoMontreal and the second screen grab is the same pic but on MTL Blog.

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Normally MTL Blog steals from small local bloggers. This time they decided to steal from someone much larger and organized. At least they don’t discriminate in who they steal content from.  Kudos to you, Mtl Blog, for not discriminating!

Although not a legal opinion, MTL Blog should consider asking for permission of copyrighted material especially when it is implicitly stated on that company’s web site. I mean MTL Blog may wonder why people get angry at them for stealing, maybe they need to realize that you need to ask for permission before using someone else’s content. The same way that stores get angry when you walk out without paying for stuff. Putting  a link to the source is a start but it does not imply consent of the use of the content. RestoMontreal likely paid someone to take those photos, they are clearly professional photos and those don’t come cheap.

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

 

MTL Blog Steals pic from Roasted

So today’s stolen content victim is local food blogger Roasted Montreal. who has an incredible site for food, parenting and is also a content writer for multiple other sites.

She has a good write up of Montreal’s popular Kazu along with plenty of photos, one of which is the Ramen Noodles with Pork pic seen below. This picture goes back to March 2011.

roasted montreal kazu orginal pic

 

Next on the block is the original photo but used on MTL Blog’s Ramen write up from May 2014, with no citation / source at all. In fact, most of this post is lacking any sources for the pictures and trust me, they can be found on other sites as original content.

 

mtl blog kazu rame stolen pic

Just another example of MTL Blog ripping off content from other bloggers and content creators.

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

 

MLT Blog copies from The Main

Dumplings, we all love them as does MTL Blog. The only thing they seem to love more is stealing photos. This time it’s a lovely dumpling pic from The Main’s Battle Dumpling article.

the main original article

As you can see the main has a nice picture and thorough article on Dumplings in Montreal, published back in 2013.

But wait, what’s this, the same picture on MTL Blog with no citation mention done in a 2014 article.

mtl blog stolen dumplings from the main
Here’s what will likely happen. If the man has an issue they will contact MTL Blog. MTL Blog will blame some intern, then put a link after the fact. This is not the 1st time nor will it be the last. Feel free to read our last post regarding other bloggers who had their photos stolen MULTIPLE times.

Playing the blame the intern card or oops we got it from Google and didn’t know game is like a cheating partner saying they won’t do it again and then they go out and do it again, multiple times over.

Here’s a rule of thumb to help avoid this: ASK FOR PERMISSION BEFORE POSTING. Assume your picture does not belong to you and ask the content creator if you can use it. It’s just an email or tweet away, often they will say yes.

 

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

Friends don’t let friends like MTL Blog.

 

MTL Blog – Stealing content month after month

Some bloggers have contacted MTL Blog in the past regarding  their photos being used without consent.  In some cases, all they want is recognition and a link pointing to the source. You know like when you write a paper and have to cite your work.

Well here’s a not so funny story of what happened to Montreal Food Pictures.

In regards to 2 photos being used without permission, Montreal Food Pictures got through to MTL Blog and asked to credit the photos and link back to the source.

In an email from Montreal Food Photos, they said, “The first time, the editor excused himself saying that the intern was clueless and didn’t know that she has to put credit. The second time, the editor did not apologize…”

mtl blog stolen pic bbq 1

MTL BLOG STOLEN PIC
MTL BLOG STOLEN PIC

The first incident was in April, the 2nd incident in May and the most recent one in June (see below).

 

MTL Blog post with stolen picture dated 2014/06
MTL Blog post with stolen picture dated 2014/06

 

Montreal Food Pics Original Post dated 2013/08
Montreal Food Pics Original Post dated 2013/08

As you can see there is no source mention on the above picture.  If you look at the incidents you will notice that we have 1 every month and the excuse offered by MTL Blog staff of the intern was clueless and didn’t know that she has to put credit is a lie to make it seem like they didn’t do anything bad. Pleading ignorance or that it was a simple mistake only works once, not multiple times, like in this case where the norm seems to be taking the photo without asking for it and the consolation prize is adding a citation and a link.

It’s important to note that MTL Blog makes money of off pictures because their text based content is so short. In fact, the pickle post is only 57 words, compared to the 372 words in the original post by Montreal Food Picture.  I mean, only 57 words, I’ve seen txt messages longer than that.

I think a comment made by Montreal Food Pictures best summarizes the frustration by those who have their photos stolen.

 “You can’t imagine how much effort I put in to take pictures and put some finishing touches. I have been learning food photography for over 5 years, trying to improve myself every day in taking better pictures. It sucks for a person who takes my pic without crediting, without being considerate how much effort that has been put into this work.”

 

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

Friends don’t let friends like MTL Blog.

Fake News MTL Blog style

Click baiting is the annoying practice of having a splashy photo or engaging headline that bait people into clicking on the link. You likely see a dozen of these items in your Facebook feed. Items like top 25 way to lose weight, or you won’t believe what person x did and survived.  Years ago we called these tabloid headlines, although in an age where people have an attention span of 140 characters or less, this is all the more prevalent.

One of the ways MTL Blog builds its base of viewers is through Facebook. As we discussed in a previous post, MTL Blog get lots of Facebook traffic.  In fact, 46% of it comes from Facebook while 7.3% from Google. Because Facebook relies heavily on user generated content, a like or share makes a page more popular / visible.
So when MTL Blogs runs a story with headlines like “Old $2 Bills Are Now Worth $20, 000” – “If you held on to them you may now be rich. ” People automatically believe that old $2 bills are now worth $20,000. They think it’s possible because MTL Blog seems like it’s a newspaper.

2 dollar bill mtl blog

Now read that carefully, what does it say? It says that Old $2 Bills Are Now Worth $20, 000. So that $2 bill you have stuck in between the old Encyclopedia Britannica in your parents basement is going to make you rich.

What the headline doesn’t say is that only a certain amount of bills are valuable. This practice just tricks people into sharing the page and liking it. And since few people ever un-like Facebook pages, the payoff is enormous.

Things got so out of hand even Huff Post had to chime in and set the record straight by using this little thing known as research and journalism.

huffpost

Some people may ask why is this a bad thing? Well if you are ok with the deceptive practice of link baiting, then maybe the fact that MTL Blog tries to pass itself off as news doesn’t bother you. Now a real journalist would laugh at that statement but ask yourself, what does their Facebook page say? Wait let me add some red arrows to it… Yup NEWSPAPER!!!!!

mtl_blog

Now that we are done laughing, think about it. Some people think that MTL Blog is legitimate news. Well if you look at how often they put out content then you would think it’s a news outlet, and they do write about what’s going on and you see it everywhere thanks to the fact they have over 50,000 Facebook fans.

So when you see articles on a tornado heading to Montreal people may believe it. Oh and in case you think I’m sarcastic about a tornado touching down, please check out our post regarding this.

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

Friends don’t let friends like MTL Blog.