May 28 2007

The most insane trackback ever?

I was on, and at the bottom they have RSS feeds from their sister sites, one of them being While not my normal cup of tea, I saw one that said “Stylish Storage Idea“, seeing as I always need more storage, I looked.

They didn’t have much information beyond the picture and saying it was a great idea, so I went to where they got the story from on Well… they got the news from somewhere else… thought it was a great idea also… but they weren’t the source, they got it from…, which seems to be a site all about new inventions and they found it at…

Bem Legaus!, a blog in what appears to be Spanish. Hmm… still not the source! He got it from… Oh no! No linkage here! Has my hunt come to an end?!? Nope… photo credit shows they got it from Vogue Living Australia. Once I got there though, I couldn’t find any information. The silly thing? I don’t even have those types of stairs! I just got mildly interested, and then it became a game following the links!

I can understand personal blogs not doing the due diligence and going all the way back to the source, but a professional blog such as Style Dash? Just seems sloppy to me and the way for a writer to fill their quota of articles. And yes, this oddly ties into my never ending battle on sloppy journalism. How did they know this was a real product without finding the manufacturer’s website, or at least listing how to contact them?

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

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  • This is something which annoys me as well. I think that a lot of “professional” sites aren’t as professional as their site design makes it appear.

    I also am not a fan of what I call “blog cannibalism” where people get their daily material by looking at someone else’s site and repeating the news. This is not to be confused with what you do (and others) where you mention you read something on someone else’s blog or on a news site and give your reaction or opinion. I don’t have a problem with that, particularly when people who do this link back to the site that inspired their post (this is actually a good thing as it spreads the news and drives traffic back to the origin).

    This sort of cannibalism is rampant on a lot of Japan blogs for some reason. I read a story one place then it shows up within a day on almost every other blog without citing the source of the story or the origin of the pictures being used.

    The bottom line is th at someone somewhere does the legwork (usually a professional journalist but sometimes it’s just an idea that is stolen from a blogger) and someone else takes the fruits of their labor and displays it as their own.

    By the way, as someone who is interesting in making the most of space, I love those stairs. it’s an excellent idea and shows that there is almost always more space for storage than tends to get built-in. The builders just have to conceptualize the dead space more often than they do.

  • Style Dash is part of the ever-growing AOL herd of blogs. These are people being PAID to blog, and they do this sort of shoddy work.

    Okay, thanks for the disclaimer there, I thought I was getting prodded there *laugh* Yeah, I *always* give credit and give my own thoughts on the news. Being a former journalist, it goes against everything in my being not to give credit. They did give credit… kinda.

    And I knew my Japanese readers would appreciate that idea! It is such a clever use of dead space! If my stairs weren’t carpeted, I would do it in a heartbeat!

  • The original post was mine. The image is a scanned one from Vogue Living Australia. The actual joinery company is named in the comments. Unicraft Joinery, Hamilton, Victoria here in Australia. No website unfortunately. My blog partner Kim and I always try to cite our sources. If there is not an actual link then the image is a scanned one from a print source hence no link. In the last few weeks of our short 4 month history we are not even scanning. Everything has a link or is original material submitted by readers.

    It has been a strange experience following this image as it travelled through the blogosphere knowing full well that it was my scan. There was no way else it could appear as there is no actual link. Slowly but surely all reference was lost until it landed in your lap and the hunt began. We have tracked our little world travelling staircase’s progress through Technorati but only its appearances where we have been cited as source. Other clues have turned up through our site counter. Why else would 800 people turn up from a Spanish website? A short scroll back and yes there it is our most famous stolen image.

    Quoting the source is very important to us for just this reason and also one of the reasons why we are no longer scanning images. It has illustrated beautifully though the “Chinese whispers” effect of the blog world. If you are interested in tracking it to the very end then the Vogue Living is the Before+After Autumn/Winter 2007 issue. The Unicraft Joinery address can of course be found by googling.

    Thanks for posting this. Glad there is someone else who finds this epic journey strangely fascinating.

    P.S. I have amended the original post to acknowledge this is a scan and to point out that the manufacturer is in the comments section.

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  • Chantal Butcher

    We were contacted about these stairs after they turned up in Vogue Living by anthill magazine, so I googled us to find that the same picture of the stairs was popping up everywhere, funny thing is that they were just an extra on the clients joinery during their renovations, we actually much prefered the kitchen. Although we enjoyed the fuss that they brought us, we would have liked our first published work to have been one our kitchens, bathrooms or pieces of furniture.

    Chantal Butcher
    Unicraft Joinery

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