Welcome to
Menachem's Story Blog

Plagiarism, Theft, Larceny, Fraud and Impersonation
On the web and at university

I haven't written a story for a while -- there were the chagim, the Jewish holidays, and before that I was busy organising Rosh haShana Honey gifts for our wonderful Israeli soldiers via our website, PizzaIDF.org. Thanks to all of you who took the trouble to send a gift and a new year greeting to the soldiers and to their families.

Today I'm back to writing, but I'm not really sure what I want to write about. The American elections are taking place this week. The web is full of reasons why not to vote for Barack Obama, and what a dill his running mate, Joe Biden, is. But he's way ahead on the surveys. But then again, for those who remember, so was Jimmy Carter when former actor, Ronald Reagan (Ronnie Raygun), rode in from the sunset and snatched the presidency with his lasso.

A week later local government elections take place here in Israel. There's some one-sided mudslinging here in Efrat, and the Jerusalem election leaves the so-called National Religious population totally disenfranchised. They are tending toward an anti-religious, left wing, socialist candidate . . . he is a millionaire and has spent a lot of money on personality plastic surgery. People have such short memories.

All of the above is good blog content. But I'm not supposed to be a blogger . . . or should I say, I don't to be one of those.

I have mentioned previously that my initial intention for this site was indeed to produce a blog, a string of my rambles and thoughts on the issues of the day. I had intended to populate the site with bits and pieces from all around the web, varied by some sentence and word shuffling, with perhaps my own opinion and tuppence halfpenny's worth embedded here and there along the way. This was to be sprinkled with commercials from About.com, Yahoo or other advertising brokers and suppliers, and set to earn a nice amount of money. The web is full of such blogs and they do make real money. Some contain super rubbish, but serach engine attractive.

On establishing this site, I immediately found creative writing so much fun that I started to write seriously. Since then I have composed over seventy-five chapters. I've had lots of positive feedback too. Copying and pasting off the web may generate a larger income, but storytelling is personally more fulfilling.

So how do you make money, either with real writing or by modified plagiarism? Easy! You populate your site with advertisements, also known by the euphemism, "sponsored links". If your content includes phrases that are commonly searched for, then you will get some hits. The commercials are supposed to match your content, though you have very little control over what appears.

You hope (pray) that the "hitters" find your content boring (and so they should if you just transcribed it from Wikipedia or Fox News and NBC) and find one of your commercial links more interesting. And wham -- you just turned over some cash. You can never know how much you make on any individual hit. The search engine people are very secretive about anything to do with their internal workings. What you earn is related to what they earn (maybe 45%). I know that I have made between one cent and $1.28 on individual click-thrus! But I don't usually know which page generated the hit nor which search brought up my page.

If your content is real (like my yarns) your readers also have an opportunity to click on an advertisement. However, my stories are so good that people like to stay on my site and continue to be entertained by my entralling prose. Of course they may click on a link with their centre (Windows) mouse button. This opens the link in a new tab or window which can be examined later. You can even do this multiple times.

How do you draw searchers to your site? I'll give you an example of baiting the engines; one of my legal names is George Kuchar. But I am not the American film director of the same name, and my work is not "low-fi" aesthetic, nor a playful use of no-talent actors. My stories are certainly not written using plotless plots, nor comprised of themeless themes. And my twin brother isn't Mike.

But this is description of my famous namesake should pick up some hits for me to this webpage. And I have told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

My filmmaker nephew, Ari, just played this "trick" for all it's worth. He won a big cash competition prize for a film clip. But the prize in this particular competition was awarded to the clip achieving the highest number of Youtube hits. Ari's video, The Dark Knight * Full Movie * - Part 1 of 16, received 125,415 views! Why? Because gullible users thought they were getting to see the new Batman Movie for free on the web. And 333 of them wrote unhappy comments.

Was this nice?

He achieved his purpose.

Greed always sells when applied with some thought.

There are many search engines available for general usage. I've used Alta Vista for many years. Always found something useful. Served me well.

The generic engine used by many today is supposed to be fantastic. But it's failed to find things I've searched for on my own site. Haven't yet worked out why. I guess nothing's perfect.

They say that when your product's name becomes the alternate verb used for the action, your marketing was successful. Well maybe for a while. Too much success may just place the word into the vernacular. For example I hoover (small 'h') my carpet, but I use an Electrolux vacuum cleaner because
        a) it sucks harder than Hoover,
        b) was cheaper than Hoover,
        c) has better service in my region than Hoover or
        d) all of the above.

Some people I know in Yerushalayim have put up a beta version of their new search engine which is much more intelligent than straight word matching. You can try it out at www.robocrunch.com. It uses linguistic parsing, which means it may understand what you are really looking for. Like AskJeeves (now simply called Ask.com) but with real intelligence. Try it out and let them know what you think about it.

But the next thing I saw earlier today on the BBC Internet site takes the cake. It makes blog seeding seem tame.

On Friday, 31st October, the "Quote of the Day" on the B.B.C. Magazine came from a Cambridge (England) University student. He explained the dark art of plagiarism, "Sometimes when I am really fed up, I Google the essay title, copy everything onto a blank (Microsoft) Word document and jiggle the order a bit. These usually end up being the best essays."

Cambridge University stands accused by its own student newspaper, Varsity, of being full of cheaters the headline said "1 in 2 admits to plagiarism. The BBC's comment is, "perhaps a career in print journalism might beckon for some though".

The Varsity survey reveals that 49% per cent of Cambridge students have committed some form of plagiaristic act whilst at the University. Students criticise unrealistic plagiarism guidelines; others blame rigour of Cambridge degrees. Some quotes from the student paper: "Ironically, students of the Law faculty plagiarised the most out of any subject, with 62 per cent of them breaking the university rules. The second highest was the Archaeology and Anthropology department with 59 per cent. 82% of plagiarists use Wikipedia for their essays, compared to only 75% of non-plagiarists."

Well if Cambridge students can do it, why can't bloggers?


Please feel free to and don't forget to stop by my site to look at my latest (and classic) photographs. There are even some photographs there which I took on my trusty Canon A1.


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