Friday, April 17, 2015

On Authenticity & Morality: An Open Letter To Bloggers

Who knew that there could be so much drama in the stamp industry. Last week, I wrote about how our long standing retail partner of ours,, terminated our relationship.  They began manufacturing their own stamps and decided not to sell PSA Essentials stamps anymore. That's just business. We parted ways amicably.  

But then, our PSA Essentials stamp designs started popping up on their site.  They "recreated" our best selling stamps and put them on Expressionery stamps.  They changed some letters around and even gave the designs similar names -- and in my opinion, to mislead their customers.  A few graphics to illustrate the point: 

There are actually many more, but I want to get to the point. The subject of this post:  On Authenticity and Morality: An Open Letter To Bloggers. (Sounds so important, doesn't it? It is!) 

To be clear: I personally, am not angry over the designs that I feel were copied.  PSA Essentials, as a company, is not angry. Hurt is a better description. 

We are asking people to do what's right. We are asking Expressionery to remove the designs that we feel have been copied, and go forward in the stamp business using their own original work and designs when selling their stamps.   (As I previously noted, they have some really good ones!) It's not right for a company to copy designs and profit from them? They didn't create them.  Surely, as you read this, you must agree? That's not right, is it? 

Some have argued to me that this is a private issue.  One we should "fight" quietly.  I don't agree. Our customers, retailers and bloggers are part of the public and because creative companies and small businesses get copied everyday by people who think that it's okay to get away with it, we need to stand up! 

What a better time to fight for all those bloggers who have had original photographs stolen? Bloggers who have had their posts blatantly ripped off and plagiarized?  What about those stationery designers who work so incredibly hard to come up with original work -- only to see it knocked off by a big corporation in a store? All of those creative people out there who have struggled with being copied.  And there are so many of them.  Almost everyone I speak to about this have faced this issue. 

Sure, we could quietly argue our points, or we could ask public support in standing up for what is right.   Legal issues aside (I am not at liberty to discuss our legal battles here!) -- this is a moral one. Really, in the stamp world -- we have a moral issue on our hands! 

Going even further, I want to ask bloggers to stay true to themselves and stay true to their core values and beliefs.  You have a choice on who you do business with, represent, and promote. I would hope that bloggers would use their social influence to stand up to injustice and take a stand for all those people who have been taken advantage of.  I would hope that they don't accept money for sponsored posts from any company who is conducting business in this matter.  And for those that have, to reconsider who they have decided to do business with. 

We know that the best blogs out there are those that are by creative people who are original and are truly passionate about what they do. When you stay true to that, I believe you can go far.   

Best of luck to all of our blogger friends that are headed to Snap next weekend! We'll be sure to follow on social media. 

Thank you to all those that have been so supportive over the last few weeks. We are not letting this issue hold us down -- we have so many exciting months ahead.  Stay tuned for new products, new partnerships and new support materials for our loyal retailers.