Today I want to talk about something that very regularly affects writers, beauty bloggers and photography bloggers, and occasionally affects travel bloggers too: Content theft. How does it happen and what can you do about it?
I am a moderate traffic website; according to both Amazon and Alexa, I am not yet in the big leagues (I’m in the top 1,000,000 websites, but so are 999,999 other sites). I do have some very good SEO, however, and I score first result on the first page of Google for at least 10 different search terms, because I work very hard to make my content relevant to what people are searching for. Because of this, I’m not blind to the crappy games some other sites play so they can rank higher in Google.
The past two days, however, my single most popular article has taken a nosedive. My traffic has plummeted and I have lost more than a hundred visitors a day. When investigating this, I discovered that a content-farm type website has basically stolen my top ranking article, reworded it and dumbed it down, and posted it on their site. They aren’t ranking above me, but they’ve got enough relevance that they’ve taken some of my traffic away. The thing is, despite the fact they’ve directly paraphrased my article, and added in some photoshopped snazzy pictures (that they also haven’t attributed), they’ve not actually said where they got it from. And they haven’t asked me if they could steal my stuff.
I get by solely on my income from this website and from the books I write (on my author website). This website (Delight and Inspire) generates 20-100% of my income on any given month. Needless to say, I don’t make much money. So when someone steals my personally researched and written articles, changes a few words to get past Google’s duplication penalties, and, by proxy, prevents visitors from finding my site, it makes me feel worried. If people took every article from my site and did that, I’d have no income. It would be like someone putting the PDF of my books on torrent sites, and it’s obviously not a nice feeling.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about it because they haven’t just copied and pasted my work. So this is an exercise in pragmatism more than a solution. I am usually not remotely precious about copyright, and when people email me, asking if they can, for example, translate my articles into Italian, I am usually happy that the information is getting shared. But that’s the difference. The cool Italian guy asked, and I knew they were using my content in that way, and I’m happy with the result, which is that Italians can now read that information in their own language. I now get 1-2 emails a week from Italians trying to cross the Bering Strait (true story). Generally, I think sharing information is the way forward.
When someone does it without acknowledging the source material, however, they’re just trying to make themselves look good with other people’s hard work. And that’s not ok. I would bet money that the person who stole my content was paid by the content farm for “creating” my content. But since half the internet is run by automatic bots and computers these days, with little user generated interaction on sites like Livestrong (a content farm), there’s no-one I can contact about this issue (normally, you can contact someone and ask for the page to be taken down or attributed).
So after the initial infuriation has worn off, I am left with the truth of the situation. Someone stole my stuff, they fooled Google (and whoever paid them to “write” it) and my income has been affected. I cannot do anything about it, so I can either go crazy (crazier) with rage and fury at this daylight robbery and turn into a pathetic dribbling ball of tears, or I can choose to let it go.
Imma let it go, and looking to the future, I’m going to try to ensure that I keep producing fresh, relevant content for my readers that ensures I always rank first on Google for other things. Like my lip plumpers review or my eyelash serum comparison reviews that I have written.
How have you dealt with copyright theft? Let me know in the comments!
It’s time for my most epic review of this month; which is better, Revitalash Advanced, Rapid Lash or Grande Lash MD??
I used Rapid Lash for the first five months of 2015. I switched to Revitalash Advanced in May 2015 and used it through November 2015 (I stopped in mid November due to severe pregnancy sickness which was nothing to do with the Revitalash but it did throw my beauty regime down the toilet). As a result I wrote an article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash.
I did find out that these lash products are not recommended for use during pregnancy due to lack of evidence about the effects. In February, when I was no longer pregnant, I was going to buy more Revitalash Advanced but the price went up a LOT then I saw there’s been an explosion of new lash serums onto the market. Scrutinizing the ingredients pretty cautiously (because this stuff is going on my eyes) I selected Grande Lash MD as my new lash serum because it didn’t look like a bad knock-off (a fake dupe – a dupe that doesn’t actually work but looks a lot like the real thing) of Rapid Lash or Revitalash Advanced (assume I mean Revitalash Advanced where I say “revitalash” in the rest of this article). I have reviewed a couple of the lash serums that don’t have any proper active ingredients, to see how they compared to Rapid Lash, but spoiler alert, their lengthening effects were instant but those effects washed off again.
That’s not to say these are the only three that work, just the only three I’ve tested and found to work.
All the products I talk about in this review really work to grow your lashes, the question I want to answer in this lash serum review is: Which one is better?
This is what Grande Lash MD looks like:
I really liked the packaging for Grande Lash MD – the metallic orangey bronze colour was a refreshing pop against the Revitalash and Rapid Lash packaging, both of which are silvery. I have noticed most of the cheap knock offs of Revitalash and Rapid Lash have silver packaging as well – presumably to get you to think they’re just as good. I actually chose Grande Lash MD out of a long list of lash serums on Amazon.com because it looked a bit different to the others – it stood out. I liked that it dared to be different with packaging. I know it doesn’t affect the quality of the product… but still… I liked it.
Grande Lash MD works the same way as Rapid Lash and Revitalash. It makes your lashes grow using a special ingredient called a “bimatoprost analog” (an analog of prostaglandin, used in glaucoma drugs and Latisse). When the product is applied to the lashes once a day (usually at night, so that your mascara doesn’t interfere with it), after 4-8 weeks the lashes should be longer. I tried Grande Lash MD for 3 months to see how it stood up against Revitalash and Rapid Lash.
It’s in a long tube with a thin brush inside. You use the brush to paint the product over your eyelashes at the base. The product is colourless and transparent, and it dries invisible with no residue or sticking of the lashes.
And here’s a handy table of comparisons:
As you can see from the comparison table, they all have the same active ingredient. There’s a lot of new lash serums on the market that claim to be good but don’t have any useful active ingredients. Call me a sourpuss, but if people put “eyelash serum” or “eyelash conditioner” on the label of a product, I expect them to have at least made an effort to put something into the product, some ingredient or other, that will actually make my lashes grow. That’s why these three are so great.
Grande Lash MD vs Revitalash:
If you’ve got the money for Revitalash, I’d buy Revitalash for 2 reasons – 1. the results were faster. 2. The results were better. So my lashes grew to their longest overall length with the Revitalash and the results started being visible from week 3. After 6 weeks of using the Revitalash, my lashes were phenomenal lengths. If it was easier to photograph eyelashes on my phone I’d definitely have comparison pictures. When I can afford a Macro Lens I will add some better pictures of my eyelashes.
If you haven’t got the money for Revitalash, your only options for actual lash growth are Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash. I’ve already written a comparison review of Revitalash vs Rapid Lash. Let’s see how Grande Lash MD and Rapid Lash compare to each other:
Grande Lash MD vs Rapid Lash.
Grande Lash MD is already winning because it’s cheapest of the two, and if money is your main concern you will actually get better value for money from the Grande Lash MD. The results I got were not as good as with the Rapid Lash, BUT there was no irritation (for me personally) with the Grande Lash MD. If you remember my article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash, I complained that the Rapid Lash left a dark line above my lashes and it also irritated my eyes. I have had absolutely no bad reaction to the Grande Lash MD – even when I used it twice a day for a week to see what would happen (which I tried with the other two as well). The effects I experienced with Rapid Lash won’t happen to everyone who uses it, so it’s likely that you will not have this problem with Rapid Lash, but for me, Grande Lash MD is the better option because it didn’t harm my eye area.
Where can I buy them?
I get these from Amazon because they are genuine products and a LOT cheaper than paying recommended retail price. Revitalash is also available from beauticians (their website has a search option) and Rapid Lash is available from some drugstores (Boots in the UK sells it), but Amazon is the cheapest place to get them. Here’s the affiliated links (US):
Obviously you can’t use them on different days at the same time to test them because the results take a while to show. I started with Rapid Lash, using it once a day (at night) coating the roots of my lashes with it for a few months. I also tried using it twice a day for a week.
This did accelerate results quite well but also made the irritation a LOT worse leading to me using it less. I moved onto the Revitalash and used that once a day (at night, as instructed by the packet), covering the base of my lashes, as shown on the video, which is slightly different to the application method described on the tube.
The tube says “at the base of the lashes, like eyeliner” but the video that Revitalash made shows that’s not how you use it. I found the method shown on the video to produce good results. I tried using Revitalash twice a day and my lashes did get longer but I also noticed that my eyes were looking more sunken.
One huge downside to Revitalash is that it reduces the amount of fat around the eye (I can’t find the scientific study that showed this but Latisse has the same effect) – so if you use too much of it, it can make you look aged while you are using it for the initial 4-6 weeks. Once your lashes have reached their best length, you can scale back to using Revitalash one or twice a week, I found twice a week was best to maintain beautiful long lashes. At this point, your eyes will go back to normal if you were affected by fat loss.
What about Latisse?
I really *really* want to try Latisse for a fair comparison. I usually buy all my products with my own money, but Latisse is the only one I would make an exception for: If the manufacturers would like to send me a sample, I would be only too happy to try it out and write about it. There are mountains of evidence from clinical trials that show that Latisse works, but it would be fantastic to see how much better (or worse) it works than these other serums.
Sadly, it’s not available in the UK because we have an NHS and so there’s no market for doctor-prescribed lash growth serums, it’s seen as an un-necessary expense. If it becomes more normal in the UK for people on a middle income to choose a private doctor’s consultation, perhaps in the future Latisse will be available in the UK. In the meantime, since 90% of my readers are American, perhaps you could add any experiences you have had with Latisse to the comments to help other readers?
And a warning:
One disturbing trend I’ve noticed on the internet is people are buying Bimatoprost from online pharmacies in America at generic drug prices, to try and get cheap Latisse. Young teenagers are making videos telling people to do this.
This is highly dangerous because the concentration in generic Bimatoprost is very high (it’s specifically formulated for people with glaucoma; its actual mechanism is designed to reduce eye pressure) and it will cause the pressure in your eye to drop too low, causing a medical condition known as hypotony which can lead to loss of vision. As with many pharmaceuticals, this will not happen instantly, the effect will get worse over time but once you have damaged your vision it’s not reversible.
Please, please don’t be stupid, long lashes are NOT worth blinding yourself for!! That is why, if you cannot afford Latisse or it isn’t available in your country, it’s better to get Revitalash, Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash, these products are made to go on lashes and if anything goes wrong, these companies are accountable. If you buy actual glaucoma drugs on the sly to make longer lashes and you go blind, it is your own fault. As an analogy, using pharmacy-grade Bimatoprost to grow your lashes is like using thick house bleach to dye your hair. Would you dye your hair with the bleach you clean your toilet with??? Of course not, the concentration is far too high! Save yourself the horror and buy a real lash serum.
UPDATE 2020: I’ve updated the article above as some of the info has changed, and I also wanted to comment on a worrying trend that’s sweeping Amazon. Dubious quality products (some very expensive) calling themselves “lash growth serums” have flooded the market from brands that aren’t real, aren’t established, and when you dig deeper into them, they aren’t FDA regulated or EU regulated companies. Please keep safe online and only buy these sort of products from reputable companies. I intend to write a full article exposing these fake companies and their fake review practices once I have the time (the joys of being a full-time working mother).
I will remind readers that I use Amazon Associates because Amazon offers the best value. This does not affect the price you pay.
Lash serums claim to be able to make your lashes grow. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews of them across the internet, and couldn’t really find many compare and contrast discussions except for the most popular ones. I did read a very scathing “scientific” review of lash serums in general, which claimed (using what is termed in science a “common sense” conclusion, meaning, a conclusion with no actual evidence to back it up, and based entirely on assumptions, therefore this “scientific” review was really very unscientific) that none of them could possibly work because if they did, they’d be FDA registered as pharmaceuticals, and therefore that only Latisse could possibly do what it said in the advertising spiel.
I disagree with this, primarily because Latisse is only registered as a pharmaceutical product because it has an ingredient in it which is used to treat glaucoma, an eye disease. Think about all the products you can get without a prescription – paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin, cough mixture, athelete’s foot cream… just take a walk around a drugstore, the only reason things get labelled as “POM” or Prescription Only Medicine is if they have a potentially unsafe side effect, or if the condition they are licensed to treat HAS to be confirmed by a doctor, for public health reasons. The potentially unsafe side effect of Latisse is it can turn your eyes brown, although the incidents of this happening have not happened with Latisse, just with the active ingredient in Latisse, which is also used to treat glaucoma. Ergo, Latisse is a POM. Are you still with me?
In order to register something as a POM, it has to be supported by very expensive clinical trials – including mandatory animal testing in many countries. I’d rather buy a lash serum that hasn’t been forced into the eyes of bunnies, so I think it’s a good thing that none of them are licensed as pharmaceuticals. On top of that, there would be no point in any brand of lash serum registering their product as a medicine unless it could perform as well as Latisse, or better than Latisse, because otherwise, who is going to prescribe it to patients, and what patients would use it? As a beauty product, however, they can reach a wider market and achieve their goal – to help women grow their lashes. By not doing clinical trials, they are also saving a lot of money – which is what makes these products a lot cheaper than Latisse. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t assume it won’t work just because it’s not on prescription, and don’t assume it’ll give results that are as good as Latisse just because someone on one of those review aggreggating websites said it was true. With my expectations managed, I made a start with Rapid Lash.
I’d never actually heard about lash serums until I saw Rapid Lash for sale a couple of months ago. Before buying, I researched profusely to find out which one was the best value for money; obviously that’s generally going to be a trade-off against what is most likely to work. I narrowed the choices down to Rapid Lash, L’Oreal’s lash serum, Rimmel London’s lash serum and Eveline SOS lash booster (the Eveline one was my “wildcard” – the one I knew nothing about, hadn’t even heard of the brand, but I wanted to try anyway).
This is the first lash growth serum I had tried. I found it was quite often compared with Latisse so thought it would probably be quite good.
When it arrived, the outer packaging was a bit squashed, but when I opened it the packaging of the product itself was fine. It has an opalescent glow to the tube that makes me slightly mesmerised if I stare at it for too long.
The instructions said “use once daily at bedtime,” I wasn’t sure why specifically at bedtime, maybe because it doesn’t combine with mascara very well. I waited over twelve hours until bedtime to try it out. I was very excited, but ready to be disappointed at the same time.
On first application, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It said to apply at the base of the lashes, so I ensured both the eyelid and hairs were coated where they met. It dried my eyes out considerably even the next morning when I woke up they still felt dried out. I also dabbed a bit on my eyebrows where I’ve been trying (completely unsuccessfully) to get them to grow in for over a year.
The second and third applications also dried my eyes out – I think this continued for about the first week of using Rapid Lash. Also I started to get a slightly darkened strip on my eyelid around where I’d applied it, I am hoping this isn’t permanent.
The first week showed no results. Neither did the second week. About halfway through the third week, however, I suddenly noticed a dramatic change in my lash length. I don’t wear mascara during my day-to-day life (or any makeup) because I don’t think it’s great for my skin to be constantly removing it, and have only worn it once during the time I was using Rapid Lash.
In my natural lashes, I noticed after three and a half weeks, some of them were considerably longer than others. When I scrutinised my lashes in the mirror, I realised something profound – I have a double layer of lashes, a la Elizabeth Taylor and Catherine Zeta Jones. I always thought my eyes were my best feature, but I had no idea I had twice as many lashes as most people. It kind of figures though, since I have more hair on my head as well (no, I don’t wear extensions).
I was thrilled that the product was working, but needed to work out how to get it to cover all my lashes, since applying over the top of the base clearly wasn’t getting product onto the lowest layer of lashes on my upper lids. I decided to defy the product’s packaging, since it wasn’t drying my eyes out any more, and started applying it underneath the lashes at the very base, almost like a mascara, except you don’t need to coat the length of the lashes. I also wiggled the brush sideways to get it in between the two layers of lashes as well.
Two more weeks later, and my lashes are even longer. Now that they’re all growing, I look like I’m wearing mascara when I’m not. My lashes have definitely grown although I didn’t see the sort of growth some rave reviewers said they’d had. What’s more, the hair on the ends of my brows has definitely grown in, too. It’s not back to how it was when I was 14, before I plucked every week for 12 years, but it’s definitely an improvement.
Mid-term side effects:
After a week or so, the staining of my eyelid and the drying effect on my eyeballs seemed to have died out, and I haven’t noticed it happening in a while. The eyebrow hairs are growing through quite nicely too. There was a week around week two or three where my under-eye area was irritated, but I think it was because my longer eyelashes were touching part of my face that wasn’t used to having so much contact with hairs (i.e. every time I blinked). I curled my eyelashes for a few days and when I stopped my under-eye area seemed fine again. I haven’t noticed any other side effects.
Some people’s claims about Rapid Lash sound a bit exaggerated, and some are overly skeptical. Basically, it helped my lashes grow, improved their condition, and reduced lash fallout, and I started noticing results about three and a half weeks in, even though the packet said you needed to use it for eight weeks. I will continue to use it (although I do have other lash serums to try out after Christmas, for comparison) until it runs out because I really like what its doing to my lashes, but it is still £20 which is a significant expenditure. If in the next couple of weeks I get “eyebrow length lashes” from using Rapidlash as some people have claimed, I will update y’all. I’m glad I bought this though, even though it was expensive, it is still cheaper and a lot easier than lash extensions (although length and volume aren’t as good). This was the most expensive product I reviewed, as a 3ml tube cost £21.88, which was a stunning £7.29 per 1ml.
Eveline SOS Lash Booster aka Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator Concentrated Serum 3 in 1
Eveline SOS Lash Booster was another find from Amazon, it retails for about a fiver, and there was a matching mascara. Being a complete sucker for sets of products, I bought both. This review is specifically about the Lash Booster (aka Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator Concentrated Serum 3 in 1), not the mascara.
The SOS Lash booster comes in a mascara-like tube, with a mascara wand. When you open it, the brush is coated in white stuff, which coats your lashes. The instructions said “use under mascara.” I liked the packaging design it looks very classy. I was quite excited after discovering I have two layers of lashes, because I thought a product like this that coats the lashes would ensure all my lashes got product on them, something that had been hard to work out with the Rapid Lash (although once I’d worked it out, it was fine).
I read the instructions. Then, like a muppet, I put it on last thing at night before I went to bed. I guess I was missing my Rapid Lash as this was the first thing I tried afterwards (also, it was Christmastime and I was tired and drunk). Whereas Rapid Lash goes on colourless and is completely undetectable on your eyes, this stuff is super-obvious, it coats your eyelashes in white so you look a bit like the Snow Queen out of Narnia. There’s quite a few eyelash primers on the market at the moment, and that’s what this SOS Lash Booster most closely resembles. I left it on overnight to see what would happen.
Initial results were really good, I thought my lashes looked a lot longer over that first week, regardless of whether I was wearing mascara or not. I did coat them more lightly though after that first application, because I was trying to find out if I really needed to wear mascara or if there was an optimal application amount which would be less obvious. There wasn’t. You need to put mascara on top of this or not go anywhere where people will see you. Unless it’s snowing. Which it actually was when I started using this. But it wasn’t snowing indoors so it was still really obvious that I’d got white stuff on my lashes. It really didn’t help with the “you look like Elsa from Frozen” comments I’ve been getting lately, due to my silver hair, and while I love the character and film, it’s still not a good everyday look.
After three weeks, my eyelashes don’t seem to have grown any more than before. If anything, I’d say that without anything on, for example just after I’ve washed my face in the morning, they are shorter now than before I started using this. The white Eveline SOS Lash Booster always makes my lashes look longer and thicker, but I don’t think there’s any long lasting benefit to using this product. It is a really nice first step for under mascara, however. The mascara itself was disappointingly clumpy and didn’t add much length or volume, I think I used it twice, and the second time was an attempt to get a good photo. I prefer to use this Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator (aka SOS Lash Booster) under my L’Oreal Million Lashes Mascara, and it gives an intense result (if I opened my eyes so my eyelashes were flat against my eyelids, I could feel my lashes touching my eyebrows, although it didn’t quite look like falsies), but I don’t think it makes my lashes grow, I think it just coats the lashes. One thing I have noticed though, which also makes this product worth buying, is that it does make mascara removal a LOT easier, as well as reducing the number of lashes that fall out when removing eye make-up.
With nothing to go on, because nobody else had reviewed this product when I bought it, I knew I was taking a risk. While it appears to have done nothing to make my eyelashes grow, it does make them look very long and thick and is the perfect primer to go on underneath the L’Oreal Million Lashes Mascara. I would buy it again as a fantastic primer but not as a lash growth serum.
Rimmel London Lash Accelerator
The Rimmel Lash Accelerator Serum was the cheapest of the lot. I was really expecting nothing from this. Like, I really didn’t think it could have any effect whatsoever that wasn’t just an illusion.
It arrived in a nice tube that showed clearly that the product was colourless. The applicator was an interesting shape. It didn’t smell of anything and the instructions said I could use it more than once a day at any time of day. I was a little suspicious of this after the incredibly specific instructions on the Rapid Lash. The tube was a very generous 11ml of product.
The applicator seemed to bring a LOT of product out of the tube. I had to keep wiping the brush at the top of the tube to try and make sure I wasn’t just dousing my eyelashes in the stuff. I still ended up putting far too much on, and since I decided to give it a first try before bed, it stuck my lashes together and meant I couldn’t roll over and go to sleep until it dried, which took forever.
This didn’t seem to give much of a result for a few days, but as time went on I realised it was having a subtle effect. It didn’t have any kind of reaction or stinging, and didn’t leave a dark line around the base of my lashes like the Rapid Lash did, so that was really nice. I felt under less pressure to get this one on every single lash on each application because it could be used more than once per day, and I did find myself using it morning and evening for first few days.
After about a week my eyelashes stopped growing any further and I noticed much more eyelash loss than I’d had with either the Rapid Lash or the Eveline. I would say the Rimmel Lash Accelerator Serum works more quickly than the RapidLash and has an effect sooner, but its maximum length was less – so if you want medium lash growth in a week, this is the product for you, but if you want longer lashes after about three to six weeks, the Rapid Lash is the better product. I never did get to grips with the crazy amount of product that the applicator dispensed, and as a result, sometimes my lashes looked like they were covered in latex lash glue when all that product dried and left a whitish residue. Not a good look. So while, in theory, this one should be usable without having to put a mascara on top, I didn’t feel confident walking around with residue on my lashes so ended up putting mascara on top anyway. Unfortunately, this seemed to cause a clumping effect. The applicator was a lovely idea but I think it could have been designed a bit more effectively because, whichever hand you write with, you will poke yourself in the nose with the brush whilst trying to cover the lengths of your lashes.
I liked the fact that the Rimmel Lash Accelerator could be used more than once per day and that the results showed quite quickly, and I thought that the length was good as a short term fix, or if you already have fairly long lashes. However, I would have liked a better applicator. If you’re making your decision based on price per product, this one definitely beats the lot at £2.99 per 11ml, or 27p per 1ml of product. NOTE: Since I bought this, barely a month ago, the UK price has tripled to £9.99 per 11ml (plus over £2 postage)! In the US, it’s now around the $11.99 mark. I’d have to say, I wouldn’t pay £9.99 plus postage, making the Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator one the cheapest at around $7.99 on Amazon.com.
The Rapidlash was really the only product that grew my lashes to an impressive length – but at ten times the price of the Rimmel one, I don’t think this product is necessarily going to suit everyone’s budget. I would certainly buy it again and, now that this trial is over, I am going to go back to using the Rapidlash because I felt it was the most effective product, and was the most hassle free application. The Rimmel Lash Accelerator was excellent as a starter serum, having some effect without necessarily being life-changing. It took a while to dry, however, and left a residue, so isn’t great if you’re on the go, and I am still stunned by the price increase. The Eveline Eyelash Growth Activator (Eveline SOS Lash Booster) didn’t do an awful lot to grow my lashes, perhaps because they were quite long and in good condition already from the Rapid Lash , but the Eveline one was certainly a good lash conditioner, a fantastic mascara primer, it did make lashes look longer even if it didn’t grow them, and it made eye-make-up removal really easy, as well as being very conditioning, and so I will keep that as part of my make-up routine. I would have liked some more photos of my eyelashes, but the effects of all of these products don’t seem to show up on camera very well, unless you wear mascara, and it’s so easy to fake an eyelash review picture when you’re wearing mascara that it’s not even worth trying to do a comparison before and after pic, because it’s not a true representation of the results. At the end of the day, they are all cheaper and easier than eyelash extensions, and require less downtime because you don’t need to spend hours at the salon. HOWEVER, if you want a result that lasts and that looks like eyelash extensions, you’ll need to get some eyelash extensions put in. Duh.