If you’ve ever found yourself searching the internet for the perfect pizza, fried chicken, or pancake recipe, you’ve probably run into at least a handful of websites that begin with a lengthy story detailing the author’s relationship to said recipe (or three lengthy stories!). And we get it, it can be cumbersome to scroll through a handful of paragraphs to get to the thing you came for (your poor wrist and finger). But you’re also benefiting from the author’s hard work and expertise for free — for god’s sake let them surface a few ads via page breaks.
“Nah,” thought product manager and engineer Tom Redman, who put together a website called Recipeasly that they thought would “fix online recipes” by aggregating all of the great recipes from the internet and ditching the ads and life stories that come along with them.
Some personal news! ✨
Two friends and I created a new thing to fix online recipes 😄https://t.co/3ZNkSV82Y5 – your favourite recipes except without the ads or life stories 🍩
Feedback and RTs appreciated! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/WerUH34AGG
— Tom Redman (@redman) February 28, 2021
It was a great idea for internet foodies looking for recipes with no context but horrible for the people who actually put together the recipes and people who actually like a little backstory and history to go along with their grams, cups, and ounces. After all, we want to make Ram-Don from Parasite because of the movie it was featured in, not just because we spontaneously crave Ram-Don (the dish didn’t actually exist prior to the movie). While we admit that sometimes these stories can be long and excessive, you really don’t have to read them. It’ll take some scrolling, but ultimately you’re still accessing information faster than your parents and grandparents, so just chill already!
Following Redman’s announcement of Recipeasly over the weekend, prominent food bloggers spoke out about just how harmful the site would be and about how, you know, stealing from indie creators isn’t great.
So y'all just want to out recipe writers completely out of business? This is extremely gross.
— Erin Biba (@erinbiba) March 1, 2021
"life stories"??? Recipes are life stories. They tell the stories of generations of families who created dishes that represents a culture. Life stories also are part of SEO which help food bloggers, mostly women support their families.
— Jessica van Dop (@DiningTraveler) February 28, 2021
Ummmm so you made a tool to make sure the people who worked hard to create that content don’t get paid for it and divorces it from the context in which the recipe was developed and presented? Hard pass.
— Rebecca Eisenberg (@ryeisenberg) February 28, 2021
To Redman’s credit, he swiftly apologized to the content creators and food bloggers
So… this has struck a chord.
To the content creators, I’m sorry.
Your recipe websites and blogs are amazing.
— Tom Redman (@redman) March 1, 2021
Clearly, how we’re marketing Recipeasly doesn’t demonstrate that respect at all. We missed the mark big time and I’m sorry.
— Tom Redman (@redman) March 1, 2021
In fact, he took the backlash so seriously that Recipeasly was taken down a few hours after its initial launch, replaced with a lengthy apology that reads:
“We’re sorry. We have nothing but respect and admiration for the time, money, and effort that go into creating great recipes & websites. We don’t want to minimize the results for all that hard work. We realize we’re not demonstrating the huge respect we have for recipe creators. We missed the mark big time today and we’re sorry. Given the feedback, we are taking recipeasly.com down as we re-examine our impact. We commit to making changes where we have fallen short.”
Redman has not yet announced a pivot for Recipeasly, so the website may go down as the shortest-lived recipe site in history.