A website that collates recipes from the internet has been taken down just hours after it launched, following backlash from food bloggers.
Product manager and engineer Tom Redman took to Twitter over the weekend to announce a new website called Recipeasly that he and a few friends created "to fix online recipes." He also shared the following description of the website: "your favourite recipes except without the ads or life stories."
The concept isn't new, of course. For years, at-home cooks have been divided into two camps: those who enjoy reading food bloggers' lengthy descriptions of their recipes and how they came about, and those who prefer to click "jump to recipe" and get right down to business.
But for many food bloggers who create recipes for free, the blog that goes along with the recipe helps them optimize their posts for searchability and monetization. And many food bloggers expressed concerns that a website like Recipeasly could be hugely detrimental to this business model.
One Twitter user also flagged a potential legal issue Recipeasly could face: copyright infringement.
Food and Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman highlighted an important critique of the website, writing: “Wait, so you are just stealing content, eliminating context and creator revenue, and diminishing the labor that is the only way these recipes exist in the first place because you have decided the humans behind them are annoying?”
Another Twitter user challenged Recipeasly's creators to take the time to understand why food bloggers include "life stories" alongside their recipes.
"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," she wrote.
Despite the backlash, some social media users were intrigued by the website and thought it was a great concept.
One Twitter user even applauded Redman for his work and said most people who search for recipes don't actually want to read about the blogger's back story.
Another social media user said the website sounded intriguing and said she's likely to still click back to the original recipe to read the author's cooking tips.
Following the backlash, Redman sent out a series of follow-up tweets just hours after his initial announcement.
"So... this has struck a chord. To the content creators, I’m sorry. Your recipe websites and blogs are amazing," he wrote.
The site founder then went on to admit that he and his team hadn't marketed the website properly and explained that the recipes that are imported into Recipeasly are only visible to the user who imported them.
After even more backlash, including Twitter users who refuted that claim with screenshots of their personal view of the website, Redman thanked everyone for their feedback and said the website had been taken down.
On the website's homepage, visitors are now greeted with the an apology message: “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.”
TODAY reached out to Redman for comment but did not hear back.
This is hardly the first time the internet has debated the pros and cons of long recipe blog posts. In 2019, Smitten Kitchen founder Deb Perelman addressed the issue in a series of tweets.
"Dear recipe writers on the internet: I have a radical idea. I think you should write as long and as in-depth as your heart desires about recipes and anything else they drum up in your mind and ignore anyone who says you shouldn't," she wrote.
Actor Mindy Kaling expressed her frustration over lengthy recipes in 2020, as did historian Kevin Kruse in 2019.
Actor Chelsea Peretti has also spoken out on the matter — in a very passionate, all-caps manner.