Have you ever had a truly original idea?
Something no one else has thought of?
I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of your content (i.e. the stuff you write for yourself) has been inspired by an article you’ve read elsewhere.
I’m not talking about an over excited blogger who uses an idea and forgets to credit the original work.
I’m talking about something a whole lot more sinister.
Now, from time to time, I’ve come across local business people who have discovered their website content, or images being used on another website. Usually, a stern email is all it takes for the content to be removed.
However, recently, I fell victim to a different breed content thieves.
I’m not talking about people nicking my blogs (although I’m sure that does happen) or website content. Oh no, these particular content thieves went one step further – they stole my testimonials.
Currently, I’m going through a website redesign process. To be uber organised, I thought I’d spend a few minutes listing all the sites I would have to visit to update my details once the project was complete. A quick Google search on my company name brought up a list of sites, but it was when I was looking through these I found something strange.
Amongst the usual directory and social media sites was a copywriter’s site.
I clicked on the link and was taken to their services page that consisted of three testimonials emblazoned across the centre of the screen.
My eyes were immediately drawn to the middle one. Although it started off accredited to this copywriting company, half way down my name suddenly appeared. It was rounded off with “…I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Sally at Briar Copywriting…”
I then read the ones either side. Although my name wasn’t mentioned, they sounded familiar and, low and behold, after checking my own website they too belonged to me (all three had been attributed to fictitious clients).
The only reason I found these was because the company in question hadn’t been bright enough to remove my name or company name from the testimonial. If they had, the chances are I would never have found it.
I immediately fired off an email asking them to take them down. When there was no reply I enlisted the help of a brand/online marketing reputation guy I know who immediately tracked down the hosting company and put them in the picture. I then sent them details of what had happened and the offending site was taken down within minutes.
How can this be prevented?
I don’t see how it can, but it pays to be vigilant.
Granted, as I mentioned before, had they not been daft enough to leave my name and company name in the testimonial I would never have found it, but it’s well worth doing a check now and then to make sure no one is riding high on your coat tails.
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd