Last week we discovered that a design firm in Greece had helped itself to our web site content. It was a verbatim lift substituting their company name for our own.
“Increasing market share is the goal of all our clients’ strategy. They want tools founded on a scientific and strategic approach to brand development, external and internal communications, sales, as well as operations and product development that are more than just messaging endeavors. These tools result in competitive advantages so powerful you affect the minds and behavior of target audiences, spur them to action and create preferences within the current market.
The experts at Stealing Share (they inserted their name, Design by Onlyone) help you change customer behavior with specific strategies and tactics for today’s climate as well as models that look forward to what lies ahead. Our processes – which includes detailed strategies and tactics, marketing research, competitive analysis, brand positioning and messaging, and employee and sales training – are action and not theory.
On their home page, the Greek company had simply copied our content, pasted it in place and replaced the Company name “Stealing Share” with their own company name. We check regularly for copyright infringement to defend our trademark and our content, as all brands should do. Often, we are asked if a web site can reprint something we have written and, if we are given a link back and attribution, we generally give our agreement. This, however, was beyond the pale.
Acting on the advice of our council, we sent them an email to cease and desist, or face legal action.
However, legal action from the US to across the seas to Athens is a complicated and time consuming thing to enforce. So, we added the following warning: “If the content is not completely removed in both direct copy and in inferred intent in five days from today (11 March 2010), we will also petition Google to permanently ban your URL from Internet searches as a result of this infringement.”
Within and hour the site was down and I received an email from the administrator.
“Dear Tom Dougherty,
We are really sorry for that.
We have already download your content and our writer get out of our company.”
It is obvious form the email that the principals of the company had no idea this plagiarism happened, and they demonstrated integrity by taking such prompt action. It was a also tough day for a very embarrassed Greek copywriter.
The moral of this story is that the arm of the US Government may have reach limitations, but the arm of Google has real reach and punch. It was the Google “threat” that caused the swift correction because Google, no doubt, affected their business directly. Like many of us, the Internet is where new business comes in, and Google reigns supreme in being sought out.
Thanks Google. The Internet has not only become the global source for information and commerce, it has obviously become much more. Now, it is our life blood and the fear of being without it is more than most of us can live with.