Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Plagiarism in Online Business

I don't understand the need some people have of plagiarising other people's work. In the recent edition of the Blog Carnival of Virtual Assistants, we had to remove about half of the submissions because they did not belong to the people submitting them. It seems that people are just taking articles published online and putting their name on them and submitting them as their own.

Why do people do this? It doesn't look good for your business if the first thing that people learn about you is that you have stolen someone else's material. Would you want to do business with a thief? It doesn't take much to Google the title of an article or blog post to see who the original author is.

Another thing that gets stolen a lot on the Web is Web site content. I must admit that when I first put up my website, I did take a couple things from another VA's site. I honestly thought that this was not a problem because they were quite generic things that I took. I was approached by the other VA and immediately changed these aspects of my site. If you make a mistake in using someone's material, correct it as soon as you become aware of it.

There are going to be a lot of things on your Web site that are going to be common with your competitors. People surfing the net looking for a particular service or product want to see different things at each site. If yours is just like everyone else's, they will just click on the next one on the list. Take a little extra time to make your Web site a reflection of yourself and how you do business. If someone else is designing your site for you, make sure that you check it for plagiarism before it is made available to the public. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the right to use the content of your site. This goes for not just the words you use, but the pictures, videos, and even the fonts.

Plagiarism doesn't just hurt the business being stolen from, it will hurt your business even more. People won't want to do business with you if they find out you are an online content thief.

Respect that little (c) symbol. It is there for a reason.