So you say you're not a Web designer

Subject: So you say you're not a Web designer
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 09:44:47 -0500

Yesterday, as part of an ongoing but probably futile effort to increase my Web site's ranking on Google, I put quotes around a phrase from my tag line and clicked Search. Usually this brings up only my own site, which I then dutifully click.

However, this time it brought up two listings. The _other_ one led me to a site that was plagiarized wholesale from my own--meta tags, style sheet, graphics, site architecture, page layout, tag line, and verbatim home page (and nearly verbatim the other two main site pages). The cell background colors were changed to protect the guilty. (I shared the link with Lisa Admin Bronson, and she can confirm that the copying was blatant.) Needless to say, I was a tad upset.

So I spent a good part of the day trying to track down the ownership of the site and pursuing various interactions with hosting companies, Google, and an intellectual property attorney (left voicemail, never spoke with him).

When my SO got home last night (actually we're going to get married, so I guess I can call her my fiancée now, but that just sounds so--I dunno, check out the Craig's List greatest hits and you'll know why I don't want to use that word) and I showed her the offending site, she offered that perhaps the site owner was an innocent victim of an unscrupulous Web designer.

This morning I wrote as diplomatic a note as I could manage to the site owner. She replied quite promptly, mortified that her "friend" had done this, and took the site down immediately.

From my point of view, the incident is over. All's well that ends well. The dogs have been called off.

But the techwr-l tie-in is this: If you are considering starting your own writing business, either full-time or moonlighting, beware of entrusting the front door to your business to someone else. At the very least, ensure that the words on the site are your own, even if you really, really, really don't want to learn how to build a simple html site.

Thus endeth today's lesson.



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