They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. While there may be some truth to that, there is no truth to the idea that plagiarism is a form of flattery at all.
In my last post I shared with you my excitement at the advent of some new competition in the advocacy space, and gave you a list of six reasons why competition is a good thing, something to celebrate.
But sometimes there’s a downside to competition, too.
One such competitor to AdvoConnection, a new directory being set up in hopes of taking your money to match you with patients who need you, makes a mockery of the professionalism of advocates, as if we are the used car salespeople of health care.
I say this because they built their site* with stolen content from our AdvoConnection site – verbatim, word-for-word. Plagiarism. And not just from AdvoConnection. A review of their site revealed stolen content from members of APHA, plus other organizations and individuals, too – like geriatric care managers, medical billers, even national news outlets and others. Copy and paste.
So I sent the owner of the site an email telling him that his plagiarism of our AdvoConnection content is illegal and was to be removed immediately. A follow-up check reveals that the content he stole from AdvoConnection has been slightly edited, and that many of his stolen-from-other-sites-articles still remain.
A little more research reveals even more. The site was something else entirely until the first of this year. Even as late as the end of December 2014, this site’s owners had no interest in patient advocates. We have to wonder why they shifted gears entirely after 7+ years in business as a doctor review and matching site – and why they decided to camp in our advocacy backyard.
This isn’t the first time my content has been stolen. I’ve written about plagiarism before – and went after those content stealers then, too. Sticking up for one’s self is a required trait of advocates just as it is needed for patients. When necessary, like this time, I threaten legal action in order to maintain the integrity of the information provided to APHA members and the patients and caregivers who need us. If necessary, I follow through with my attorney.
My point to all this is to put you on notice that if you are contacted to work with them, you will want to ask them questions like, if they are willing to break the law through plagiarism, what would they do with your credit card number? Or your personal information? Or your reputation as an advocate?
In general, we must all remain constantly vigilant. If we don’t actively stop content theft, then we make it easy. And that’s just unacceptable.
- Have you had a bad experience along this line that you would be willing to share? If so, what steps did you take to stop it?
- If you want to check to see if your work has been plagiarized, log in to your APHA Membership Dashboard, then link to this article to help you.
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Share your experience or join the conversation!
*Wonder why I haven’t mentioned the name of the site or provided a link to it? Because I don’t want to give them any traction in search engines and such a mention would help to promote them.