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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Unoriginal article argues for use of original content...Who'd like a big plate of irony?

I've been trying to work today with relatively little success. As noted earlier today, I am under the influence of pain medication and it's certainly making it tough for me to retain sufficient conversation. Plus, I'm suddenly prone to typos like never before. Thanks, Lortab. Thanks, teeth.

Anyway, I decided to lean back in my chair and do my daily blog reading. That led me to Copywriter Underground, which has a piece about those ultra-cheap content "writers" who have a pronounced tendency to rip off work from others and pass it off as original content. Plagiarism is a big issue with me, so I started reading...

Tom's post referenced another post on the same topic at The Copywriter's Crucible. In turn, The Crucible mentioned an article by M. Pedone at SearchNewz.

So, Pedone's article talks about an unnamed SEO firm that promises buyers original content. Meanwhile, the very same firm basically encourages their "writers" to plagiarize.

I read the quote from the pitch Pedone says he received from the firm and was amazed that anyone would be as stupid as the firm he was criticizing. What kind of dummy would leave a bread crumb trail from recruiting plagiarists straight to their sales pitch about providing good, original content? I had to know.

Since Pedone didn't name the bastards in question, I took his quotation from their correspondence and ran it through Google, hoping to uncover the despicable SEO firm in question.

I didn't find the naughty SEO crew. I did, however, find the quotation. In fact, I found it in a number of different places--primarily in articles credited to Heather Reimer, who runs The Write Content.

Hmmm... Heather must have run into the same people who tried to recruit Michael to plagiarize, I thought. So, I read her article. It was more than a little familiar. Basically, it was the same thing Pedone wrote.

I don't mean the two articles tackled the same topic. I mean the two articles were damn near identical. There's a few tweaks worth of difference between the two, but this is an open and shut case of the same material appearing under different authors' names.

From M.P.:

"This approach is not only irresponsible and an insult to professional web writers, it totally ignores one very important facet of web content: human beings read it too, not just search engine spiders!"

From H.R.:

"Aside from being misleading and insulting to web writers, this approach totally ignores one crucial fact of online content: human beings read it. Human beings make buying decisions based upon it."

Wait, you say... Those are sort of different. Could be a coincidence. Well, check this out...

From M.P.:

"And always, always remember this proverb: "Wed in haste, repent at your leisure." Same thing with SEO. "

From H.R.:

"And always remember this wise proverb: "Wed in haste, repent at your leisure." Same thing with search engine optimization."

Still not sure? Okay, I know you are sure, but just to make the point even more clear...

From M.P.:

"Now take a look at the qualifications they are looking for when they seek out copywriters to write for their SEO clients. This is from their invitation to me..."

From H.R.:

"Now take a look at the qualifications they are actually looking for when they seek out copywriters to work for them. This is a direct quote from their invitation to freelance writers..."

If you have ANY doubts, do a quick "compare and contrast." M.P. vs. H.R.

I'm not going to pretend to know all the background here, but I think there's a distinct possibility that H.R. supplied the article to M.P. That thought is based upon the fact that M.P. provides a testimonial for H.R. on The Write Content homepage.

She may have sold it with PLR or some kind of non-exclusivity arrangement, so I don't want anyone to think that I am accusing either person of doing anything wrong, unethical or illegal.

I also want everyone to remember that I am taking my pain meds and could be a little crazy.

No matter what, though, there is a huge irony here. We have people talking about the importance of avoiding cut and paste content and at least one of them is using cut and paste content. We have two individuals extolling the virtues of using the best possible original content and at least one of them is recycling someone else's work.

Both of them (or one of them) write(s):

"Run like the wind if you encounter an SEO company that downplays the significance of content or offers shoddy, cookie cutter style copywriting."

Good advice. Take it.

Content Done Better provides a 300% money back originality guarantee on every project. It's written for the client who has exclusive rights to, and control of, the content. Why? Because I really believe the sentiment that M.P./H.R./M.P.-H.R. express.

Remember, before anyone gets all judge/jury/executioner here, there may be a perfectly logical explanation for the overlapping versions of the article. I am not saying that someone is ripping something off from someone else. It sure does look strange, however, to see two people using the same article under their own names to encourage the use of original content, doesn't it?

By the way, I'm going to drop a line to both of them to see what they can offer on this one. I'll keep you posted.