This weekend I noticed a tweet by Buy Sell Ads touting an article by 1st Web Designer that highlights some useful Google resources that can be used with WordPress. I thought to myself, “Interesting, that sounds similar to my article on WPCandy.”
It turned out it was quite similar. Too similar. The list is almost precisely the same as mine, the links are almost identical, and the few simple code snippets are identical. The general wording was slightly different and the author, Sufyan bin Uzayr, rearranged the order of the resources.
This is plagiarism, right?
I immediately commented on the article, which you can see a screenshot of below. It sat in moderation for quite some time, until the editor (after a series of emails) finally published it. This was my intial and only contact with 1st Web before they emailed me.
A few hours later, I received an email from the editor of 1st Web Designer, Rean John Uehara, that said the following encouraging statement:
This is really embarrassing. We will be taking down the article as soon as I talk about it with Dainis, probably within 24 hours. My apologies, I should have spotted it while reviewing.
But that didn’t last too long. The article didn’t come down, and I eventually recieved a couple more emails. You can see our entire correspondence below:
After hours of deliberation, it appears that the article published on our website wasn’t plagiarized. I’ve spent a good amount of time searching for similar topics and it only returned two. And since Google really doesn’t have hundreds of products, it’s only normal that descriptions of the given items would either include what it’s for, how to integrate it with WP, and related articles or not include them at all, in which case it wouldn’t be an article worth publishing.
This is merely a coincidence because of the close-knitted topic.
Then my first response:
That’s a load of crap. Check the links, the code snippets, and more. It’s a direct rip with slight wording changes.
Don’t start a fight with me. You know it’s copied. Take it down.
And his response again, along with the email from the author he refereces:
I’m not trying to enter a fight here, I’m trying to reason things out. But you’ve started it, and I think we won’t be talking reasonably right now. For that, I’ll take a moment before responding further. And I believe Sufyan is already talking to you.
Let’s be civil.
This bears reference to your article at WPCandy: http://wpcandy.com/teaches/how-to-utilize-google-in-wordpress
I am a freelance tech writer. I recently wrote a piece for 1stWebDesigner: http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/16-google-services-apps-for-wordpress/
I was informed that you posted a comment, claiming that my piece has been plagiarized from yours.
Well, I responded to my Editor, saying that this can, at best, be just a co-incidence wherein two article tackling a rather limited topic seem to have mentioned the same information. I ran CopyScape on my article too (can’t believe I checked my own article, but that’s just for your happiness).
To be certain, I never read your article before today. And since the said topic is bit limited, there seems to be some level of resemblance in treatment of the topic. Beyond that, there is nothing “copied”. The only sites I consulted have been acknowledged in the article itself via links.
Also, as far as I see it, we have made reference to the same links in our articles, plus the paragraph organization is same to a great degree. However, this can and should be attributed to the similar nature of topics.
I don’t think there is anything else that I ought to say now. My editor must’ve mailed you my detailed responses already.
Anyway, if you have further queries/claims/doubts/comments, please feel free to respond to me. As a writer, I fully respect intellectual property of others.
Will be waiting for your reply,
and finally my response back to the editor. This is the last contact I’ve had:
If you are so sure you should publish my comment.
I was very civil but you are clearly trying to dodge removing the article. I am not a pushover. Take it down.
I’m not responding to your author. His behavior is not uncommon in a pay-per-article world and it’s your responsibility to verify the validity of your content from a freelancer. It’s understandable you missed it the first time around, though disappointing, but now you should do what a good editor should do and remove the article.
They haven’t taken the article down. They have approved my comment, though hardly anyone will see it now that it’s a few days old.
What bothers me here isn’t that my (not even that good) article is being stolen, as WPCandy articles get scraped all the time. But scraping is different than this. In this case, my work is being stolen by a (I guess) respected blog with a pretty large audience and following, and the editor isn’t taking it down after I notified him of the author’s wrongdoing. He’s who I’m angry at.
The author is probably getting paid very little for freelance writing, and why he’s absolutely wrong, he’s one of thousands that do the same thing. But Rean and whoever else is involved in 1st Web Designer should be ashamed of themselves.
I hate to bring this up publicly on my blog. I never would have if 1st Web had done the right thing. And it hardly matters if it gets taken down at this point, but I hope to shed a little light to my small audience that 1st Web Designer is a joke of a publication, and to let the editors know that they should be ashamed of themselves.
And maybe if I’m lucky, Buy Sell Ads will do something about it, though I sorta doubt it. That’d be the best form of punishment, in the wallet.
If you think I’m being crazy and they didn’t plagiarize my article on WPCandy, please let me know, I’d be interested to hear how that is the case, as the 1st Web editor and author suggest.