Plagiarism happens far more often than most people realize. It is a dirty tool that only serves to help web design agencies cut corners and maximize their profits by sequentially deceiving their clients and saving time on content creation. It is the Swiss Army knife for design firms who wish to slide by and get paid for work that they didn’t do, by advertising a false reputation for quick turn-around times and client satisfaction.
Plagiarism happens often, and it’s not always prominent.
Let’s take a look at a scenario that we’ve seen occur far too often in the design world: You seek out a web design agency that advertises turn-around times that are far faster than any of their competitors. The agency delivers a tempting quote on a well-designed website for your business, and promises to include freshly written content for every page. To you, this might seem like a great deal, but is it too good to be true?
Once the agency has completed the site, you will most likely feel proud about how well-designed the site is, how content-rich the pages are, and how expediently your project was completed. But there’s one problem… while you peruse your new website, you recognize a block of content that looks far too familiar.
We’re not talking about images.
Recognizable stock photos are always a possibility, as images can be purchased, resold, and manipulated, but the real problem is written plagiarism. Plagiarism is far more detrimental than the reuse of any generic stock photo and has many repercussions that can hurt your business.
When you pull up a competitor’s website and find the exact same written content on almost all of their pages, you wouldn’t be able to shake the notion that you’d been taken advantage of; that you were the fool, for trusting in an agency who had duplicated another business’s content and redistributed it to save time.
Not only did you receive recycled content and material, you paid full price for it. You weren’t informed and were not aware of this practice when you made a choice to do business with this company. They lied by omission, and withheld the truth about their business practices. Nothing about this is a moral way to treat a client, or conduct one’s business.
What are the repercussions?
Now, you’re over budget and starting from square one. You’ve potentially damaged your integrity from your customers’ perspective, and even worse, you’ve probably been bumped down on your Google search ranking because they too, will have realized you had plagiarized content on your website. Despite the fact that you were deceived by an agency, the responsibility still falls on you; your business accepts all the risk, and the losses are numerous.
What options do you have now?
Well, a few really. You can ask the company to rewrite their plagiarized content, or you can find an alternative content writer to rework the content. You could also report to institutions like the Better Business Bureau, or even pursue legal action against the agency, but nothing is going to make up for the way you were treated. Even though these options are available, and more, you are still going to spend money to move forward.
When trusting a company whose profession is to build and refine your business, you should be hyper-vigilant to become familiar with who they are and how they conduct business. Always ask for samples of previous work, keep anti-plagiarism tools at your disposal, and never hesitate to voice your questions and concerns, or even request references from past clients. Most of all, realize that you are in charge of your business. Do your research and be sure you know the person (or company) you’re getting into bed with. After all, you are putting into their hands, your business: your baby, your dream, your future.
Image By: NBC