First off, I’d like to thank everyone who brought this situation to my attention. Without your comments and emails I might have never realized that I was one of the bloggers that Ocean Marketing was blatantly plagiarizing from.
Just yesterday a reader sent me this link from Reddit about a company called Ocean Marketing, with a note saying they thought one of the company’s blog posts looked suspiciously like a post from this blog. I pulled up the two posts side by side.
Search Engine Optimization Journal: Who is Handling Your Social Media Marketing?
Ocean Marketing Blog: Who is Handling Your Social Media Marketing?
Even with just a quick glance it’s pretty obvious that their post is WORD FOR WORD copied from my own post, which went live scarcely a week earlier. There aren’t many hard and fast rules to SEO (that’s why we call them best practice tips) but if there were any rules a website should follow no matter what, it’s that your content must be original! If Ocean Marketing had republished my post and cited me as the original author than it’s no harm no foul. This blog gets a decent inbound link and my name and writing are introduced to Ocean Marketing’s readers.
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Apparently I am not the only blogger that Ocean Marketing has been stealing content from either. Examiner.com pointed out that Ocean Marketing has “borrowed” an article from Forbes and claimed it as their own. Even the “About Us” section of the company’s website is apparently plagiarized from SEOP.com!
But this blatant plagiarism isn’t the only reason Ocean Marketing and Paul Christoforo have come under fire from the Internet at large. Just a few days ago an email chain appeared on Penny Arcade between Paul Christoforo and a customer asking about their Avenger Controller purchase. The conversation quickly devolved into one of the best “how to destroy your professional reputation and business overnight” case studies (or “epic douchebaggery” as Examiner.com called it) I have ever seen. Christoforo resorts to insulting and belittling his customer, dropping industry names like they’re candy and even threatening Penny Arcade and PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) founder Mike Krahulik with a smear campaign after he joined in the conversation between Christoforo and the customer.
Going back to plagiarism, when this PR disaster story broke Kotaku.com reached out to Brandon Leidel, (CEO and Director of Operations of The HAND Media, Inc) whom they believed to be the Director of Marketing for the Avenger Controller. Turns out, the response they got DID NOT come from Brandon himself, and Kotaku shows how the email address used to reply as Leidel is actually registered to Christoforo. If that is in fact the case, Christoforo is not only stealing content for his blog and website, but he is trying to “borrow” identities as well!
So what can you learn from Ocean Strategy and Paul Christoforo?
1. Don’t steal content. Ever. Sooner or later someone is going to notice.
2. Always treat your customers with respect. Even when they are upset you have the power to make the situation better.
3. Own up to your mistakes. If you keep the lines of communication open situations like this are less likely to develop.
4. Everything you say/do/write online has the potential to be seen by the Internet at large. Think twice before you hit send.
5. Don’t piss of the gaming community.