How not to respond when caught stealing a company’s content

Goinglobal Plagiarism

Google definition of plagiarism so we’re all clear. Also the root is kidnapper!

Last week marked a pivotal moment in my entrepreneurial journey: a company I’ve long admired in international education stole my company’s content. The company, GoinGlobal, a global career company, stole my original content from www.internationalstudentcareers.com. Then they repurposed my original content as a blog post, directly copying sentences from my content and passing them off as their own.

The first offense was an original long form article from www.internationalstudentcareers.com on how international students find jobs in the US. I wrote the book, How to Get a Job in the USA, based on this article.

 

Source: GoinGlobal

 

Going global stolen content

Source: International Student Careers

They never asked permission to directly copy my original content. None of the images, including the original graphic showing each step in the international student job search, were labeled with the original source. The irony of this is that they have a statement on their site that says that you may not copy any of their content without permission.

I found out because they placed a link to the original at the bottom of the GoinGlobal page and the trickle of referral traffic showed in my analytics.

And it might have all been a simple mistake had they not also written a blog post that was plagiarized from the same article. On Oct 3 they published a blog post that followed the identical structure of my original article while copying full sentences. They’ve taken it down now but here are screen shots from their post and my article.

GoinGlobal plagiarized copy Going Global plagiarism

Original copy from www.internationalstudentcareers.com

Going Global plagiarism

GoinGlobal plagiarized copy 

Going Global plagiarism

Original copy from www.internationalstudentcareers.com

Going global stolen copy

I’m also not the only one who GoinGlobal has plagiarized.

Naturally I wasn’t happy about this. I’m a small but mighty startup. They are a team of 25. They have 750 clients worldwide. It’s not illegal to plagiarize, though it’s certainly bad form.

But it is illegal to host content that you don’t have permission to host. So I started down the path you take when your content is stolen.

I emailed customer service with a take down request.

I sent a message via a contact form with a take down request.

I sent a message to the CEO on LinkedIn.

I tweeted multiple times from my company account and personal account.

Despite multiple outreach channels they responded with a single tweet. They claimed they copied the original article because they liked the article and they gave full credit, including links to my site. However, that’s misleading. And a company that specializes in content and has been around for 10+ years knows better. Full credit means placing the author’s full name, the name of the original website, and a link to the original content at the top of the post. Readers don’t always make it to the bottom, especially on a long form article. That’s why a link goes at the top. It also means labeling original images. But none of that matters since they didn’t ask permission in the first place.

Their tweet only acknowledged one of the requests: to take down the long form article. They said nothing about the plagiarized post on the GoinGlobal blog.

Eventually they took down both of the posts. However, the website says my original content is behind a paywall. It really makes you wonder if GoinGlobal contains additional plagiarized content from international education providers.

But here’s the point of this story: there was never an apology. There was no private response. No admission of mistake. It’s a bit shocking given that this is one of the better known companies in the international education industry. On top of that we talk a lot about international students and plagiarism in international education. I’ve known outstanding students who have been caught up in plagiarism incidents often unaware about what they’ve done due to cultural differences. Discussions followed, perspectives were exchanged. Things were ironed out.

None of that happened with GoinGlobal.

I’m happy they took it down. I’m irritated they did it in the first place. But I’m seriously disappointed that there wasn’t even a private response. That’s also terrible customer service. Was it intentional or were they just a fan of the content as their tweet claims? Was that content originally supposed to be behind their paywall, passing it off as their own content for paying university clients (as it was hosted on a page not as a post)? I have no way of knowing these answers. But the silence from them sure doesn’t help my suspicions.

Now that all this is over I’m still carrying on with building the future of global career education. But I’ve got an eye on GoinGlobal. The rest of international education, especially content creators, should too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.