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Watch Out: Company Releases Suspiciously Similar to Others' Content

8/27/13

By Ken Magill

A company called Email-List.com last week published two press releases with content almost identical to that in columns written by other industry professionals.

On August 22, the company published a release that led with the following:

“Since Google announced its latest changes to Gmail, there has been a great deal of controversy on what the changes mean for email marketers, including the belief that it could spell the end for email marketing. This short term view completely ignores the effectiveness and resilience of email over the past two decades.”

On August 21, Dela Quist, CEO of email marketing agency Alchemy Worx had a piece published in the UK Guardian that led with the following:

“Since Google announced its latest round of changes to Gmail, there has been a great deal of misinformation on what the changes mean for marketers, including the belief that it could spell the end for email marketing.

[Emphasis mine]

The difference: One word.

On August 21, Email-List.com published a release touting the five hottest trends in email marketing. Its content was almost identical to a piece published in Direct Marketing News in May, including a grammatical error.

“As email marketing continues to evolve, recipients are now expecting more and more relevant content. This is wonderful news that can lead to greater engagement and increased revenue. It also means you've got some work to do.,” began the Direct Marketing News piece by Mike Veilleux, director or email product, Dyn.

 “Here's are five of the hottest things in email that you'll need to understand to reach the full potential of your email program.”

Note the grammatical error in “Here’s are.”

“As email marketing continues to evolve, recipients are now expecting more and more relevant content. This is wonderful news that can lead to greater engagement and increased revenue,” began Email-List.com’s press release.

“Here's are five of the hottest things in email that emarketers need to understand to reach the full potential of your email program.”

The Email-List.com release’s copy replaced “you’ll” with “emarketers,” yet kept “Here’s are.”

The release continued with content almost identical to that of Veilleux’s contributed piece with one notable exception.

Veilleux’s article contained the following:

“Return Path conducted a study that showed that more than 40% of people are less likely to purchase from you in the future if they've seen a phishing scam associated with your brand. Simply put, if you have a phishing attack you can say goodbye to half your customers. But there are new methods of monitoring and protecting your brands and domain names from phishing. DMARC is now one of the most prevalent and is a nearly full-proof way to detect if people are trying to send phishing emails that look like your brand. Getting that information quickly greatly increases your chances of stopping it.”

Email-List.com’s release contained the following:

“Email-List.com conducted a study that showed that more than 40% of people are less likely to purchase from you in the future if they've seen a phishing scam associated with your brand. Simply put, if you have a phishing attack you can say goodbye to half your customers. But there are new methods of monitoring and protecting your brands and domain names from phishing. DMARC is now one of the most prevalent and is a nearly full-proof way to detect if people are trying to send phishing emails that look like your brand. Getting that information quickly greatly increases your chances of stopping it.”

The only difference in the two paragraphs is “Return Path” has been replaced with “Email-List.com.”

A message left for Tom Bell, the name listed in the release as Email-List.com’s vice president of corporate communications, was not immediately returned.

Direct Marketing News declined comment. Quist did not immediately respond to an email asking for comment.

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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Bill Kaplan
Date: 2013-08-28 16:37:49
Subject: Plagiarism Redux

We’ve experienced a number of similar issues where companies have taken our white papers in their entirety, put their names on these, and published these on their web sites. Others have taken our marketing collateral and re-purposed it word-for-word on their sites, even going so far as plagiarizing our language stating “[Insert company name] is the original developer of ECOA services and holds multiple patents on our ECOA technology.” Still others have bought Google keywords and then used advertising text on Google as follows: “FreshAddress/Insert Company Name, the leader in email database services, provides…..” to make it appear as if we and this company were one and the same. We pursued each of these legally so as to protect our brand and reputation and, by doing so, we were able to dispatch each of these quickly but it’s important to be vigilant as the cost to you can be significant if left unattended. It's great to have a spokesperson like Ken with a strong following to bring these culprits to light. The more questionable and unethical providers we can expose, the stronger the reputation we can build for the rest of us.
Posted by: Not jim
Date: 2013-08-27 18:26:45
Subject: going around

You should contact Dela Quist with a cease and desist request because it would be “easier” to ask them directly to pull down the image.
Posted by: Dela Quist
Date: 2013-08-27 17:36:34
Subject: Plagiarism aka theft

Ken Thanks for bringing our attention to this and sorry to take so long getting back, I am on the road with limited access to the internet. We contacted PR-Web PRWeb who promote themselves as follows “Get Seen and Get Selling with PRWeb… You write a press release about your organization. We push your news to our huge distribution network of major news sites and search engines, and get it in front of consumers and journalists. You can achieve major publicity, a great search engine ranking, and…..thousands of new customers” about this issue and they were strangely ambivalent about this. Rather than pulling this blatant example of IP theft down their advice was for us to contact Email-list with a cease and desist request because it would be “easier” to ask them directly to pull down the release. Their view was that they might do so immediately if as soon as they realized the issue. Well we have and will keep you posted
Posted by: Jim Motron
Date: 2013-08-27 16:58:06
Subject: What goes around comes around?

I find it slightly amusing that Return Path is mentioned since they are currently using a graphic that I created for the Goolara Blog on their website. Here's my original post: http://blog.goolara.com/2013/06/19/gmail-reinvents-itself/ And here's Return Path's page: http://landing.returnpath.com/gmail-tabs-marketing-impact-analysis-report Instant karma?

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