A professional rant!

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A professional rant!

Postby Gaspen on Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:26 am

I am sooooo upset!

Okay, so I have a website and I do my own graphics (banners, etc.) and place them on my website with alt tags (if you put your cursor over a pic, text appears).

I've just started to check my stats to see whether I'm seeing any results from web-based advertising.

A name of a local massage therapist's website keeps coming up. At this point, it's only been like 57 hits. But I wonder what's going on. Soooo, just this morning, I go to this website (Tough of .... and he's located in a major Midwestern city) and check the first link (rates). I scroll down for a bit and what do I see?! MY IMAGE for a $10 off for 2nd visit! So then I check his code and find that NOT ONLY is he stealing my image; but he's doing so by linking to my site! He didn't even have the energy and ethics to save the image and upload it to his own server! IN ADDITION, he also copied my alt tag (including the CranioSacral part - and there's nothing on his site for CranioSacral work). :evil:

Soooo, what I did as soon as I found this unethical massage therapist stealing my work was to change the image slightly. I still have the $10 off 2nd Appointment, but instead of using one tag line, I swapped it out to say Treat your body right at SpencerMassage.com!

Let's see how long it takes this IDIOT to figure out he is now giving ME free advertising! :D

I'll keep you posted.

Sorry. I had to rant.
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Postby stonegirl on Sat Jul 12, 2008 6:03 am

Soooo, what I did as soon as I found this unethical massage therapist stealing my work was to change the image slightly. I still have the $10 off 2nd Appointment, but instead of using one tag line, I swapped it out to say Treat your body right at SpencerMassage.com!


:smt082 classic! I love it!

I've had this happen to me too... it is disheartening. I didn't think of putting my biz name into the image (that would've been great!) I just took the image down so it was broken on their site. I could just see them sitting there scratching their heads... why won't this picture work? :roll:
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no apologies needed

Postby NC_kneader on Sat Jul 12, 2008 6:11 am

Having done my share of website design, I understand your frustration and justified anger.

Many people don't know netiquette, tho they could otherwise be quite ethical.

Confession: I found my avatar on the web. While I did copy it and move it to my own ISP, I did not get permission to use it. My understanding is, if you're not using it for profit, it's not a violation of copyright laws. This may be totally false.

Yet, I would not go into a gallery, pick up a piece of art and take it home to hang on my wall ~ hey, I'm not selling it, right?

We just don't view the two as the same thing, even though they are very similar. Like downloading music and movies, etc ~ it is stealing.

The right thing to do: do an image search, locate the original website, contact the owner or webmaster, ask permission to use the image. Once granted, transload/download/upload or otherwise copy the image to your own file storage, then it would be nice to add an acknowledgement somewhere on your site, and super nice if you'd add a link to their site.

Unfortunately, most people don't get beyond step 1; some will take the effort to skip to step 4, if they know how to snag an image - many don't. Please (permission) and thank you (acknowlegement) ??? takes too much time.
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Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Sat Jul 12, 2008 6:34 am

We had a mobile spa in NJ lift all the copy from our website -- which we paid a copy writer to create - verbatim.

Took several months and several nasty letters to get them to remove it, but never a peep of apology.
Smithers: "Sir, I'm afraid we have a bad image, people see you as a bit of an ogre." Mr.Burns: "I ought to club them and eat their bones!"
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Re: A professional rant!

Postby pueppi on Sat Jul 12, 2008 6:55 am

Gaspen wrote:I still have the $10 off 2nd Appointment, but instead of using one tag line, I swapped it out to say Treat your body right at SpencerMassage.com!


Might want to add your name, address and phone number to that copy.
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Re: A professional rant!

Postby Rose of Sharon on Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:35 am

pueppi wrote:
Gaspen wrote:I still have the $10 off 2nd Appointment, but instead of using one tag line, I swapped it out to say Treat your body right at SpencerMassage.com!


Might want to add your name, address and phone number to that copy.


I agree!

And good job, Gaspen, on dealing with it in a very productive way!!
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Postby AngEngland on Sat Jul 12, 2008 8:34 am

As a freelance author, who supplements a significant portion of family income with original words, I can SO understand the frustration.

For future reference - Web servers will remove the plagerized content if the actual web site owner will not. If letters, emails, etc to the owner/thief do not work you can contact the actual server host and have the content removed that way. I've only had to do it once - usually just a firm but polite email does the trick.

As KS pointed out - many people ignorantly view the internet as a gigantic free-for-all not knowing, or bothering to find out, otherwise.

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Postby Gaspen on Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:02 pm

Thanks ppl. Just had to vent this morning. NC, also being an artist (watercolorist), I take exception to copying an image from another person and using it in order to make money (as in the case of this unethical therapist - if he is indeed a MT and just not calling imself one). In this case, he knew very well what he did was totally wrong every step of the way.

And BTW, he still hasn't caught it and replaced it with something else.

What I should do is change the link on my website that he's using to hijack the pic and replace it with a slightly larger banner saying how he has stolen the image. That would put his credibility in the trashheap. But...I won't.
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Postby JaeMarie on Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:49 pm

Gaspen wrote:What I should do is change the link on my website that he's using to hijack the pic and replace it with a slightly larger banner saying how he has stolen the image. That would put his credibility in the trashheap. But...I won't.


Actually, I'm not sure how it's done, but I've seen where offsite images are automatically replaced with a notice "offsite linking of images is not permitted". Often the person using the image already has the original cached and doesn't see the notice, until they clear their computer or something lol.

I prefer the idea of you advertising yourself though ;) .

:lol:
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Postby tribute on Sat Jul 12, 2008 6:23 pm

I just found that site Gaspen and it looks like the guy created his website by stealing from everyone else! His site is a mess of different colors and fonts/sizes etc. Very clever to put your website in the link. Perhaps putting your name and phone number too? Did you say he stole text from you? Maybe putting your phone number after the descriptions as well...

Sorry that happened!
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Postby Gaspen on Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:44 pm

Thanks for the ideas ppl. Tribute, I thought I had been sooooo careful about not giving too many details. Don't want to be accused of something (although I did a screen capture using my graphics program so if anything does happen, I always have that).

I didn't want to say anything about the look and feel of his site. I am a competitor, after all. Besides, I'm not the website design police. But I, too, found his site to be one big ugly. His grammar sucks, his syntax is wrong, and his punctuation is consistently bad. In addition to having a bunch of fonts in various sizes, there's a mix of bold and unbold, even within the same paragraph.

Overall, I would also have to unfortunately agree with you when you he might have copied other sites' information. Karma is a bite, though, isn't it?

Personally, if I were a potential client, all of this would make me want to keep searching for a therapist. I also kind of wonder what his quality of work is like.
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Postby JasonE on Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:04 pm

Gaspen wrote:What I should do is change the link on my website that he's using to hijack the pic and replace it with a slightly larger banner saying how he has stolen the image. That would put his credibility in the trashheap. But...I won't.


It seems unlikely that this person is a legit MT. Whatever they are, your image is being associated with their site and everything about it that you don't like.

I'd definitely replace your image with one that lets people know the site is using stolen content. Report the matter to the offender's web host and you may see resolution fairly quickly.
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Postby Gaspen on Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:20 am

Jason - yeah I've begun thinking on this as well. I don't like his site. I think what he did was dishonest and unethical. I don't want to be associated with his site at all.

This morning, I changed the image. I went back to the original wording and below it in bright red bold lettering, I said the following:

Please Note:
This banner has been stolen from SpencerMassage.com.

This is totally dishonest and unethical. Do you trust this therapist?

***

BTW, he still hasn't removed the linking to the banner. I wonder how long it's going to be before he notices it. I discovered it at 57 hits, it is now at 93 hits. Go figure!

***

OMG
I just checked the Illinois licenses for the name that appears on his website. Guess what? He's not even a licensed massage therapist. (Not that a license means he does a good job or not.) Why does this not surprise me?!
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Postby cstbrian on Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:45 am

I also just found the site. YIKES!!! :shock: What a mess.

But I do LOVE what you did to your stolen image. Very nice.
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Postby Gaspen on Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:51 am

I also checked if he's a member of AMTA (like he says he is) and obviously he is not. I'm like a dog with a meaty bone!

Thanks, Brian. I'm wondering if I should include: Is he really licensed?

I'm also wondering if I should contact Craigslist stating that he is stealing my image and is not licensed in Illinois? He advertises on Craigslist regularly. I mean, this is probably his main (if only) livelihood. Do I have the right or obligation to report this? Or should I just let it ride with the changed banner?

Any and all advise, opinions, comments would be appreciated (negative and positive).
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Postby cstbrian on Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:11 am

Just watch how far you go with the banner. You don't want to make yourself look bad.

Contacting craigslist won't do a thing! I've contacted them about non-licensed therapists posting under therapeutic services and I'm given the standard answer that it is a 'publicly' moderated board and all I can do is flag the post.

You could contact your state licensing board if you wanted to go that route. Our law states that we should report people who are providing massage without proper licensure.

You could then contact AMTA to make them aware of the situation. I'm sure they wouldn't want their name associated with this guy.

(edited to add) Is he a member of both AMTA and ABMP?!?! that seems odd. And yes, it seems he removed the banner. (See tribute's post below)
Last edited by cstbrian on Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tribute on Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:15 am

I think he may have changed the banner now.

I'd suggest to leave it alone if he doesn't have anything else stolen from your site. Spending energy on trying to ruin this guy's business for him doesn't seem to be all that productive to your own wellbeing. If he's really horrible he'll ruin his own business.
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Postby cstbrian on Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:46 am

tribute wrote:I'd suggest to leave it alone if he doesn't have anything else stolen from your site. Spending energy on trying to ruin this guy's business for him doesn't seem to be all that productive to your own wellbeing.


I don't feel it's about trying to ruin this guy's business. It's about upholding certain standards in our profession. I believe that those of us who have had the proper training, have the proper insurance, have paid the fees and gone through the proper channels to practice within the law and ethical standards should take action when someone is presenting himself/herself in this manner.

It appears he is not a member of ABMP/AMTA nor is he licensed in Illinois. He may not even be properly trained, or nationally certified, or even insured. Is this the type of person we want representing our profession? Should we just stand by and allow people like this to continue calling themselves licensed, professional therapists? How does this reflect on the whole of our profession?
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Postby Gaspen on Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:24 am

Point taken, Brian. I think I'll contant Craigslist. Thanks for your input.
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Postby pueppi on Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:27 am

I like the idea of changing the banner link. Wording... Stolen Banner! in red. Plain and simple. :)
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Postby NC_kneader on Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:34 am

Gaspen wrote:This is totally dishonest and unethical. Do you trust this therapist?


Personally, I think you went a bit too far with your banner. The above questions client's judgement.

As already stated, reporting the incident and your findings to the proper board and associations would have been a more appropriate path, imo.
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Postby Anastasia on Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:58 am

Yikes! How ANNOYING! You must've been FURIOUS!
I had a brochure stolen from me 3 years ago. I am really good about writing stuff and in that particular one I came up with a cutesy name for a special. Then one day I picked up another Mt's brochure, came home, poured myself a glass of wine, opened the brochure...OMG! Even the cutesy services was there with a picture of a dancing skeleton next to it (don't know why). The only part she didn't steal was the About Me section.
I almost drove there at 10 pm to wring her neck. I have changed my brochure since a few times but I think the thief's brochure is still out there b/c a month ago I picked up another MT's brochure and I recognized large chunks of my old copy. When I looked at the location, needless to say the new thief works with the old one.
I also had people steal bits and pieces from my web site, mostly descriptions of services - which I wrote myself or using the material given to me in workshops for this particular purpose. I emailed one person and suggested she write her own copy. Never heard form her.
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Postby Gaspen on Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:12 am

NC_kneader, as it turns out, he took down the banner. While I appreciate your input, I did it for the following reasons (other than being angry at his violation of me) but also for the following.

If he is going to blatently steal a banner (granted, rather low on the scale of imporance), it points to his professionalism and ethics. Also:

a.) he is not licensed and yet is stating that he is

b.) he is not a member pf either AMTA or ABMP which he states he is (AMTA)

c.) with (a) and (b) being the case, what is to say that he actually even went to massage school?

d.) if he is not a licensed MT, why state it unless he is trying to acquire clients on a false premise?

Again, as he is presenting false statements, his future and current clients have and are basing their 'judgements' on lies. I'm a firm believer that the more information a client has at his/her disposal, the better.
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Postby tribute on Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:56 pm

cstbrian wrote:
tribute wrote:I'd suggest to leave it alone if he doesn't have anything else stolen from your site. Spending energy on trying to ruin this guy's business for him doesn't seem to be all that productive to your own wellbeing.


I don't feel it's about trying to ruin this guy's business. It's about upholding certain standards in our profession. I believe that those of us who have had the proper training, have the proper insurance, have paid the fees and gone through the proper channels to practice within the law and ethical standards should take action when someone is presenting himself/herself in this manner.

It appears he is not a member of ABMP/AMTA nor is he licensed in Illinois. He may not even be properly trained, or nationally certified, or even insured. Is this the type of person we want representing our profession? Should we just stand by and allow people like this to continue calling themselves licensed, professional therapists? How does this reflect on the whole of our profession?


I understand your point of view, I don't agree with it, but you bring up wonderful questions for those who may not have thought about it.

Cheers!
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Postby Blisss on Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:34 pm

Gaspen, I totally understand your anger that another massage therapist stole content from your website. I love the way you handled it. You provided a direct consequence for their actions & I imagine they learned a valuable lesson.

As far as reporting this therapist to the licensing board or AMTA, I just suggest you look at your motivation. Speaking from my own experience, the only time I ever wanted to report a non-licensed therapist, it wasn't out of concern for clients. I didn't like this person, she did something to tick me off, and I wanted to report her as payback. Does that sound familiar? ;) For me, I reflected on that & decided to let it be. Karma took care of it. She wasn't a great therapist & due to lack of clients, she left the field on her own within a year.

You may take a different route. You may decide that you want to enforce licensing standards in our profession, for the reasons both you & Brian stated. If you really feel passionately about that, why not volunteer to be part of your state's licensing board, or become a leader in your local AMTA? Then, if you want to track & report unlicensed therapists, it's a decision based on your deep beliefs, rather than a targeted act of revenge.

Just something to think about.
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