You would think that with all the negative publicity associated with the outright theft of copyrighted material by Active Fire and Safety for their website (which we featured HERE), the idea of another fire service company getting caught doing the same thing would be pretty far-fetched (if not downright ridiculous). Apparently this isn't the case. Surrey based Local Fire & Safety Services' recently inaugurated site featured content copied word-for-word from Onyx Fire Protection Services of Toronto, Ontario as well as from a number of other local fire service providers. When we contacted the Dolon Group (who provided the site design, copy writing and other business related services) in Vancouver, we were told that the highly technical aspects of the fire prevention industry aren't what they normally get involved in. Copying other people's work isn't something they can say they excel at either as evidenced by this little gem:
“Local Fire & Safety provides all clients with an emergency service call response and trouble shooting call service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Onyx-Fire has the best emergency service call response time in the industry.”
What twigged us onto this mess? A heads-up from an alert reader was all it took. This demonstrates clearly how small our industry is and how the world wide web has impacted the marketing of the services we provide. It also demonstrates how vigilant we must all remain in safeguarding our own on-line efforts. There are a number of ways owners and webmasters can accomplish this. The cheapest way being is to enter a suspect sentence into the Google search bar and see what comes up! One small problem with this method, however, is that if in the unlikely event the site hasn't been indexed, your search result may yield you a false negative and ultimately, a false sense of security. There are a number of plagiarism checking websites you can try as well, but keep in mind that "free sites" like this also rely on popular search engines (a good such example is www.plagiarismchecker.com). The good thing is that instead of using just one provider, they're usually searching through a fair number simultaneously.
In the mean time, congratulations to Dolon Group and Local Fire & Safety Services on receiving this well-deserved double "Brickee".
UPDATE! - November 22, 2011 - This matter has been referred to ASTTBC and is now the subject of a formal investigation. The site has been removed from the Internet.