Yesterday I was greeted with a very unhappy email from an online author. He informed me that three recent articles published on Mobile Cuisine were word for word copies of articles he had posted on his website. As the editor-in-chief, I was shocked from this accusation of plagiarism and quickly responded to the message. After a few messages back and forth, I found that the accusations were true and immediately pulled the articles from the site.

Plagiarism: The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.

As some of you know, I have been traveling for personal reasons. During the time I was travelling, I knew I would need some assistance to bring new content to the Mobile Cuisine readers, so I brought on an intern to help. This was my first mistake, the next mistake was placing too much trust in this individual that the content was completely original. After being informed that some of the articles they prepared were plagiarized, I got the individual on the phone. After they admitted to the plagiarism, I immediately let them go, and them removed the content from the site.

As the owner of Mobile Cuisine, I take responsibility for this act and  promise it will not happen again. I take plagiarism very seriously, and it has no place here. I am very proud of my work, and would never want to give any reason for our readers to lose any level of the trust I’ve built over the last five years.

A Plagiarism Lesson Learned

With this issue, I have learned a lesson that I won’t soon forget, but wanted to share it with you. You may be wondering how this may affect a food truck owner, it’s simple. If you own a website in which you provide your customers with a blog of online content, you are at risk of having this content plagiarized by others. Not only have you spent the time to provide your customers with original content, but online plagiarism can take away from any search engine rankings your website has gained.

If your original article is listed below the plagiarized article in search rankings, you risk losing out on readers who may at some point attempt to track down your truck to become customers. So if you don’t stay on top of finding plagiarized content, you could be losing business.

There are numerous FREE online tools to help you find those who steal your work such as Grammarly. If you find a website that has stolen your content, here is a list of steps you can take to have it removed.

Preventing Plagiarism Of Your Content

  • Contact the author. As in our case, we did not know that the articles were plagiarized, so reach out and inform the author of the issue. Most websites have a Contact Us section that will provide you with various ways to contact the author. Direct them to the content, with links. Give them a few days to see if they contact you or take down your content.
  • Contact the site administrator. If the author of the plagiarized content doesn’t contact you, run a whois search to find the website administrators who are hosting the content. Share the same information you provided the author and ask to have it removed.
  • Use social media. If the author or administrator (often the same person for small sites) does not answer your requests bring the conversation to social media. Make sure you stay civil, but shed some light on the issue through their social media accounts.
  • Take legal steps. If you’ve gone through the previous steps with no luck, it time to file an official complaint under DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) with search engines. This law is in place in the United States of America, in order to stop plagiarism of online content. Once you submit your report, the search engine administrators can de-index the plagiarized content if they agree with your accusation.

If you would like to discuss the topic of plagiarism further, share your comments below.