Here at Wooshka Photobooths, we have unfortunately had to become well versed in what to do when someone steals our web copy or images, or as most recently occured... our entire website!
Over the four years that we have been operating, we have had many instances where other photo booth owners have taken our work and passed it off as their own.
We regularly get emails and messages from friends and employees who notice a new company in their area, they log on and look the website and notice it has some similarities to ours.
Many people say, "Don't worry about it, it's a compliment when people copy you" However duplicate content directly affects our google ranking, and our google ranking affects our bottom line in a very big way.
Below I will give you tips on how to find duplicate content as well as what to do with it, but first I'll tell you the story of our most recent copycat situation.
It all started with this email:
I’ve been looking for a photo booth for my wedding in **town withheld.
I stumbled upon your website as the business I was looking at hiring in **town withheld. has images with your name on it and upon further checking it looks almost identical to your website.
I think they might have ripped you off and to be safe I’m not going with them if that’s the case.
Unless you can confirm that your affiliated with them?
This is their web address ..... (whilst I would love to publicly post this once again, I will not!)
I honestly couldn't believe my eyes when I visited the site to find that it wasn't just similar. It was the EXACT SAME WEBSITE! At first I thought someone had logged into our Wix account and duplicated our website. But then I began to notice that the spacing between text boxes and images sizes etc were not properly aligned, it was a poorly created version of our website.
Now normally when I notice someone has stolen our content, I message them directly and ask that they remove it, but this time I was so incredibly angry. I decided to do things differently. So I posted our website and their website, along with the email I had received, in a photo booth owners group.
Of course, upon posting, I was messaged by the owner who apologised and blamed her web designer located in India, when I asked for proof of web designer being engaged, there was none because the web designer was local and everything was done face to face in Australia. (Don't worry I was confused too!)
I decided to give this person benefit of the doubt, and removed my post whilst she investigated with her web designer. She agreed to remove the website until she had created her own content. Hours later, the website is back up with our content.
I also then received a message from another photo booth owner who had noticed the copyright infringement months earlier and notified the owner, who was "shocked" and agreed to "rectify straight away"
So this is where we had to begin the legal process.
The first step was issuing a "Formal Notice to Cease and Desist'
I have copied this below, and am more than happy for other to use this when they find their work has been plagiarized.
FORMAL NOTICE TO CEASE AND DESIST
To ***Name withheld
Owner of ****Name withheld Photobooths
**full address withheld for privacy reasons. (you can also send this via email)
It has come to our attention that you have duplicated our website at www.wooshkaphotobooths.com.au
Copyright has been infringed in the following ways:
Overall layout of the website
Colours and branding
Duplicate text on your ‘FAQ” page
Duplicate text in your “About Us” page
Duplicate text in the USB inclusions section
Duplicate text in the “Just a Few of Our Happy Clients” section
Duplicate text in the “Get a Free Quote Now" section
Duplicate text in the “Beautiful Printstrip Options” section
Duplicate text in the "Friendly Attendant" section
Duplicate text in the "Contact Us" section
Unauthorised use of our "Prints" image (Description of the image - multiple prints spread out in an artistic manner created in our studio by our team)
Unauthorised use of our "Deluxe Props" image (Description of the image - gold sequin backdrop with props displayed artistically, created in our studio)
We discussed this matter on the 30th May 2019, via Facebook messenger and you agreed to take the site down until this was rectified, however the site is back up with minimal changes to the content.
It has also been brought to my attention that you were notified that your site was infringing our copyright back on March 14, 2019. We have screenshots of the Facebook conversation you had with another Photo Booth owner verifying this.
Cease and Desist – Defamation (Rev. 133A13F) 2 / 2 I hereby demand that you: immediately cease and desist from these activities. Your website needs to be taken down until all of the duplicate content and layout has been removed. Changing a few lines here and there simply does not suffice.
Failure to do so will result in further legal proceedings.
Janelle and Daniel Bridge
The site removed ever since.
The next step was to report the duplicate content to Google
At present I am satisfied that the content has been removed and will not be used again. So I will not be taking any further action at this point in time.
So how can you find out if anyone has plagiarized your content?
The biggest tip I can give you is use this site below. You can enter your web address and it finds duplicate content on other sites.
It's very interesting to say the least!
If you find duplicate content:
Screenshot the website's duplicate content
Contact the owner of the site and ask them to remove the content
Issue a formal Cease and Desist
Report Duplicate Content to Google
Rest assured in the fact that you're an industry leader and people want to copy your shit