When Integrity Flies Out Of The Window

I like to think I have respect for local competitors and run rt Strategy as a business with integrity. As a strong proponent of Marty Neumeier’s “collaborative team” model for building brands, it’s essential that I identify and work with best-of-breeds, even if our services overlap. And as a founder and CVO of a local, non-profit industry organization it’s important that I maintain positive relationships with those that, from time-to-time, I may be pitching against.

However, in recent weeks I’ve come across two examples of others apparent failure to demonstrate respect and integrity for others in the industry.

These examples show how important it is that clients look to work with service providers that have proven track records and a true commitment to honesty, integrity and respect. As the saying goes “There can be no friendship without confidence; and no confidence, without integrity”.

Not that this is a local issue. We have many professional, reputable & accountable firms in town. The international design firm that I spoke with in the course of fact checking this article reported that they see this “all-the-time”.

I’d welcome your thoughts and comments.

Mode Marketing Systems

Here is a PDF of Mode Marketing Systems’ services page – created in 2010. And here is a (names & prices removed) sample proposal document as written by MacLean Group Marketing in 2005 and used for numerous proposals in the years following.

Here’s just a couple of examples of pretty unique language that features in both:

From MacLean Group: “Design logo and other brand elements that capture the essence of the development and create a memorable & appealing overall brand for the targeted demographics. Provide logo disk and Graphic Standards Manual.”

From Mode: “We design the logo and other brand elements that capture the essence of the Development and create a memorable and appealing overall message for the target demographic. Identity includes several sets of logos as well as a Graphic Standards Manual.”

From MacLean Group: “Write a theming document including a development story and positioning statement(s) / taglines for the project that captures the essence of the development, to enhance the overall brand and to form the basis of copy to be used across the elements of the marketing program.”

From Mode: “We prepare a theme document including a development story and positioning statement and tagline for the Development to enhance the overall brand and to form the basis of copy to be used across the elements of the marketing program.”

It seems the cut-and-paste command has featured prominently in the development of Mode marketing’s website. Their entire service offering is a blatant copy of a competitors proposal.

Lynks Web Services

This is my favorite – although that’s not really the right word – as there’s nothing really positive about this. It’s a shameful case of theft that should be criminalized. (I’ve never understood why, if we steal someone’s physical property we go to jail; but if we steal their intellectual property, a blind eye is turned.

Below is a screen shot of the website for this web design firm. Below that is a screen shot from the site of international web design firm Gravitate (click them to see full size). They look a little similar huh.

But this is the best bit – indisputable evidence that this design was stolen: the third image shows a line of source code that has been added by the software used by Lynks to copy Gravitate’s site!

Just to verify that this was theft of Gravitate’s design, I called them today. Gravitate confirmed that their site design was an original, not a template and that they had no relationship with Lynks. Personally, if I were a client of this Lynks Web Services, Kelowna I would be very concerned as to where my site design originated.

Lynks’ Site:

Gravitate’s Site:

The Evidence!:

2 Responses to “When Integrity Flies Out Of The Window”

  1. Frithjof June 9, 2010 at 4:51 am // Reply

    well, sloppy research is one thing but copy and paste?…. buyer beware! you don't always get what you pay for.

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  2. CStein June 10, 2010 at 6:06 am // Reply

    Great article! Being a business that takes pride in creating and promoting our services with integrity and originality, I am always disappointed to see such displays of blatant plagiarism.
    Two other agencies have copied components of our web and advertising text in the recent past, which is thoroughly frustrating! I believe that all businesses should strive to maintain positive and collaborative community relationships with their competition, but it is difficult when the competition is ignoring codes of decent conduct within the business community.

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