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How To Deal With Unprofessional Behaviour
Posted 04 November 2003 - 04:20 PM
I get all my clients through forums and via e-mail... I have been corresponding with a guy for the past few days that contacted be about doing SEO for his site. In my e-mails, I give a pretty detailed breakdown of my process and what I would do for him, mainly because I feel it is good to be upfront with people so they will know nothing shady is going on. I come to find out that this person copied my entier process proposal verbatim and is using it to try and solicit SEO work for himself. I am not mad about him taking that information from me, I give them details because if someone thinks they are capable of doing this on their own, I encourage them to do it for free... the information is out there, anyone can get it. It is just the fact he copied me word for word, to a tee.
This irritates me on numorous levels, mainly because this only cheapens the way I look now... if I come into contact with someone that has talked to this person, it looks like I am copying him... this can definately hit me in the pocket book, as I rely on SEO to pay the bills. Another thing is this person obviously knew very little about SEO, so he is more than likely going to be ripping people off now, which just urchs me.
What can I do about this? Do I need to have every single person I talk with about doing work for sign a NDA? I trust the majority of people that I talked with/work with, because they are adults and good hearted individuals, so I don't want to inconvenience people because one idiot screwed me over. This is probly ultimately on me, for not covering my butt in all of this... I guess it's just a depressing reality check. Theres nothing I can do to this guy, I have the login information for his site, but I would like to think I am above doing childish "revenge
Sorry for the rant, this just really ruins my day. Am I over reacting?
Posted 04 November 2003 - 05:35 PM
Without fail i would send this guy a schedule of charges of say $10 per mailing for the right to use your material in the manner in which he is employing it currently. I have found this to stop them in their tracks while they sit and contemplate their next move.
In the UK you could call in the police as it is clearly a case of 'obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception' as the guy claimed to be asking for the information with a view to engaging your services, clearly this was simply a scam to get the information. This is clearly a deception, I am not sure how the law sits in the US (mac would know and i am sure if he is on that he will chip in)
This guy seems like a low time hustler, and i am sure that the thought of a fraud investigation, added to the fact that every time he sends out your information he could be racking up a bill of $10 should at the very least slow him down.
Knowingly assisting in the breaking of copyrighted material is a crime, so i would contact his ISP and inform them as well, i am sure they may well close his e mail account, although it will be easy enough to get another it will show this guy you are serious about it.
Apart from that consult a lawyer, and if it makes you feel better, I have in the past had a 32 page promotional booklet that i designed for a customer, hours and hours of work and origination, taken away and printed by them via a contract printer. I have had 3 websites taken and put up on their own hosting after the final proof was delivered, and i have had copyright on interactive cd's stolen and copied more times than i can remember.
The trick is not to spend too much time dwelling on this negative experience, although it would not hurt to draft a brief 100% accurate script detailing the events naming this guy and EXACTLY what went on and what he has done and making it clear that you are doing this to defend yourself, send him a copy, and tell him you will e-mail it to as many people you have in your address book, and also make it your mission in life to make sure he will NEVER use your documentation to rip people off (make sure a lawyer reads this though) of course you will never send those mails, but it will make you a whole lot happier knowing he might think you may
Posted 04 November 2003 - 05:40 PM
Posted 04 November 2003 - 05:53 PM
What it boils down to is anyone that would do something like this will most definately not be able to keep clients and not be around in this field for long. I don't have much money or a lawyer, so don't want to get involved in messing with legal action (though I will definately use it as a threat if I see this joker again). His ISP is AOL, so I can't imagine they would be very helpfull if it got to that point. I am just going to try and follow your advice about not dwelling on this and focus on the future.
Its a real bummer to hear about all the ways you were ripped off, unfortunately I think it is something that is pretty common in internet related business -- I think some people can ignore how wrong it is when they don't have a face to put with the person they are screwing.
Going forward, do you think having a NDA would be something to consider? Also, would having a NDA e-mail were the person replies with their name hold up as well as a signed piece of paper? I want to use this as a learning experience and hopefully thwart it in the future.
Posted 04 November 2003 - 06:03 PM
but it might be a good idea to have a watered down version in your contact forms e mails etc.
here is a simple one
The opinions expressed are those of the individual and not the company. Internet communications are not secure and therefore the company does not accept legal responsibility for the contents of this message. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or the employee responsible for delivering this communication to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.
hope this helps, and as you say, that wich does not kills us makes us stronger.
I always say it don't matter how many times you get knocked down, its how many times you get up that matters
Posted 04 November 2003 - 07:14 PM
But it's a lot more powerful than that. You can create stationary very easily to make a template for all your email. If you do that, you can automatically add a copyright notice and other information so you don't have to remember each time.
Failing that, you can use signature files to accomplish much the same thing. If you use stationary, take pains to test it to make sure it degrades properly when changed to plain text or rich text. My first one was horrible.
In that template I've put the following at the bottom:
This message is intended only for the named recipient(s) above and may contain information that is confidential and/or proprietary. If you have received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please immediately notify the sender and delete this email message. The contents of this message are copyright © on the original sending date by McAnerin Networks Inc and/or the original sender. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction, disclosure or distribution without written consent.
You can see a copy in action at Email Template. If you are a member of this forum, feel free to take it and use it (minus my information, of course )
Here is a very short tutorial from TechTV on how to do this.
Posted 04 November 2003 - 09:24 PM
Posted 04 November 2003 - 09:40 PM
Let me know if there's any way I can help.
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