We all know the tried-and-true bromide that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
While I understand this intellectually, I don’t have to like it.
As editor in chief of TWICE, the leading news provider of the CE industry, it’s not unusual to see news stories that we break get picked up on the Web by others. Our company sells our content online for a fee to media outlets. But in the last two weeks, one of this reporter’s stories was copied and posted by another Web site as if the coverage was theirs.
Yesterday we posted a story and did an e-mail blast about Martin Kono leaving the United States and getting a new job with Panasonic in China. About a half-hour or so later, a print magazine with a Web site posted and sent out an e-mail with the same story.
Now a reasonable person might say, “Well maybe these guys found this out at the same time you did.” Sometimes I would agree, but not in this case. We got a tip about Kono’s departure from one of our sources. I confirmed the tip privately with Panasonic at yesterday's press event during which no mention of Kono was made during the presentation.
I know our story was copied by this other Web site because, sorry to say, even an editor in chief is not infallible. I misidentified Kono and the copycat site faithfully reproduced my mistake.
And this other Web site didn’t only “compliment” TWICE. A couple of weeks ago the Nikkei Business Daily in Japan had a story about Matsushita selling its equity in JVC, saying that U.S.-based equity firm TPG has provided the winning bid, based on anonymous sources.
This same operation that “borrowed” the Kono story did the same to Nikkei. It didn’t credit Nikkei with the story, didn’t even check with JVC or Matsushita to see if the story was true and pawned it off as its own reporting. (As of this writing, Matsushita still holds its stake in JVC.)
So guys, flattery is fine, but cash or a check for the use of our coverage is more appreciated. At the very least, credit us as the place where you picked up your stories.
If it happens again, you won’t be hearing about it from me in a blog. You’ll probably hear from our lawyers.