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Don Draper

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Hello all!
Firstly let me say that I have followed MANY a discussion by fellow innkeepers both here and on about.com. Because our particular market is SO competitive I cannot divulge my name and/or inn and/or even our location. Please know that on my MOST trying days as a new innkeeper you all have provided much solace, laughter, and innspiration and have literally kept me going through the hard times...thank you all!
My question to you all...how do you handle when competitors copy information verbatim from your website? I'm talking about particular specials, promotions, ideas, etc. This has happened to us more than once having run our B&B for just over 3 years, and it is getting SO discouraging. Is it worth having a face to face confrontation?
 

YellowSocks

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I'm too new at this to give you an answer, but I wanted to say WELCOME TO THE FORUM!!!! We're glad to have you here!
I will be interested in reading the others' advice.
=)
Kk.
 

Don Draper

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I'm too new at this to give you an answer, but I wanted to say WELCOME TO THE FORUM!!!! We're glad to have you here!
I will be interested in reading the others' advice.
=)
Kk..
Thank you so much for the welcome! We should BOTH be in bed at this hour, but it's nice to hear from a kindred spirit! Hope your Monday is a good one.
 

gillumhouse

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Bree & Swirt have the answers you need to that.
Sorry to hear you have that problem. One way to look at it though is you must be VERY, VERY good for them to keep eaking your ideas.
I do think that if you mail a dated copy of something to yourself - AND DO NOT OPEN it when it arrives - it can serve as proof that it was your material. My son the song writer told me this. So do a copy paste in an e-mail to yourself, print it, and mail it. The postmark on the letter verifies the date for you.
 

YellowSocks

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I'm too new at this to give you an answer, but I wanted to say WELCOME TO THE FORUM!!!! We're glad to have you here!
I will be interested in reading the others' advice.
=)
Kk..
Thank you so much for the welcome! We should BOTH be in bed at this hour, but it's nice to hear from a kindred spirit! Hope your Monday is a good one.
.
You're right, I should be in bed.... but I love the Olympics. I almost never watch TV... except every two years when the Olympics come on! So, I was sitting here and took a reservation... was talking with a lady from Phoenix, she made a comment about it being late afternoon. I said, no, it's 10:25 here, but no problem since I'm up anyway!
=)
Kk.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Welcome to the forum.
Someone copying information can get your goat, especially after you had worked very very hard to get what you have in place and then they just waltz in and steal it. Basically using your info as a shortcut instead of creating it themselves.
I have had this happen to me, and it hurt more than anything else, that someone would do that, it made me distrustful. Now that "competitor" receives zero referrals from me when they could when we are full. They never telephoned directly to apologise or anything, so when guests ask about them I tell them I would not stay there. It is that simple. I don't go into detail, but that is what I say, as I wouldn't stay there.
Unfortunately this is the internet. So whatever you have posted online anyone can come along and cut n paste. For that matter, I would just make sure your website is more inviting and informative than theirs. If they have to take your ideas then you already know their B&B is not up to your par at all.
If you confront them you will cause more stress, but I bet you will do it eventually as it will eat away at you.
 

seashanty

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Welcome to the forum.
Someone copying information can get your goat, especially after you had worked very very hard to get what you have in place and then they just waltz in and steal it. Basically using your info as a shortcut instead of creating it themselves.
I have had this happen to me, and it hurt more than anything else, that someone would do that, it made me distrustful. Now that "competitor" receives zero referrals from me when they could when we are full. They never telephoned directly to apologise or anything, so when guests ask about them I tell them I would not stay there. It is that simple. I don't go into detail, but that is what I say, as I wouldn't stay there.
Unfortunately this is the internet. So whatever you have posted online anyone can come along and cut n paste. For that matter, I would just make sure your website is more inviting and informative than theirs. If they have to take your ideas then you already know their B&B is not up to your par at all.
If you confront them you will cause more stress, but I bet you will do it eventually as it will eat away at you..
it happens ... any really good idea, like a good recipe or invention, usually gets dreamed up by more than one person ... or is spotted and quickly imitated.
i'm in a really small market, all places around here run basically the same packages and things. the kayak place had a special with other inns before i came on the scene and then invited me to partner with them the same as they do with 2 other places. the boatline that gives sightseeing tours invited me as well. not copying the other places, but so similar that i try to put my own spin on it.
the little hotel across the road from me now operates as a b&b instead of hotel and restaurant. they now offer coffee and tea any time and candy in the rooms, same as me. just about all i do, they now do. it had to happen. at first i was upset, but i got over it. i just go on, doing the best i can.
yes, bree had someone lift text off her site, i believe it was her policies they used -- word for word.
 
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There is a free program that you can use to see if anyone copies anything from your website. It is called Copyscape. Of course, it doesn't prevent someone from copying but you put the link on your website to warn them and then you can do a search to see if any of your content appears anywhere else. You can get the paid versions as well which have more features.
 

Copperhead

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Innsider - Welcome to the forum. I too would be angry but let's face the facts. If they are 'using' your ideas word for word you are much better than they are. It is sad to know that there are those out there that have no desire to come up with there own ideas, on the otherhand, consider it a complement.
 

Morticia

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I'd be VERY annoyed as well. My whole website (including pix of my parents and my dog) was copied. There are laws against that.
I have had innkeepers swipe my text, word for word (and not you Oak Creek). And these are B&B's in walking distance. THAT I don't appreciate.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I'd be VERY annoyed as well. My whole website (including pix of my parents and my dog) was copied. There are laws against that.
I have had innkeepers swipe my text, word for word (and not you Oak Creek). And these are B&B's in walking distance. THAT I don't appreciate..
Bree said:
I'd be VERY annoyed as well. My whole website (including pix of my parents and my dog) was copied. There are laws against that.
I have had innkeepers swipe my text, word for word (and not you Oak Creek). And these are B&B's in walking distance. THAT I don't appreciate.
That was really something right there. When your own parents were stolen.
 

Morticia

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I'd be VERY annoyed as well. My whole website (including pix of my parents and my dog) was copied. There are laws against that.
I have had innkeepers swipe my text, word for word (and not you Oak Creek). And these are B&B's in walking distance. THAT I don't appreciate..
Bree said:
I'd be VERY annoyed as well. My whole website (including pix of my parents and my dog) was copied. There are laws against that.
I have had innkeepers swipe my text, word for word (and not you Oak Creek). And these are B&B's in walking distance. THAT I don't appreciate.
That was really something right there. When your own parents were stolen.
.
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
Bree said:
I'd be VERY annoyed as well. My whole website (including pix of my parents and my dog) was copied. There are laws against that.
I have had innkeepers swipe my text, word for word (and not you Oak Creek). And these are B&B's in walking distance. THAT I don't appreciate.
That was really something right there. When your own parents were stolen.
Yeah, you know it really was that and the dog that got to me the most.
 

Morticia

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Back to your problem. What I would do about your packages, because you can't stop your comp from stealing them, is to list them on your site as 'The original (insert package name here) and still the best.'
If your comp has the chutzpah to copy THAT, then I suggest you move to a nice neighborhood like mine...

Keep in mind your comp may be on here reading this, so do that quickly...change your wording that is, not move here...
 

gillumhouse

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I'd be VERY annoyed as well. My whole website (including pix of my parents and my dog) was copied. There are laws against that.
I have had innkeepers swipe my text, word for word (and not you Oak Creek). And these are B&B's in walking distance. THAT I don't appreciate..
Bree said:
I'd be VERY annoyed as well. My whole website (including pix of my parents and my dog) was copied. There are laws against that.
I have had innkeepers swipe my text, word for word (and not you Oak Creek). And these are B&B's in walking distance. THAT I don't appreciate.
That was really something right there. When your own parents were stolen.
.
That was really something right there. When your own parents were stolen.
Even offering cash, I couldn't get anyone to steal mine! Dang!!
 

seashanty

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Back to your problem. What I would do about your packages, because you can't stop your comp from stealing them, is to list them on your site as 'The original (insert package name here) and still the best.'
If your comp has the chutzpah to copy THAT, then I suggest you move to a nice neighborhood like mine...

Keep in mind your comp may be on here reading this, so do that quickly...change your wording that is, not move here....
'take my wife ..... please'
okay, they actually used the pictures of your parents and dog?
??????
 

Don Draper

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Thank you all SO much! Gillum, that is an awesome suggestion about mailing my "idea" to myself...that way I have it in case I would need it. And I want to look into that software Vancouver, at least it would give me a "heads up", instead of finding out about the stealing through a guest! Will help me to be more proactive.
Mostly thank you all for sharing my frustration!!! DH and I worked so long and hard on these original package ideas, and to have someone swoop in and take them verbatim just really hurt. More than an inconsiderate guest even! It's been so unfortunate that our B&B's just cannot seem to cooperate here. The sad fact is probably that there are too many for the area. We have referred to just about every other B&B in our area if we are full, or if we just don't have the accommodations that folks need. Only 2 (out of about 20) B&B's have ever sent guests our way. We can deal with that, as we usually book up first anyway, it's just sad.
I am developing an ever-tougher skin as we continue with this venture, this just really took me by surprise this week and I'm surprised myself by the strong reaction I had. Deep down I KNOW that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and obviously people are seeing that our packages work, that's why they are copying them. I'm trying to rise above!!
 

Morticia

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Back to your problem. What I would do about your packages, because you can't stop your comp from stealing them, is to list them on your site as 'The original (insert package name here) and still the best.'
If your comp has the chutzpah to copy THAT, then I suggest you move to a nice neighborhood like mine...

Keep in mind your comp may be on here reading this, so do that quickly...change your wording that is, not move here....
'take my wife ..... please'
okay, they actually used the pictures of your parents and dog?
??????
.
seashanty said:
'take my wife ..... please'
okay, they actually used the pictures of your parents and dog?
??????
You don't remember this? Someone copied my website in its entirety only changing the name slightly and then the state the supposed inn was in. It's why I recommend doing a search on your inn name ocassionally to see if it's happened to anyone else. They also copied a CVB's website. Swirt thought it might be to set up sites for ads. Easy peasy. Copy a fully-functioning website, change a couple of details, good to go.
But they copied the whole thing, including pages that were in transition from old format to new (so I knew I found the imposter pretty quickly) and on those pages were pix of my parents. And my dog. My poor old dog, who would not have liked her new state of MS at all. Altho, my parents looked pretty happy on the porch.

 

IvyLee

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While it's definitely shady, and morally wrong to rip off people's copy it happens all the time and if it's on the web you honestly have no recourse at all. Theoretically, if you someone uses your copyrighted materials (most likely your website isn't copyrighted) you can send them a dmca takedown notice but they don't have to listen. They can also use select portions, like a B&B special and argue fair use. Your next step would be to go to whoever hosts the site, and issue them a takedown notice. More than likely you'll get ignored, especially if the servers are in another country in which case they aren't bound by US law.
If you're concerned about protecting your written material, while the 'mail it yourself' thing is a good idea, recent legal precedent says that holds no water in a court of law, plus actually going through with a real intellectual property violation lawsuit is cartoonishly expensive (I have friends that are IP attorneys and bill at $375+ an hour). The 21st century version of that is a Creative Commons License, which is free and transparent and allows you to put things on the web, share them but retain some control over who does what with them. It's much easier to mark your work this way. You can read about CC here:
http://creativecommons.org/
I absolutely sympathize with you. Over the years I've had copy, press releases, headlines and ideas ripped off lock, stock and barrel and there isn't much you can do about it. I would suggest learning to live with it. The web is still a really new thing, and laws and thought haven't really caught up with the tech yet. Pre-web ways of thinking about ownership of intellectual property just don't hold water online, so I'd let it go in lieu of giving yourself an ulcer. It's worked for me.
Bree: That's absolutely bizarre.
 

seashanty

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Back to your problem. What I would do about your packages, because you can't stop your comp from stealing them, is to list them on your site as 'The original (insert package name here) and still the best.'
If your comp has the chutzpah to copy THAT, then I suggest you move to a nice neighborhood like mine...

Keep in mind your comp may be on here reading this, so do that quickly...change your wording that is, not move here....
'take my wife ..... please'
okay, they actually used the pictures of your parents and dog?
??????
.
seashanty said:
'take my wife ..... please'
okay, they actually used the pictures of your parents and dog?
??????
You don't remember this? Someone copied my website in its entirety only changing the name slightly and then the state the supposed inn was in. It's why I recommend doing a search on your inn name ocassionally to see if it's happened to anyone else. They also copied a CVB's website. Swirt thought it might be to set up sites for ads. Easy peasy. Copy a fully-functioning website, change a couple of details, good to go.
But they copied the whole thing, including pages that were in transition from old format to new (so I knew I found the imposter pretty quickly) and on those pages were pix of my parents. And my dog. My poor old dog, who would not have liked her new state of MS at all. Altho, my parents looked pretty happy on the porch.

.
only now that you describe it AGAIN do i remember ... is it my age or fatigue? i sure do hope it's not my age!!! sorry, was it 2 instances? one that another place was copying your ideas and policies and things and another one that was a bogus scam site?
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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The thing with Bree's example, is that they took her complete website and put it into another state. Even took her recommended lodging links to other B&B's her friends own in her same town.
It wasn't just copying a special or advert on her website, it was her whole website.
Kinda like those stupid pathetic weirdo listings who copy a copy of your photo from your home page and post it on there all fuzzy and illegible then have a CLICK HERE TO BOOK button, which shows NO AVAILABILITY every time cuz it is phoney!
REMINDER TO EVERYONE HERE = GOOGLE YOUR INN and make sure of what you find is on the up and up.
 

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