stop stealing wedding vendor’s shit

Oh, do I have your attention? Yes, I believe I do.

We all know it happens. The wedding vendor community is uber small. Put your index finger and your thumb and squeeze them together and try to peek through, it’s THAT small. We look out for each other. We monitor other vendors. And we tattle.

I’m not talking about looking at other vendor’s stuff to get inspiration. We all do this, even if you won’t admit to it. This is normal.

From my event planning website, I have had a blog post completely stolen from my website.  Every single word, comma, and period was copy and pasted on a reputable online newspaper website (across the country), with the thief’s name as the “author”. A planner brought it to my attention and the person that stole my post, was fired. Ridiculous to think that the WWW was so small that it would not be found.

Blatantly taking another vendor’s proprietary and creative product and calling it your own work is so very, very wrong. This INCLUDES (and not limited to): sales collateral, videos, images, business concepts, company name, logo’s and anything else that you can think of lifting from them. It’s not cool. It’s not reputable. It’s slim shady and it’s wrong. It’s lying to your prospective clients who think they are looking at work you have produced.

In the recent months I have witnessed, first or second hand:

Business Concepts: Vendor A tells Vendor B a great business idea about adding to their current repertoire of services. A few months go by and Vendor B starts to promote the very same, unique idea. When Vendor A casually inquires to Vendor B about this unique idea, Vendor B responds that they had this idea in the works for sometime. Really? Then why wasn’t this disclosed during the initial conversation?

Business Names: I have a personal friend who had to go through this disaster. She built a brand that was absolutely unique. When I say unique, I mean, straight up developed a “word” for her company name that was created and cannot be found in the dictionary. She spent countless hours and expense branding her incredibly unique business name, only to have it stolen from someone across the country. She has re-branded again, only to find that yet another, uncreative business person (who is technically out of the country, but still in the North America continent) take the EXACT SAME name and creative logo. Seriously?

Images/Video: This is probably the MOST frequently stolen items from other vendors. New photographer “lifts” (a gentle term for straight out, gangsta stealin’) photos from another photograher’s website and plops it on their site as if they are images that they have shot. The thieves THINK they are being smart by taking images from a photographer that is out of the country. Like that makes ANY difference? My favorite part of this scenario is when confronted, the website designer always gets blamed. Riiiiiiight.

Sales Pitches/Collateral: A vendor shops another vendor in their own category pretending to be a bride. They listen to the vendor’s sales pitch, greedily take their proposals/agreements and then copy/paste with their own company name/logo. You would initially think that this would be only new vendors, alas, you would be wrong.

What’s a new vendor to do?

For one, find your own voice and style. It’s hard, it’s taken me YEARS to find mine and the courage to be able to be bold and stand on my own (see this blog post’s title for validation of this fact). If you do not have a portfolio, then do some pro bono work to build one. It’s that easy. Well, really, meticulously downloading and cropping out other vendor’s property to plop on your website is “easier”, but won’t get you far… you’ll be found out.

Believe in yourself and sell YOU!  

This blog post is getting long, so I will wrap it up. Quit the shenanigans. Some vendors won’t play around when it comes to stealing. They have support and funds to sue you. It’s not worth it.

happy selling!

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32 Responses to “stop stealing wedding vendor’s shit”

  1. Denise says:

    I totally agree with you. I know I have used other vedors stuff for examples and inspiration, but I totally tell my potential clients these images are what I use for inspiration and ideas. I always love posting great articles as a ‘Look what I found!’ Kinda thing. Keep up your boldness… I’m still working on my voice but I know I will get there! Thanks for addressing the elephant in the room!

  2. Matthew says:

    Awesome read! I was actually told by a bride that another DJ service was sending brides to my website to download contract sheets which they wanted the bride to fill out and mail to them. The bride was cool and when she called she was like why wouldn’t I just use you for my DJ. So by the other DJ sending her to my website I actually booked a wedding. Foolish people! Great post keep up the awesome work.

  3. Well said! We’ve sut down three web sites for stealing our content. Amazing how we are a creative industry, yet some refuse to BE Creative!

  4. Props to you! You call ’em like you see ’em 😉

  5. OMG! Well said. We all borrow inspiration and ideas and share but straight UP I have had my BIO and FAQ’s STRAIGHT UP copied and pasted into artists websites that I have seen around the country. Always Google yourself and your business and see what is out there. I can’t BELIEVE how many times I have a fake call or email pfishing for rates and services. I have become so hesitant to talk to people. Sometimes you will get a bridal “inquiry” from someone like Bob@weddingsbybobdoesmakeup.com (made that up) but seriously??????

  6. Gail Johnson says:

    Great post and the honest truth. The truth will set you free.

  7. So true! This problem is even worst in small countries like where im living.

  8. Regina says:

    Brilliant article! Love it. I’ve had my shit stolen more than once. Like someone copied and pasted my “services offered” page word for word (including the custom made bullets). Even better- she was in the next town over!!

  9. Carrara Nour says:

    This is probably the most epic rant I’ve ever read about copycats, unoriginal people, and pretty much everything that’s been stressing me out over the better half of this year. I will spare you my story, but kudos for having the “brass cymbals” (as we belly dancers call it) to speak openly about the subject. I think many vendors steal because they know they can get away with it. Hopefully by bringing the subject out into the open, we can slowly change this paradigm. We need to start calling these people out.

    Imitating another vendor’s work is not only dodgy and borderline illegal, but it’s also just bad branding juujuu. I firmly believe that nobody should go into the wedding industry or any sort of creative field unless they’re ready and willing to find their own way. What’s the point of creating art if it doesn’t come from you? And why should anybody buy from you if all you offer is a copy of something better? Being original is scary as hell, but in today’s saturated marketplace, it is the ONLY way!

    My $0.02, anyway.

  10. celia milton says:

    Copyscape.com is a godsend. It will let you know any website that has chunks of your text in it so you can go after these people. I find it particularly weird since I’m an officiant and much of what I sell is the written word. How can another officiant, who professes to do the same, not even write their own website? And then get all ministerial on me when I call them on it.

    Our intellectual and creative property is ours, and it is worth our time to protect it.

    Thanks for the post!

  11. Hi from Australia! Read your great piece via the girls at Flirty Fleurs. Seems this problem is global! We’ve had the same concerns with image use from our site. What I’m also noting locally is vendor’s using OS images that show other florists work and blogging them like they are their own, never in full claiming it to be their work but referencing the photographer – not the floral designer of the flowers they are writing on – which creates the impression it’s their work. Dodgy! And so frustrating. We just stick with the “how lame is your own work you want to use someone else’s” attitude 🙂

  12. Chara Nicole says:

    A well stated and politically correct post with a few well deserved slaps in the face to those that deserve it. Last week, one of my videographer neighbors found their collection of footage & edit for an event on another “videographer/marketing” guy’s facebook crediting themselves for all footage and edits. Another DJ friend of my found his actual wedding package with all worksheets and even original branded folder sitting on the console of another DJ during a wedding (the 2nd DJ used it during the whole planning process and wedding itself to create his playlists). And lets not get started on the “its ok, just add ‘the’ ‘a’ ‘my’ ‘your’ or ‘-‘ to a company name…that’ll make it distinct and original – there’s no infringing going on there 😉 (insert sarcasm here) The stories are endless.

    Vendors need to credit their sources and quit going for the 5-finger / right-click discount! Thank you for the absolutely necessary rant. I’ve shared this post, with the proper credits and acknowledgements of course. 🙂

  13. Jason Jani says:

    Great article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Sadly this is a common thing the the dj industry as well. Continue the push for originality. Best of luck. Jason Jani

  14. Scott says:

    Great article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Sadly this is a common thing the the dj industry as well. Continue the push for originality. Best of luck. Jason Jani…… oops, I mean Scott 😉

  15. Scott says:

    The above was to be funny… however I want to applaud you for this article. Outstanding! I have had pages of text ripped off from my website countless times. I have had EVERY wedding DJ in my market shop me by phone and email, and recently at a bridal show I had someone over hear another DJ at his booth say to a bride…. We do the something they do, just cheaper. BTW, I recently bought out the other DJ Company and closed them down… 🙂

  16. Nancy says:

    Wow! Good thing that person was fired for plagerizing. That’s what should happen.
    I am not surprised, being a creative person myself I know first hand how you have to watch out for people who have no boundaries and are more than happy to steal from others. Some people have no shame or class. Great blog post!

  17. Rob Allen says:

    We actually found another DJ in our area that copied our website verbatim. A full copy and paste. When we contacted them they denied it until I pointed out I found a spelling mistake on my website that was even there on his.

    You are correct, immediately they claimed their web designer wrote it. It is sad in a industry that is supposedly creative, there is so much plagiarism.

    Also as an interactive DJ, we have a skit that some DJ’s also do, but came across a guy a couple of years back that obviously videotaped our show because the script he used was identical. Thing is they claim it is theirs.

    What I find is the most frustrating is if they just asked me, I would happily assist them in making it their own.

  18. Thank you for saying what all of us in the industry are thinking!

  19. Norm Shaw says:

    What an excellent post, and as a 30 year veteran DJ of the wedding industry have seen this all to often. My company was the only one in Canada with the word REQUEST in its title in any category until the last 7-8 years. Now there are numerous and one in my local market that copied the entire name except changed Hear to At…your request. It cost me some money but they were shut down through legal avenues. Keep up the great work and thanks for calling a spade a spade! (I borrowed that LOL)

  20. Marci says:

    And finally someone notices this happens – this isn’t any new – ha ha – all I can say is “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and always remember “In a world full of copycats, be an original” – I have had these 2 posters in my office since the 80’s.

  21. April says:

    Thanks for your input you are saying what all of us are thinking. “Stop Stealing Our Work”.

  22. saundra says:

    Thanks everyone for reading and resharing the post!!!

  23. Paul says:

    Years ago, someone actually copied my “About Us” web page. I never knew there was someone else out there with the same history.

    Even today, someone has taken my domain name, flipped the words in opposite order. I think mine is more natural to type so I’m thinking people could be going to my site instead of his. I guess they could not think of something original.

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  27. So many truths! Thank you for sharing this! I was a victim a couple of years ago, I used to send my packages to brides who were inquiring about my services (wedding planning) via e-mail or phone and at one meeting with a bride she asked me if I could match another proposal. She gave me a sheet of paper with my exact same package (same list of services in the same order, even the name of the package was the same!). She never told me who she got it from but you can imagine how upset I was. Today, I’m not sending any more packages around unless the bride (or whoever she is) finds the time to meet me and tell me about their wedding needs in person. Needless to say, those who are not real brides never respond to confirm the appointment!

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