Ok… three times… cukup. TheRakyatPost has reposted our content as their own THREE TIMES running now and we feel it needs to be addressed. First off, we want to apologise for what is probably going to be quite a b*tchy post. Yes, it does indulge in public shaming, and yes it will be in stark contrast to the positivity we’ve expressed over the last couple of days. For that…
We are sorry 🙁
If you don’t feel like reading something negative, please please please… close your browser NOW.
Still here? Ok then here we go.
May 11 2014 – This is the first article of ours that went viral – 21 Types of Malaysian Facebook Commenters – Which One Are You?. 4.4kshares on Facebook, and over 100,000pageviews in our first week of launching. And this is the RakyatPost coverage.
To be honest, we were flattered at the time. But then…
June 24 – When we published this article it happened again…
July 22 – And most recently here…
and here (on the same day)…
Oh oops. The last one was The Star’s totally independent article. Anyways, we thought we’d get old-school and MARK how they ‘covered’ our most recent viral hit, 5 Malaysians who restored our faith in humanity, written by resident viral princess, Lydia Kwan. And hey… why not present them as numbered tips for easy reference.
1. Come up with your own title.
And preferably your summary should mention the WEBSITE that you took the article from? They used to do both – Come up with their own title, and credit us in the standfirst. PS: Sorry for the horrible handwriting. It’s mine.
2. Credit the original writer
To be fair, they did do this the first time they published our work in May….
So maybe someone forgot this time. Fair enough.
UPDATE (24/7 12:22pm): Hanis Zainal has contacted us and we would like to be clear that the reason we said THREE CUKUP, was because we had nothing against her original article above about the Facebook Commenters since it did mention our website, and our author quite nicely. Incidentally, Hanis has since left TheRakyatPost. Check the comments below for more details.
3. Hyperlink generously.
If you’re gonna refer to a website, the least you can do is hyperlink it – as much as you can. Notice we do it EXTENSIVELY in our articles, so that if the reader does want to know the source of all this goodness and insight, they can.
You guys on the other hand, we had to message and ASK you the first TWO times, and recently, you did put one hyperlink, but at the end of the article. Why? If you’re worried about it leading traffic out of your side, a small bit of code can open it in a new window like this. OMG!
4. If you’re gonna quote everything, you might as well not quote anything.
OK, we’ll admit… the second comment is a bit of a joke la 🙂 BUT OMAIGERD, sometimes they put quotes, sometimes they don’t… and sometimes, they even forget to remove our self-references.
5. Add value la
Here’s the thing that probably annoys us the most. Here at CILISOS, one of our strongest beliefs is this.
“THERE IS ALREADY TOO MUCH CONTENT”
Why we think this is because people almost have too much to consume now, with news outlets all reporting the same thing. So why add to it unless you’re making something new and good? To this end, we pay our writers very decently, and give them the space, time and resources to craft what we think is pretty darn good and unique content. And especially when quoting other sources, we are respectful, and give them as much linklove as possible.
What we feel is that The Rakyat Post’s goal is simply to get more traffic – with as little effort as possible. And that makes us angry on one hand, and sad on another. We really looked up to you guys… we launched only about 6 months after you and you’re already one of the most popular sites in Malaysia. But why would you want to stoop to this kind of lazy journalism? This brings us to our last point.
6. Be sincere
So here’s a surprise – this isn’t the first time someone has copied our work. In fact, it happens all the time to everyone. Sometimes it gets legally messy – most famously to the nice people at The Oatmeal before in The States. And other times, at least with us, when contacted, people learned how to attribute correctly, and only took an excerpt from our site the next time they did it. The last time around, when you posted our article on Facebook as your own, and without links, we expressed our displeasure at you guys very politely.
That you did it again after that? Well… let’s face it. You did give us that ONE hyperlink this time, so some people have even said that due diligence was done. Of course, you could say BIG BOY giving SMALL BOY SEO goodness, but if you TRULY wanted to do that, why not give us a few more links? Why be so stingy about them? We actually have one big content partnership to announce soon, and another one on the way. We might even be giving away the content for free to our partners to get some nice backlinks. But the difference is, THEY ASKED. Like, there’s official contracts and everything.
So legally speaking we actually could SUE, based on this article that states the following.
You may quote only limited portions of work. You may publish excerpts, not whole articles. – Vitaly Friedman, ‘May I Copy It’, SmashingMagazine.
But y’know what? It’s more about the spirit of it. Maybe one writer didn’t know better, maybe sales needed traffic to go up. But here’s the question we want you to ask yourselves – What is your intention by publishing this? This is something we ourselves ask with EVERY article that goes out. Our freelancers can attest to it. So what’s our intention here?
Well, it’s partly to discourage this sort of journalism in this country…
And of course, partly cos we wanted people to know that your editorial policies suck, and we sincerely hope that you change them 🙂
In fact, all you need to do is to issue a written apology on your site to us and promise to change your editorial policies to not generate this kind of work again…
…And in exchange, we will take this entire article down. For reals. Oh… and don’t forget your hyperlinks ya? Oh and FB share it like you share all our articles too, to show your sincerity 🙂
Read the unoriginal articles here http://therakyatpost.com
UPDATE (24/7 3:31pm): TheRakyatPost has removed all the articles from their site, which includes the marginal linklove we got. Oh well.
UPDATE (25/7 12:20am): We can reveal now that we received a call from Winston Robertson, COO of TheRakyatPost at about 10:30am yesterday. They offered to fix the content to link properly, and to hold an internal meeting to change their policies. He also said they too get plagiarised by other portals.
We told them that nothing short of a public apology would do, but indicated that we would love to do a STORY with them to blow the whole thing wide open, and fix the industry once and for all. Winston then said that they were calling a meeting on the issue and would let me know the outcome. Out of respect, I did not mention this phone call the whole day. Since then, I’ve called Winston and messaged him twice to no reply. Below are the SMSes.
I’m actually afraid that the trail might end here. So far, no major media outlet has covered this story probably due to fear of themselves being put into the limelight for plagiarism. We’ve had reporters tell us about other instances of blatant plagiarism, but no one seems to want to go on record. That truly saddens me about the state of media in our country. That these giants do not fear the might of the government itself, and yet shy away from a little website like ours?
PS: To all those who shared, commented and even posted about this on their own blogs and pages. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Regardless of the outcome, we really feel the true Rakyat have spoken, and for that we are grateful. Let us say now, and forevermore that we will always strive to produce the best content we can for you. Special thanks to Henry Long (for your legal advice), Michael Kwan (for your epic blogpost) and Emila Yusof (for your crusading!)!