Kristof Creative now holds the known world record as the Internet’s most infringed-against creative agency. Due perhaps to the extraordinary effectiveness of its own Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services, the company, which describes itself as a “creative gene pool,” has attracted worldwide attention to its succinct, sales-oriented copy and award-winning design and advertising work.
So much attention, in fact, that founder Michael Kristof says his company’s creative products, its description of its services, and even its philosophical approach to its work, have been lifted directly from his Web site by what he believes is a record number of competitors around the world, who have hoped to spur their own businesses by claiming the work as their own.
Kristof has so far discovered more than a dozen competing web sites, across the United States and from as far away as Estonia and India that have violated his copyrights. And as his business grows, the hits just keep on coming.
Ironically, it’s probably Kristof Creative’s methods that have facilitated the theft. In addition to advertising and design services, the company offers Website optimization, a process which makes web searchers using services like Google, Yahoo!, Bing and others more likely to find certain web sites than others. As the company’s search engine ranking has improved, the copyright violations have increased exponentially.
“This is a service we offer all our clients, and which we use ourselves,” Kristof explained. “We bring in a lot of business over the web, using various design and copy elements to get top placement on the search engines. When people are looking for affordable, high quality design services on the web, the chances are they’ll find us. Unfortunately, so do our less scrupulous competitors.
Though the attention was expected, the results were not. So impressed were visitors to the Kristof Creative site, that dozens of them have since begun claiming his work as their own. His descriptions of his services, his personal creative philosophy, even his portfolio of creative work, have all been stolen at one time or another.
“We’re not surprised they found us,” said Kristof. “But we were surprised how many competitors decided to simply steal our work. I suppose it’s a feather in the cap of our copywriter that they’d lift entire sections — verbatim. But the bottom line is that our approach to our work is our biggest selling point, and we can’t have people stealing that. They can copy our content, but they’ll never duplicate the quality of our work and services.”