Website Copyright Infringement : An update.

I recently wrote a post titled ” Has your website content been stolen” after a client discovered another website owner was using her copy. I did a quick check on Indigo Image, using the tools I described in my post, and found that not one but two two web design companies were using chunks of my copy.

I contacted both companies and pointed out my areas of concern asking them to change their copy. After two days I hadn’t heard back from either it seemed they were both taking the “lets bury my head in the sand approach and hope this goes away”. I contacted their hosting companies and made a copyright infringement complaint. Both companies, Bravenet and Bluehost, took my complaint very seriously. My issues were run through their legal departments. The end result, both offending web design companies have had their sites suspended.

¬©Indigo Image 2009 at the bottom of each page of the web site is there for a reason. Everything from the design and copy is copyrighted material and can’t be used in any form by someone else unless they have authorization to do so.

Have you checked your web site recently? Is your web site copy being used by someone else?

Has your website content been stolen?

Last week a client contacted me with news that she had discovered a web site that was using her web copy. It was a site offering the same type of service and operating in the same geographic area. Not good news.

I suggested she contact the site owner to point out the obvious copyright issues. After an initial acknowledgment and a promise to fix things the site owner is now refusing to make any changes.

Turning to an attorney is the next step but I have also suggested contacting the hosting company of the offending web site and making a copyright infringement complaint. I took this approach many years ago when copy and images ( even code) from this web site were taken. The hosting company suspended the infringing site very quickly which paved the way for immediate discussions and a solution.

My customer’s experience has spurred me to to a little research on our own web site today and low and behold I have discovered a web design company who have stolen huge chunks of our copy. They have been contacted and ask to amend the site and I have put in a copyright infringement complaint with their hosting provider.

Here is a list of resources that can be useful in these sort of cases.
Useful for details of the domain name registrar and hosting provider
Search for copies of your page on the web. Has a premium service
Free service to check for plagiarism, simple enter your URL
The way back machine. Useful for establishing timelines
Notify Google of the infringement – must be done via snail mail or fax

A web and graphic design portfolio: A lead generator

I met with a potential client earlier this week, looking to create a logo and web site look and feel. A start up company, they have a great idea and a hefty business plan – a sure sign to mean that they really mean business.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of start up companies I meet who have no business plan just a vague idea. They want to start developing a brand image with no idea of who they are targeting, their competition, price structure and any of those other elements a good business plan will detail.

The start up company I met this week had found us via Google and had spent a considerable time going through our extensive portfolio. We had impressed them enough that they called and scheduled an appointment. A great example of our web and graphic design portfolio working as a lead generator!

A brand color palette. Eye of a St Louis web designer

A few weeks ago these beautiful irises were in full bloom in my St Louis garden. Notice anything about the colors in this photograph? They are essentially the palette of colors we use in our brand.

I love using nature as an inspiration during web and graphic design projects and as this image shows a simple photograph is sometimes all you need to build a great color palette from which to work.

St Louis web designer tip of the day

Adobe Illustrator Layers Palette has disappeared

I have been working on a new logo today for Warson Capital Partners, my tool of choice for logo design is Adobe Illustrator.

Every once in a while I encounter an annoying problem with Illustrator – the layers palette just disappears and nothing I do within the program itself will bring it back.

Here are the steps I take to fix the problem

  1. Close Adobe Illustrator
  2. Locate Aiprefs – this is the file where all the runtime preferences are stored. This is a hidden file so run a search on your system disc.
  3. Delete Aiprefs. This is completely safe as Illustrator will generate a new file when it is next started.
  4. Re-open Adobe Illustrator. The menu palette will now be accessible once again.

Are you all blogged out? Chicago Web Designer’s tip of the day

If you are blogging for business, pleasure or both there will be days /weeks, when you come up empty in creating that next killer blog post. Welcome to Bloggers Block .
blogging block

Here are some of the tips I use to keep those creative juices flowing.

  1. Keep a running list of blog post ideas and add to it frequently – skim over your list and pick something that appeals to you.
  2. Think about recent interactions with clients. What types of questions have they asked. Can they be worked into a blog post?
  3. Got a new client, launched a new project or service? Blow your own trumpet and blog about it.
  4. Flick though a magazine or newsletter relevant to your business, industry or organization. An image or article may be all the inspiration needed.
  5. Member of any social networking sites, Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn? Check what’s happening with your friends/followers.
  6. Get away from your computer. Sitting in front of a blank “New Post” screen desperately thinking of something to share is not conducive to ideas. Go for a walk, have a cup of coffee, crank up your favorite music on your ipod.
  7. Find inspiration from the natural world…everything from systems, processes, life cycles, shapes color, texture
  8. Lastly don’t sweat! While posting to a blog regularly is important missing the odd day or even week is not the end of the world.

Custom 404 error pages.

Does your web site have custom error pages? If a visitor types in the address of a page that has been moved or no longer exists are they greeted with this?

Does this screen engage your users? No and you are missing an opportunity to direct your users to the information they are looking for.

Take this “error” opportunity to present your visitors with custom 404 error pages, ours has full site navigation and a site map.

Twitter experiment

Are you using Twitter yet?

I have had a Twitter account for quite some time now but only really started using it recently. Twittering is like micro blogging; you have 140 characters to have your say. It is quick, easy and free.

As with any social networking tool there is a time commitment, albeit relatively small for Twitter, so I have set myself a number of goals to see if it is really worth the effort.

To follow me on Twitter click here

New web site For Marshall Friedman Law Firm

Launched today is a new web site for St Louis law firm, Marshall Friedman.

When hired a few months back to complete this project one of the most pressing problems we had to address were the Google search results for the original site. The site had been hacked into and infected with a virus and while the virus had been removed Google was carrying a “this may harm your computer” notice on all it’s search results pointing to the site. We removed all traces of the old site from the web server and installed a splash “under construction” page. Google provides a nice help section and we were able to have our new splash page reviewed. Once Google was satisfied there was nothing malicious about the site the warning notices were removed from the search results.

The new site is a big improvement over the old one, with a clean but professional design and “don’t make me think” navigation, we focused on giving the user a fast easy platform to use.

You can visit it at

Adding a blog to your Internet Marketing mix?

2009 brings us to our 4th year of blogging, which is not bad considering our blog was started as an experiment.

There are many business advantages to having a blog but my favorite is what they can do in terms of your Search Engine Marketing

To search engines, like Google, content is king and fresh content rules the day. Writing regular posts on topics relevant to your business will help people find your web site more easily as Google will visit your site more frequently and quickly index anything new. Blogs can really help your page rank too.

If you are looking to add a blog to your internet marketing mix contact us to learn how we can help.