Plagiarising Articles and Getting Away with It



Hi, I’m Marcus Makeprofit. I am the 'King of Profiteering' and a world class business guru. You probably don’t know me - I like to stay out of the papers - but I’m filthy rich, which means I’m better than you.


“How did I get this rich” you ask?


In the ‘80s I made a killing by insider trading on Wall Street. In the ‘90s I made bank by buying up privatised water companies then tripling user’s water bills. In the 2000s I sold sub-prime mortgages to plebs who couldn’t afford them then evicted them when they defaulted. In the 2010s I then sold all that land to fracking companies, making even more cash. Nowadays I am heavily invested in social media companies and make millions by selling user’s personal data to ad companies.



My Meteoric Rise


Did I achieve all this due to hard work and effort? Of course not! I let others do the hard work and then took all the credit. I was Zuckerburging people before Zuckerburging was even ‘a thing’.


“But what does that have to do with my aim of becoming an internet celebrity”? I hear you ask.


Because the same principles apply, and today I will show you how to grow your online presence for zero budget and minimal effort.


Let’s face it, creating high-quality original content is difficult. You may think you only have two options - create it yourself or get someone else to create it for you. Both have significant downsides;


Creating it yourself is very time-consuming. Not only do you have to write it, but you gotta spend hours researching it first and hours afterwards checking, proofreading, and editing it. This is a major hassle and takes up valuable time which you could put to better use showing the world your best life on Instagram or streaming gameplay videos on YouTube. It also requires you to have some talent as a writer, which you haven’t the time to develop. Again, growing your social media presence is far more important in today’s hyper-connected world.


Getting someone else to create it for you is another lose-lose proposition. For a start, writers have a very entitled attitude - they actually expect you to pay them for their work! On top of that, the little prima donnas will usually want recognition for it too, meaning they want to put their name on your site. Suggesting you had any assistance from anyone on your rise to internet fame is poison - you must sell the narrative that you did it all by yourself, relying solely on your skills.



Plagiarism - Success on Easy Mode


But don’t worry friend, there is a third way which avoids all that hassle. Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of plagiarism. “What is plagiarism”? you ask. It is the skill of taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own without them ever knowing. Remember when you copied the homework of that nerd kid in school? Same thing.


Sounds great, so how do I do it?


First, you need to find something worth copying. There’s little point in copying something that’s no better than what you could create yourself. Secondly, it is best to avoid copying something created by someone who is very well known, since there is a fair chance one of their followers, subscribers, colleagues, whatever will notice and out you. So, don’t go copying stuff from IGN, Rock Paper Shotgun, Kotaku, etc., you will get burned.


So, what you are looking for is something of a decent quality from a lesser-known site. Finding it is probably the hardest part of successful plagiarism - you’re gonna have to do a bit of internet searching for this. Sorry, but there is no way around this. Still, spending an hour or two browsing the internet while chillin’ to your Spotify mix is a lot quicker and easier than the eight or so hours it may have taken it’s gullible creator to research, write and proof it, not to mention however long the editor had to spend checking it.


That’s another win for plagiarism btw - you won’t need to run it past an editor to get it in a publishable state since an editor will have done the hard work for the original already. Result!


So, you have found your ideal content for copying, what do you need to do? Probably the best way I can show you how to do it right is to show you examples of someone failing at it, and failing hard. The example I will use is a minor z-list internet celebrity going by the internet handle of GrinderTrust.


First, take a look at the original article.


The original article

Now, to his credit, Mr. GrinderTrust did do one thing right - he chose a near-perfect piece to plagiarise. It is fairly topical, well researched, well written, well-edited, of a decent length, and written by a relatively unknown writer for a respected but mid-tier website.


A screenshot of Mr. GrinderTrust’s website is below, as is the beginning of his plagiarised article.


The stolen article

Note the use of the same image. This is an instant tip-off that something dodgy is going on, so never do this! This is a very rookie mistake and I expect you to do better.



Failing on Easy Mode


Unfortunately for Mr. GrinderTrust, he failed at all of the other fundamental tenants of successful plagiarism. Let’s see what he did wrong so you can do it right.


First, and foremost - he got caught out!


How?


He didn’t change enough of the article to avoid it being detected by anti-plagiarism software like Scum-Scan and Theft-Check. Remember those times you copied that smart kid’s homework and just reworded a few bits? You probably thought you were pretty smart yourself for thinking of that. And you were sure the teacher wouldn’t notice. But you probably got caught out at least once, since at least one teacher did notice.


This is basically the same thing, except the teacher is a software algorithm that scans the entire internet, which makes it far more observant. You are gonna have to spend a good hour or so rewording enough of it to get past those algorithms. Still, an hour or so searching and another hour or so rewording is still a heck of a lot quicker than writing it yourself.


Mr. GrinderTrust’s attempts at rewording the article have had an unfortunate side effect - this being that the article no longer makes sense. It is now unclear who the intended audience is - is it gamers or game developers? Some of his attempts at rewording have reversed the meaning of sentences and paragraphs. This results in parts of the article arguing against itself, which is counter-productive.


These errors make Mr. GrinderTrust look like an idiot who doesn’t know what he is trying to say. But perhaps we should go easy on him, English is not his first language. It is worth noting that Scum-Scan and Theft-Check can still detect plagiarised content even if it has been translated into a different language.


This doesn’t explain why Mr. GrinderTrust (or fabiogameplays as he is known on Instagram) didn’t remove the hyperlinks to the previous episodes in the article series. These link back to the website the article was copied from, which makes it obvious Mr. GrinderTrust was not the original author.


Screenshot of the original article.

Note in the above screenshot the original article’s links to earlier episodes in the series. Also, note that the name of the website, Exclusively Games, and the original author’s bio are clearly visible.



Above is a screenshot of Mr GrinderTrust’s article. Note the plagiarised article’s links; These still link to Exclusively Games. Note it still says Exclusively Games in the text. It also links to the work of other Exclusively Games authors. This is a massive self-own on Mr. GrinderTrust’s part. If the article’s original author was to take Mr. GrinderTrust to court this evidence would guarantee the original author would win. It would be an open-and-shut case.


But Mr. GrinderTrust’s most epic fail is leaving the original author’s name, bio, and Twitter handle at the bottom of the plagiarised article. If someone were to tweet the original author about the article the original author would immediately be tipped off that their work had been ripped off.


Now, as I said earlier, Mr. GrinderTrust has been caught out. He has left himself particularly vulnerable due to his online presence. He appears to have popular YouTube and Instagram accounts which of course means his likeness is out there on the internet for all to see. It would be very damaging to his public profile if he were to be outed.


Mr. GrinderTrust / Fabiogameplays may take down his article if this were to happen in an attempt to hide it. This wouldn’t work of course. For a start, someone may have taken screen shots as evidence before confronting him about it. If I can think of doing it, I’m sure the original author can too.


Secondly, the internet has a ‘memory’. Once something has been put on-line there will forever be a trace of it. A sufficiently motivated individual, organisation - or their lawyers - will find it.

Take-Home Messages


So, what have we learnt today?


1. Plagiarism is great, and that engaging in it is a sensible option with no possible downsides.

2. Using plagiarism in no way makes you a talentless hack.


3. There are ‘right’ ways and wrong ways to go about plagiarism if you want to be successful at it.


4. Mr. GrinderTrust needs to improve his plagiarism game.

I hope you found this piece useful, and inspirational. We have seen that challenges such as a total lack of effort, integrity, and talent need not be barriers to your rise to internet stardom.

Marcus Makeprofit is a motivational speaker and business guru. His “Less sleep, more Crunch!” tour has proven very popular with major players in the Video Games industry. If you would like him to give a presentation at your company, he can be reached at noethicsnoproblem@Gmail.com