Thursday, April 10, 2008

A message to other pet sitters

I started my business in 2002 with a huge amount of help from seasoned pet sitters, especially those in the About Pet Sitting Yahoogroup. Because they gave so much, I continue to be a member to help new sitters. A few years ago, I created a group for Canadian pet sitters so that we could discuss things more suited to Canucks.

If any pet sitter asked for advice I gave it freely or directed them to resources such as those listed above. What annoys me is that a number of professional pet sitting companies have taken large portions of my website and used it as their own. That is plagiarism, or more simply put, theft. Because of this I've had to take a great amount of time to write to the offending sitters to have them remove my words from their site. Many didn't respond or simply didn't take the site down, so I had to contact the hosting sites to get them involved. One person was shocked that I wasn't flattered! Would he feel flattered if someone liked something in his house and took it? I don't think so!

I'm certainly not the only pet sitter that has had to deal with this, and in fact only realised it when another sitter in my group told us that her site had been ripped off. There's a terrific website called Copyscape that makes it really easy to find out whose website matches your own. This time, I found 5 companies that copied sections of my site word for word. Another sitter on the Canadian group found that her site was copied by another company. Several sitters on the About Pet Sitting group found their sites were plagiarised.

This is an industry where networking with fellow sitters is important. It's also an industry based on trust; we're going into clients' homes and caring for their pets. If you're stealing from your fellow pet sitter, can you really be trusted with the keys to someone's home?

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