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Fasthosts Warns Businesses Not To Copy Others’ Website Material

June 15, 2009 by  

Website ToolsGloucester, UK – Fasthosts Internet Ltd, a leading web hosting provider, today warned UK businesses not to be tempted to copy material from other companies’ websites. The web host has seen an 89 per cent rise in the number of content disputes involving websites over the past year, most commonly where businesses have reported that website material has been replicated without permission. The company recommends that users always seek permission to use online material, however small, from the relevant website owner. Fasthosts also released the results of a survey of 152 UK businesses which finds that more than one third (39 per cent) admit to currently feeling envious of a website belonging to a competitor. 1 in 10 businesses surveyed had at least one item of their own website copied during the past year. The data lends weight to the theory that the challenging economy and increasingly competitive online marketplace is perhaps leading more small firms to cut corners and plagiarise online.

Nowadays, a company website is viewed by most enterprises as an integral part of its brand and public profile. However, it appears that an alarming number of UK firms are finding that material (such as artwork, descriptive text or product images) has been copied from their website and published elsewhere. The problem varies from the occasional image being used to entire website designs being replicated. The practice can lead to consumers becoming confused, or even being misled into purchasing from the wrong company.

According to Fasthosts, there has been an 89 per cent increase in the number of content disputes reported to its in-house Abuse Department from April 2008 to April 2009. The company reports that in many cases, businesses did not realise that copying items of online material could land them in trouble. A survey of 152 UK businesses(1) commissioned by Fasthosts finds that ‘web envy’ can be a real temptation for time-stretched business owners. 39 per cent of owners surveyed admit that they are presently envious of the website of a closely competing business. At the same time, 1 in 4 are considering reducing their use of external website design services in order to cut costs. A recent study by Fasthosts underlined the pressure on small business owners to maximise their use of the web – the average company rates their website at 6 out of 10 for effectiveness, whilst it also aims to treble its online revenue in 2009.

Steve Holford, CMO Fasthosts Internet, said “Particularly in a challenging economic climate, business owners may be tempted by the quick-fix of copying another firm’s work. Replicating material for commercial use often breaches copyright. Always obtain permission before using anybody’s website material”.

Significantly, the Fasthosts survey also finds that 10 per cent of participants had at least one item of their own company website copied by a third party between March 2008 and March 2009. Amongst the sample, the issue was twice as common as cyber-squatting or online security breaches. Affected users should contact the provider hosting the offending website who should then intervene.

There are a great many ways to enhance a business website swiftly, affordably and without infringing copyrights. For example, Fotolia.co.uk is an excellent source of royalty free stock images on a huge range of areas. Businesses should also consider adding features such as a blog, photo gallery or video or podcast elements. Business users can always ask their web host for pointers.

Holford added, “Website envy is not new, but the tough economy appears to have led more companies to act unfairly upon it. Businesses will gain a better foothold on the Web and earn most value through a regular output of their own compelling material, and applying time to their website in small manageable steps”.

As a leading web host, Fasthosts is well placed to deliver a high quality hosting service to businesses. The company offers a comprehensive range of web solutions including domain name registrations, email solutions (including mobile email services), shared web hosting, dedicated servers, online payment services, reseller web hosting and feature-rich broadband packages.

For more information on Fasthosts, see the website at www.fasthosts.co.uk

(1) 152 UK businesses with 1-5 employees with a website interviewed via electronic feedback form

About Fasthosts
Fasthosts is the UK’s number one web hosting company. Based in the UK and operating 24×7 from their dedicated UK data centres, Fasthosts keeps over 1 million domains running smoothly and ensures over 6 million emails are delivered safely each day. All Fasthosts services can be self-managed through the award winning Fasthosts web-based control panel that provides customers with unparalleled online control, enabling them to manage hosted services including domain registrations, shared web hosting, business-class email, dedicated servers, software-as-a-service, internet merchant accounts and unlimited broadband. Fasthosts’ highly successful reseller channel has recently been rated Number 1 for reseller hosting by industry portal Web Host Directory.

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