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An Open Message to Sales Trainers, Authors and Experts

To: Sales Trainers, Authors and Experts

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Bob Beck story this week, it’s worth learning about.  Here are four posts to get you started:

There are two important things to learn from this:

  1. If you are legitimately creating your own content based upon your insights, research, experiences and unique perspectives, you a target for having your intellectual property stolen and used for the financial gain of someone else.  I’m certain you know this isn’t new in the sales training industry.
  2. If you are on the other side of the equation and you pirate, plagiarize or just plain steal what others have created, and represent it as your own, you’re likely going to get caught.

Here is a tip for those of you who want to uncover where your content may be republished on the Internet:

  1. Sign up for Google Alerts here: http://www.google.com/alerts
  2. Select a unique phrase of a few words from each piece of content you’d like to track. 
  3. Do a Google search on the phrase, enclosing it in double quotes.  The quotes are very important.  Here are two of my phrases: “quantified business value attributed to each”  And, “a little Miller Heiman, a little solution selling and a little Neil Rackham.”  (Note: This step will let you know where those phrases might have already been used.)
  4. See if the phrase is in fact unique.  If it isn’t select another one.
  5. If someone copies your content (which contains that unique phrase) and posts in on the Internet, the likelihood is that it will be indexed by Google. If it is, you will receive an email.

Finally:  If you find an instance where someone has plagiarized your content and can prove it, as I Geoffrey (on behalf of others), Charlie and I have done, provide me with the details privately.  (Don’t just send me the link.  Save the actual webpage containing the plagiarized material to your computer, in case the culprit decides to remove that content. In Internet Explorer it’s File, Save As, MHT format – Web Archive-Single File.)  Perhaps someone can comment on how to do that with Firefox.

I’m going to do what I can to help rid the industry of those that practice purposeful copyright infringement.  Will you help?


8 Responses

  1. Dave,

    I’m pleased to hear you say you’re going to do what you can to help rid the industry of copyright infringement. The case of Bob Beck has certainly highlighted the need for all of us to be concerned.

  2. Dave,

    In addition to google alerts and searhes, there’s a service called Copyscape (http://www.copyscape.com/) which will scan you webite and search the web to see if anyone has copied it.

    You have to pay for the more advanced searches – but even the basic free search is helpful. A friend of mine (A professional magician) found that large sections of his (highly effective) website ad copy had been stolen wholesale.


  3. Seems that Bob’s blog is offline.

  4. (Dave, I also posted this comment on Jill K’s blog.)

    When I did a search for “bob beck selling” on Google this morning, the #2 entry states, “…Evidence that sales trainer Bob Beck has been copying others’ writings and selling them…”

    The #1 entry is Bob Beck’s blog, which appears to have been taken down.

    In other words, the “outing” has had some beneficial effect.

    I hope his behavior won’t make it too difficult to find a new job in some other profession. But McDonald’s probably does background checks on its applicants, so I wouldn’t be too sure.

    Talk about a quid pro quo.

    Good work Jill, Dave, et al!

  5. Not only copyscape, there are more software like that on the net. Just search google for dupe checkers

  6. Dave,

    Thanks for mentioning Bob’s name. I struggled with this until I read your blog along with Jill Konrath’s and Colleen Francis’.

    After Jill contacted me about this, I discovered TWO of my articles on Bob’s site. My blog posting, “The Case of the Dishonest Sales Trainer” is here:



  7. Thank you for this really fascinating thread. I have taken a different approach and that is to publish under a creative commons license http://www.creativecommons.org which allows people to use material with proper attribution. It won’t stop the Beck’s of this world but in truth very little will except public naming as you have done.
    I am putting free to use material online and my business model is to make money from the 10% of users who like it so much that they want to hire me. I’m not too worried about delegates having read everything before I get there because I am trading on my ability to create competitive advantage – reading isn’t the same as discussing, trying out and adopting. It’s a different approach and I may be deluded (I would welcome your thoughts). I agree with your earlier post from a client that your reputation will be worth more than this person can take from you and in a pitch situation your creativity will put you ahead of him.
    Is it time for all of us to stop relying too much on copyright material?

    • Thanks for your comment, Melanie.

      I’ve thought about this issue long and hard. Twenty-five years of hard work, experimentation, costly mistakes, paying coaches and consultants, etc. is a big investment. If I write an article, book or blog post and someone makes believe the content is theirs not only do I lose out. The customer loses out as well for the reasons you discussed.

      There is another aspect. I write articles and my blog to generate recognition of and interest in my firm. When people download our research or hire us, that pays the bills. Plus they get more business value from what they bought from us than what they invested.

      I’m interested in how your approach works going forward. Please keep me posted.


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