Fasthosts Internet Ltd, has warned UK businesses not to be tempted to copy material from other companies' websites.
This warning comes off the back of findings by the web hosting provider which showed that there was an 89% increase in the number of content disputes reported to its in-house Abuse Department from April 2008 to April 2009. The problem varies from the occasional image being used, right through to entire website designs being replicated. The practice can lead to consumers becoming confused, or even being misled into purchasing from the wrong company.
In many of the cases Fasthosts investigated, the offending businesses stated that they did not realise that copying items of online material could land them in trouble.
A recent Fasthosts' commissioned survey of 152 UK businesses also found that 'web envy' can be a real temptation for time-stretched business owners, with 39% admitting they are presently envious of the website of a closely competing business. Additionally the survey showed that 1 in 4 companies are actually considering reducing their use of external website design services in order to cut costs despite the average company only rating their own website at just 6 out of 10 for effectiveness, yet aiming to treble its online revenue in 2009. At a time when there is a huge amount of pressure on small business owners' to maximise their use of the web, the temptation to take shortcuts by duplicating material from other companies' websites can sometimes prove overwhelming.
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 found that 10% of participants had at least one item of their own company website copied by a third party between March 2008 and March 2009. The issue actually proved to be twice as common as cyber-squatting or other online security breaches. As a result Fasthosts is advising all affected users to contact the offending website hosting provider who should then intervene on their behalf.
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".
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Fasthosts is the UK's number one web hosting company. Based in the UK and operating 24x7 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 name registrations, shared web hosting, business-class email, dedicated servers, software-as-a-service, internet merchant accounts, reseller web hosting 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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