Plagiarism in the Feel Great System: A Stand for Integrity and Respecting Original ContentAug 05, 2023
In today's digital era, while creating a website has become incredibly easy, addressing the rising issue of online plagiarism, especially among those marketing the Feel Great System, is crucial.
Article at a Glance:
- The Digital Age and Plagiarism: Exploring the rise of online plagiarism, especially among those marketing the Feel Great System.
- Doug's Journey: A deep dive into Doug's history, from building the first Feel Great System website to authoring the Amazon #1 New Release book, 'Beyond Feel Great'.
- The Challenge of Plagiarism: Addressing the concerning trend of distributors copying content and claiming it as their own, even marking it as their own copyrighted material.
- Non-Compliance Issues: Shedding light on the growing instances of non-compliance among distributors, from unauthorized online sales to misuse of testimonials.
- Understanding the Difference: Duplication vs. Plagiarism: A clear definition of these two terms, highlighting their differences, and their implications.
- Taking Action: Doug's proactive steps against plagiarism, from written notices on copyrights and disclaimers, to his work under the Copyright Act of Canada.
- Upholding Policies & Procedures: Emphasizing the importance of adhering to Unicity's guidelines and the challenges faced due to non-compliance by many distributors.
- A Call for Authenticity: A rallying cry for distributors to uphold the principles of authenticity, integrity, and respect.
With the ease of entry into the online space, the internet has become a vast ocean of information. However, this accessibility has given rise to a significant problem: content plagiarism. It's now easier than ever for individuals to copy and paste content, presenting it as their own.
A study conducted by Raven Tools found that 29% of 200 million page crawls had duplicate content issues. This statistic underscores the pervasiveness of plagiarism in the online world, a problem that extends even into the health and wellness industry, including the marketing of the Feel Great System.
My Journey in the Online Space
I'm Doug Collins, an advocate for health, freedom of choice and home-based entrepreneurship. I am a writer, researcher, blogger, media personality and published author with decades of experience as an online entrepreneur. I've been a respected distributor of the Feel Great System by Unicity since 2008.
My journey in the online space began in the late 1990s when I taught myself HTML code and built my first website where I was writing articles and educating at the time when blogging first become a term.
Records of my first website can still be found on the Wayback Machine, the digital internet archive, dating back to November 1999. I've cherished that part of my journey so much that I still have digital copies of that website stored on my hard drive.
The Creation of the First Feel Great System Website
In September 2019, I relaunched my online presence under the new domain. For the preceding decade, my site had been a hub under another domain, with a focus on health and business education, particularly spotlighting Unicity's Matcha and the GetFit21 Metabolic Health Coaching program. This 2019 relaunch was a reinvigoration of my personal online brand, with a new focus on health and business insights. This rebranding notably came before Unicity's introduction of the Feel Great System.
By March 2021, I had shifted my site's primary focus to the Feel Great System, seamlessly incorporating Unicity's referral links. This transition was significant in the online space, as my site marked the first Feel Great System website online, even before Unicity's own UFeelGreat.com site.
The first blog article I wrote for this website was published on June 5, 2021 titled “From Hunger to Health: How the Feel Great System Can Help You Fight Sugar Addiction and Shed Pounds”, which marked the first of hundreds I would personally write and publish in the years ahead.
Since then, I've been deeply committed to translating complex health science topics into easily digestible content. My primary aim is to educate consumers on improving their health, with a special emphasis on the benefits of fiber for glucose control, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, intermittent fasting, cholesterol, and the glycemic index (GI), among other subjects. I strive to present evidence-based clinical studies in straightforward language, highlighting how the Feel Great System can be a powerful tool in this health journey.
To expand that learning, I have even authored an Amazon #1 New Release book in May 2023, titled 'Beyond Feel Great' and I have since personally mailed out hundreds of free signed paperback copies, as a complimentary gift to all of my registered Feel Great clients.
Personalized Support and Professionalism
My commitment to supporting my registered clients on their Feel Great journey goes beyond just providing information. I offer a toll-free number and am always quick to reply to email, phone or text questions – offering personalized one-on-one support.
I have coached and personally supported hundreds who have achieved great results in losing weight, controlling their blood sugars for diabetes, lowering cholesterol and more. I
I've also published interviews with leaders in Unicity and the President of the Direct Sellers Association, further demonstrating my dedication to providing valuable insights and resources.
Yes, this is a business and we do earn an income through Unicity by way of direct sales. But my commitment is always first to educate and support my members. As the famous quote by Zig Ziglar, "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want" has been my mantra and driving force for decades. Unlike others who join the network marketing industry are often with a single focus on earning as much income as possible “selling products” with little interest in the follow-up customer support.
The Challenge of Plagiarism
Despite the success, I noticed an issue that many original content creators encounter: plagiarism. I noticed other Unicity distributors, almost of them arriving on the scene in the last year or so, are copying my website content, and often word-for-word.
This unauthorized use not only disrespected the hard work and effort I put into my research and writing, but it also undermined the authenticity and trustworthiness of the information being shared.
The Irony of Plagiarism
In a strange twist of irony, these individuals having copied the content from my website word-for-word and pasted it onto their site as if its their own work, under their own copyrighted "all rights reserved" site. This act of plagiarism is not only unethical but also showcases a fundamental misunderstanding of copyright laws and intellectual property rights. It's like stealing someone's personal diary, changing the author's name to your own, and then claiming it as your original work.
This behavior is not only dishonest but also discredits the hard work and effort that original content creators put into their work. The term for this is 'cognitive dissonance', where an individual's actions are in conflict with their understanding of right and wrong.
The Rising Tide of Non-Compliance in the Feel Great System
As the Unicity’s Feel Great program has taken the world by storm, there's an alarming trend that's hard to ignore: a surge in non-compliance activities among websites and online distributors. While the internet has provided everyone with access to information and a platform to launch their Unicity businesses, it has also paved the way for some to sidestep established best practices.
Unicity, for instance, has clear Policies & Procedures in place to ensure that the marketing and selling of the Feel Great System are done ethically and in a manner that upholds the brand's reputation. Yet, there are a growing list of instances online where these guidelines are not being followed:
- Duplication Over Inspiration: Many distributors, in their eagerness to tap into the success of the Feel Great System, resort to replicating content they see online. Instead of creating original content that resonates with their unique voice and personality, they opt for a copy-paste approach, which not only dilutes the authenticity of the message, disrespects the content creators work, but also infringes on intellectual property rights.
- Unsanctioned Websites: While Unicity allows distributors to have their own websites, there's a growing number that don't make it clear they are independent distributors of Unicity International. This can mislead visitors into thinking they're interacting directly with the corporation.
- Paid Advertising Violations: Some distributors have taken to advertising on platforms like Google through sponsored ads, despite this being against Unicity's Policies & Procedures and is also clearly started in Unicity's Marketing Guidance. Such actions can lead to inconsistent branding and messaging, potentially harming the brand's image and misleading consumers.
- Unauthorized Online Sales: While it is clearly written in the Unicity's Marketing Guidance that distributors cannot sell Unicity products on platforms like Amazon, eBay, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace. Yet, some distributors ignore this rule, which leads to uncontrolled pricing, potential counterfeit products, and a compromised customer experience. I wrote about ordering ordering on this platforms in a blog article titled Why You Shouldn't Buy The Feel Great System on Amazon.
- Misuse of Testimonials: While testimonials can be a powerful tool in marketing, they need to be used responsibly. Some distributors, however, don't adhere to Unicity's story guidelines, leading to potential misinformation or exaggerated claims.
It's essential to recognize that these non-compliant activities not only harm the brand, but also undermine the hard work of countless distributors who operate authentically and with integrity following the set guidelines.
Understanding the Difference: Duplication vs. Plagiarism
In the network marketing industry, it's crucial to distinguish between "duplication" and "plagiarism". These terms, while sometimes used interchangeably, have distinct meanings and implications.
Duplication, in the context of network marketing, refers to the process of replicating successful business strategies or systems. It's a common practice and is often encouraged within the industry. The idea is to "duplicate" the methods, habits, and strategies that have proven successful for others, thereby increasing your own chances of success. For instance, if a distributor has found success through a particular method of customer engagement or product presentation, other distributors might "duplicate" this approach in their own businesses.
Plagiarism, on the other hand, is a serious ethical and legal issue. It involves copying someone else's work without permission or attribution, and presenting it as your own. This could include anything from blog posts and articles to marketing materials and visual displays. In the context of network marketing, plagiarism could involve copying another distributor's unique content, such as a blog post or an eBook, and presenting it as your own. This is not only unethical but also illegal, and it can lead to serious consequences, including legal action.
While duplication is a legitimate and often beneficial practice in network marketing, plagiarism is not. It's important to understand this distinction and to ensure that we are always respecting the intellectual property rights of others. Remember, it's possible to learn from and be inspired by the success of others without resorting to plagiarism.
Taking Action Against Plagiarism
While I deeply respect the marketing efforts and successes of fellow Unicity distributors across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, it's crucial to address the legal avenues available to combat online plagiarism. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a clear process for filing "takedown notices" against plagiarized content. However, I've often chosen a more diplomatic approach.
On a few occasions, I've personally reached out to distributors who've copied my content. I've also adjusted my website's disclaimer to deter further unauthorized use. My goal isn't to engage in legal disputes, but rather to foster an atmosphere of fairness, integrity, and authenticity among Unicity distributors. We're united in our mission to 'Make Life Better' for our clients, and plagiarism only muddies this objective. It's crucial for each of us to contribute to this mission in our unique way, without resorting to copying others.
To all Unicity distributors reading this: I urge you to champion originality, value the hard work of others, and consistently operate with authenticity and integrity. Let's each bring our unique contributions to the table and uphold the principles that make our community strong.
Safeguarding My Intellectual Property
In response to the ongoing plagiarism issues, I've taken proactive measures to protect my intellectual assets. My website footer prominently displays a copyright notice, underscoring my exclusive rights to my content:
Copyright © 2021-2023, Doug Collins. All rights reserved. This content is my intellectual property. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution, in any form, is strictly prohibited and constitutes plagiarism. If you appreciate the quality and authenticity of this content, please respect these rights.
Before publishing 'Beyond Feel Great', I registered it under the Copyright Act of Canada, Registration Number 1202229. This step ensures global protection under international copyright law, prohibiting unauthorized reproductions of my book, with exceptions for "fair use" quotations in reviews or articles.
Despite the challenges posed by plagiarism, my commitment to creating original, valuable content remains steadfast. I firmly believe in respecting intellectual property rights and will continue to take necessary measures to protect my work.
Upholding Unicity's Policies & Procedures
As a dedicated Unicity distributor, I've made a conscious effort to thoroughly understand and adhere to the Policies & Procedures set forth by Unicity. These guidelines are designed to encourage originality, urging distributors to draw inspiration for their content and follow proven duplication methods from their upline, rather than resorting to plagiarism.
They also provide clear directives on website creation, emphasizing that the site is the independent property of the distributor and not a corporate site of Unicity International. Regrettably, a significant number of Feel Great websites emerging online don't align with these guidelines, exacerbating the prevailing plagiarism concerns and potentially causing confusion in the marketplace.
Charting a Path Forward: Authenticity in the Digital Age
The challenges of plagiarism and non-compliance aren't exclusive to a single industry or brand. However, as dedicated Unicity distributors and advocates for health and wellness, we bear a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of authenticity, integrity, and respect. Over the years, I've voiced my concerns, not as criticism, but as constructive feedback from someone deeply invested in our brand's success.
Writing this blog article is another step in advocating for change, aiming to benefit all parties involved, including content creators and the consumers who rely on their content to make informed decisions about their health.
The Feel Great System has transformed countless lives, including my own, and it's crucial that we, as distributors, present it to the world in a manner that's genuine, honest, and trustworthy. By addressing issues of non-compliance and plagiarism, we're not only safeguarding our individual efforts but also preserving the reputation and integrity of the entire community.
For those interested in delving deeper into the science and benefits of the Feel Great System, I invite you to explore my Amazon #1 New Release book, "Beyond Feel Great". This book is a testament to my commitment to providing accurate, evidence-based information for those embarking on their health journey.
Let's champion originality and respect for intellectual property, to create a digital space that truly embodies the spirit of the Feel Great System.