It's plagiarism day! Part 2: An agency steals everything

Ian Lurie

Per my post of a few minutes ago, I can laugh at simple-minded content thieves. But, as I’ve said in the past, so-called ‘professional marketers’ who steal other agencies’ sites and copy need to go to a special circle of Hell.

Today, I bring you Caerus Digital, an agency apparently located in New Jersey, not far from where I grew up.

Here’s their home page, with stolen text highlighted:

caerus homepage

I found them with my traditional search-for-the-first-sentence trick.

But then a little voice in my head said, hey, this looks familiar:

portent homepage

So I suspect they actually lifted our entire site design, pausing only to crapify it in the hopes that no one would notice.

They even copied our internal pages:

caerus services

Again, editing juuuuust enough to avoid (I guess) a cease and desist.

I’m not a total jerk

I’m not a total scumbag. I’ve certainly used other sites as models for projects. I’ve figured out how to create a button style I really like.

But I’ve never cut-and-paste entire sentences in the process. And by the way, that could not have been an accident. Our site uses a little javascript to insert a link back to us if you cut-and-paste our copy. So, they copied our writing, deleted the inserted link, and kept right on going.

Hmmm. Intent. If I remember from law school, that means something…

Nevertheless, I’ll give Caerus some benefit of the doubt – maybe, even though they’re a digital agency, they hired another agency to do their site, and those folks copied ours. Then Caerus decided not to check any of the site to make sure it was original, threw it up on the web and went to work. Hell, anything’s possible.

Regardless, this really hacks me off. In case you couldn’t tell.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. I say LAME! Flattering in the sense that they agree with your ideas and process, but super lame to be lazy and selfish enough to steal someone else’s hard work. Ug.

  2. Do they even know about this?
    If not you could sell them some education in Rep. Management…. ;o)
    There’s thieves in the temple tonight (totally stolen from Prince/Symbol/The sign/come-up-with-your-own-name-for-him).
    Always a pleasure Ian.

  3. I have one response to plagiarism: Do a “whois” search to find their ISP, then send the ISP proof of the copied content.
    Hosting services are liable for stolen content on sites they host. There is an excellent chance that the ISP will take down the offending website until they remove the stolen content.
    If you are not proactive, you can lose your copyright to all of your content on your site.

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