Startup Diaries from Ukraine: Stopping Internet Plagiarism

Laura-May Zvolinska explains how the team at Plagspotter, who provide a tool for checking duplicate content on the internet, have distinguished their business from the competition and increased their profit margins, enabling them to keep innovating.

Our startup company. PlagSpotter. has become a growing and increasingly popular site where users can check for website plagiarism. The issue of duplicate content and plagiarism has steadily increased in importance since the latest Google Panda updates were implemented.

Duplicate content is roughly defined as any online content that has already been somewhere else at an earlier time.

Since the internet was cluttered with duplicate content and poor quality websites, Google instituted these Google Panda updates to clean it up. What these are designed to do is to check websites to see if they have any duplicate or plagiarized content as well as poorly written text. If a website is found to have either of these, Google will remove it from its search engine results. Should this happen, it would be the end of a webpage, since most webpage traffic is directed from Google. As Google has no differentiation between intentional and unintentional plagiarism, it is in a website’s best interest to preemptively strike and ensure that their sites do not have any duplicate content.

Another grave concern for website owners is protecting their own content. Google can mistakenly identify the original author as the one with duplicate content if their content appears on a much more popular website. It is, therefore, in a website owner’s best interests to check and make sure that no one is taking their content to prevent any future confusion. With our company PlagSpotter, this is very easy to do. Users simply manually enter in the URLs they would like checked or sign up for routine checks of their website(s).

If any duplicate content is found, the website owners can see who the offending party is and then proceed. 

All this ensures more online integrity, better content, and higher search engine ratings. Because the integrity of online content has increased in importance, so has the need for PlagSpotter.

Founded in Kiev in 2012, our company PlagSpotter has already received many distinctions and awards for its superior services. Among them is winning first place on Search Engine Journal’s Top Startups of 2012. This distinction was awarded on the basis of PlagSpotter’s innovative ability to check multiple URLs for plagiarism as well as to perform routine scans on a website’s content. Additionally, PlagSpotter won Best Startup Award for Best Web App from The New Web after beating out other web apps in the same category. As such, we went to The New Web’s annual convention in Amsterdam to make new business connections as well as to learn about more innovative ideas in the online marketing business.

Yet all of this would have been impossible without our creative vision, hard work, and women-driven leadership at PlagSpotter.

Among PlagSpotter’s co-founders is my colleague Iryna Stepanenko, who has actively participated in its implementation process as well as its creative development. With Stepanenko’s leadership, PlagSpotter has dramatically increased its traffic, products, and services. There are now more features and options for all types of users, from those with small blogs and websites, to large social media sites, to even computer programmers.

As PR Head on the PlagSpotter team, I manage PlagSpotter’s public perception, advertising campaigns, as well as being the very face of the company. I have arranged countless articles to be written about PlagSpotter as well as being photographed as the company icon for the German magazine Optimize or Die.

The features that we have used in order to start this company from the ground up have been online campaigns, entering various contests within the industrial niche, and developing innovative tools to attract new customers. For instance, PlagSpotter now has a Google Chrome Plugin that allows users to check the very page they are on in their browser for plagiarism.

Additionally, we have actively sought to write press releases and articles to promote PlagSpotter and to increase public awareness of its products. We have also recently attended a series of conferences and seminars in Israel to learn how to expand PlagSpotter’s services even further according to the latest online trends.

Some of the challenges that we have met are funding, organizational problems, and getting clients.

With funding, we had to turn to our primary employer Devellar to seek seed investment to start this company. As for organizational problems, we had to learn very quickly how to integrate all the workings of PlagSpotter into a well-oiled machine.

This required forming teams for development, marketing, drop box, IT support, etc. to provide the best services possible for our customer base. Thirdly, it was a challenge for us to attract those initial clients. We did this by offering coupons for our services, networking at international IT conferences, and soliciting bloggers to help spread the word about PlagSpotter.

As to some of the lessons that we have learned along the way, we include perseverance, consistency, and looking at other startups as key to our business’ success. Perseverance is important because your company won’t necessarily be all that successful in the beginning. As with most things in life, it is important to be consistent so that clients know what to expect from your services.

And lastly, looking for other startups as examples to follow (or not to follow) is important. This way, you can do all the right things these other companies have done without falling into their pitfalls.

But all these publications, awards, and distinctions would not have been possible without our female innovation and ambition to develop PlagSpotter even further. We have won all these awards, been written about frequently, and have become competitors in the field by forging connections with other online companies at conferences and by learning about all the latest ideas and market trends. Without our efforts, the success of PlagSpotter could have been lost among the sea of other similar online products. Instead, PlagSpotter is ever increasing our profit margins and improving its innovative products.

Laura-May Zvolinska is a Project Coordinator at PlagSpotter, a duplicate content checker. You may reach her on Twitter and G+.

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