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Would You Trust This Man? Would You Trust His Company?

by David Brock on June 16th, 2010

For the past several weeks, there has been an interesting saga going on in the blog world.  A gentleman named Michael J. Roman has created a great stir. 

It would be fantastic if it were about provocative ideas and interesting points of view—in fact it is, the problem is they aren’t his ideas or his points of view, though he presents them as his.  See the controversy he has created is about his lack of respect for other people’s hard work, his disdain for copyright law, and ultimately his disdain of his audience.

Michael plagiarizes the best ideas and blogs from numerous well respected bloggers.  He goes further by putting his own copyright on the materials declaring them as his own original works.  He stands proudly behind a cloak of “integrity.”  When he was caught by my friend, Jonathan Farrington, he immediately offered his sincere apology, laying the blame on an over zealous “creative director.”  In his apology to Jonathan, he states, “Any unethical behavior under my leadership will NOT be tolerated and I appreciate you (and others) bringing this to my attention.”  He goes on to say he will terminate the offending employee.  He concludes his letter:   “Again, you have my most sincere apologies for this unacceptable act on my employee’s part, which in turn, is a direct reflection on me.”

Just a few days after that apology, he’s back to his old tricks, copying and plagiarizing content from great bloggers.  As many of my friends protest this, apparently Michael has once again taken his blog down.  But we know people like Michael, he will re-appear doing the same thing, perhaps under a different persona.

Michael, however, provides us a great case study.  He declares his core values as Passion, Balance, Integrity, and Expertise.  Declaring these values doesn’t make them so!  Demonstrating these values every day in every interaction is what counts!  It’s how we understand the real measure of a person.  It’s how we establish trust and how we build our reputation.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of Michael J. Roman’s out there.  Their behavior seeks to drag everyone to the lowest levels.  Their behavior drags down the standards and reputations of their companies.  In Michael’s case, it is Modis IT Staffing–knowing Michael represents them would cause me to be concerned about doing business with them.  Do they have the same “high” standards as Michael?  Do they have the same ethics?  I’m sure they don’t sink to the depths that Michael does, but it causes people to doubt them.

Ultimately, our reputations are not judged by what we declare–regardless of how loudly we declare them, our reputations are developed by how we live and demonstrate what we stand for.  If we have high personal standards, we surround ourselves with others that live by high personal standards and shun the bottom feeders like Michael J. Roman.

A number of my fellow bloggers have written outstanding posts about this situation.  I encourage you to read them, I’ve put the links for several below, I know I’m missing a number, my apologies:

Skip AndersonThe Continuing Saga of Michael J. Roman and “His” Blog  and The Scourge of the Blogosphere: Plagiarism and Michael J. Roman.

Jonathan Farrington:  Michael J. Roman; Plagiarism; the Apology; Final Thoughts

Jill Konrath“There Are No Shortcuts to Success”

Wendy Weiss“Stop Thief!”

Dave Kurlan“Jiffy Lube Magic, Sales Adaptability and Plagiarism”

Kelley Robertson: “When Imitation Is NOT the Best Form of Flattery”

Skip Anderson“The Scourge of the Blogosphere: Plagiarism and Michael J. Roman”

Tibor Shanto: “Please Don’t Steal This Post!”

Leanne Hoagland-Smith: “Is Plagiarism Worth It in Blogging, Article Marketing Social Media Universe?”

Ken Thoreson: “When Plagiarism Is NOT Flattering”

Niall Devitt“When Plagiarism Is Not Flattering”

Nancy Bleeke“Being Yourself in a Transparent World”

(Thanks to Skip and Jonathan for links/pictures/etc.)

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  1. Unbelievable isn’t it?

  2. In September of last year, I wrote the following article:

    As you will see, is appears as though Mr. Roman thought quite highly of it and turned it into his own in Jan of 2013:

    In a word “Unbelievable!”

    • Jim: Sorry you have to be going through this. Even though the original post was written long ago, he’s continuing with his unethical and illegal practices. Interesting for a person who espouses ethics, integrity, value, trust.

      There is no end to his slimy behavior!

      As a sidenote, I removed the link to his post, I don’t want to give him any backlinks or credit to raise his SEO. He’ll have to do it himself.

  3. New Reader permalink

    Dave, an apology is likely due for deciding to publicly condemn Michael J. Roman with only one side of the story. On Dan Waldschmidt’s blog is a blog post titled, “3 Valuable Lessons I learned from Top Sales World going bad” where a copy of Mr. Roman’s side of the story.

    • New Reader: I stand behind that post as strongly and unapologetically as I did when I wrote the post over 4 years ago. You may want to re-read the post, Michael was offered the opportunity to explain his actions. He offered an excuse, yet persisted in stealing the material of other people. He was asked by many to explain his actions, but did not respond, but persisted in the slimiest, most low-life behavior one could exhibit.

      It takes conscious thought to cut and paste someone else’s intellectual property onto your own site.

      It takes conscious thought to erase the original author’s name and replace it with your own.

      It takes conscious thought to claim someone else’s work as your own.

      It takes conscious and malicious thought to do it repeatedly, with many people’s work, and to continue doing it after being requested to stop.

      What possible explanation could he offer, even though he was continually offered the opportunity to explain? Perhaps another excuse, something akin to “the dog ate my homework” would have been offered. There are no excuses, no legitimate answers that can be given.

      The illegal and gutless actions were taken consciously and with premeditation. They were repeated time and again. It shows a pattern of behavior that not only ignores the law, but demeans the readers of the material. There is simply no excuse.

      The comment offered on Dan’s Post, is another comment offered by another nameless author, that has no relevance to the base article or the subsequent comment stream. It is not an explanation by Michael of his behavior (I might had some interest in that), But rather an aimless pointless set of quotes. One wonders about people commenting, hiding behind anonymity. Do they lack the courage to stand behind their words and defend them? (Oops, I suppose that includes you.)

      I do thank you for reminding me of this article. It was written so long ago, I had forgotten about it. But it’s good to be reminded that Sleaze still exists. There are people who lack the mental wherewithal, and the integrity to create their own material. They take short cuts, breaking the law, demeaning and manipulating their own audiences. Those people exist today, just as they did 4 years ago. We have to be on the watch for them and call them out wherever and whenever we see them cheating others. It’s time to re-circulate this story, to make it visible via twitter and other social channels, lest we forget.

      Thanks so much for the comment and reminding us of what this individual did some time ago. Thanks for reminding us to be attentive to those type of people today.

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