I’ve been in a job where my web content was republished over and over again by the company I worked for, but I got attribution. There’s nothing wrong with that. Then there’s the case of Men’s Health editor Dave Zinczenko.
Someone recently tipped off the folks over at Gawker.com that Zinczenko has been taking old Men’s Health articles by other writers and simply placing his name under the headlines to be published on Yahoo! Health. Maybe what’s most astounding about this story is the sheer audacity it takes to do it in this day and age of “permanent content.”
You see, the Web, as is the case with texting and emails, becomes a permanent record. So, if you try to rehash old stuff and just pretend that it’s yours, well, you’re asking for trouble. It’s as easy as a quick Googling of a couple lines to find the original author of any given story.
Last year, Gawker already exposed Zinczenko and how he simply reuses cover headlines, but anyone who walks by the magazine racks on a regular basis could have told you that. How many different ways can a magazine headline tell you how fast you can turn flab into rock hard abs? Apparently only four, because that’s how many basic cover templates Gawker says Men’s Health has.
Wait, it gets better.
Zinczenko doesn’t deny this. In fact, he says that it “was not inadvertent, and it was part of overall branding strategies.” Who knows, maybe I’m the crazy one and it really is a “branding strategy” and not just lazy, unimaginative, or outright theft.