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Home > Blog > 2011 > We need to talk about Kevin...

We need to talk about Kevin...

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This week I have been prompted to consider what’s going on the wider world of blogging and online content... what blogging is about and why I write this blog.

To give some focus to the issue... “we need to talk about Kevin” (a great book... seeing the film this week). 

The Kevin we need to talk about, as online content providers and medical tourism people is Kevin Rude, the Health Team Director at Medical Treatments Management, whose “blogging” has sparked a  debate on various discussion forums on Linked In such as Medical Tourism & Travel Developers.

Recently various forums and most of the medical tourism groups on Linked In have been bombarded with Kevin’s blog posts. There have been such gems as:

  • New Blog Post The Power of Coconut Coconut Oil Helps Women - The Coconut and what it can do for your health; it’s a... 
  • New Blog Post Kidney Stones Prevention Kidney Stones Diet Urology

But there were some that appeared to have some relevance to medical tourism:

  • How US Health Care Reform Will Affect Employee Benefits – Health Care – Strategy – Analysis | MTM Blog http://ow.ly/7mXQn
  • New Blog Post How to Compare Different Health Providers - The bottom line is to choose a provider, company or surgeon...  http://ow.ly/1fwUIe

These blog posts attracted my interest and that of others in the industry. I went to take a look at Kevin’s MTM Blog.  Lots of interesting stuff..... but some of it seemed familiar. In fact...very familiar....was I reading my own words in places? So I did some exploring.

Kevin’s MTM Blog is packed with insight, opinion and analysis.... but none of it appears to be his own insight, opinion and analysis. The blog is “written by” Kevin and other contributors such as “Omar” and “Karen”.

Look deeper and you will find that much of the blog content originates from a host of reputable online publishers – New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, McKinsey Chronicle, Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), A.D.A.M. Foundation and others.  In many cases, what Kevin and his blogging team do is make a straight copy of original and copyrighted material from a publisher’s web site and  paste it as a “blog article”. Then they post a link to the original article at the bottom of the blog post.


Spot the similarity....?

Kevin’s “link bombing” of the Linked In groups with his blog posts sparked a bit of a reaction.

  • David Fitzpatrick from Voyageur Group commented:
    “ a whopping 38 active discussions no less - my interest peaked I was keen to see what insights and discussions were making an impact; this interest then quickly turned to marked annoyance as I saw that these "discussions" were nothing of the sort - on your own you managed to splatter gun 13 links with no discussion or insight whatsoever on to a single group”
  • Scott Frankum commented:
    “Keep in mind that no reputable creator or aggregator shares the work of others without notice, permission, link-backs and respect. Scraping is an automated process, but done with permission. Scraping without permission falls into bottom of the barrel "Internet tricks". We're exploring health care. Respect helps us all.”

Kevin has carried on regardless and seems to think there’s no real issue here. He says he posts a link to the original article at the bottom of the blog post. So that’s OK, he says. What’s the problem?

According to Kevin....

“The internet is about sharing information, the credit is a link back”

He’s right ... the internet is about sharing information, but it should not be about stealing information.

There’s a thing called copyright and it applies to the web just as much as printed materials. The downside of the web is that it is very easy to copy and paste other people’s work, claim it as your own and “share” it with others. Copyright is there to protect people and businesses (like mine!) that invest in editorial, that pay writers and journalists to pour their intellect into writing articles that provide insight, opinion and analysis.( If you want to know more about copyright, see World Intellectual Property Organization.)

IMTJ, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, McKinsey Chronicle and others pay people to write for their journals and for their readers.  They don’t pay them to write for Kevin (even when he is generous enough to provide a link back to the original article.)

So, Kevin, please take note!

And here’s a challenge for Kevin.. one blog article that is “all your own work” and that provides insight, opinion or analysis of the medical tourism market. You run a medical tourism facilitator business.... so tell us what YOU think.

If it’s any good, we’ll post it on IMTJ.

Date published: 18 November 2011


Comments provided below do not represent the views of IMTJ. Comments will be published 'as is' and will not be edited by IMTJ staff. IMTJ is hosting these comments, and is not undertaking an editorial role. However, it is editorial policy to publish comments that have been submitted anonymously. 

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About me

Keith Pollard

Keith Pollard

I am CEO of Intuition Communication Ltd, a web publishing business in the healthcare sector. Our sites include International Medical Travel Journal, Treatment Abroad, the medical tourism portal, DoctorInternet, the Arabic medical tourism portal and Private Healthcare UK, the UK's leading site for private healthcare services. I am a regular speaker and commentator on medical tourism and the independent healthcare sector.

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I liked Lionel Shriver's book -haven't seen the movie - -so of course the title of this article lured me right in - a good job by the way ;-). Since I follow the MTM blog, I thought I knew more or less what this would be about, and I wasn't disappointed. As 'takedowns' (my word, not yours) go, this is one is fair. I've noted the somewhat freewheeling attitude towards attribution before. Ilan Geva makes a good point, which I'll expand on to say that when a blog is acting in a 'curating' capactiy, simply passing along the news of the day without any propietary enhancement (expertise sharing, or even plain old analysis), I feel there is an obligation to communicate this clearly to the reader.

But the proof is in the pudding as they say, and for me, the lack of added value to other's content has caused me to not quite elevate MTM to the 'serious voices of the industry' status just yet. Whether the blog/blog owner can generate as much heat as light remains to be seen.

I enjoyed this article. Examining the players in the industry is good for the industry.

Sandra Miller (20/01/2013 21:47:24)

The problem begins at school. I teach at several universities, and I am stunned to see how freely and easily students copy and paste stuff all over the place. The digital revolution simply allows people to do it, they grow up with the habit, and it is now part of a "culture". Several students I caught red handed were actually puzzled what the fuss is all about...
Kevin (I don't know him) could be part of these digital ignorantis generation, on one hand sophisticated enough to copy, on the other, dumb enough to think it goes unnoticed...

ilan geva (23/10/2012 13:35:09)