Ooh, this gets better and better. Viewers who've been following the thrilling story as it develops will recall the eerie similarity between the content of the Benchmarks Review feature on the Herman Miller Embody chair, and the advertising blurb for it on the site of retailer Smart Furniture.
We were a little curious about this, bearing in mind site owner Olin Coles' strident assertion that, apart from the belatedly-acknowledged passages copied from Herman Miller's press release, "the remaining 99.9% of the article is a fully independent review of a self-purchased product."
(Actually it's the remaining 93.6%, but let's not quibble.)
So inestimable Friend Of WoSblog John X dropped Smart Furniture a line.
"Hello. I am trying to find the source material for your information for the Embody Chair [link]. I presume it is based on a press release, and was hoping to get hold of the original document. Many thanks, John X."
A few hours later, Smart Furniture replied:
Thank you for your interest in Smart Furniture and the copy on our Embody page! We did a great job, we agree. All the content was developed in house and there is no document to share. Best of luck to you.
Melanie Silva | Designer | Smart Furniture
430 Market Street | Chattanooga, TN | 37402"
Let's just read that again. "All the content was developed in house and there is no document to share". In other words, one of two things has happened:
1. Smart Furniture has just told us a big fat lie. That seems doubtful, since they're a retailer making no pretence at anything other than trying to tell us stuff, so they'd have no reason to be ashamed of just printing the press release. (And it doesn't seem very likely that they'd have swiped the copy from Benchmark Reviews, since they do create extensive amounts of "editorial" content for themselves, for example here.)
2. Benchmark Reviews has just lifted Smart Furniture's copy and claimed it as their own. (Of course, if Smart Furniture IS lying and it IS a press release, that still means Benchmark Reviews has just printed a press release and called it "a fully independent review of a self-purchased product". In other words, they're lying either way.)
Option 2 is plainly very much the more plausible of the two. EXCEPT! It surely can't be right, because Benchmark Reviews HATES the idea of copyright infringement. Conveniently, we know this because barely a week ago Benchmark Reviews threw a bit of a legal hissy fit at Guru3d.com for allegedly copying images belonging to Benchmark Reviews without permission.
What could possibly be going on? How could a company that's so clearly committed to the concept of intellectual property accidentally "borrow" 4,000 words of someone else's work and explicitly claim it as its own? What will happen next? WoSblog is on the case, viewers. Stay tuned!