There's not much point in building a Web site if nobody comes. But there must be better ways to get attention than to lift pages from other sites.
How much was original ?
That's how I learned about DiabetoValens. A friend of mine who has one of the best diabetes Web sites sent me a copy of a message that he wrote to the people there.
"Your Web site has copied copyrighted information without permission," he told them. He referred them to their Diabetic Neuropathy page, which is almost word-for-word the same as the page on his Web site. Parts of another page were copied at Choosing a Glucometer.
My friend had written to the email address that the site provided on the Contact Us page. He generously gave them a choice to either remove the page, or link and source his site.
When several messages to that address bounced, he wasn't happy. But I looked up the site's management at Better-Whois.com, which searches all domain registrars. That service provided the email address for the site's CEO, Vivek Pathak in Secunderabad in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. I passed that information on to my friend.
Eventually, Mr. Pathak replied to him, "I have noted your information and asked my medical team to look into this matter. We will correct the information as per your instruction ASAP."
In fact, Mr. Pathak linked to and sourced my friend's site the very next day. Meanwhile, I took a careful look around the DiabetoValens site and found a lot of excellent information, some for doctors and some for patients. The patient side of the site is free, while the doctor side requires an annual subscription fee of $35 or Rs. (rupees) 1200.
I couldn't help but wonder how much was original with the site. As a writer, I am sensitive to questions of plagiarism and have protested many times when I found my articles copied on other Web sites. The U.S. government created the only Web pages about diabetes that I have ever seen that weren't copyrighted.
Wondering if what happened to my friend was a common event or not, I wrote Mr. Pathak directly. "We do take some material from other sites by giving them due credit, but its very rare and only when we find the material suitable to our users," he replied. "But we take care of giving source and credit to the original site."
My friend's experience was just "a mistake from our technical team." I hope so, because there's a lot of good information about diabetes for India here and in fact for anyone who searches for it.
DiabetoValens and a sister site, CardioValens, are owned by Centrix Technologies Private Limited, whose board of directors include Mr. Pathak and Venkatram Reddy, who owns both the most popular daily English-language newspaper in Andhra Pradesh's capital city, Hyderabad, the Deccan Chronicle, and India's national newspaper, The Asian Age.
India has several other excellent Web sites dealing with diabetes, chief among which is Diabetes-India.com, which I reviewed here. In the country with the unhappy distinction of having the world's largest population of people with diabetes, there's room for several sites. About 33 million adults in India have diabetes, the International Diabetes Federation says.
Mr. Pathak calls his site "India's first comprehensive online resource on diabetology." Having accumulated hundreds of pages full of information since the site went online this January, that's no exaggeration.
He says the most popular parts of the site for patients are their weekly focus articles and the news. Doctors also read the daily news, but prefer to read the latest reviews.
The American Diabetes Association originally published this article on its Web site as one of my “About the Internet” columns.
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