In the summer of 1998, I was working on a project where I was asked to determine the largest ISPs and free email service providers in the United States. I looked around for this information and could not find it compiled in one place, so I had to do my own research to formulate the list.
Once I had this information, in the best nature of the Internet, I decided to put it up for public use on my web site. There were probably others who were looking for this information, and I'd probably get updates from kind people around the Internet. Once I had listed this page with the major search engines, my theories were confirmed as I received many hits on this page, and many kind people emailed me to thank me for compiling this information for them. A short time later, I also added information on ISPs outside of the United States.
In fact, these charts became so popular that it was even featured in an article written by Patricia Fusco, firstname.lastname@example.org, of Internetnews.com in an article on their site dated January 21, 2000. I was rather pleased that one of the sites I was using for gathering my data would feature my page.
However, on July 13, 2000, I learned that ISP-Planet, an affiliate of Internetnews.com, had put up a web page almost exactly identical with mine. Patricia Fusco was given a byline for its creation. My web page wasn't mentioned. I showed both pages to people I knew. They said that they felt it was a clear-cut case of plagiarism.
Therefore, I sent email to Ted Stevenson, email@example.com, Managing Editor of ISP-Planet. I asked to have my work attributed as the original source of their work, since I had clearly assembled my page first and they had clearly known of its existence. I didn't want money, I didn't want ads, I didn't want to pu them out, all I wanted was attribution. Mr. Stevenson refused to grant my request and referred me to their legal counsel, Max Iori, firstname.lastname@example.org, who, in essence, told me to get lost. All I wanted was acknowledgment of my contribution to their web site. They chose not to provide this.
The ISP-Planet ISP list has changed a bit since I first encountered it, nonetheless, the similarities are more than striking. I believe that the ISP-Planet folks I have talked to have behaved intolerably in this matter. I believe that their ethical conduct has been appalling. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience be referencing new ISP information coming from their web site, or any site affiliated with Mr. Stevenson or Ms. Fusco. I urge other people who find their conduct inappropriate to not visit their sites as well.