As the regular readers of my site might already know, I used to live not too far from Lexington, KY where I was attending graduate school. From time to time, I get an email from someone in that local area asking if either I can do some contract web work for them, or if I know of anyone who would be a good resource to work with. Currently, I am too busy to take on new clients, so I usually end up referring them to agencies that are in Kentucky.
Today though, it has come to my attention that a marketing agency in that very city has ripped off the branding work of none other than world-renown web designer, my friend Mike Rundle. Meridian Communications, which is the fraudulent company in question, was responsible for recent promotional ads at Toyota Georgetown. Aside from having terrible code, their site also sports a re-hashed version of Mike's famous 9rules Network logo. Mike has already addressed the offense on the 9rules Blog and Business Logs. However, I wanted to document the misappropriated logo in context, for posterity.
Now, as I see it there are two victims here. First, the artist who created the work. In Mike's case, he is both the originator and owner, so I am sure for him the offense is felt doubly. Secondly, Toyota Georgetown is a victim, because they probably did not know that they were getting second-hand work. They were probably also operating under the assumption that the people at Meridian Communications actually know a thing or two about the web.
Unfortunately, Toyota was apparently misinformed on both counts, because Meridian does not seem to be professional, which is not the same as full-time. People work full-time overseas pirating DVD's, but that does not put them on the same level as those who produced the movies in the first place.
To Meridian's credit, they probably thought they could get away with it. Since marketing agencies tend to be out of touch with what is happening in the sub-culture of the Internet, they probably thought that the 9rules Network was some small-time operation. I think they are in for a rude awakening when this article floats to the top search results and exposes what they really are. So, in case I have not already clearly over-stated my theme: Please do not hire Meridian Communications for any local work in Lexington, Kentucky.
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