Plagerism "In the Rain"...What should you do when you see a FRADULENT POST?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Success Realtors brokered by eXp Realty WI 55262-090

One of the GREAT things about using ACTIVE RAIN is the ability to RE-BLOG well written posts and provide that as a resouce for people that consistently READ YOUR BLOG.


Last week I though I was doing just that, when I read, and RE-BLOGGED a post by MATTHEW DE FEDE from Coldwell Residential Brokerage in Clifton, NJ.


I liked what I read, as the article gave valuable tips on buying a foreclosure, and because I am in the business of selling REO properties in Wisconsin, I like to educate buyers on how to buy my listings.  Unfortunately it appears that the material was not the intellectual property of Mr. DeFede at all, but a WORD FOR WORD copy and paste of an article posted 1 day before from a man named Karim El Sheikh.   It looks as though Mr Sheikh is a gifted writer with many good posts, and I will be adding his RSS Feed to my company FACEBOOK page because it will add value to my customers.  I will also be seeking his permission to re-blog his content (of course giving credit to the original source which is proper blogging etiquette as well as the legal and ethical way to disseminate that information. 

Soon after I RE-Blogged Mr De Fede's fraudulent post, (Giving CREDIT to Mr De Fede for work he had not done) I received an email from a Good Samaritan on the Active Rain network who informed me of the offense.  I researched the claim and found that it appears to be true and that Mr El Sheikh from Boca Raton, FL.   I also found that the resource Mr Sheikh published he article on is a great source for industry related articles.  The web site is and has a policy enabling members to RE-PUBLISH the posts of OTHER members as long as credit is given to the original author.  Here is a direct quote of that policy:

  • By submitting your articles to, you grant others the right to publish your articles - Other users have the right to publish your articles on their websites, in their newsletters or ezines, and more as long as the article is left in the original state. This includes the resource box which provides you credit as the author of the content.

So I did a little more digging and RE-REVIEWED the post my Mr De Fede of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and found that Mr. DeFede is NOT listed as an author ANYWHERE on the site. 

I did leave a comment of Mr De Fede's wall with a link to the original post, but he chose to delete it and disable commenting on the post, rather than take a more honest approach and edit his initial post, perhaps providing the same information but with permission. 


So, here's my question.   Does the Code of Ethics have any provision that pertains to the subject of plagerism?   I would be curious to know.


Here is Mr DeFede's POST and the ORIGINAL POST.  Your be the judge

I will be RE-POSTING the ORIGINAL ARTICLE with proper credit to the proper source.



Posted by

Ralph D. Nudi


Success Realtors



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900 05/21/2011 07:57 AM
  2. Gina Chirico 05/21/2011 09:36 AM
ActiveRain Community
Weichert Realtors
fraudulent posts

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John Michailidis
Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee - Sarasota, FL
Real Property Management of Sarasota & M

Active Rain is the appropriate administrative authority to take action in this instance.

May 21, 2011 07:19 AM #1
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

Hi Ralph - When I see situations like this, I send an email to and (Bob Stewart). Include a link to the post as well as the original source, and they should take care of it.

May 21, 2011 07:22 AM #2
Gary Coles (International Referrals)
Venture Realty International - Las Vegas, NV
Latin America Real Estate

Ralph,  This is terrible.  I certainly hope that you have reported it to ActiveRain.  Things like this make all of us look bad.

May 21, 2011 07:27 AM #3
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

As a freelance writer and RE agent, this makes me sad. However connecting to the individual first is best. Then going to AR as advised above.

However, it may be a matter of ignorance rather than intent: NAR and CAR allow us to copy articles verbatim and maybe (I hope) his was an oversight.

May 21, 2011 07:54 AM #4
Mike Carlier
Lakeville, MN
More opinions than you want to hear about.

Not a big deal for him.  Looks like he does this all the time:

5/17/11  lifted from

5/16/11  lifted from

5/11/11  lifted from


As of right now, it appears that the plagerizing machine lost points for only his last theft.

May 21, 2011 08:31 AM #5
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

This is not good at all, and it's a wonder that people actually do this on the internet anymore since it's so easily discovered.

May 21, 2011 09:45 AM #6
Gina Chirico
Lattimer Realty - Fairfield, NJ
Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey


He hasn't amended the original post to include the author nor has he removed his post - just disabled comments?  What was the point of that so no one can write in the comments that it's Karim El Sheikh's material, who by the way writes really great content and I highly recommend him.

I know that its difficult for AR to be able to tell if a post is plagarized or not but at the very least, before featuring it they should google the title because 9 out of 10 times the "stealer" doesn't change the title either.  

This is the second featured post I've seen in the last 2 weeks.  I don't make it a habit of checking posts  but when I have an RSS feed or subscribe daily to certain content and then I see it duplicated here on AR as if it was their own, I have a problem with that.  

May 21, 2011 10:12 AM #7
Gina Chirico
Lattimer Realty - Fairfield, NJ
Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey

One more thing, in regard to Mike's comment #5, AR should be told about the other posts that are plagiarized too.  They should put their foot down and set as an example so everyone knows that plagiarism will not be tolerated on ActiveRain.

May 21, 2011 10:13 AM #8
Justin David McClain
Century 21 All Islands - Honolulu, HI

Thank you Ralph. Here I am new to ActiveRain and he decided to completely copy and re-post my Blog.

I decided to call his office to let them know about what he has been doing and that it would be in their best interest to monitor his actions closely. Apparently he is a newer agent to their firm and may not continue on too much longer after his actions.

I also decided to give him a call to give him a heads up and to politely make him aware that this is un-ethical behavior and is not looked lightly on by ActiveRain. Boy does he have an attitude problem and completely denied everything. However, not even 5 minutes after our conversation he removed my post. Haha

Thanks again Ralph!! Keep doing what your doing!!


May 21, 2011 10:59 AM #9
Ralph Nudi
Success Realtors brokered by eXp Realty - Kenosha, WI
"YOUR success IS our success"

@ SaraMana/John/Gary: It was reported to Active Rain.... all they did was remove the points

@Michelle - The fraudulent poster (Matthew DeFede) has been approached.  His response was to ignore callers, delete comments and disable further commenting on his posts.  

@E.J. I noticed the same thing - Most posts on Matthew DeFede's active rain blog seem to be plagarism. If you go to a number of his posts and cut and paste some exact text into Google, you will find other articles pre-dating his posts and on other sites. Also it appears that Matthew DeFede in engaging in plagarism on his Trulia Blog.  Again most of these posts appear to be stolen material.

Malcom - you are right, it is VERY EASILY discovered. 

Gina:  Thanks for bringing it to my attention

Justin:  Nice try calling him. He has now written a post on "Minding Your Own Business" and deleted at least the Plagerized post off of the Active Rain Blog - However the RIPPED OFF material still exists on the Trulia Blog.

He also mentioned something about KARMA.... well you see, stealing someone else's intellectual property is not cool.  It's hard to MIND MY OWN BUSINESS when I know there is someone out there willing to take my work and pass it off as their own.  What Mr DeFede fails to understand is that dishonesty at any level has a negative effect on our entire industry.  There is a reason that real estate agents are among the least trusted of all professions.  If you are dishonest about something as simple as whether or not you are the author of an article, when most bloggers allow for you to simply CREDIT THE ORIGINAL author and still benefit from re-posting their material, what else are you willing to lie or be dishonest about.  How will a prospective seller know you are not engaging in self dealing, putting your desire to make more money over their best interests.  Another thing that Matthew DeFede fails to understand is the SEO power of ACTIVE RAIN. You see for EVERY plagarized post he has out there, there are those of us willing to link BOTH posts back to this one and continue tying his name to plagerism until a GOOGLE SEARCH for his name ends up exposing him for what he really is..... phony

Here are some other examples:  Russel Shaw's post from 2009   Matthew DeFede's Post - mind you, not giving credit to ANY source.  (NOTICE THE WORDING IS EXACT)   

I can't believe the arrogance... that we should all look the other way while people commit copywrite infringement?   Here's a TIP for this agent....   go to each of your articles on EVERY BLOG - Credit your sources, and continue to do so from now on, and THIS agent will remove your name from this post and all the back links.   Or.... go on ripping off other's intellectual property, now that there is a spotlight on it, you will begin to look silly.    

As for my personal production - It has NEVER been better.  I produce as well as recruit, train and mentor some of the top agents not only in my own office, but others as well.  I was ONLY made aware of this when I PROPERLY reblogged  (Giving FULL CREDIT at the time  to Matthew DeFedde as the author) a post, only to have EGG on my face.


May 22, 2011 03:54 AM #10
Matthew De Fede

Gotta love plagiarism:,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=e5b130cc10bf5fa1

May 22, 2011 05:04 AM #11
Aida Pinto
Independent Real Estate Broker - Los Angeles, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196 Plagiarism wrong? If society makes it so then it’s wrong!  Personally, I get no satisfaction from copying some else’s thoughts! I feel good when I’ve put together a thought and other’s admire it or challenge it. To, me as a Realtor, what’s worse is when they copy My Listing info......and try to pass on as  their Listing! But it happens.

May 22, 2011 05:12 AM #12
Aida Pinto
Independent Real Estate Broker - Los Angeles, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196

But your post intrigue me.....I’m going to check out the original writer

May 22, 2011 05:14 AM #13
Mike Carlier
Lakeville, MN
More opinions than you want to hear about.

You gotta give the guy credit.  He has finally posted something original.  I think he's in recovery.

May 22, 2011 06:11 AM #14
janet depalma

Matthew Defede was an agent in my office as well as my SEO person. I paid him $500 a month for his internet

marketing. I later found HIS website was outranking my office!  He failed to put the office phone number on his website or his business cards. He also purchased all the best "NUTLEY" website names. He also claims to be a specialist of the local townhouse developments yet has never had a listing for sale there!

What is the criteria to call yourself a "specialist" or "expert"?

Is having ANY listings or sales  a prerequisite?


Can you be a great internet marketing guru but not a "people person" Are they diametrically opposed?

Be thankful you are not in this area. He would follow your market and take claim that HE is the market expert, not you.




Jun 13, 2012 09:07 AM #15
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