The other day I was looking at our referrers and noticed that we were getting a lot of traffic from Extra.com. I checked out the site to see what the deal was and was rather surprised to come across an exact copy of our design! Check this out:
I’ll admit that I was a bit flattered at first but after thinking about this I became rather peeved. First of all, what gives here? I come across designs all the time that I admire, but copying them is out of the question. That is something that you just don’t do. This led me to my next line of thinking which is about the mentality out there that leads to a ton of copycat type products. What does this say about people developing websites, products, web 2.0 applications, etc?
It says that people think that there is a magic formula out there and if you duplicate what other people are doing then you will be successful. I agree that getting inspiration from success is a way to create good products and designs, but a complete copy is a complete waste of everybody’s time. Let’s face it, the way to create meaning out there is to find a problem that doesn’t have a solution and solve it. Solve it in such a wonderful way that people have to have your product. Don’t look around for a good idea and copy it thinking that you will be successful. If you are going to copy, at least find out what is wrong with whatever you are copying and fix it. Finally, if you decide to copy somebody’s design at least make sure they can’t find you so easily.