May 14, 2007

Is it a compliment when someone blatantly copies you?

How would you handle this situation if you were in my shoes?

Over the past year, we’ve noticed quite a few people copying different features and models from FundingUniverse.  Of course, we have taken notice and been a little bothered, but didn’t think that it was that big of a deal.  However, this situation takes the cake and so I thought it deserved a blog entry.

Over the weekend, I found out that 2 “members” of the FundingUniverse network have blatantly copied a ton of the FundingUniverse model to try and start their own competitive company.  When you check out Plan Heaven, you’ll notice a lot of really familiar features.  For example, you’ll notice their sorting features and table… plan name, state, industry, rating, comments, and VideoPitch — that all sounds VERY familiar.  You’ll see that they have “real-time alerts” for their investor network.

What’s even more interesting is how they have found all of that information.  It appears that the 2 have been active members of our site since February.  One of them has signed up for our entrepreneur network and has conveniently been asking a ton of questions about FundingUniverse.  The other has joined the angel network and has reviewed over 100 plans on our website.  Hmmmm… smells fishy to me.  This last week, he sent me an email to find out how he can contact the rest of the investors in our network — pretty funny, huh?

To be honest, I kind of like to see other people try to copy you.  As mentioned above, we’ve seen it quite a bit with some of the innovations that we have created (VideoPitch, SpeedPitching, Weekly Chats, etc.).  We’ll just keep doing our thing and take it as a compliment when someone copies our stuff.