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Global Copycats: The Sincerest Form of Flattery |

Stashed in: Startups, Silicon Valley!, Groupon, Copying

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The new knock-offs.

This seems patently dishonest:

Bleckwenn tweaked the wording -- from as seen on to concept featured on -- and left the logos in place.

On the other hand, I still think this practice is what helped Groupon grow so much so quickly.

Airbnb has always had pride about its design, so this must have made them livid:

In two months, Bleckwenn and his team reproduced what it had taken Airbnb's founders four years to create. They did it calmly and quickly, and they did it well. "It's just competition," Bleckwenn says. "Of course, Airbnb is unhappy."

On the other hand, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em:

Airbnb has essentially turned over its international operations to copycat artists in exchange for an equity stake. Airbnb didn't buy a copycat; instead, it is paying to have one built for it.

This is brilliant. And scary. But brilliant:

"It's almost impossible to compete with him," says Moritz Delbrück, the founder of Concern, a management consulting firm, and the guy who led the effigy burning. "He is more disciplined, he works harder, and he doesn't stop until he wins. Whatever is somehow legally possible, he'll do it."

Looks like they are tough, tough competitors:

The decision to copy a given business generally takes three hours to a couple of days; actually building the first version of the new company's website takes four to six weeks. "The speed at which you can make decisions here is amazing," says Brigitte Wittekind, a former McKinsey consultant who was recruited last year to create a clone of Birchbox, the New York start-up that offers samples of cosmetics to subscribers for $10 a month. Wittekind's company, Glossybox, spent its first year opening websites in 20 countries. It has 400 employees and 200,000 paid subscribers—twice as many as its American counterpart—and just launched in the United States, one of the few instances in which a Rocket clone will go head to head with the company on which it is modeled.