028: Copycat Marketing: It’s How Business is Done

March 29, 201422 Comments

Listen to the latest episode of the Robert Plank Show called “Copycat Marketing: It’s How Business Is Done” — I think it will help you if you’ve ever been stuck for creativity in your online business OR if you feel you’ve ever been copied… you’ll also discover:

  • Why ideas are “memetic” and how you are guilty
  • How to shift your thinking into an abundance mindset and what it means to “already have stolen the TV”
  • The difference between mechanics and secret sauce copycats (when not to get offended)
  • How to be ready for it (because it’s happened before and will happen to you in the future)

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Question for You Today: Where exactly is that “line” between ripping something off and modeling it?

I’d love your short (or long) opinion in the comments below… so go ahead and leave a quick one right now.

Participate in the conversation by leaving your comment below.

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  1. Lawrence Mills says:

    Hi Robert,

    I haven’t done enough to be copied yet, working on it.

    I have copied at times but not to any success.

    Not keen on copying but if it is amended in some way it should be passable.

  2. John says:

    Hi Robert

    A while ago I got a very nasty ‘cease and desist’ from someone claiming I had copied their content and threatening legal action. The copy concerned had been on my site unchanged for a few years so I dug further. I ran it through Copyscape and the only other occurrence was on a site registered much later. Fortunately I found a copy on the ‘Wayback Machine’ at archive .com and sent him the link and demanded he take his version down. I later got a grovelling apology, it seems he had paid someone to produce the content for his site and said person had just lifted copy from a number of places, including my website.

    That wasted quite a bit of time I could have used more usefully.

    I am totally against plagiarism on both legal and moral grounds but I’m not against taking an idea or known facts and expressing them in a different way and in my own words. Nor am I against attributed excerpts or quotations.

    Just taking someone’s content and changing a few words around or ‘spinning’ the content I still count as copying. It’s all a very grey area except for lawyers and they come expensive!

  3. Bob Marconi says:

    Yes, I have ‘copied’ stuff. But here is the thing, I always make what I’ve copied my own by simply using it as a starting point`

    Sometimes you just need that ‘nudge’ to get you started…

  4. I’ve never copied someone’s work. I’ve used it as a source of information and reworded and reorganized the information but never just copied it. I’m getting to the level of marketing now that I can produce my own content, graphics, forms, pages, etc. almost as fast as outright copying someone else and I fell my work is better than theirs anyway. It’s become a part of me and that makes me feel fulfilled and productive.

  5. Joshua says:

    Yes I have copied stuff before but have given credit to anyones stuff, I have modeled the lay out of websites because they where user friendly, so where do you draw the line not quite sure, I think modeling an idea with you own concept and redoing something at least 75% would be a good rule, or maybe how about asking the person for permission.

  6. If you copy one person it’s plagiarism, if you copy 10 people it’s research :-)

    Brian

  7. Miles Austin says:

    Copying is a bit strong for what I do frequently. I learn from how others approach web design, sales copy, landing pages and even newsletter layout and use these concepts to craft a result that works for me and my audience. I think it is important to differentiate between copying and learning.

    And yes, I have been copied many times as well. Early on it used to piss me off, but over the years I have come to realize that it is much better to be out front with thinking and implementation and it is inevitable that others will learn from me as I do from others.

    There is still a slimy slide ot this topic in which someone copies posts and other published work word for word and never indicates where it came from. Sometimes the whole “curation” tactic approaches theft as well, but if done properly, full attribution and a link to the original work is still provided.

    Looking forward to learn the thoughts of everyone on this topic.

  8. Mark Carver says:

    I create videos for small local businesses. Sometimes I get “writer’s block” or it’s in a new area that I’m unfamiliar, so I do research what others have done and get ideas. But I have my own style and way of presenting information and work hard to make anything I do original not only in words but flow. I make sure any statistics or industry claims are taken from a source document in case I’m ever challenged I can point someone, if they asked, to where I found the information. So, if using someone else’s publicly visible work to provoke ideas or help you envision a path to presenting concepts, then I think there are grounds for a healthy debate.

    I’ve also been asked many times to “make a video just like” one on YouTube or a website. I always decline those politely.

  9. I believe money loves speed. One of the biggest projects of my life that I put together and launched quickly involved advertising on local television.

    We gathered around the TV on the station where the ad was scheduled to run for the first time. 30 seconds before our ad ran, a competitor’s advertising ran. Just could not believe it. I thought that the TV station, my vendors, somebody had blabbed our idea out to that competitor and they beat us to broadcast by 30 seconds.

    The reality is – we had a good idea and both of the companies made good money. I did not copy them, they did not copy me until later and each of use adjusted our businesses to use the best of practices and ideas from each other with our own twists on the final product.

    Direct copying is illegal and should not be tolerated. Copying to improve and give the customer a better experience, a better product, and/or make shopping with you easy is a good idea.

  10. Paul Litwack says:

    Reminds me of the student who received a failing grade for an assignment. Teacher says ‘While many have copied other’s work, this is the first time someone actually handed in a page ripped from the encyclopedia.” ;-)

    I’m flattered when people copy my stuff (use copyscape to stay on top of it)- as long as they give credit. I’ve connected with plenty of new clients this way.

  11. I have seen my content presented almost word for word by someone who took my class a couple of years before, then claimed he had been doing it for 25 years. I was somewhat flattered but he could at least came up with his own stories and jokes I use in training, but alas such is life.
    There are pirates and partners, he could have partnered and sold my product but again some people are not just lazy, they are greedy. I only worry when they believe their own lies.
    In the same vein I have came pout with a product then found some one else has a very similar one around the same time.
    I wish everyone well as there is enough clients, students, and money for us all to prosper, so lets have fun.
    BTW you guys rock, just redid another 2 websites with the new front end & blog from paper template and income machine, thanks
    Dr Will Horton

  12. Dennis Wagoner says:

    While I have not copied products I will admit to modelling copy and formatting from another person’s website. I would say this falls under the category of ‘swipe files’ more than copying someone’s actual product.

    There’s been plenty of advice to take a product and ‘give it your own twist’ making some people think a blatant copy would be easier, faster and cheaper to make. Some people are too lazy to even twist.

  13. Caleb says:

    There is no LINE between the two because it’s too easy to copy online.

    For example, the Arbitrage Underdog creators were openly copied by the newly Elite Arbitrage wso. But instead of tripping out the ORIGINALS just said they were the INSPIRATION for EliteArbitrage and left it at that :)

  14. Howard says:

    King Solomon observed many years ago that there was nothing new under the sun. We are all, in some way, copying.

  15. Rick Butts says:

    No one has changed their last name to Butts yet – but I can’t help but wonder how long I’ll have this seat of the pants name monopoly.

    http://RobertPlankShow.com is the best and most useful podcast on the Internet. It’s the only podcast I wait for and consume immediately as soon as it comes out. Good job Robertski

  16. Philip Rees says:

    While we may get inspiration and aha moments I think it is quite another matter to blatantly copy someone’s work as our own. DCMA exists for that reason.

    By modelling, well computer programmers are known to arrive at similar solutions so may produce results on the same model but internal coding is very different. In that regards, I suspect many have taken more than inspiration from a competitor…

  17. Nancy says:

    The better question would be why would you want to copy OR model? The one who creates something original and different has a far better edge.

  18. Robert Plank says:

    Nancy, do you think there really is anything out there that hasn’t been created yet?

  19. Rhonda Gruber says:

    Robert, You’ve done it again…another really good episode. We all build on each others’ ideas and the the result is beneficial for everyone. The trick is to add your own creativity so you’re adding value. As long as each person adds value, then it’s not copying and things get a little bit better with each cycle. The Japanese call it Kaizen.

  20. Jeff Robinson says:

    I think copying someones work, word for word is wrong. I feel that if you were inspired by someones work you should quote them or use them as a reference in your piece. I feel that it’s hard to find a “new” idea but you can always take someones idea and put your opinion and spin on it to make it fresh. Copying and pasting someones work word for word isn’t right, but soaking in the information and reworking it with your view on it is just evolution and is perfectly fine!

  21. ItsJoel says:

    My products have been copied on more than one occasion. Honestly, I try not to let it get to me. If someone wants to copy, it must mean I’m doing something right. Besides, as you mentioned, on some level we’ve probably all been guilty of it. The solution is to keep adapting.

  22. Chris Ante says:

    I must say that don’t copy anything just get into the topic, pickup the idea, go somewhere else get other information about them and juggling them in your mind. After that write down the whole thing in your words from scratch. It will surely not considered as copy and you can get unique thing.
    P.S. That’s what I do everytime.

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