Why cloning a website is not necessarily bad

I won’t say a lot of people do, but definitely some people come to me from time to time saying they would like to start an internet business. They come looking for advice, most of them without an idea of what it is that they want to do, they only know they want to start something. (Not judging. That’s more than most people know about what they want to do with their lives!).

It’s easy though to get trapped in the stage of trying to come up with a cool idea. Days go by and frustrations starts to grow, making it even less likely that you will actually come across that great idea. So my advice is always to get started right away. Use that energy, that excitement that will only lasts so long to actually get something started.

“Ok but what do I start?” I usually hear next. Anything! Start a blog even. You think that’s too boring? Well then buy a clone of some website you like. Here’s where people usually starts to get all moral and judgmental. “But that’s copying” they usually say. “I want to do something original”, etc.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for protecting intellectual property and I hate when I see literal rip-offs of a website or product, but let’s get some things clear:

  1. First. You must either code a clone yourself or buy it from someone who has already done the work. So all the code you’ll be using is legit, nothing is illegal, Facebook doesn’t own the right to all social networks the same way Pinterest doesn’t own the right to all photo sharing services (wait, isn’t Pinterest a social network too? I’m confused…)
  2. Second. Do you know how many well-known companies, those you admire and idolater were actually the first to come up with the concept that made them popular? Probably none. They all started bases on some other company’s idea or concept and took it from there or just executed it better.
  3. Third. Let’s say you decide to clone Facebook. No matter how good your clone is, even if it’s better than Facebook itself, let’s be realistic, you won’t be a thread to them, they have too much market share already for you even appear on their radar. So if you want to make something out of it you will have to develop your project into something else, focus on a very specialized niche, add something that makes you different, whatever it is. So at the end of the day you’ll need to come up with something of your own, a unique concept, the clone is just the starting point, not the final goal.

So yes, I’m all for using clones (sometimes), they’ll help you make progress quick in the beginning, which will get you even more excited about the project and make you want to work harder. In the end your flagship product will likely look little like the site you initially cloned or will even be a side project you started to promote your clone-based website. You never know were opportunity will come from, but you need to get started.

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