Summary:

One Berlin startup has just discovered it has a Russian twin with the same layout, business model and even the same name — a surprising situation, given that Germany is better known for being the copier rather than the victim.

Tricider clone

German startups may have a reputation for cloning others (thanks, Rocket), but sometimes it goes the other way — and one Berlin startup has just been copied in a particularly egregious way.

It’s enough to make you laugh, unless you’re the proprietors of brainstorming site Tricider. Somebody in Russia has just ripped them off with a site called, er, Tricider. The only appreciable differences are the language and the domain extension: .ru rather than .com.

Check it out:

Now that’s what I call chutzpah. For bonus points, spot the differences between the real Tricider YouTube promo and the… other one.

The Tricider team are somewhat in shock.

“We know there is a big discussion about ethics and morals of copycats,” CEO Stephan Eyl blogged on Wednesday.”Many people have argued for and against cloning. Let me just tell you: When it happens to you, you really feel like being robbed. It´s like you have been cooking dinner for your friends for hours and when you turn around someone else is already sitting at the table eating your dessert.”

Eyl and his colleagues gets alerts when Tricider is mentioned on Twitter, and that’s how they found out about the clone — a Russian-language tweet that linked to Tricider.ru. Right now they have no idea who’s behind the knock-off, but they’re getting help on that one.

“We’ve had great support from the Berlin startup scene,” Eyl told me. “Many don’t like the image of copying others, and being copied is also something new for everyone here. A couple of guys found us some links and they have a page on the Russian Facebook clone.”

Eyl said the Tricider team had managed to get in touch with the administrators of that page on VK.com, who claimed that they weren’t responsible for Tricider.ru, and that some other guy was sending them money to moderate the page. The real Tricider crew have tried to contact this person over ICQ, but without success.

After Eyl told me how to find that VK.com page, something funny happened. I noticed that, as of less than two hours ago, the administrators had put up a poll, asking fans of the rip-off site to vote on a new name!

“That’s great!” Eyl exclaimed.

You couldn’t make this stuff up. But seriously, Tricider, you might want to lawyer up.

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