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Summary:

An Indian operation copied the website of ExploreB2B so closely that the original code still showed, but backed down after little more than a challenging email.

Jonathan and Susanna Gebauer

Being copied is flattering at best, but being copied too closely is a pain. A few months ago it was Berlin’s Tricider that shamed a Russian outfit into at least changing its name from Tricider (it’s now Fortox, although it still looks very similar to the original site).

Now it’s the turn of the business social networking site ExploreB2B, which has informed me that it’s been ripped off by an Indian operation. This time round, at least, the cloners came up with a new name: The HR Connect.

If you click through there now, you’ll see a site that looks nothing like ExploreB2B. That was a different story yesterday, before I asked The HR Connect’s proprietors why their homepage copied wedges of text off ExploreB2B’s page — not to mention chunks of code.

Here’s what the pages looked like at that point:

The code was rather sloppily copied. In a slip-up reminiscent of Rocket’s pilfering of Fab.com code, the copy still included easy-to-find references to its origins, such as ‘ExploreB2B’ in filenames.

“We found out about the copy because the site is actually loading the CSS file from our server and showing up in our log files and referral tracking,” ExploreB2B’s Jonathan Gebauer, pictured with his sister and co-founder Susanna, told me.

Gebauer never got a response to the complaining email he sent The HR Connect, but he says he did get an email from someone congratulating ExploreB2B on its “deal with India”.

“While this may sound funny, it shows that we had to act as we do have a lot of members in India,” he said.

Oddly enough, The HR Connect didn’t get back to me either. I sent my message via their Facebook page, while Gebauer sent his email to an Indian company called Happy To Connect.

H2C’s website does claim responsibility for at least building The HR Connect’s website, but then again it also claims to have built the website for the band Linkin Park. Far as I can tell, that site was actually built by a company called The Uprising Creative.

In other words, it’s kind of hard to pin down who’s responsible for ExploreB2B’s erstwhile Indian doppelganger. But at least they’ve now stopped being so cheeky.

  1. Jeff Nicholas Thursday, August 2, 2012

    We had the exact same thing happen to us by an artist / art director in The Netherlands. He literally copied our entire site and swapped some of the content, but didn’t realize it was being run by WordPress so it was obviously breaking all over the place. How’d we find out? He left our google analytics code on the pages and we started seeing strange site referral activity. After about a week of threatening legal ramifications and explaining why what he had done was wrong, he finally changed his site.

    We did in fact build Linkin Park’s site, but it does look like this company you are battling is taking credit for that.

    Some people have no shame I guess.

    - The Uprising Creative

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    1. Jonathan Gebauer Thursday, August 2, 2012

      Hi Jeff,

      Sorry to hear that the exact same thing happened to you as well. It really is strange how shameless people can get. If you want to find out more about the company that claims to have done Linkin Park’s site, drop me an email and I will gladly provide you with all the info I was able to gather. You can reach me at jonathan (at) exploreB2B (.) com.

      Best,
      Jonathan (CEO exploreB2B)

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