Hi, I’m Jeff Sarmiento, a web designer from
Toronto, Canada and I enjoy making smokin’ websites.

Golly, this Website Sure Does Look Familiar

49 Comments

I’ve recently been notified by some of my sites visitors that the design I made for the mesh Conference website was ripped. I’ve had a design ripped before but never as blatant and close to my original design as this one. Here’s the mesh Conference website and below is the rip:

Pirated Website

www.webstrategija.com

My initial reaction was “Whoa!” Everything from the images to the source code was lifted right from the original mesh Conference website. They even left id=meshu in the source code. I have not contacted them directly but I have been told that they have been notified.

The real sad part is that the website is for a web conference in Croatia which focuses on web strategy, online marketing and how to be successful in todays web market. And it looks like the company and those who are responsible for the website are also the conference organizers. If these guys are trying to provide some sort value to the Croatian web community then I do hope they decide to change their ways soon.

Well they say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and I do have to say I was quite flattered when I first saw this website. But I think imitation to this extent is just plain lazy.

 

(49)
June 14/08 at 3:19 pm
Corinna:

Copycats are the worse, I hate that breed. That happened to me too, it is enraging. Good for you to publicly denounce the loser.

June 14/08 at 5:55 pm

Incredible! however, a bad imitation…the image header is deseeded! If their future is copy, will not go much ahead!

June 14/08 at 6:01 pm

True – the ripping is obvious. Sad those things happens, but at the other hand – “copying is a highest act of flattery”, so I guess you should be a little proud 😉

June 15/08 at 4:33 am
bee:

From the footer of the ripper theres alot of contact data:
Internet Softver d.o.o.
J. Brunšmida 6 (Knežija)
10 000 Zagreb
Hrvatska (Croatia)

E-mail:
info@softver.net
support@softver.net

Telefon (Phone):
+385 1 3837-163

Mobitel (Mobile):
+385 91 4466-704

Telefaks (Fax):
+385 1 3837-163

MB (Tax num.): 1898671

June 15/08 at 11:38 am
Jensen:

No offence but your own website has similar elements to scott hansen’s website. http://www.iso50.com/iso50.html

The link provided is an updated website, your current site looks rather similar to his site before he updated it. He’s been around more than 5 years…so I dun think anybody copied anybody here. Just remarking on the similarity.

June 15/08 at 1:07 pm
Davor:

Can’t understand how could they be so lazy and not even change the ‘id’ attributes in the source, or page width, or header height. That’s just stupid. As I can see from the meta tags the author is http://www.marketing-odjel.com.

I guess this is yet another incident of copycats in the Croatian web community (check http://www.hrt.hr vs http://www.bbc.co.uk).

June 16/08 at 2:46 am

WebStrategija is a minor event in Croatian Web. A much bigger one, indeed with regional focus, is Web.Start which happened about a month ago and has a more original site: http://webstart.ini.hr :)

June 16/08 at 3:09 am
Alex:

Jenson must be smoking rope. We’re not talking about similar dude, webstrategjia COPIED HIS CODE!!!! Every website has similar elements now a days, but you do not copy someones code! Another big problem is the fact that the guys running a web strategy conference can’t even build there own website. What a scam!

June 16/08 at 4:35 am
Jensen:

I am not condoning what webstrategjia is doing. I had a scumbag who copied one of my sites too. Read my comment before coming at me with some juvenile rope-smoking diatribe.

June 16/08 at 4:37 am
Jensen:

When I said I don’t think anybody copied anybody, I was referring to Jeff and saying that he didn’t copied Scott Hansen’s work. Duh.

June 16/08 at 5:45 am
Kit Barker:

It is frustrating when your code is copied, especially when you’ve spent hours ensuring it displays correctly cross-browser and such.

I’ve had people copy code AND content before, but so badly that some of my contact details were left in!

Unfortunately there’s nothing to do about it and it’s not worth stressing. The way I see it is that unless they’re directly competing with me, there isn’t any point in getting worked up. It is sad though.

June 16/08 at 6:23 am
Jensen:

My sentiments exactly Kit. I remember when I discovered a copycat version of one of my sites. I was fuming with rage but the part about “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” also rings true.

My support goes out to Jeff for his calm handling of this issue.

June 16/08 at 6:26 am
Danko:

this case just got some media exposure in the croatian press
http://sutra.hr/pregled/hi-tech-online/5610/marketinski-trik-ili-nova-sramota-domaceg-weba
the webstrategija people are justifying it saying it’s a par of an “experiment” :)

June 16/08 at 11:51 am
Jeff:

Hey everyone thanks for the feedback.

@Jensen: Many websites share similar design elements. So no offense taken.

@Davor: Yes those sites are very similar. Almost like they’re sister sites.

@Berislav: The Web.Start website looks great. Ivan the designer of that website was the first to let me know that WebStrategija stole my design. Cool guy.

@Alex: Ya, the fact that they’re running web strategy conference was kind of shocking.

@Kit: I agree that it’s not worth stressing about, for me at least. And I refuse to waste my time or energy on it. That is my reasoning on this issue right now but it may change in the future. Designers put a lot of thought and hard work into their creations but then only to have it ripped off in a matter of minutes… I can totally understand how some people get infuriated over it.

@Danko: If it was an experiment, it would be nice to let the original author in on it.

June 16/08 at 12:40 pm
EventManager:

@Jeff: Yes, this is all part of one private social-marketing research. When it will be finalized, author’s name and URL will be mentioned in original report. Sorry for misunderstanding and thanks to all participants in this research.

June 16/08 at 3:32 pm
Dan:

“private social-marketing research” = Please don’t call your lawyers :)

June 16/08 at 4:31 pm
Gary:

EventManager – Really?

Nice of you to say so on the site. Just admit you blatently copied this mans design and either (a) negotiate with him with regards payment or modification if the design is copyrighted by his original client, or (b) take the site down.

You mock the people that visit your site and you do the croatian web community an immeasurable disservice.

Jeff – you have a wonderful site, your design is very pleasing on the eyes and yet engadging at the same time (I refer to your jeffsarmiento site) I’m a budding web designer and it’s nice to be shown how good a well thought out and expertly created site can look.

June 17/08 at 10:15 am
Nick:

I hope this incident gets the kind of exposure it deserves.

I’m with Gary on this – either they should negotiate or remove the site. You’re well within your rights to take them to court for stealing your code [hassle]. However, if the offending company cannot be googled without this scandal appearing high in the ranking then with any luck it have a pretty serious impact on their business, regardless of their pathetic and insulting attempts at a PR cover-up.

Basically, everybody should tell everybody and then tell their dogs too 😉

June 17/08 at 10:41 am

It’s so frustrating but it happens all the time…

P.S. Awsome website!!!

June 18/08 at 5:13 am
EventManager:

Hey, guys! What are you all talking about? See WebStrategija.com! 😉

June 18/08 at 9:19 am

We have had our site (www.northcolour.com) copied numerous times now, and it’s only by receiving tip-offs from the community that you generally find out. That level of plagiarism is beyond lame and the people who do it must have next to no brains to think they won’t get found out.

Anyway, nice site, and lovely homepage. :)

James

June 18/08 at 10:39 am

Whoa! Looks like EventManager switched the WebStrategija.com design. I don’t know what this “private social-marketing research” means, but it sounds as shady as they seem to be acting. What’s with the wink at the end of the comment above? Seems kinda “douche-y”.

June 18/08 at 8:19 pm

i second the totally douche-y, but after all, isn’t it the sincerest form of flattery? nah. douche-bag!

June 19/08 at 12:58 pm

I third the douche. How to say it in Croatian?

June 30/08 at 2:22 pm

@Danielly, in Croatian? Most appropriate translation would be “debil”, oooor “sisach kurca”.

July 1/08 at 8:22 am

I’m fourthing the douche.

I had a site ripped once and the way I found out was through my Analytics – he left my tracker code in there! Plus the email mailto link on his contact page still pointed to my email address. Pillock.

July 8/08 at 5:53 pm

@Sinisa
lol… I agree with U :)

July 11/08 at 8:08 am

The site looks no different to any of these “web 2.0”, wordpress, style templates that are out there. You original could be compared to many other websites out there so i wouldnt complain.

July 18/08 at 7:18 am

Well I took a look at the website just know and the design is different (a lot worse now, imo).

July 20/08 at 9:03 am

Things like these are very frustrating! I’m glad they changed the look of their site now!

July 21/08 at 5:40 pm

Just sad, were is the creativity ???

August 27/08 at 8:19 pm
Bruno Canongia:

Oldschool!!!

December 5/08 at 12:41 pm

Hey bro, have you seen this?

http://www.ondrejvertat.cz/

December 5/08 at 6:50 pm
Jeff:

Jt,

Yes I have. I’ve been getting a flood of people sending me emails about his site.

He did email asking me to take a look at his site and if I had a problem with his design. I told him no and that he did a nice job. It’s not a blatant rip… more like inspired. Which is cool with me.

January 14/09 at 8:46 am

It’s always a good idea to stick a unique piece of code in your templates so that you can occasionally Google for rip-offs. Most people who do this sort of thing are lazy the begin with (that’s why they don’t design their own), so most likely they won’t remove a seemingly innocouous comment.

You can even wrap it in comment tags with something like “reminder to myself…this code is key to the structure of the page. do no remove.”

January 15/09 at 10:38 pm
Jeff:

Thanks John. Great tips! :)

February 8/09 at 6:59 am
ahmet:

heyy jeff. can give me ur theme very nice delight and some etc. haha perfect desings u very best designer. 😀

February 16/09 at 6:49 pm
Jay:

hey, i saw your pics of paradisus in Cuba on flickr – going this year, can’t wait! anyways, was just wondering what camera you used, the shots look stunning.

February 24/09 at 6:38 am
rufus:

UNBELIEVABLE!

March 2/09 at 6:31 am
Neven:

http://www.webstrategija.com just changed website 😉 They must have stole it now from someone else…
Just kidding new look is awful

July 16/09 at 7:20 am
Davros90:

I wouldn’t mention http://www.iso50.com/iso50.html in a thread about plagarism, seeing as that guy turned Boards of Canada fanboyism into a “inspired” multimedia career.

October 2/09 at 3:01 am

That kind of stuff happens all the time, I never understood why the code is publicily (I bet I spelled this wrong) available.

Anyway, people ussually recognize plagiarism. If they don’t and it’s some web development company, the first client should; I don’t think anybody got away with it.

Great job with your website anyway 😉

October 21/09 at 1:07 pm
Alias:

Wow those kinda people are total knob jockeys! Too untalented and lame to think for themselves. Its a wonder that they can actually replace the original text with their own.

What idiots!!

As for that other site http://www.ondrejvertat.cz/ you say inspired? Hm…the layout and dimensions are almost identical. Im glad you are seeing it differently.

I was working on a big ongoing ad campaign and i saw 3 other companies ripping off my ads and then printing them in the SAME publications the following month. One of those douchebag “designers” (in quotations cuz im sure they arent smart enough to be designers – lets just copy everyone else) copied 3 diffrent ads I’d created for the same campaign in a ROW!

And they did an appalling job too. What meatheads huh?

November 26/09 at 4:21 pm

Hey Jeff, its good you stayed humble about it. Copy coding/designing is a real pain and is pretty much avoidable. Keep up the good work!

November 26/09 at 4:21 pm

oops … i meant to say unavoidable! lol.

August 6/10 at 12:21 pm

some things never fade out, this web site is like a no no no, lesson learned

April 28/11 at 8:54 pm

There is a very thin line between being inspired by someone’s great work and just stealing it. Half the fun of doing websites is coming up with the design. Lazy Oafs….

May 15/11 at 1:17 am
Andrea:

What is sad about ripping off a website is that there are soooo many free layouts available! If you are not artistic enough to make one from scratch (that is me) then you can always get a free layout and just modify it for your needs. Am I correct?

September 7/11 at 1:48 am
ed:

Andrea you are definitely correct


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