Earlier this year, AskGamblers founder Igor Salindrija had a flash of inspiration and decided to completely redesign his signature site.
Over the next few weeks, Salindrija poured his heart and soul into the project. He put in long hours; compiled a design bible to keep himself on track; and came up with an entirely new look and feel that’s been a big hit with his readers.
A few months later, a nameless casino affiliate decided his site needed a similar look. Fortunately, for this guy anyways, he didn’t have to put in much effort to achieve the same ends as Salindrija. This ripoff artist just stole Salindrija’s design lock, stock and barrel and was up and running in no time.
We recently sat down with Salindrija to find out more about how these ripoff artists operate; what kind of damage they do; and how casino affiliates can protect themselves against them. Here’s what he had to say.
Anatomy of a Ripoff
Inspiration is a fluid concept and just about every web designer draws a spark of inspiration from somewhere else. The problem with ripoff sites is that they don’t just borrow one or two design elements, they steal entire designs without making a single change.
Take a look at these examples Salindrija provided us:
As you can see, these ripoff artists have gone well beyond using AskGamblers as a design inspiration and skipped directly to stealing Salindrija’s work out right.
Salindrija’s reaction to the ripoff artists is nowhere near as visceral as you might imagine. He told us that he usually runs across these sites by accident, or gets the heads up from a friend.
When he finally gets a look at the pilfered pages his first reaction is something more like pity than anger.
Again? It seems like that all world’s creativity bypasses our industry.
He also acknowledges that much of the blame for ripoff sites lies with dirty designers who peddle templates from pre-existing sites to unsuspecting affiliate marketing newbies.
So far, as I understood, it’s the problem in affiliates who hire cheap designers and give them AskGamblers as a good example, but sometimes designers go too far, so it ends up as a clone or the original site.
While ripoff artists may not think that stealing a website design is a big deal, they clearly don’t realize how much time and effort they’re really stealing in terms of both design and brand building efforts, as Salindrija explains:
First, I don’t like the fact that someone just copied something that we put so much time, effort, blood, sweat and tears into. Second, I wouldn’t want someone to think that the cheap copy is actually our website, or the website we partner with.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of legal action that’s worthwhile for victims of ripoff artists to take. Besides making them aware of the fact that they’re using stolen property, lawsuits and the like aren’t really worth the effort.
Salindrija’s take is dead on, affiliates who ripoff other site designs, or rely on stolen designs, aren’t just hurting the businesses they’re stealing from, they’re hurting themselves. After all, you can only count on stolen property to get you so far in this business:
It’s better having something unique and original even if it’s not perfect from the start. We weren’t that good in the beginning either, but we always stuck to our own style and vision. In the long run, you’ll improve it and build your own identity. If you copy it in order to look good at the beginning, you’ll always be a cheap and dirty copy, and no one will appreciate that.