I love social media and at the moment (it changes regularly) my favourite medium is Instagram. I love being able to peek into other facilitators’ classrooms and share top tips and I find it easy to connect there.
So there I was one day, scrolling through, when I saw an announcement from another facilitator that she was revamping her website, in the vein of “Watch this space. New website coming”. I liked it and commented that I was looking forward to seeing it when it launched – and then moved on.
On the same day I got a direct message from her. I’ve attached it below. It says …
“so you know the saying imitation is the greatest form of flattery – well be prepared to be flabbergasted when you see my new website. I admittedly used your website as my inspiration – so thank you!!!!”
I know what you’re going to say. That response should have made my spidey-senses tingle and put me on alert. But the truth is that when you’re building a new website, it’s normal to look at many other websites for inspiration so you get what you want. I responded minimally and moved on.
Eventually her launch day came. I saw the link on Instagram and went for a look and saw … my website. It’s not my intention to attack this person, so no I’m not going to post a link – but I’m going to take time to explain what I mean. It’s not the content that’s been copied. It’s pretty much the entire shell. The layout.
On my Homepage I have pics that scroll across the top. So does she. Under that I have a section with “Get to know Dana” and 4 ways. She has a similar section that looks just like it. Then I have a block for testimonials. So does she. It’s all in the same order as mine. It looks just like mine. And the Homepage is just the start.
After showing it to some neutral parties (to verify that I wasn’t going completely crazy and had indeed been copied), I reached out to my web developer. He explained that while she had indeed completely lifted my format, she did not use copyrighted content or any of my images. And sadly, taking my format isn’t illegal. After all my website, and all websites are in the public domain.
That didn’t make me feel better. I was still livid. I had 2 options. Seethe with rage or confront her. I decided to confront her. Surprisingly she replied all apologetic and said that she would make changes (see below). Unsurprisingly she didn’t.
I went back to my web developer just to make 100% sure that there was nothing we could do. He replied and changed the situation for me forever. He wrote:
“Dana you have to let this go. To be honest even with her copying you your website looks 10 times better than hers. Hers is a replica, but a cheap and failed one because your website is highly customised and represents your vision, your dreams and who you are. You can feel your touch all over it. It is uniquely you and she will never be able to copy who you are.”
With those words, he freed me. I was wasting my time being angry. She can copy all she wants. But she will never be Dana The Trainer.