Web Success = Populate & Promote

I recently saw a job posted on a web developer recruiting website. It involved some people looking for coders to make a copy of my web business and livelihood www.rentoid.com. What was interesting was the lack decorum shown in the coder recruiting process where the person said – build me a replica of this website. Here’s a screen print of it below.

I was a bit annoyed at first. and sent out a tweet to assess the mood of my army of advisers on twitter. I tweeted the following:

Not sure what to think of this? http://bit.ly/cYR5FI A compliment or IP rip off with me and @rentoid as the victims? Help! Thoughts?

The responses were varied, but all were within the theme of this person clearly does not get what it takes. Here’s some verbatim of the tweet responses:

xshay don’t worry about it – we saw a guy offering to build redbubble for < $1000 once. A) not going to happen, B) not about the tech

shandsaker same thing happened to us. Just be confident that $750 and a 2 line project brief is $750 better spent on beer:-)

TimBull if they can only spend $750 to build it, quality won’t be there and they won’t stick it – betcha the coding was trivial part

BLKMGK01 Congrats man. Business must be huge if other people want to start ripping off ur ideas. U should apply to design the site! haha.

BrentHodgson Don’t let it worry you. You know that @Rentoid is more than the sum of its tech parts – & that it wasn’t a $750 job to create.

lukerides precisely…all about execution, so I would not worry…if they do a better job than you, they were always going to anyway!

I pretty much knew this before I tweeted the issue, but it did force me to think about web marketing success, and the success of rentoid to date and I came to the following conclusion. It’s not about the tech. In fact, the tech is pretty low down on the list of things needed for any website to succeed. And if i had to give my nemesis some advice on how to succeed in copying me it would be to do these two things:

Populate and Promote.

This is what needs to be done with any classified style website to succeed, and it takes a lot of time and investment. Investment in  financial and human capital. The problem with being 2nd, 3rd or later is that all the easy promotional opportunities like this are taken by the market innovator. And populating your website to make it meaningful takes a lot of boot leather, which is something many web entrepreneurs are afraid of.



  1. Scott Kilmartin · February 12, 2010

    Very few second-to-markets ever make it [yes kids don’t choke on your java….i have heard of that thing known as an ipod]. Most ‘seconds’ aren’t Apple.

    You are an unusual cat Samma, I still think kneecap first when i see copy cats scouting around.

    Sleep easy [with half an eye open anyway]

    • Andre Sammartino · February 12, 2010

      Scott, the data on this issue is very, very weak. The jury is well and truly out on first-mover vs second-mover (and, indeed, late-mover) in terms of ultimate success.

      One of the biggest problems with the “first to market” is that often the public perception of who was first is merely reflective of who survived (i.e. the actual second, third or 4th to market was the first to get any traction and pioneers are thrown in the trashcan of history… think C.Columbus vs Leif Ericson)…

      • Steve Sammartino · February 12, 2010

        Actually the data is a lot stronger than you think Andre. The thing you both forget was teh second law of marketing (22 laws) which says first to ‘mind’ beats first to market…


  2. Tim Lovitt · February 12, 2010

    I’ve given given advice to competitors. To do so generally means you’re ahead in the first place, so why not? Quoting Buffet “We don’t have to be smarter than the rest, we have to be more disciplined than the rest”

    Tim Lovitt (@timlovitt via twitter)

    • Steve Sammartino · February 12, 2010

      Yeh, cool… I also subscribe to the concept that it is easy to know what to do, much harder to be able to do it. #ideasarefree

      Steve Sammartino

      • Sam Sabey · February 12, 2010

        Love it.

        Someone said that once – I think @rexter praps? A million ideas come along every day, very very few ever get the “guts” behind ’em.


  3. Sam Sabey · February 12, 2010

    It’s a compliment!

    Sure, they may rip off your website, but remember what you have today is what you’ve already done – and it’s in the public domain.

    The important stuff is what you’ve learnt, the infrastructure you’ve put in place, and what you will do next. That can’t be just ripped off.

    …and I nearly forgot, your customers. The most important of all.


  4. Luke · February 12, 2010

    It’s not crazy since they aren’t really a threat. If they had a bunch of money/resources it would be a diff story!

    Luke (@lukedvp via twitter)

  5. Michelle Matthews · February 12, 2010

    It’s a classy move Stevie! And you are a classy guy. I would always endorse doing the unexpected and telling the truth. You’re great at both. Besides we all know that the public face of our businesses reflects years of thinking, ideas and understanding from the past. You’re already light years ahead.

    I wouldn’t want to take on a break dancer of your calibre.

  6. Jonathan Lai · February 12, 2010

    I think it’s quite alright that you’re sharing this information with the competitor.

    At the end of the day if they were serious about trying to compete with rentoid and if they put in the time and effort equal to or greater than what you have to get rentoid off the ground then kudos to them.

    You know you’re on a good thing when you have someone trying to emulate it so take it as a complement!:)



  7. Crazy · February 12, 2010

    The idea is the easy bit. Discipline,passion, ability, timing, strength, endurance, capital, connections, and probably a few more should gave been added to the $750 brief!

  8. Michael Fox · February 12, 2010

    It’s a good post, I like your approach with it.

    Michael (@mmmichaelfox via twitter)

  9. Andre Sammartino · February 12, 2010

    You’re funnny Steve… “Laws of Marketing”… comedy gold… there are no “laws” of human behaviour…

    (sorry, you don’t allow 4th tier comments, so I can’t reply to your reply above)

    • Steve Sammartino · February 12, 2010

      it’s about as funny as economics thinking it’s a maths discipline:)

      • Andre Sammartino · February 12, 2010

        Which is why i don’t call myself an economist… and you’re underestimating what economists think of themselves and their capabilities… they are “everything”

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