Q&A : I have a good idea for a startup. I am trying to develop it myself. But how can I make sure that no one will copy my website idea?

Here is an interesting question on an online forum, and the response from our Editor:

I have a good idea for a startup. I am trying to develop it myself. But how can i make sure that no one will copy my website idea and build a better website of the same idea?

Will copyrighting helps in doing this? Also, When i finish publishing this website, how can i deliver it to the public?

I think you are looking at the wrong end of the stick. Your focus should be more on your idea and less about someone copying it. The tech world is full of ideas copied over and over, but more than copying, execution is the key.

Back in 1999 during the first dot .com era, I started a portal: Garamchai.Com … for the desi in pardes

The idea was fairly successful and enjoyed organic growth. The business model was rather simple -by current eCommerce standards – although the idea was cash-flow positive from day one! Why?

Because content is king, and we had unique content that visitors and users valued.

Fast forward 5?6 years. Other entrepreneurs and web-developers looking for content realized it was easy to plagiarize content from Garamchai.Com and some began copying content from our listings. We went after them and issued warnings and legal notices. A few websites removed content but like weeds in a farm, others would reappear within weeks and copy the content, and the cycle continued. So, what are the lessons here:

  • Can anyone copy your unique idea? Sure? but think of how your idea stands out from others
  • Content, especially unique content presented in a timely way is still valued
  • One can try to minimize plagiarism but it requires continual time and resources to go after every single person or website copying. Learn to draw the line and focus on the core
  • Copyrighting unique content may help. However, protecting a copyright also requires $$s (lawyers, notices etc)

Second part of your question is interesting – how can I deliver it to the public? –

  • You need to publish the website and based on your budget, plan for a social media campaign
  • Do you have an existing social media network – facebook, twitter followers etc – leverage these by publicizing the idea
  • Are you engaged in other forums? Leverage that network
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