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18 Comments

App known for ripping people off keeps signing up for my app. What do I do?

I've been warned by many indie hackers about a scammy twitter app on the market that copied features from them down to the last pixel.

Lo and behold.. They started signing up for my app! 5-6 email addresses per day from the company domain. (At least try to hide it...)

I've been collecting their IP's to block individually. Obviously, everything gets copied eventually (I know this!) and I guess it's nice that they're so obsessed with signing up to copy my work so early on!

But isn't it a little shameless/clueless to sign up with your competitors company domain name? And I hesitate to call them a competitor because I consider my app authentic.

It's also funny that they are constantly calling out other indie hackers for copying their unique ideas (Yes, auto retweets is Apple esque original! Ha) but they do the same thing to others... o_0

What would you do in this situation?

  1. 3

    There's not a lot you can do unfortunately, but instead of blocking by ip, as that is a little like playing wack a mole, but if they are signing up from their company domain, you could maybe implement domain email blocking as well so you can block any signs up where email is @example.com.

    1. 1

      Thank you! I will do that!

  2. 2

    It's a cat and mouse game that ultimately will exhaust you.
    Focus on building a great brand through social media so you'll have a loyal customer base.

  3. 1

    I'd say blocking the @ domain name would be the easiest.
    or
    Grey hat trick: let them register and redirect them to an old version of your app.

    But don't put give them too much attention. Keep an eye on them but focus on improving your app.

  4. 1

    Curious: How are they ripping people off?

    Also, not sure how people are suggesting that you can just block them: You can't block them, people know how to use VPNS nowadays.
    You could add a paywall so they have to use valid credit cards to access and then blacklist that..but even that can be faked.

    Ultimately if they want to get in, they will get in, no matter what SMS/email/IP/2FA system you decide to apply....your best bet is to just ride the wave and get more people on your side than them!

  5. 1

    I am really curious now. Who are they? Based on your description, one app comes to my mind. But my brain wants me to confirm.

    1. 1

      Hahaha I don’t want to crap on competitors. But it’s probably that app 😬

  6. 1

    Either they just don´t care or they do it intentionally to distract you from work is my guess.

    1. 1

      That is so funny! I would have never thought of that. 🤣 Jokes on them because I’ve been busy (packing for a move and company I work for got acquired) so I’ve done that to myself!

  7. 1

    It sucks, but there's not a lot you can do, unfortunately. I wouldn't even bother because even if you "block" them, how do you know they'll not just use another email every time? Or a dynamic IP? In the end, if they want to, they'd still get there in an anonymous status (even more stressful to think about).

    So don't waste your time / energy. Copy-cats will get you no matter what. Remember there's a long distance between copying a product and making that product successful. You have the advantage. You know your product, you have the expertise and also the audience to excel in the market.

    Don't let these things bring you down or even distract you ;)

    1. 1

      Thank you :) Good points! And that makes me feel a lot better. I guess I should take it as a compliment that they’re so desperate to rip me off. I do know in the long run that if I keep it up, my product will win. I think people will stop using their product as it becomes clear that retweeting your own tweets over and over doesn’t lead to genuine results. Guess I just have to keep building authentically!!

  8. 1

    That's unfortunate. Can you share their name, just so we'd be warned? A couple of things:

    1. Block any email that comes from the domain (as others have suggested).
    2. Block the entire subnet of IPs if they are corporate. You'll know this if the IPs are fairly similar. If they run in AWS, though, no kinda have no choice but to continue blocking them one by one.
    3. I'm not familiar with Twitter apps, but you could maybe reach out to Twitter and report them.
    1. 1

      I worry about keeping it classy so I’ll DM you! They have quite a bit of bad press though so pretty easy to find as well for anyone reading this.

      What basis could I report them on?

  9. 1

    Can you block them - ip and domain name? And if not, just review the new signups manually and remove the scammers.

    Then, maybe send an email telling them you're aware of their move and reminder them how illegal it is?

    1. 1

      I've blocked the domain name and have been removing them manually so far :/

      Also, how is it illegal? It's gross and they have zero ethics but is it illegal to rip people off? They do agree to my terms at login that specifically say this is illegal but I didn't know it was that legally enforceable

      1. 2

        If it's again your TOS then it's enforceable I think.
        Not sure it worth it tho... Threatening them well maybe works

        If it's not working then, I'm with @andreboso:

        Name & shame

    1. 1

      Hahaha I wouldn’t want to lower myself to their level. DM me on Twitter though and I can share.

      It’s not hard to find though..

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