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62 Comments

Somebody stole our work, then the indie community came to the rescue

Hey everyone,

This is the story of how something that started as horrible turned out to be positive, thanks to the indie community.

Part 1: the guy who stole our logos

Late last week, somebody was visiting our logo generator site and started speaking with me on the live chat.

As the conversation started, I noticed that he had been using at least 9 different IPs during his visit. This info was given to me by the chat app.

lots of different IPs

This made me a bit suspicious, as we limit the number of logos one can generate from the same IP. Maybe he was trying to bypass it? Couldn’t be sure though, as lots of our customers are developers, and use VPNs all the time.

But as the conversation started, it raised even more red flags. Note: the first message is automated and sent whenever somebody signs up.

conversation part 1

At this point I’m thinking that this guy is a bit cocky telling me « I would never buy it » but that it’s just that. Maybe it’s his personality? So I keep a helpful demeanor towards him. See how that turned out.

conversation part 2

I was in shock.

This guy comes to our website, uses tons of different IPs to generate as many logos as he can, and tells me that he’s going to convert it to SVG and not pay us a dime. I felt horrible.

Also, my cofounder is my wife, and she designs all the logos (she’s done more than 600 so far). So as her husband I was feeling extra pissed.

angry about my wife

Part 2: sharing with the indie community

I’ve been trying to be more active on Twitter lately, and so it was almost automatically that a few minutes after the conversation ended, I decided to share it.

tweet screencap

I don’t know what triggered so much sympathy, but I soon received a huge influx of love from the community:

  • other makers started sending messages of encouragement, cursing on that guy (this felt good 😄)
  • some people who had never checked out logology let me know they visited for the first time, and they thought it was awesome 😊
  • within minutes, someone’s bought a logo from us and replied that our app was genius. He was blown away by the result ❤️

Interacting with people also helped me realize that this guy wouldn’t go very far with the stolen logo.

It’s the dumbest thing to do when you’re starting a business since the more you grow, the greater the damages to pay for infringement will be. In all likelihood, it shows that he’s not serious about his « hobby project », and that he’ll abandon it pretty quickly.

It was just one hour since that terrible conversation happened. Yet by being able to talk about it with people, and receiving so much support, I was starting to feel okay again. The community saved my day.

Part 3: blowing up

It seemed like some people also found the conversation funny. When I look at it from a certain angle, I can see why. The guy is so obnoxious that it’s hard not to laugh at him 😂.

The combination of shock + fun + sympathy made for a pretty good tweet, and it started blowing up:

  • big accounts from the indie community started following me and liking the story. For example I got retweeted by Arvid Kahl. I even got to chat directly with some indie rockstars via DM, starting meaningful connections
  • I gained 50+ followers that day, and got ~500 visits to the site, even though I didn’t share the link or mention it directly
  • it led me to start a convo with another indie hacker with a design-related product, and we’re now looking to create a partnership between our two apps 🚀

I think it struck a chord with other makers because deep down we’re all scared that something like this happens to us.

What this teaches me is that although sharing your « wins » feels great, sharing your « losses » or moments of despair allows you to connect even more deeply with people. This was a beautiful realization for me.

Closing thoughts

A lot happened on that day.

It started off with some guy being a dick and bragging about stealing our work. I thought I was headed for a very low time emotionally.

But in mere hours, thanks to the support of the community and the success of the tweet, I got back on my feet. I also saw that this wasn’t such a big deal, since he won’t be able to do anything meaningful with it. So now I feel even better than before the whole thing.

Takeaways

  • no matter what you do, people will steal your work, don’t get fazed by it. People who steal are not serious about their business, so likely won’t go far with it anyway
  • sharing every part of your journey openly, not just the good parts, can lead to forming more meaningful connections with other makers
  • you never know what kind of tweet can go viral. Sometimes you spend hours writing the perfect one and it doesn’t do anything. And sometimes you just screenshot a convo you’ve had and it blows up. Share everything that feels worthy of sharing

One last thing, I actually replied to his last message. How do you think I handled it?

conversation part 3

That’s all, folks! Don’t let assholes ruin your day 🔥🚀!

  1. 8

    Hello everyone, I'm the logo designer.
    For my part, I was so hurt and shocked by the attitude of this guy!

    What hurts me the most (besides his outrageous and gross behavior) is that he doesn’t give a damn about all the experience, passion, and craft I put in my logos. I spent years studying and have been a professional graphic designer for more than 15 years, loving logos, being amazed by the projects of others.

    It might sound naive, but to me, designing logos for other people is one of the most beautiful things I can give in this world. I put my expertise in making something that will help someone else, I want people to have their dream logo. So, seeing this guy coming on logology.co and crushing it was heartbreaking…

    I guess it is one of the issues lately on the internet: many people think that everything is free there. They don’t want to know about the work it cost to others, so why not steal it? Maybe it is the same syndrome on social media with people who attack and bring hate: it is so easy to let go of their meanness behind an anonymous account.

    This story also brings the best of the internet community in the end! I felt so relieved by everyone’s support from the indie hacker community on Twitter, it means a lot to me! I didn’t think this story would bring so much compassion and sharing with the other makers. It’s amazing! I went from depressed to grateful and energized!

    Many thanks to @Melobleep @boristane @iwan_gulenko @genemachine @janetacarr! 💗

    1. 5

      Great writeup Dagobert. It definitely struck a chord with the community: making things is hard, and we are all proud of the little things we build. To have them not only stolen but have that flaunted in your face is infuriating.

      But I think the indie community is at its core very nice and supportive (even if there's competition at times), and I think you got to see that first hand.

      Much luck with logology! ❤️

      1. 5

        Thank you Hugo, your support has been amazing ❤️

        This whole thing actually led me to another realization this weekend.

        We've been postponing the launch of a major feature for months (free logo browsing) with various excuses... but after this guy came in I realized it was because we were unconsciously scared it would lead to more piracy.

        But now that this happened, I started to realize we should never hurt the experience for the sake of "protecting" us against people like him. And he's not gonna achieve much anyway, so he doesn't even matter.

        Now super psyched and full of energy to finally ship that "free browsing" feature, so that everyone from the community can see the amazing work of Lucie 😍.

    2. 4

      It's so weird that he copied your logo instead of just using one of the many generators out there. It clearly speaks to the quality of your wife's work over what's out there. Still.. if you are going to steal people's stuff, why not use the other freely available tools... just weird.

      1. 4

        Yeah, seems like he wanted to brag that he could do it or something? Some people just need that weird feeling of power.

      2. 3

        Trolls will always prefer to piss off people instead of grabbing free stuff.
        Also, the quality of the logos is far better than those you can find for free.

    3. 2

      Hey Dagobert! So glad to hear that you end up reverting to the situation! When I heard your story, it felt close to me as a maker.

      We know how much effort you and your wife put on those logos, so it's natural to feel furious about what that troll was doing to you.

      1. 1

        Thank you Mauro, I feel very seen and love that you appreciate our hard work ☺️

    4. 2

      That last gtfo had me rolling man🤣🤣. You did well💯👌. That guy obviously won't get far and I hope he crashes and burn much sooner if that's how he plans to start and grow a startup. Idk where these trolls come from but they're getting worse, I tell ya!
      Have faith man, your team's hardwork definitely won't go unnoticed. To the moon🚀

      1. 2

        Haha glad you loved it Romaine! Let's keep pushing, and leave these trolls in the dust 🚀

  2. 5

    Thank you for sharing the story mate. Whenever people are interested in stealing my project I treat it as flattery because it means they like it enough to want to put in the time and effort to want to be part of it :)

    1. 1

      That's so right Nathan. We didn't think about that initially, but yeah I guess we're worth stealing from 😎

  3. 3

    Tried logology about a year ago, you guys have some super cool designs and concept. Unfortunately I was on a super tight budget at the time.

    1. 1

      Reeves that’s awesome, thank you for the kind words. Let me know if it becomes an option for you soon and I’ll hook you up 🚀

  4. 3

    Thanks for sharing your story! It's great that you've taken this situation and saw something good in it. I also checked out your website and it looks amazing. Saved it for one of my future projects. Thanks 😊

    1. 2

      Thank you so much Stefanie, I'm glad that you like it! Looking forward to seeing you there when your project starts 😃.

  5. 3

    I have to say, I am really impressed with the design process. What I like the most ( even though I did the test logo version ) is the explanation of an element, for example:

    “The mechanical triangle symbolizes the capacity to build harmony and a desire to go higher.”

    Definitely something that you don’t see with other logo generators.

    1. 1

      Thank you so much Jan! My wife actually spends about 1/10th of her time writing these for each and every single logo. I'm glad you found it interesting 😀.

  6. 3

    He literally drops his company name on your site as he is robbing you! This is like the guys that rob a gas station and drop their wallets as they flee. In addition, you can take the logo graphic and use google image search to see if google indexed it in its image database.

    My brain has become so hardwired for marketing advantages I thought while reading that thread "Hey I wish someone would do that to me if it results in mad exposure" LOL.
    Getting robbed and then having someone fake their own robbery for twitter followers would be a bit too meta though....

    1. 1

      I think you're right that he is NOT a bright bulb. We do check google images from time to time + he even signed up with his gmail (I have his profile pic if you're curious)... I think he mostly wanted to brag. Or maybe he's really dumb, can't cross that one out either.

      About the marketing, this reminds me of a French web design agency who got number one spot on Google because... they had been robbed of all their iMacs, and they had footage of it from security cameras. It made headlines in all major media, and made their SEO jump through the roof.

      I was always mad at them from having "won" the SEO war like that. And I always wondered if it wasn't staged after all?

      But being on the other end of it now, I honestly didn't know how it would turn out. I suspected that it could get enough sympathy to go "viral", but was alsopretty scared that our existing customers would get mad at it (because they would feel wronged from somebody else getting the logo that they paid for without paying a dime).

  7. 3

    Thanks for this awesome story!

    sharing every part of your journey openly, not just the good parts, can lead to forming more meaningful connections with other makers

    Look, seems like creators is your direct audience. Will it be a good idea to share losses and struggles if creators is not your direct audience?

    1. 2

      Thank you Artur!

      In a way you're right, this is the story of a struggle that our audience experiences themselves, so that's why it resonated so strongly.

      But it still seems like being vulnerable and sharing about some of your struggles are worth it. We're so tired of seeing "success this" and "success that" from different people, that we don't even care about it when it appears in our feed. Stories of hurt and fear and vulnerability are less common, and touch us more deeply I think.

      So it depends on the cases, but it's likely worth exploring regardless of the industry.

      1. 2

        Agree with you! This is also catch my attention.

        BTW I also want to become your client because that story showed me your great product. That's what I call to break through the noise :)

        There's an issue, I don't have a business right now. Me with my mate (he is a programmer) actively seeking for idea worth execution.

        It will be awesome if you would help such guys as we are. Show the pass + full stack design package.

        Is it ridiculous idea, what do you think?

        1. 1

          Thank you mate! I don't want to get away from logos too far from now. We might do website design though.

          I think https://www.softwareideas.io can help you out for the idea phase. He's a fellow indie hacker and his newsletter (paid but worth it) gives you legit ideas worth executing.

          He did his logo with us by the way.

          Let's go 🚀

  8. 2

    Haha absolutely dealt with him. Stealing across 9 IPs (reasonable effort) even though they would "never buy it" is the best form of flattery!

    1. 1

      haha I guess 😂. We don't protect only by IP so I think that's why he tried so many. Probably didn't work as well as he'd hoped.

  9. 2

    Your site really looks awesome. Congrats :)

  10. 2

    Damn this is ugly.

    How did he steal them in the first place? Don't you have a paywall?

    1. 1

      Hey Sudharshan, no there's no paywall. The idea of our app is you get the results instantly, without paying anything upfront. You only pay if you find something you like and want to use it 😉

      1. 2

        Hmm. My 2 cents.

        The indiehacker community is friendly and won't steal from you, but there are only around 500-1000 of them. Most of your customers will probably come from outside and you'll face stuff like this. People may steal even without telling you.

        Would suggest setting up a watermark/make the logo really small and unusable or something to get people to pay.

        1. 2

          Thanks for taking the time to look into it.

          We've been debating this with my wife for at least a year, since it's a very hard problem to solve.

          As soon as you add watermarks, it kills the user experience and decreases sales, as it prevents people from really imagining their brands.

          Our designs are also very "simple" visually, which means that even with a watermark / low resolution, anybody with half decent Adobe Illustrator skills can remake it in minutes.

          So we figured that we might as well keep it open to improve the experience of the people who pay.

          Also if somebody steals it and their project gets big enough, we would notice and be able to sue for significant damages.

          But it's not a perfect solution, and we're always questioning it to be honest 🤷‍♂️

  11. 2

    Great work turning this into a positive story!

    1. 1

      Thank you Ty, yeah I feel like the support from the community helped me see it under a positive light pretty fast 🚀

  12. 2

    What the devil meant for evil, God turned if for good. He stole, you gained customers and am sure more will come your way.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. 1

      I agree... when this happened, I started saying to myself that I just had to keep doing good work and that it would pay off in the end. People like him are just a distraction on the path to goodness.

  13. 2

    I think your "gtfo" response was perfect 💯

    Man you're a very patient man. Had I got into this convo with this jerk, I'm not sure I can be as calm as you.

    You're right. Jerks with mindset like this won't go far. What goes around comes around.

    Come to think of it, you should email this jerk and thank him for blowing up your tweet and landing you relationships + potential partnerships!

    1. 2

      Thank you Welly 🙏

      I just assumed that he might not have been serious, that he was just joking at the start. Also, I've been chatting with hundreds of clients, and some of them are just very rude at the beginning, but then become nice once you talk to them normally...

      But not with this guy haha, he really wanted to mess with me.

      Won't write to him though, don't want him to feel like it was that important, he would probably like it.

      1. 2

        "some of them are just very rude at the beginning, but then become nice once you talk to them normally..."

        --> 😅😅 really? Wow that's a shocker for me. Why do people have to be rude anyway 😒

        1. 2

          Haha yeah. Some guy once was very blunt, not even saying hi and said something like: "I can get a unique logo made for $10, why would I pay you $99?"

          I was like: "cause what you've shown me your guy can do for $10 doesn't really reflect your company or your values, and it has a few visual mistakes in it"

          And he went: "yeah you're right, will buy one from you soon thanks".

          Well he never purchased but that ended way better than I expected 😂

  14. 2

    But don't tell anyone 🤫😳

    1. 1

      it creeped me out when I first read it Stefan 😳

      1. 2

        All good mate can understand.

        I'll probably buy a logo pretty soon, think all you can do is move on can't waste your time with all the trolls it's a losing battle.

        1. 1

          Yeah let’s forget this dude...

          Hit me up in the chat whenever you’re looking for the logo, but don’t spook me like this guy 😂

          1. 1

            Plot twist: It's me 😁

    1. 1

      yeah that guy was something else...

  15. 2

    Been to the site and it looks amazing, well-designed and original🚀. Well done to you and your wife👏🏾. I did notice you forgot the favicon though😉.

    1. 2

      Thank you for the kind words anesu 🙏
      Working on the favicon right now, people keep telling me that 😂

  16. 2

    Hey @dagorenouf, love the story! If you don't mind me asking, what chat tool are you using?

    1. 1

      Thank you Spencer! We're using https://www.crisp.chat solid and cheaper alternative to intercom IMO.

      1. 1

        Hey @dagorenouf thanks for the heads up.

        I just shot you a crisp chat about creating a Median if you are interested 😁

  17. 1

    I have mixed feelings. For sure this guy was acting bad, however, sharing a private conversation publicly also doesn't seem right.

    1. 1

      I can understand the feeling. Keep in mind that I didn't share his name or picture though, not even the name of his company. So there's no way of knowing who he is.

  18. 1

    "no matter what you do, people will steal your work, don’t get fazed by it. People who steal are not serious about their business, so likely won’t go far with it anyway"

    Unless you are like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, lol. Building in public is very risky.

    1. 1

      I see your point but what do you suggest people do? I mean it's not like I can grow my business without putting it online for everyone to see (and so maybe copy).

      1. 2

        It depends. If you are building an open source product like Plausible Analytics where Google Analytics and GDPR are your frenemies, you are good at IH. However, most other SaaS businesses will only get hurt by extra exposure among would-be entrepreneurs and hungry part-time coders.

        1. 1

          A risk for sure. Enough people doing it though to suggest the benefits outweigh the risks?

          I am somewhere in the middle on this one, ie #buildincommunity

          1. 2

            Look how many competitors Veed.io now has... extra exposure? Sure!
            Most people flirt with public forums for two reasons:

            1. Get some initial traction while they are small and unattractive to copy.
            2. Tease investors for would-be acquisition offers
              Most other people enjoy the silence of steady cashflow))
        2. 1

          Interesting, would love to see if you have an example of that. I know that this can happen, just don't see how it can really kill an indie project.

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