May 2, 2020

All of my content is stolen by an IndieHacker

Bugra Ozkan @bozkan

Word-by-word, line-by-line, all my website's content is stolen by @daxeelsoni. All 420+ programs, 20+ data points. Please help me about what actions I should take. He even launched it on PH, omg.

--UPDATE-- He desperately started changing some information after I told him he was even using my sponsor links. Initial version is available here if you're interested 👇

https://web.archive.org/web/20200502084009/https://startuparound.com/startup-incubators-and-accelerators

My product: incubatorlist.com
My PH launch: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/incubator-list

This is his launch with my stolen content: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/400-startup-accelerators

It is the same word by word, line by line, bit by bit, every single word. I don't know what to do, but all my efforts are stolen in a minute, this is so sad.

  1. 26

    Not a popular opinion time...

    The idea doesn't seem all that original and "making a list that was aggregated from the web" isn't really a piece of IP you can defend. You're quite aware of this one competitor because they allegedly directly stole your stuff, but there's probably 100+ other similar sites out there.

    In fact, here's the top link on the Googs for me:
    https://thembaisdead.com/list-of-startup-accelerators-and-incubators/
    Incidentally, they are touting the same 400+ number are you :thinking:

    The other site looks leaps and bounds better than yours (more professional, and more like something I would be okay using), so I can understand feeling extremely slighted over the situation, as it seems you're quite passionate about what you've done.

    It sucks when this happens, I know from experience a few times over (and yes, even once with a "fellow" IHer). Your best course of action is to beat them with a better product. When you engage with a slander fest it makes you look extremely petty, and your time could always be invested better than that.

    As the old saying goes, if you're going to wrestle with pigs, you're going to get dirty. And the pig likes it.

    On the bright side, competition tends to be a good thing and most "me too" knock-off types tend to not be very passionate about what they are doing, and are simply looking to cash in quick. Because of this, if you stay your course you very well could come out ahead as their interest will die off as they move onto the next "me too" product.

    1. 9

      I agree with many points you mentioned, but you're missing a point there: incubatorlist isn't just a list of links. Most of these 400+ programs have 15+ data points, deadlines, statistics, which I've collected one-by-one, and they are all up-to-date. I was exploring Mba is Dead a year ago, and half of the programs were dead.

      If he just collected the names/links of the programs in incubatorlist.com, I could say that it's fine. But he copied all the data points, categories that I collected with a great effort. incubatorlist is getting 700+ users each day although it is a 3-month-old project. I think it is because of this valuable, detailed, up-to-date data, even the UI is not great.

      1. 6

        If I missed the point, then your copy didn't get the point across.

        Your main copy is exactly: "A curated list of 400+ best startup incubators and accelerators". How in the world did you expect me to know about these 15+ data points and stuff if you don't tell me?

        If we're talking about points being missed, my primary point here wasn't to critique your product, it was to let you know that wasting time trying to fight this guy is time and focus taken away from your own project.

        1. 2

          I definitely agree with you, as I now realize my copy is old & insufficient. Thanks for exposing it to me, which I was not aware of. Bad description decreases the value of my product.

          And I agree with you about where my focus should be on. He costed me 1 day + my nerves, which should never have happened.

  2. 18

    Hey, I see that on PH page there are a lot of comments about it. So I'm pretty sure you can complain to the PH support and they'll just delete the project.

    Regarding content. I'm not that SEO / content aware, but I think the original is always ranked higher.

    Plus anyway, copying other project is a dead-end. No worries.

    Upvoted you both here and on PH (I mean your product page) :)

    1. 2

      I've complained about it to PH, waiting for their review. Thanks a lot for your support Victor, this is really important for me!

  3. 15

    Hey Bugra,
    That's indeed painful. To be honest, you shouldn't worry much about it. People do that all the time with all sorts of successful projects.
    Instead, focus your efforts on making it even better. Copycats are usually looking to make quick bucks. But they fail miserably as they have no vision of their own and will shut down.
    At Promotehour, our model was copied like 4-5 times. Some of them even copied our FAQ as well as how it works, word by word. It bothered initially but now we don't care as it's more about execution.

    1. 5

      Oh, dear! This is getting murky. Looks like this guy copied Jonapr as well.
      We ran a offer on Indiehackers - free access to all the lists. This guy downloaded all the list and created a site: http://mystartuppr.com/index.html

      1. 6

        Jit, could you please inform about it to PH or IndieHackers? I am very unhappy to share a great community with such people. This is becoming soo annoying.

        1. 10

          Yeah, I will put it on Indiehacker. Not just that, I will take it up with Cyber Crime Police here in India. It's shameful that I have to share citizenship with idiots and thieves like @daxeelsoni

      2. 4

        @rosiesherry please see this, it is getting bigger:(

      3. 3

        OMG, I can't believe it. I am in shock right now.

      4. -11

        This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

        1. 2

          This comment was deleted 5 months ago.

    2. 2

      Hey Jit,

      Thanks a lot for your support, this kind of words relieve me a lot as I've been very unhappy since this morning.
      Definitely agree with you, and I am more decisive than ever to make my project much better. I hope I will forget about these kind of bad memories when I make it better.

  4. 10

    Just proves you were doing important work. It sucks. Keep building my friend.

    1. 4

      Thanks a lot my friend, your support is very important for me.

  5. 7

    please rusticate @daxeelsoni immediately from the community. thievery should not be permitted. this is really sad.

  6. 7

    To be honest, it's super shity the situation I hope this never happens to me, but this os the real world and this happens.

    In this situation you should focus on doing press to increase awareness and reaching out to people, growing SEO and then, you just can kick him out from the market

    1. 1

      Definitely agree with you Victor, I am now focused more than ever, on improving the product & increasing its visibility. These are just small but annoying obstacles to be ignored. Hope you never have such experiences! Thanks for the support.

      1. 2

        If you want to chat to review your growth strategy and try to improve it, you can find me here https://twitter.com/devictoribero

        hugs

        1. 1

          Connected, will defintely do! Thanks dude!

    1. 2

      And also we can go to his profile to report him. I understand similar ideas or building a better on but blatantly copying just crosses the line for me.

      1. 1

        I didn't know that Vamsi, thanks a lot for letting me know about it. I hope people already reported him, and hope IH does sth against him.

    2. 2

      Yes, I've contacted her. Thanks!

  7. 7

    He is using my own affiliation links, and he is not aware of it, because he didn't care to steal someone else's efforts! He didn't even change a single word, omg.

    1. 1

      This comment was deleted 5 months ago.

  8. 4

    Upvoted yours @bozkan and downvoted that piece of trash @daxeelsoni. We've had a few people straight up copy our source code at Logojoy/Looka and publish it as their own logo maker. It's freaking annoying, but it's a sign you're doing it well.

    1. 1

      @dawson, I am grateful for your support. Today I woke up really bad bc of this sh.t situation but now I feel more encouraged thanks to the great support of people like you.

  9. 3

    Hi @bozkan, I think you can lodge a DMCA Complaint on Google to remove his content with entirety. Check this article on Google

    Lodge a DMCA Complaint.

    1. 1

      Hey Tejas! Thanks a lot for sharing it, I've started to lodge the complaint.

  10. 3

    Shame on every one who does this! Keep on @bozkan 💪

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot Ahmad!

  11. 3

    Bugra, coming from a thrid person perpective. Not really sure whats going on but heres what i think - if stealing your startup idea is as easy as stealing a txt list of names/companies etc then it might not be much of an idea. The value if your idea should lie in having A repeatable process to genereate the list and if you already have that then you shouldnt worry you will come up ahead. Also this is good time to look into security and protecting your ip. We live and learn and this whole process is a learning experience. Just my $0.02

    Sending best wishes.

    1. 2

      Hey Pranay, thanks for your feedback! incubatorlist.com is a curated list of startup programs with up-to-date handpicked data points. I am building a platform on top of it.

      It is not a startup yet, it is a side project. And I always knew that it could be stolen, but not obviously like this. Yes, it is a repeatable process, as my list is updated automatically every day + (some of the data) hand-picked & updated by me. But still, it is sad. I am not saying this project is priceless but it is very valuable for me because it makes a lot of traffic and creates a base for my following projects.

      Yes, it is not a SaaS (yet), but imagine you are an author and your writings are stolen by someone else. It is txt at the end, but it doesn't alter the value of the theft, right? It is annoying, very annoying. This is how I feel right now.

      But I know, it is not the end of anything. Indeed, it is nothing dangerous for me, but sadly it comes from a community member where I felt connected to.

      1. 2

        I can totally empathize. It takes real hard work to create something and stealing is easy in the short run. However look at the bright side, so many people are now aware of your product. Also YOU were the one that came up with the list so YOU are the most well positioned to succeed. Karma works in wierd ways - I guess what I'm trying to say is all is not lost.
        Also, why not reach out to the programs and build a relationship with them. You can be thier funnel and send them traffic. People can steal words but not trust and relationship. DM me on twitter if you wanna talk more. I would love to help in any way possible.

        1. 1

          Thanks a lot! I will DM you tomorrow, it would be great to talk more!

  12. 3

    Altså, på riktigt ?. Det är inte första gång... @volkandkaya 's saaspages.xyz blev också kopierad av en Indie Hacker...

    1. 2

      (Sorry, I don't know Swedish as a newcomer to Sweden)
      I didn't know about it, and I now feel what you felt @volkandkaya (shocked, sad, disappointed all together :( This is so sad..

      1. 2

        They didnt ccopy the whole thing, but the concept and almost the domain name.

        1. 2

          I see. It is also very bad, difficult to handle:( This guy stole the whole content from my website, and this website is a content website, so it is everything indeed.

          1. 2

            Its a prove you are doing things right...

            1. 2

              Thanks a lot man, this is really nice to hear!

              1. 3

                imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...

  13. 2

    Feeling the pain @bozkan stay strong! this dirty efforts are usually short lived!

    1. 2

      Thanks a lot Alberto! I hope so too.

  14. 2

    You can threaten him with a lawsuit if he does not remove it, that will work if he lives in a country where court orders are respected.

    1. 1

      There is a Cyber Police Department in India, and my lawyer friend said the proofs are more than enough to sue, but I will try to warn him personally once more before all these.

  15. 2

    I realize this isn't helpful, but..

    I've been known to cross borders to handle this exact kind of problem in very personal ways.

    I'm not saying you should get thuggish.. Just saying I have been known to get my pound of flesh from these parasites

    Don't let up. Tear his ass down at every turn.

    Good luck friend

    1. 1

      No, it is indeed helpful Greg. Maybe the method seems aggressive and maybe I need to focus on my product rather than this worthless guy, but the thing is that: this person is so shameless that he has copied two products completely, didn't even change or add a single word, he shared them on the biggest platforms and he's still trying to defend himself. He deserves what you say I guess, my friend. But that depends on my focus. But many people reached me to help, I hope he accepts his fault.

  16. 2

    That's painful and it's hard to see that the copy cat version was featured by PH but as many people mention already, copy cats won't play in the long run

    1. 1

      I definitely agree with it, Jorge.

  17. 2

    Well, he kept your affiliate links, so basically, all the drive he will drive to his own website, you can earn from their visitors. So, could be good for you ;)
    About google and seo, that's important to add the tag canonical to show to google you wrote that the first

    1. 1

      After I mentioned it (I've shared the details on PH) he immediately removed them, which is so funny because he thinks the internet does not have a memory.

      I think my SEO was fine (I had added the canonical tags etc. months ago) and I am pretty sure that he's not able to compete with me. But still, very annoying.

  18. 2

    I think r/legaladvice is your friend atm. I know from being on IM/SEO forums that this happens all the time. They typically go after the offending site like this;

    DMCA to the hosting company, domain registrar if the theft is severe enough.

    Then hit up Google's trust and safety team with the plagiarized content. They might not remove it from search but it will protect you better in the event that his domain is stronger than yours and ranks above your site as a result.

    1. 1

      Definitely, I may need to collect advice from Reddit based on previous experiences as it happens all the time. I am now lodging a DMCA and following the steps you mentioned. Thanks a lot Alex!

  19. 2

    really nice product bro..

    1. 1

      Glad you liked it Ken!

  20. 2

    I own a brand protection and coypright IT service and i can help you in that however it takes efforts to remove them but i already removed several websites from google too as breach of my copyrights so yeah its a nasty thing but copyright owners ALWAYS wins if they can prove ownership and in your case its a very easy thing. To prove who was first. Contact me and i help you.

    https://sk.linkedin.com/in/peterskutaspykon

    1. 2

      Thanks for the help Peter, now contacting you.

  21. 2

    Great work @bozkan ~ never woulda known about your work save for this thread which caught my interest ...

    perhaps others have mentioned, but maybe worthwhile to note, this fiasco has perhaps brought more people to your work than might have otherwise dropped on by

    peace and power to you my friend!

    1. 1

      Canin, thanks a lot for your support mate! You're right, indeed it got many people's attention. And it encouraged me to make it better than ever. Good luck & power to all of us in our goals!

  22. 2

    Don't worry mate. Your product is awesome and it remains our go to choice. Feel good that you have inspired others to look into this space which is valuable. You should charge for your services soon. Best to you! :)

    1. 1

      Hey Wilson! I am glad I met people like you, really appreciate your sincere words. I have big plans with this project. Best wishes mate!

  23. 2

    He Microsofted you that's terrible man.

    Jokes aside, keep building, in fact that's a good thing because it's a real world situation and you don't want it to happen with a global-sized product.

    Just be better than him, if he copied you, no doubt you will do a better job.

    1. 2

      😂I definitely agree with you. He is not an obstacle on my path, but gave me a great lesson indeed. I now realize I need to be faster building it, and make it more secure.

  24. 2

    The twitter account looks super sketchy, https://twitter.com/StartupAround no engagement on pretty much every tweet

    1. 1

      Definitely. He also created a few fake accounts on PH, made comments with them supporting himself :) and he doesn't even realize that these fake accounts can be identified in a sec:) I am leaving him to his own fake world.

  25. 2

    Hey 👋

    Sorry for what you’re going through but honestly I believe if the project can be copied that easily you might want to consider your unique value proposition.

    Good luck with everything.

    Best H.

  26. 2

    This is bad. I am sorry to see that this happened! I actually saw @csallen's interview at YC podcast yesterday and they were talking about that exact thing. This may feel shitty right now but you are the inventor of it and nobody can copy your genius that went into it. Keep it up!

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for your support Arne! I feel the same way, this is just another project, but he will not be able to copy what I dream of.

  27. 2

    Your product is awesome, I am sure people from community like indiehackers will support your product over a stolen one. Keep up the good work and keep making it better.

    1. 1

      I was not going to realise this data theft if you hadn't noticed it, my friend. Really appreciate it! I will absolutely keep making it better!👊

  28. 1

    FYI @csallen,

    Indie hackers launching clones of other indie hacker projects doesn’t seem to be in the best interest of the community.

    You may need to block @daxeelsoni from IH.

  29. 1

    honestly... i empathize with the pain... but, move on.

    so much energy and TIME has been (already!!) wasted! let’s get back to building... let the best product (and community) win.

    i really do like free markets.

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  31. -11

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    1. 15
      1. You first removed Newchip Accelerator and now put it back with their URL, after I mentioned it on PH (You were using my own affiliation link)

      2. After someone else's comment on PH "...Even category names are copied (such as "No Specific Vertical")..."
        👉 You have now changed it as "General Program"

      This is so funny. You think Internet does not have a memory, but indeed it has. You keep saying that you haven't stolen it, but everyone except YOU know what it is.

      These are my last words to you, because I shouldn't waste my time on such a miserable person.

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        1. 11

          You have not aggregated any data, you only used the data that I aggregated with a huge effort, that is a big difference. You keep on lying, and I have never met such a shameless person. Be a man, accept your fault and remove all the data you stole.

          Please stop bothering yourself by changing your website, because I have the archive of your website's every page. This will not save you. Apologizing will save you. Accepting your fault will save you.

        2. 1

          This comment was deleted 5 months ago.

    2. 2

      You can sense the panic in his “dude” lmao.

  32. 2

    This comment was deleted 5 months ago.

    1. 4

      Shiva, I am grateful to you, as I was not gonna realize this thief if you didn't mention me on PH! I am just sorry that it was a big effort and some other indiehacker, a member of my best community, stole it:(

      1. 2

        I've realized that I thanked the wrong person, sorry, it was @sagunsh. Thanks a lot again for letting me know about this theft, @sagunsh

      2. 1

        This comment was deleted 5 months ago.