I was very annoyed to come across this TechCruch article today. It wasn’t because the article didn’t really research anything and it wasn’t because I’m a fan of keeping around Internet Explorer 6, but it was the fact that I was flat-out ripped off and TechCrunch was there promoting the guys that stole my idea which put my cheese out in the wind.
Sometime back, I created a campaign called, End6!. It was a site that set up a very simple widget that people could embed in their own website to tell those who visited their site that they should really think about upgrading from this very broken browser of Explorer 6. It was simple enough and something that I tossed out in October of 2007 with four different language versions. It got picked up on Menéame and a few other sites. Some people started using it and continue to use it. It wasn’t anything that I did to get rich, but just to make the internet a better place.
Now, along comes this group at savethedevelopers.org (no, I’m not linking to them as they’re on my naughty list) who have basically ripped me off. Obviously you could say it is very possible we both had the same idea, albeit theirs comes six months after mine. I don’t discount this at all, but there are several things that jab me in the eye about this. First, it is really the same idea with a snippet of JavaScript you can link to or download to put on your site. Yes, their JavaScript is built differently, but it does the same thing. Second, there is the language, calling it a “campaign” and saying things like, “a more enjoyable experience on the web” where I say, “Make the Net a happier place”. Then there’s the domain registration. End6! was registered on 2007-10-13 while Save the Developers was registered on 2008-02-05.
Overall, I’m just ever so pissed on two fronts. One is that I don’t get any credit. If they admitted that they took what I did and make it different or better, I’d be thrilled. Second and of most importance is that they’re trying to make money off of this. What a load. I built, hosted, and had #1 Fan do some great translation work for the site all for free. Sure, I could have tossed some AdWords up there or a tacky t-shirt, but I didn’t. Why? I was much more interested in making the campaign work and making the net better. These guys have got merchandise for sale and I don’t care that, “Proceeds from merchandise sales go right back into furthering the Save The Developers program.” It costs absolutely, next to nothing to host a site these days, therefore it would seem that the proceeds are going more in the direction of the groups pockets than anything else.
Lastly, I have to say that these guys just really missed the boat. That gif image popping down is 7k and a problem. End6! was designed around being extremely lightweight and fast. Why? Because the people on the old crappy browsers are invariably those who are on old crappy connection speeds. Around 20% of people of in the US are on these slow connections, which “astoundingly” overlaps with the average amount of people using IE6. But, it’s because of these super slow connections that people don’t upgrade. For instance, the only way I got my mom (who lives in the boonies and can only get dialup) to upgrade to Firefox 2 from IE6 was to bring the updates on a flash drive to her house. So, if your message takes up more bandwidth, like how the one from this group’s does, the people who need to see it, just aren’t going to.
Anyways, if you buy in to what I’m saying, blog about it and spread the word. Of yeah, you could also install the End6! JavaScript on your site if you’re really feeling like being my buddy.

Well, the hijacking continues as now they’ve updated their site and now they are asking for translations, which is new. I did send them an email asking for clarification as to where they got their “idea” for this and of course have gotten no response.

TechCrunch is Supporting my Idea Being Hijacked for Profit