TechCrunch is Supporting my Idea Being Hijacked for Profit

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

9 Replies to “TechCrunch is Supporting my Idea Being Hijacked for Profit”

  1. Mad props. May IE6 die. Don’t care if I can’t access SF biz that don’t allow Mozilla Firefox. I’ll just go down to Burbank for cheaper and better instead. Screw IE.

    1. I would love to see an SF site that officially doesn’t support some Mozilla Foundation browser. I have heard of bank sites that only support IE6, but these are rapidly dying off. We’ll see where it all goes.

    2. Really? I had the same idea myself a few weeks ago- a small bit of JS that makes a yellow bar on the top of the page, like the IE6 information bars. Quick link to a page telling people to upgrade their browser. Did you really think you were the only person on the planet to have this idea?!

      Where both your site and savethedevelopers fail is that the aims are too complex. Telling people that IE isn’t “amazing” any more isn’t going to get you anywhere- they obviously think it’s fine or they would have upgraded already.

      Once IE8 is out I think we just need a page telling people that their browser is insecure, and a link straight to the IE8 download. For a whole lot of people out there, IE *is* the internet, and if you try to tell people that they can use “Firefox” or “Opera” they’ll just get confused and close the page. Just take the best case scenario and be happy with it.

    3. Your IE6 site is still saying that Safari is in Beta. 3.1 is not a beta and it renders very well. Also I think the the save the developers warning is a lot better than the one you created. I do not believe in annoying people viewing my sites with intrusive pop-ups that they then need to close.

      Maybe Save the Developers did rip off your ideas and your site but they have done a far better job than you have, a bit like a cover version being better than the original.

    4. Sorry but you’re a whinging shit. Does it really matter that they stole your idea? The point of all of this is to promote the death of IE6 if these guys are doing a good job then what is your problem?
      If you really cared about “Open Sourcing” your output you wouldn’t whinge when people are using it, they’re not making profit, so why are so concerned?

      Oh I forgot, your ego needs nursing. Awww poor you.

    5. Sigh…

      No matter how valid or invalid your points, there’s no reason to respond to those who can’t stand behind their comments.

    6. I became very very tired of having to write css twice so not only could 95% of browsers see it properly but also 95% of people.

      So a few years ago i started adding this http://prescottspies.co.uk/ieonly.htm to any websites I wrote.

      It hasn’t been that effective, it just meant that even less people looked at my crappy websites. I didn’t care though.

      I thank you, however, for starting a more effective campaign. I’m not sure about the annoying popup idea, but the end6! campaign is in the right direction.

      Thanks, and good luck

    7. Yeah, I don’t much like the whole popup thing, but all of these passive moves to try and get people to switch have been insanely ineffective. For the longest time, I have a “Best viewed in Firefox” or whatever icon on the sites, but it didn’t make any difference. As offensive as the popup is, it’s made a great deal of difference. Look at the third item down on the End6! FAQ and you’ll see what I mean. There is also the cookie with the popup, so people don’t see it except for once every two weeks. That’s a lot better than most popups…

    8. Just learned the other day that all of the government computers are still using IE6. I was told the reason is because all of the security issues haven’t been worked out with IE7 yet. Not surprising but a really stupid train of thought!!!!

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