Fab.com is New York’s fast-growing, revenue-generating “it startup” of the moment, a company that landed the rare double-pivot with a design-centric members-only flash sales site. It’s doing well and its business model is simple, so of course the fast followers have started to spring up; no less than seven copycats in the last month, says Fab founder Jason Goldberg.
Yesterday, a nearly one-to-one copy of Fab.com came to Mr. Goldberg’s attention. Bamarang is a London-based site funded by the infamous copycat kingpins the Samwer Brothers, out of their cloning factory Rocket Internet incubator. “Bamarang.com is a young, vibrant startup whose aim is to be the world’s most valuable design resource. We are all about good design. We bring our members daily design inspirations and sales at large discounts to retail price,” the company says in a job listing. Bamarang did not immediately respond to an email.
Mr. Goldberg was not flattered or amused. “Let me put bamarang and the other copycats on notice,” he wrote in a blog post titled, “Knock-Offs are Bad Design.” “Ripping someone off is not going to work in this space. Knock-offs are just bad design. Users will see right through it. Such tactics may work in some industries, but not in design.”
The copycats are so bad that he’s come across sites that include photos from Fab.com featuring Fab employees.
Fast following is a way of life for lightweight web startups. But the ripoff hurts worse when a design-based site sees its own designs copied. “Their site is not just a copycat, it’s frankly just stealing our unique Fab design elements,” Mr. Goldberg wrote.
Meanwhile, Fab announced its own European expansion today.