When I was 6 and my sister was 3, she copied everything I did.
I’m being specific about our ages because when I was 15 and Marian was 12, she was way cooler than I was, and had no desire to copy. She had make-out parties on the loft in my room with her enviously co-ed gang of friends while I, 10th grader with only girl-school friends, listened in on the horny 7th graders and pretended to read Faulkner on my bed. One choice bite (from one of her guy friends, not Faulkner): “Who wants to kiss it?”
After all the girls took turns kissing it, and squealing that there was a big vein, they’d leave me to my reading and go smoke pot on the roof.
But back to when she worshipped and copied me.
I loathed it.
At Friendly’s, I’d tell the waitress I wanted a cone of chocolate chip, and Marian would say, “me too, chocolate chip.”
I’d change it to mint chip, and she’d say “mint chip.”
Me: “Actually, vanilla.” Marian: “Actually, vanilla.”
I’d end up whispering my order so Marian couldn’t copy, and she’d cry.
I also had my parents establish a rule that Marian could only “play Laura” while I was off at school, because otherwise she’d drive me crazy making a ridiculous “big girl” face — eyebrows raised, lower lip jutting forward — and announcing, “I’m Laura. And I go to school.”
My parents, of course, told me that imitation was the highest form of flattery, blah blah blah. Who cares? It’s annoying!
Now, I find it both annoying and flattering.
The other day, finding my Facebook a bore and having already googled myself, I found a new way to procrastinate: I used the site copyscape.com to see if anyone was plagiarizing my blog. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed when I found no results.
But that was just for the homepage. Copyscape asked if I wanted to check any of the other pages. Yes, I did. I ran it on each one until, bingo — a hit.
Another site had plagiarized my rates and services page word for word.
I won’t publicly shame this site by linking to them. I feel bad for them. Why?
Reason 1: They’re an ad agency. How good can an ad agency be if they can’t come up with their own rates and services page?
Reason 2: Again, I won’t give the real name, but it rhymes with “Creative Smedge Advertising.” So, ditto above. How creative and edgy, I mean smedgy, can you be if you name your company “Creative [Sm]edge”?
Makes me think of those nail salons with names like “Pretty Colors Nails.” C’mon, you can do better than that. Except that’s almost acceptable, because you’re not hiring a nail salon for their brilliant branding ideas. You’re hiring them for precision with a nail polish brush, how well they *seem* to sanitize the equipment, because who can really tell, and condition of their massage chairs. No one cares if they’re good at naming.
Reason 3: Since they’re clearly amateurs, they don’t realize that every part of your site counts. Every little corner. Your legal disclaimers. Your cancelation or refund policies. Even rates and services.
Those are all opportunities to be creative. And smedgy.
You may think “Whatever, I’ll just slap something standard here, or copy this site, seems good enough” — but you’ve got a chance to show some personality there. And if you’re copying any little part of my site, you betta believe you’re copying my personality.
Nice try. Why don’t you copy my ice cream order while you’re at it? Too late, I already changed it.
Anyone ever copy you?
Anyone copy your business?
Have you been tempted to copy someone? Or actually done it? (This is a safe space.)
How’d you feel about it?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
ps – Don’t have a business but thinking of starting one? Have one and want to market it better online? Marie Forleo’s B-School is coming. Click here and get on this list to hear about it from me when she opens the curtains this week, and find out about my bonus: 1-on-1 copy coaching from Talking Shrimp!