How different are you from the others?
It was a few weeks back, when I was watching a Periscope video from Pat Flynn, that I came across this case that he was discussing. Somebody has sent this across to him. It was a website that was an exact copy of his Smart Passive Income Blog.
While he was courteous enough not to put the blogger in a spot, and hence did not mention the name of the blog, it did not take a lot of time for me to find it out.. (that’s the kind of wicked mind I am..). The name of the blog was Smart Active Blogger.
Now you might have started to see a lot of similarities between the two, beginning with the name itself. While Pat Flynn’s blog was “Smart Passive Income”, the other guy has a domain, “Smart Active Blogger”.
My first reaction was, “Is there really a problem with copying somebody’s design, if that design is functionally useful”? There actually is none. But that is if you are copying the design, but customizing it according to your personality and requirements.
When I found out the details of this blog and browsed through it, I could find the reason why Pat would have been annoyed. Take a side by side comparison of the 2 blogs and you two should be able to find. The blogger had literally copied everything; from “Let’s See What Works” to the footer. In fact the blog page too looked exactly like that of Smart Passive Income.
You can check out the home page design below.
Who is Smart Active Blogger? And does copying Smart Passive Income, which is a hugely popular and successful blog do any good to Smart Active Blogger.
Let us look at a detailed breakdown analysis.
The Importance of Being Original for Blogging Success
Blogging has become a difficult proposition nowadays. You cannot just start a blog and succeed at making money online today, as you could have about 5 years back. Your blog has to stand out from the crowd. And this doesn’t just apply to the content you generate but in the overall appeal as well.
A unique design and look will help you create a brand for yourself and that can give you the much required push to get that additional attention. This is an area that I need to put some focus on, but since this blog is not my only source of earning, I have been deferring that for some time now.
So when I look at from the perspective of finding a good design that is functional as well, I think it makes perfect sense to see what is working and adapt that for your site design as well.
But it was not here that Smart Active Blogger failed. Instead it was on, what went into the rest of the design that he failed. Let us look at some of the aspects –
The Home Page Intro
Pat starts off saying, “Let’s See What Works”. And that is because he calls himself a “Crash test dummy” and he keeps experimenting on a lot of things. And it is this experience of his that he shares on his blogs. So anything that worked for him is a good option for you to go after but anything that failed, is something he would not recommend to you.
He lives upto that introduction of himself. But does the Smart Active Blogger do that. The answer is evident in his blog.
Why copy something that is not your personality? He could rather have had a unique introduction of himself, in a couple of words and lived upto that rather than copying Pat.
The Projects Section
Pat has a projects section on his home page, where he talks about all the projects that he is working on. These are businesses that he has built and is currently working on and hence he titled it as “What is Pat Working on”?
Here is how it appears on Smart Active Blogger –
You can see 2 broken images followed by 3 icons to some projects that he is working on. The first 2 broken images redirects to the home page of this blog and so does the 3rd icon on iPhone Apps. Clicking on the 2nd icon will give you a “404 page not found” error.
And ironically the 1st icon takes us to a site called “Unipixen”, which the blogger claims to be his company. And guess what! This company created WordPress themes.
If you are a WordPress theme developer, why on earth would you copy a theme?
And even ironic is the fact that there is no real themes at “Unipixen”. Any link you click will either lead you to a dead end or, open up the plugins page, which too does not have anything substantial in there.
As you browse through the home page of the Smart Active Blogger, you will find quite a lot of misleading claims.
Let us start with the income reports. Just as Pat has it on his blog, this blogger also has it mentioned on the exact same place on the blog.
When you click to see the income reports on Smart Passive Income, you are taken to a page where Pat has a month by month list of his income reports for the last few years, clicking on which will take you to his income reports.
Whereas if you click on SAB to view the income reports, you are taken to a page which doesn’t have anything substantial in it except for a couple of lines on how he made his first dollar online. And then he has an optin form where he asks you to signup to get the Income Reports. Do you really mean it?
And then there is this optin form that claims that his earnings are $10K per month, which is completely opposite to what he claims in the income reports option on the front page of the blog.
Another misleading claim is on the number of subscribers. At multiple places on the home page he talks about 100,000 subscribers to his blog. But it looks like that too is a clean copy from that of SPI and not the actual number of subscribers.
Pages that lead to Nowhere
Throughout the blog you will notice pages that don’t really lead anywhere. For eg: there is a “University” menu option and when you click on that it takes you to a page that looks like this –
There are many more such bloopers on the blog including even the optin form, which is a word by word copy from that of Smart Passive Income.
What’s your thought on this blog?
Do you really think that this blog can establish itself as an authority? Even if the blogger were to setup his business as a “Theme Developer”, do you really think he would be able to build enough credibility?
Smart Passive Income is a hugely successful blog and piggybanking on some of its established framework is not a bad idea. In fact there are a lot of businesses that do that. But here this strategy has been totally confused with Plagiarism (illegal Copying). This could even land you in legal trouble if the original site were to consider doing that. And it is just the kind of person that Pat is, that he decided to ignore it completely.
Originality is the name of the game in blogging. If you are planning to succeed at blogging in 2016, then the only success mantra is to be original. Build a space of your own and then build your authority there. This is the easiest method to success. There are no other shortcuts.
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