Michael Dunlop published an interesting post today about how he made his first million dollar product with his WordPress plugin Popup Domination. It's an impressive story that is made all the more impressive by the fact that they developed the plugin and launched it in only eleven days. It goes to show “There is no time like the present”.
In the post Michael noted that “friends” rang him up to offer advice on how to promote the product. Unfortunately, they were doing it to just get an insight into how he was making money.
Being in business wasn’t simple though, such as I never expected so many people would try to rip off what we have done. I’ve even had friends ring me up pretending to offer advice, just to get some inside information so that they could launch a competitor.
Those of you who have worked online for many years will know that this kind of thing goes on all the time. Some people are inspired by success, others simply seek to duplicate it. It is understandable in a way. They are simply going where the money is.
Thankfully, Michael quickly realised that the imitators were not harming him or his business. He noted:
In the beginning, we took it to heart, every time someone wanted to steal our ideas. But over time, we learned that these people cause us no harm. Yes, what they are doing is illegal and immoral, but they educate the market and bring us more customers.
It’s also easier to accept, knowing that none of them stick around very long because, well, to put it simply, they copy our ideas, do a worse job and charge you more for it.
Should you be worried about wolves in sheep's clothing? Should you be concerned about so-called friends becoming competitors?
I have always supported the idea of sharing information openly on my blogs. There is, however, a difference between showing someone exactly how your business operates and sharing information using reviews and guides. I have good relationships with a number of bloggers and have given and received good advice. Perhaps I would be a little suspicious if someone started asking specific questions about every aspect of a website or product I developed. I would certainly be concerned if they had the knowledge and resources to develop a rival product and hurt my income.
What is your view on this issue? Are you hesitant about sharing specific details with friends and associates about your products and services?