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a short story of partnering with rivals and stupid decisions

After receiving more and more feedback and unsolicited “look at this, what did I write about you” e-mails from my ex rival, I decided to post my story and ask you to judge it.
My question is: am I right or what?


This post on chatroulette-clone.net made me write down this little story (you can read the premises below):


“In the initial iterations of our product we had to apply a lightweight copy protection, in order to prevent others from stealing our source code and reselling it. Yes, the folks at chatroulette-clone.com are still selling a cheap, ugly and non-working rip-off of our initial script, but we don’t care anymore.
Unfortunately, in order to enforce the protection of our intellectual property, we could not provide the source code for the libraries, that cover the technical aspects of it. For obvious reasons.

Don’t get fooled by the .com folks claiming they already have Red 5 sorted out. They don’t. You might want to check their ugly, buggy JabberCam yourself and compare it to the polished original, we are providing. Their so called Red 5 version is in beta since weeks. Red 5 does not work at all on it. In fact, check the IDs at the bottom of their app. It’s all still Stratus based. (And it’s all still based on our initial version, which they’ve stolen.)
Doing Red 5 the right way is a complex task. We decided against rushing out a non-working beta, just to claim Red 5 support.”
source: chatroulette-clone .net


Well, I couldn't leave these accusations without some refinement:
Now, that we came with all the new features and that we had a few hundred visitors at a time versus up to five, there was no argument left but the ones below:

“stealing; cheap, ugly and non-working rip-off; get fooled by the .com folks; ugly, buggy JabberCam; so called Red5; Red5 does not work at all; our initial version, which they’ve stolen”

Yes, we bought an almost working beta script and we bought the resell rights too. Today, JabberCam is up and running without problems and we provide support with forum if there were any bugs. About a month ago, we launched a Red5 version that it is used by hundreds of users without any problem. We are working day and night to make our script better every day and to give our customers the best possible.

My small problem: “stealing” and “buying”, these are not synonyms, right? The guy was greedy enough to sell the resell rights but wasn't ready to face our success. I don't understand the envy. Maybe if it was the same script, but it is not. We did develop something new in those two months and this is what led us to our success.

The big problem:
“in order to enforce the protection of our intellectual property, we could not provide the source code for the libraries” Oops! I am wondering ... how can we steal something that is not included? And, how is that: you sell the source code but you don't include the source code ?? because you are afraid of someone stealing it?
Now, what exactly are you selling there?

My suggestion: if these guys are still open to copy us, the best thing to copy would be to include the 100% source code as we do (not afraid that someone is copying).
We can promise, we won't copy something we already created weeks ago.


I invite you to judge my story and answer my question: Am I right or what?

Thank you!
K.V. (JabberCam)



*links to back-up the story:
http://twitter.com/JabberCam
http://www.chatroulette-clone.com/latest-version/
http://www.chatroulette-clone.com/news/
http://www.jabbercam.com/nextversion/

*the premises of the story:
My friends showed me an interesting report on CNN about chatroulette. It took just minutes to realize, this is the start of a new communication channel. Needs to be polished and by adding some filters it can be turned into an affordable online conference room or a “Just One Button” easy to use chitchat-tube for grandmas. The possibilities are endless, just use your imagination...
To save time, we did not start from the scratch. We found a chatroulette copycat script for sale, bought the source code with the resell rights! and we registered www.chatroulette-clone.com to launch our own website with a modified version of the purchased (Beta) script, under the name of Chatroulette Clone.

We used a modified version of the file, the guy included with the script, as a temporary index page for the new domain until the next day. In a few hours I got the message:“While I've agreed that you're allowed to sell the code, I'm not happy with the complete rip of our shop site. I'd kindly like to ask you to remove our original work for the shop site and come up with your own shortly.” He gave me 24 hours.
The answer* was prompt. I did remove the page instantly. I thought we are cool and started my own blog that day. It was an instant success.

Meanwhile, the guy did not wait 24 (not even 4) hours, and posted a warning on the internet about me stealing his code. I thought we had an agreement and apparently he agreed too, changed the post and everything seemed cool again. In a few days I started to have a really bad feeling about the “partnership” (the warning post appeared in Google for weeks since he did not take it down just changed it; he also sent me upgrades that never worked), we took a deeper look at the code we purchased. It was too late! Our site and four other (sold) copies were suddenly redirected to a new website that (what a surprise) had our name and domain. We also found the “error” that was stopping the previous “release” from working.
I got the picture in that moment: there was no agreement, the “partner” is trying to win some time and to lead us to a chess-mate position by including a hidden license that communicates with his servers. We dropped the whole project and using the very first (non connecting) code we bought, we started to create our own.
In just days, it was a success again.

Since than both us and their customers (some of them are working with us now) get unsolicited e-mail messages and posts, blaming and threatening us.
When I first looked for a solution I asked some questions for different chatroulette clones available. I am still waiting for answer from chatroulette-clone.net. I received inmediate support from http://www.chatroulette-clone.com. So I definitely made a decision and bought clone from you. I do not trust in people than avoid questions or do not answer simple questions. See the file attachment that shows that I wrote 3 times to **.NET support and they never answered!!

I am happy with the decision. My site is running and I am testing in with some friends. It was easy to customize by myself (without strong IT knowledge). What I want know is to move to Red5 and add some features.

I recommend your clone a lot, you give what you promise!!

A. Torrado (Colombia)

**I authorize you to use my comments for references purpose. You also have the right to modify some words in order to correct my english grammar.
After reading this I chose to purchase this script for the use on my new website... I have to say its a pain in the ass from a consumer stand point to work out what is what but from what I can see so far this script is a better choice.