K: Alright. So we’re here to talk about gangster mentality # 3, “Copying from your competitors.”
R: Yes. Is this a bad thing, Kevin?
K: Absolutely not.
R: But, Kevin, that’s copying, that’s like stealing.
K: No. Stealing is when you walk into a store and walk out with a plate that you didn’t pay for.
R: Okay, I’m following.
K: Copying is when you leverage the hard work of others for your own personal gain.
R: Isn’t that like stealing?
K: No, completely different. Let me give you a functional example. Let’s say that you want to go into the fastfood business.
R: I do.
K: Take a look...well, let’s just name names...take a look at Burger King. Everything that Burger King does is an exact copy of McDonalds. McDonalds launches the Chicken Sandwich, Burger King comes back with the Chicken Sandwich. McDonalds creates the Big Mac, Burger King creates the Whopper. Burger King is just literally following McDonalds around, and doing exactly what they do, and making a killing.
R: That’s true.
K: There’s nothing illegal about this. That’s fair play. That’s what capitalism was based on.
R: That’s a good point, Kevin.
K: Here in America, we want people to figure out how they can do the same thing for better, or for cheaper.
R: I like it. You know what? I think you’re right Kevin. In fact, it reminds me of how Bing consistently steals everything from Google.
K: Wait, everything?
R: I mean, everything. One of my favourite things to say is, if you look at Bing and you squint a little bit, it’d be very difficult to tell whether you were on Bing or on Google, because Bing is a bunch of scumbags who steal from Google. But it’s fine.
K: Yeah, I mean, they’re the third largest company by market cap here in the country. And they’re not the least bit scared of what clearly appears to be wholesale theft.
R: They even have actually stolen Google’s real search results from made up words. It’s great.
K: Yeah, we’ll link to that story in the notes.
R: Yeah, whatever. And Bing was just like, “Ohhhh...welll....no....uhhhh something,” was basically their response. And that’s pretty much it.
K: And that’s the thing. It’s not like God is up there judging you, handing down punishments, based on even some arbitrary definition of fairness. Like, in order for there to even be a problem, someone has to actually sue you. And no one’s going to because you’re not directly impacting them. Like, what’s the damage? If someone comes up with a really cool business idea, and you start implementing that same idea, there’s no damages to them that they can demonstrate.
R: Or there maybe a direct impact, there may be damages, but it’s legal, and that’s part of how business works. So, you just have to accept it.
K: Yeah. So if you want to start selling insurance, get out there and see what the other insurance sites are doing. And then do the exact same thing.
R: Just take the best one and copy it as much as you possibly want.
K: Run the same ads.
R: Don’t steal their logo. But beyond that, pretty much everything is all good.
K: Yeah, don’t steal their ad exactly, but you can run a very similar ad. Run the same type of ad to the same audience. Find out who they advertise to and advertise to those same people.
R: Yeah. Basically, the advantage of jumping in to a market where you’ve got solid competition is that you have a head start because you can see exactly what they’re doing. And as much as you can see what they’re doing, you can tell where to begin because they have spent money testing stuff and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. So all you want to do is start out exactly where they are, and then tweak things here and there to figure out how it impacts your business.
K: Absolutely. I mean, pricing, figuring out how to price your product, is one of the hardest things to do. You can jump in and just lift their prices wholesale, or if you want, go in there and beat their prices, but just for a little bit.
R: Yeah, don’t beat their prices. You don’t want to get in a price war though. That’s just stupid. Preferably, you should have higher prices than them and find some small reason why your product is worth more than theirs.
K: This applies to SEO as well. If you want to know how to outrank somebody, go figure out how many backlinks they have and get more.
K: Simple stuff, guys, simple stuff.
R: Match and exceed. Match and exceed is the name of the game in SEO, as well as in business. Steal shit, just wholesale. Article stealing? No problem at all. Spin them. Just spin them.
K: Yeah, we’re gonna talk about article spinning.
R: Yeah, we’ll talk about that in another one. But that’s it, don’t feel guilty, feel like a gangster.
K. Like a gangster.