As I have told you last week that I have been following developments around Twitter.com lately. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows users to send and receive tweets. A tweet is 140 characters long. On a side note, our @startupbooster has passed the 1000 followers mark today. This is in less than 2 weeks and we are very proud of that. I would encourage you to follow us if you aren’t already.
Over the weekend a flurry of tweets starting coming in about ReTweet.com, a yet to be launched Twitter Third Party Application, copying the source code of its so called competitor TweetMeme.com.
Now one may argue that ReTweet.com is getting free press before the launch. I don’t disagree with that but it also begs the question about the reliability of such service for experienced users. TweetMeme is an aggregator for tweets and it displays most popular twitter stories on the site.
ReTweet’s CEO Kevin Mesiab clarified it today and said, “After some prompt discussions with our development team, we discovered that, indeed, one of our developers had based a prototype button and widget on tweetmeme.com’s publicly viewable scripts and some of the same open source wordpress code.”
It is unclear how much code, if any, has been copied directly from TweetMeme.com but for sure such action got a lot of blogatention (blog attention)! It all started at a comment left at TechCrunch.com.
As a startup, I would recommend that you should avoid directly copying codes, especially from your competition, to your site. Sometimes it may bring you free traffic like the above case, but many times it will end up embarrassing your new startup.
At all times, you should focus on building a good brand that people can trust and use when it is launched. There are many other ways to get free media before the launch. Such thing is called the pre-launch. You can invite people from Social Networking Sites and asked them to test your product before it goes live. You can offer them a free account if your service is going to be subscription based or you can give them some publicity when your product is launched. There are lots of people that will take advantage of such offer.