Cloning in Other Countries: Success of Russian Facebook and Chinese Ebay

Currently there is a fast growing flash-deal site for designer goods known as Fab.com that was opened up in New York City’s famous Garment District. The site is geared heavily toward selling popular and high-end fashionable items, designer goods and antiques. The site has been attracting a unique hipster-oriented crowd that is ready to put the site on track to earn over $100 million, and that means that it has been seen as attractive to those who reproduce Websites and make them their own.

clone website

Knockoffs of Popular Sites

While it might not be as blatant as the original site that the media deemed Chinese eBay, an e-commerce site opened up in Germany six months after Fab’s heavily promoted launch. Like Fab, the site offers discounts of around 70 percent on top designer goods. The publisher of the site, Bamarang, operates in France, Brazil, Australia and the United Kingdom in addition to Germany. The site that they designed looks a great deal like Fab itself, and even copied the image of a famous chair like the original site did

Three German brothers designed the site, and their business model is both simple and influential. They find sites that are popular in the United States, clone them and then proceed to market them to a growing international audience. Back in 1999 the organization started making what are sometimes called dot-com clones, and thus far they’ve also cloned eBay, Airbnb, Pinterest and eHarmony in addition to a number of other high-profile businesses.

A clone they made of Zappos now dominates six European markets, and now they’re moving into what’s sometimes termed the Russian Facebook marketplace. The company works with a venture capital firm it controls known as the European Founders Fund, and they’re now working on both Facebook and YouTube clones for the European market. These ended up selling for millions and produced a tidy profit for the company.

More famous is the example of the original Chinese eBay. China has a famously liberal approach when it comes to intellectual property law enforcement. This has lead to popular properties like eBay being cloned and improved for the Chinese marketplace. Facebook, FourSquare and Twitter have recently seen clones launched and these are attracting Chinese consumers as well, which proves that the business model is still going to be popular for some time to come.

Of course many other sites have been copied in China, and now some of these are even open to American consumers. There may be some confusion since some of these sites look so similar to their official counterparts. In a few cases that might even cause problems as people may sign up for the wrong site, since the clone ones seem so much like the real ones that they aren’t quite sure what they’re signing up for. Fortunately the About section of most of these pages are up to par in order to avoid this sort of concern to begin with.

How the Market Works

There’s more to it then just cloning, and those seeking to make these sorts of site clones work need to understand a few things about the way that money is made in the industry. Most importantly these clones are geared toward an international audience. Americans already have access to things like Facebook, and while there are international portals for these sites those that are local tend to do better in localized markets. Finding a site that hasn’t released an international portal is a really good way to start, since there won’t be any competition, at least at first.

Understanding local market conditions is also an important step. Those who do this will be able to improve on their business model since they have a tendency to know what local people want. In many cases these clone sites understand local situations better than the big players do, which might help to explain why they have a tendency to do so much better than official sites.