What you are about to read is a brief tale of dishonor and blatant thievery on the www. This is a story that represents the very essence of all that Fisticuff Design Co. has sworn to protect, in our attempts to “defend the honor” of our clients on the web. I would love to tell you that the following is mere fiction. Unfortunately, as you will come to find, this tale is anything but fictional.
I suppose I should begin by “thanking” Empire New Media (empire-newmedia.com *) for their apparent compliment to the design/programming abilities of Rene and myself. Yesterday, I was checking some web stats for Fisticuff Design Co. when I came across a site, which I had never heard of, that had links to us on several pages. I decided to navigate over to The Flying Steamshovel*** to see what they had to say. I was quite surprised to see a blatant ripoff of the Fisticuff site. As I looked through the site, I realized that Empire not only took the background texture, various flourishes, and overall look of the site, but when I looked at the HTML source code, I realized that they copy and pasted the entire structure of our code, even the CSS file.
I am a firm believer that the most integral part of any successful design is research. I believe that learning from and gaining inspiration from one another is an integral part of how we grow as designers. I do not condone, nor will Fisticuff Design stand for, fraud, thievery, or other sorts of dishonest behavior.
To their credit (hint of sarcasm), Empire did take the time to change a class and id name here or there, (like “narrowcolumn” and “widecolumn” to “smallcolumn” and “bigcolumn), in some effort to cover up their deceit. However, the entire style sheet was left in the same order, the same format, the same font size values, etc. Really, almost everything. Feel free to view some side by side comparisons.
You may be asking yourself, “why would Empire steal your design concept, copy your code in its entirety, and then decide to provide a link to the Fisticuff site”? That is an excellent question, I immediately asked the very same thing. The brief answer is, they did not. Rather, they did not do so intentionally.
When examining their (our) code, I noticed in the footer of each page of the The Flying Steamshovel site, Empire neglected to change an href tag from fisticuffdesign.com to the new domain. See below.
Click to see larger image
Click to see larger image
Perhaps it is merely the price one pays for building a positive reputation through hard work, dedication, and truly believing in what one does. Or, on the other hand, is it more likely that Empire New Media are simply too lazy, and possibly incapable, of doing quality work of their own?
I have only one item left to add: Bad form, Empire New Media. Bad form indeed.
*Authors Note: I deliberately left out the hyperlink to EmpireNewMedia.com. I see no reason to give them the benefit of a link-back. Does that make me petty?
**EDIT:Meaning no disrespect to the CLIENT, I have abbreviated all text referencing them as: TFS. My intention here is not to tarnish their name. Rather, I want to show the sort of web “riff raff” that is Empire New Media and expose Empire’s apparent “work ethic” (or lack thereof).
***EDIT:The above edit (**) has since been removed due to The Flying Steamshovel neglecting to live up to an agreement made that they would redesign their website.