In the course of the last few months — most likely inspired (at least in part) by the slumping crypto markets — we have seen a variety of Steemit "clones" pop up on the social content landscape.
I say "clones," because each pretty much looks like someone took the Steemit source code, made a few tweaks, named some things differently and set up shop doing pretty much what Steemit set out to do.
It's a Free Country, of Course...
Naturally, taking someone else's idea and copying it is nothing new.
And I'm sure the originators of each of these clones fully believes that they are "taking a completely different approach" in taking on the daunting task of doing "something like Steemit," but free of the problems and mistakes that plague this community.
And nothing wrong with that. The idea that "I can do a better job!" has driven many an entrepreneur to innovate, over the years.
Now, I'm not going to get into a criticism of whether or not being a copyist (or whatever you want to call yourself) is a good, bad or indifferent thing. The record will eventually speak for itself. But there's a specific hurdle that faces all copyists:
Memories of summer
The Dilution Challenge
Even if you have only the best and most idealistic of intents, it's a pretty well established fact that you pretty much have to turn an existing paradigm into something totally new and revolutionary in order to significantly draw people away from the original. The concept of having the "first mover advantage" definitely applies.
Simply copying with a few tweaks might attract some initial attention, but — kind of like it tends to happen with movie sequels — once the initial attention dies down a bit, most people go back to the original and the copy never gets very far out of the "shadow." Some limp along for a few years and slowly go away with a whimper, rather than a bang... some decide it is "more work than we expected" and fold up their tents quite quickly.
On web content platforms, what tends to happen is that a bunch of people — often disgruntled with the actions of the "original" — get together and form a well-intentioned splinter group with the intent of offering "improvements;" they attract a good number of initial joiners/members... and then things stagnate quietly fizzle out.
Sometimes a venue gets itself established pretty well, thanks to a "fortunate accident."
For example, Weku — in its early launch stages — got a huge boost as a result of Steemit's HF.20 debacle, accidentally drawing possible 1000+ fairly prominent Steemians who were fed up with a blank screen and no voting power at Steemit. But that's not the sort of thing you can write into a business plan.
The Dilution Challenge: Part Two
Of course, the further you get from the original, and the the more copies down the road are already in the marketplace... the harder it gets.
Latecomer Bearshares actually appears to be a derivation of Weku, which is a derivation of Steemit. Problem? After a while — even if you do have a pretty decent concept — you end up where your pool of followers gets to be pretty tiny. After all, how many people are going to be part of 3, 5, 10 or more pretty identical clones of the same social sharing concept?
Eventually you get to a point where you only have a handful of genuine followers and the usual horde of people who'll sign up for absolutely anything that offers the potential to make a few cents, even if they never actually use the site.
So it becomes really important to be quite discerning, in terms of where you put your effort, and your web content. Remember, something might sound like a really cool alternative, but if almost nobody is using it, it's still pretty useless.
Thanks for reading!
How about YOU? Have you checked out any of the growing number of Steemit clones out there? Have you joined any of them (Disclosure: I have accounts on Weku and Whaleshares) or are you just on Steemit? What do you think are the chances a "copy" will become more popular than the original? Leave a comment-- share your experiences-- be part of the conversation!
(As usual, all text and images by the author, unless otherwise credited. This is original content, created expressly for Steemit)
Created at 190104 19:52 PST