My name is Leila Boujnane, and I’m the CEO of TinEye, a reverse image search tool many photographers use to find copyright infringements on the Internet. This post is about how not even copyright infringement search tools are immune to copyright infringement.
We recently came across an exciting new website called PicQuery. It has a really awesome and clean design, but it seems familiar… because it has everything that TinEye has! TinEye colors, TinEye copy, exact copy-and-pasted HTML from the TinEye website, and even TinEye’s terms of service!
Any decent high school student plagiarizing their homework will tell you there are TWO key steps to faking an assignment: steal, then modify. PicQuery did a great job on step one, not so much on step two. Let’s take a look!
Notice anything odd in this side-by-side comparison of some TinEye and PicQuery pages?
Striking resemblance wouldn’t you say? But it goes further than just stealing our design. This is what happens when you don’t carefully examine what you’re copy-pasting:
Either TinEye and PicQuery have the same parent company and nobody told us, or someone at PicQuery wasn’t very thorough with their find-and-replace. Ctrl+F can save you a lot of time, but it’s no substitute for proper proofreading.
On the other hand, PicQuery didn’t even bother to use find-and-replace to hide the fact that they copied TinEye’s code directly:
We get it—proofreading can be tricky—but when you just help yourself to another company’s CSS code, perhaps you should make sure it works with your logo? We can all agree that would be an easy win! Here’s what the PicQuery logo looks like when viewing their site on a “retina” display:
Oh, but it gets better! When PicQuery replaced our TinEye robot with their own logo, they didn’t change the code to point to their image; they just also named their image frontpage_robot.png! Really guys? Really?
PicQuery also did some “bespoke” copywriting after they set up our site (!) on their servers. Notice the way they distinguish themselves on the homepage:
PicQuery’s search is “ultimate fast.” How can we compete with that! Those shrewd marketers at PicQuery have won this round. And their “Made with 💛 in (the?) United Kingdom” is the icing on top of the proverbial cake!
What about the functionality of PicQuery, like showing image search results? Let’s see how PicQuery’s ability to “find similar images & where your image appears online” looks like:
Well, it looks like PicQuery simply built image search results pages with “borrowed” results from Microsoft Bing, shoehorned into our page designs! This is a winner! Bravo.
Dear PicQuery, we would use your contact form to get in touch and point out the obvious, but since you ripped that design too, perhaps it’ll just forward to our email address. Wouldn’t that be grand!
At TinEye, we love to hear about new search solutions and would never stand in the way of anyone trying to get an awesome solution off the ground—but we suggest that you go back to the drawing board and explore some new options. If you insist in keeping our design, here’s one small suggestion from one of our designers to get you going: change your header h1 a width to 200px and that will fix the logo on your homepage.
Good luck, PicQuery! May the wind always be at your back!