This post is partly meant to be a rant and partly to share what I feel. Feel free to agree/disagree.
In middle of a telephonic conversation with a friend(web entrepreneur) I popped a question,
Did you see Indian e-commerce stores putting up phone numbers on their website/product pages to help people buy (read order) products?
Gladly, as expected he replied with a “NO” which brings me to the question if/why/how do things change in the startup/business world with new things being introduced and then blatantly reused (copied) by others.
When we started Dial-a-Book some 1.5 years back, we were the ONLY ones that took orders on phone and accepted Cash on Delivery(COD). Yes, none of the existing players had anything remotely similar in their way of working.
Come 2011: The two biggest e-commerce players in India have started COD (about 6-8 months back for one and 2-3 months back for another) and now they also have put phone numbers on their portals to take orders. Surprising? Hardly.
Wait for a couple months and you’ll see almost everyone following steps. In fact I remember one of the young and aspiring e-commerce startups went to the extend of launching a service similar to ‘Dial-a-Book‘ and branding it as “X.com’s Dial-a-Book”, Duh.
I don’t mean to say we are the inspiration behind these but definitely the uncanny resemblances are a bit too much for them to be completely independent in thinking and execution. I know it might be really difficult to acknowledge but that’s how it is. The idea of sharing this here was that I felt like putting it done of paper/web for records.
Copying a feature or idea is one thing and doing justice to it is completely different. The most painful part of it being the big guys almost always get the credit for doing new things which aren’t really new.
It will be interesting to see how things change going forward with the e-commerce scene also extending to the phone commerce scene. Stay Tuned !!