Digital Startup Q&A and ideas: Week of December 9th

I have a good idea for a startup. I am trying to develop it myself. But how can i make sure that no one will copy my website idea and build a better website of the same idea?

Will copyrighting helps in doing this? Also, When i finish publishing this website, how can i deliver it to the public?

I think you are looking at the wrong end of the stick. Your focus should be more on your idea and less about someone copying it. The tech world is full of ideas copied over and over, but more than copying, execution is the key.

Back in 1999 during the first dot .com era, I started a portal: Garamchai.Com … for the desi in pardes

The idea was fairly successful and enjoyed organic growth. The business model was rather simple -by current eCommerce standards – although the idea was cash-flow positive from day one! Why?

Because content is king, and we had unique content that visitors and users valued.

Fast forward 5–6 years. Other entrepreneurs and web-developers looking for content realized it was easy to plagiarize content from Garamchai.Com and some began copying content from our listings. We went after them and issued warnings and legal notices. A few websites removed content but like weeds in a farm, others would reappear within weeks and copy the content, and the cycle continued. So, what are the lessons here:

  • Can anyone copy your unique idea? Sure… but think of how your idea stands out from others
  • Content, especially unique content presented in a timely way is still valued
  • One can try to minimize plagiarism but it requires continual time and resources to go after every single person or website copying. Learn to draw the line and focus on the core
  • Copyrighting unique content may help. However, protecting a copyright also requires $$s (lawyers, notices etc)

Second part of your question is interesting – how can I deliver it to the public? –

  • You need to publish the website and based on your budget, plan for a social media campaign
  • Do you have an existing social media network – facebook, twitter followers etc – leverage these by publicizing the idea
  • Are you engaged in other forums? Leverage that network

(reposted on quora : Q&A : link)

PS: Did you notice the links and self-promotion on this post ?… yet another way to keep the audience engaged. 🙂


   How do companies benefit from coupons?


Coupons, cashback, and discount offers are among the most popular marketing techniques used by retailers across the globe.

Many marketing experts and executives believe that while discounting and coupons can help in short term sales-boost, they can hurt the brands in long-run.

Take the example of departmental stores like JCPenny, Macys, Khols and others in the US. They sell ‘similar’ branded products from Levis, Polo Ralph Lauren etc.

A few years ago, a new executive at JC Penny tried to shake up the business model by announcing a one-price “Fair and Square” pricing (blog link). This lasted a few months before the stock price took a huge hit; the executive was fired and the company went back to offering coupons and deals.

Bottomline: most retail executives can’t do much against the consumer demand for coupons, deals and offers. Some artificially raise prices and then offer coupons and a few try to use coupons as a way of demand generation.

I googled the following list of “The World’s Top Amazon Marketplace Sellers

The top sellers gross a few million dollars each. Keep in mind, this is gross earnings and you need to deduct costs (cost of product, shipping, marketing and amazon marketplace commission).

Based on your costs, your Nett earnings will be a significantly small margin of the million!

Would a “like new” item really look “like new”? Some sellers fib the ratings, but if its “fulfillment by Amazon”, wouldn’t Amazon verify the ratings since they ship it?


Good question. Check out:

The seller is expected to print an item specific barcode and send it to Amazon, after updating the condition (“new”, “like new” etc). Amazon doesn’t always do a quality-check on all used-items “fulfillment by Amazon”

They trust the seller to follow the process and instructions and help resolve issues if any. However, they manage the inventory, shipping and packaging of the online orders received and after deducting their commission, credit the seller’s account.

The online marketplace is a trust based system and sellers with consistently negative feedback or a specific complaint are weeded out.

(I have sold items on Amazon marketplace directly and have used “fulfillment by Amazon” and prefer the latter!)

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