Web statistics are a great tool. Not only do they let you see who's visiting your sites, where they've come from and even what they had for breakfast - they can also act as a unique identifier to alert you if anyone's been unscrupulously 'borrowing' your code and benefiting from all your hard work and late nights.
Now, I'd say I'm pretty easy going on the subject of inspiration - I, like most others cut my teeth in the industry by looking under the hood of sites I admired, seeing how they were put together and what made them tick. I'd then take this knowledge and use it to my own create sites which over time would be used by others as sources of learning, ideas and inspiration and go to bed with a nice warm fuzzy feeling.
But, for some, all this learning is too much hard work and they prefer to take short cuts and just copy sites, sometimes pixel for pixel and line for line - and these are the kinds that I have a problem with - especially when they then appear to be passing this work as their own to unsuspecting clients and most likely charging them for the privilege.
But who would do such a terrible thing? I hear you cry! Well, let's highlight the problem with a nice example...
Those of you who read our site and blog will have seen that we recently launched a new site, Kobe. The site has since appeared on numerous showcases and industry web-zones such as smashing magazine and as a result has received a huge number of visits over the last few weeks. Now, this is all fantastic - but it would seem that a few unscrupulous people liked the site so much, they thought they could just copy it, change a few colours and then pass the site off their own, like the following...
As the footer says, this site is powered by United communication - an actual web agency. We'd beg to differ and say it's blatantly nicked and passed off as their own work, tut tut.
Now even though this site is apparently just a test at the moment, it contains a bit too much real content for me to believe that they're not just going to make it live soon - naughty Earth Walk people!
I think you'll agree that in this day and age, such blatant plagiarism is unacceptable and we'll obviously be taking measure to get this cheeky pirates dealt with. In the meantime, a bit of naming and shaming will have to do. We hope you're reading this guys!
Any further ideas generously accepted in the comments!