First copy the business model, then steal the icons?

YTWWN SAYS: As noted bu the commenters, some of these icons are the Email, Facebook, Print, Share and Favs icons are pretty damn standard fare. we maybe only talking about 1 or 2 icons here? (boring) or are we or are we talking about the whole bussiness model?

Icons= the straw that broke the camels back?


Success with a business model always brings imitators.  Redfin launched the first online real estate brokerage in February 2006.  It didn’t take long to bring out competitors to clone the business model:  ZiggysHouse, BlueRoof, Webdigs, etc.   They usually just launch a similar model in a city Redfin hasn’t expanded to yet.

Yesterday, we found out that one business model clone,, has copied some of our features, but couldn’t even be bothered to create their own icons .  They just decided they would just copy our in-house created icons too.

Here’s a screenshot of and from last night:

Redfin's Icons on Webdigs

Redfin launched the first version of our site with those new icons in August 13, 2008.  Icons may seem like simple things, but weeks of painstaking work by our graphic designer, Brent, went into creating the right image and style for each unique one on our website, especially ones like ‘Show on Map’.

I suppose we should just expect it.  It’s not the first time; it probably won’t be the last.  Last spring, we had a guy in Arizona try to get an exact replica of the entire website cloned by an offshore company for $10,000.   That was frustrating for our team, but in the end he paid for his choice.  Maybe karma will balance out here as well.

Posted by BryanS  |  25 Comments  |  in Advertisement, Design, Film, Web


  1. microsoft points card 04/20/2012 11:44 pm

    Can I simply just say what a comfort to find someone that really knows what they are talking about on the net. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you’re not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.

  2. gamefly stock quote 03/30/2012 11:51 pm

    It’s hard to search out educated folks on this topic, but you sound like you understand what you’re talking about! Thanks

  3. Katie 06/05/2009 9:00 pm

    This is quite possibly the dumbest thing I have ever read. These are definitely not custom made.

  4. The Youth Counselor 05/28/2009 10:22 am


    You thought we wouldn’t notice? Those icons have been available on computers as long as the internet has. Those are free clip pictures that have appeared and been disseminated across thousands of websites FOR YEARS.

  5. CJ 03/27/2009 12:38 am

    I wasn’t going to post as I’m now beating a dead horse here, but seriously…please tell me you did not pay your design teams’ hours to “custom create” those icons. If so then you are paying them way too much.

  6. C 03/24/2009 1:04 pm

    OMG! I just realized I just copied your website too since I am using some of those icons as well…Oh no!
    Maybe you should fire your “graphic designer”.

  7. Al 03/02/2009 1:08 am

    Haaaa, I think I stood in some dog shit. Oh no, the smell is this post.

    Fail? EPIC fail!!

    roflcopterdogdoctorcatlolzer!!11111…ya de yah…!!

  8. Trevor 02/28/2009 2:35 pm

    FAIL! , those icons are generic type of icons which you can see everywhere on the interweb.

    try to post a real case next time bud .

  9. Stacy 02/27/2009 3:38 am

    IS this post for real?

  10. 290design 02/25/2009 4:32 pm

    I want Brent the Graphic Designer’s job! these Redfin stooges give you “weeks” to pass of standard vector clipart as your own…and probably for an outrageously inflated salary. Sign me up!

  11. Dipp 02/25/2009 2:09 pm

    Wow, this is effin’ ridiculous.Both these sites have generic, standard designs…the icons being the most generic and standard part of them all.

    It’s just like a “STOP” sign, or a “no smoking” sign. It’s generic and standardized for convenience and clarity.

    Stop whining, n00b.

  12. bananers 02/25/2009 1:01 pm

    There isn’t really a whole lot of diversity among real estate sites.

    Claiming they “Stole” your icons is absolutely ridiculous. Those are plug icons on basically every media site ever.

    I’m sorry you feel ripped off by this site.

  13. k-zumi 02/25/2009 9:45 am

    Oh, and Web Dig site have a very different layout… And it’s better

  14. k-zumi 02/25/2009 9:35 am

    Your icons… Oh yeah…

    How you dare to post this here?

  15. Epic.. 02/25/2009 7:18 am

    FAIL! , seen those icons everywhere, most of them on social networking site.

    you better review your so called designer bout this, coz imo they aint doin an effin decent work.

  16. nice one 02/25/2009 6:04 am


  17. ZS 02/25/2009 3:54 am

    “Redfin launched the first online real estate brokerage in February 2006.”

    You’re kidding right? Real estate has been sold on-line for waaay longer than that (with these same icons).

  18. Yeah ok 02/25/2009 12:00 am

    Webdig looks nicer.

  19. alyssa 02/24/2009 11:23 pm

    thats bull. those icons are stock. ive seen them everywhere. you’re designer is effing with you

  20. Matt 02/24/2009 11:14 pm

    Ignore my last comment – I assumed Web Digs was the original ’cause it’s prettier

  21. Michelle 02/24/2009 11:08 pm

    Calling bullshit on this…those icons are available with every sharethis plugin and downloadable from said social networking sites.

    Clue: Social networking Chiclets(yes that’s what they’re called) like these have been available for years.

    This is like the mac icons. No one’s stolen them: THE USED THE FREE SOFTWARE.

  22. NoBody 02/24/2009 10:29 pm

    Icons? Really? Because I’ve seen those icons on hundreds of sites. Share on, favorite and print are some of the most common features. A generic heart is one of the most basic icons. Should facebook sue you for using their F icon? Heck no.

    Both sites are generic in terms of real estate listing.

  23. Matt 02/24/2009 9:48 pm

    I tried to look at your website, but it told me I couldn’t use it because I’m using Safari on Mac (actually using Chrome on Windows, but whatever). It’s not 1999 any more – we’re past all this ‘best viewed in’ nonsense. I don’t care if I can’t see the Virtual Earth bits – just show me _something_! Graceful degradation FTW.

  24. erin 02/24/2009 9:16 pm

    Gotta agree. I’m not one to dog the work that goes into icon/simplistic design, but the Email, Facebook, Print, Share and Favs icons are pretty damn standard fare. Did it take weeks of client revisions? B/c otherwise I don’t see the time spent.

    Also, the websites do not look that similar to me…not beyond generic similarities that would come with making a real estate site.

  25. designer 2008 02/24/2009 8:54 pm

    “weeks of painstaking work” – to create those tiny-ass icons?

    I’d be more worried about your in-house team than others ripping you off.

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