Some recent mentions of Infobytes on Twitter

Well yesterday’s post about the plagiarizing of my design for the Squaw Valley website caused quite a stir. The evidence against Infobytes completely damning. And the ski industry has responded loudly and clearly that this kind of behavior is immoral and will not be tolerated.

Initially, I decided not to go public until I heard Brighton’s side of the story. As I suspected, they had offered Infobytes several examples of sites they liked, just for direction and inspiration. Infobytes, their digital agency then decided to poorly copy, rather than borrow and improve upon the original. I mean, why bother doing all that work?

Facebook comments on a re-post by Dave Amirault

Facebook comments on a re-post by Dave Amirault

Once I decided to share this experience, the outpouring of support from ski industry and design colleagues was swift and unanimous. I’ve received hundreds of @replies in support of the integrity of design and condemning plagiarism on the web. Meanwhile, the full social media wrath of sympathetic marketers and designers has been brought upon Infobytes. Their website traffic has most likely had a record spike, their inboxes are full of critical emails, and the owners LinkedIn profile was even published via Twitter. I almost feel bad about it. Almost. I  actually had to persuade some savvy users NOT to share and abuse her personal Twitter account. One follower even said he was submitting the story to major news outlets, which may be a bit of a stretch but it’s cool anyway.

The moral indignation designers and ski industry marketers feel comes from the understanding that we all work very hard with limited resources. People who choose to work in the ski industry live in remote corners of the world, work seven days a week and get paid a fraction of their worth. Why? Because they believe in a lifestyle that offers freedom, self-expression, and accessible rapture.

The Squaw site was actually turned around in about 2 months, beginning to end. This would not have been possible without the hard work of Nathan Kendall at Squaw Valley, Chris Petty in Park City and myself. Lots of long days and nights went into that site, as with any project. We even offered 4 original concepts initially, each one offering different functionality and inspired by the work of other designers, without copying. So for another designer to sell pass that work off upon an unsuspecting client (a direct competitor no less!) is appalling.

People who choose to work in the ski industry live in remote corners of the world, work seven days a week and get paid a fraction of their worth. Why? Because they believe in a lifestyle that offers freedom, self-expression, and accessible rapture.

I think the lesson here is pretty clear. Don’t steal design. Don’t pass off other people’s hard work as your own. And don’t fuck with people who choose to race down frozen mountains and jump of cliffs. Your weaknesses will be exposed.

Thanks to all my colleagues and friends for their support.

A tweet by Jeffrey Zeldman

Affirmation from my web design idol, Jeffrey Zeldman

Great comment from my accountant!

Great comment from my accountant!