On Tuesday, by chance, I stumbled across a new Las Vegas travel guide app for the iPhone that had just hit the App Store. It's called 'Great Vegas' (why not 'Great, Great, It's Really Great' Vegas... would that have been too close?) and immediately it was hard not to notice a few similarities to Vegas Mate.
Let's take a look at a screenshot:
Hmmmm... Let's not even worry too much about the fact they have a photo of Bellagio under the Trop listing. Still, I look at this and what I see is a bad rip-off Vegas Mate's UI.
Could this person have created this in a vacuum? I guess it's possible but that seems highly unlikely. Am I upset? I'm not really sure how to feel about it. As far as I know, nothing I see here is in violation of any law - Apple famously lost a case against Microsoft in the 90's for alleged copying of their UI ideas in Windows. Fortunately, they're not using any of my content or photos (that I've discovered) - that would mean a call from the firm of Lansky, Rosenthal and Sarno, LLP.
Compete with me - I welcome it! The problem is that this isn't Google to a late 90s Yahoo, this is more like Zune to iPod - derivative and with a poor choice of colors.
If you want to do a Vegas app, give it your own spin. Do something different. Give people a reason to respect your entry into an increasingly crowded market. And hey, make sure you learn to properly capitalize text in menus and buttons (come on, it's all in the Mobile Human Interface Guidelines - read 'em)
There are so many ways to build an app like this. I'd love to see another, well done take on the concept. For a long time VM was alone but there are now a bunch of Vegas-related apps in the store - entries from casinos, from other travel writers, etc... With all of the new competition, this is the first time I've seen blatant copying.
If you read this, don't think I see Vegas Mate as a perfect app. I, as most product people I know, see nothing but the flaws in my own work. I'm proud to say I've progressed the software since it's introduction in 2008 but there's still so much ground to cover. As I add features, my goal is to make them understandable and usable. If I'm being objective, my biggest failing is making them fun - and an app for Vegas should be fun. I'm working on that.
Building apps is a blast. I know that excitement from seeing your app on the App Store the first time... but please, come up with your own ideas... or if you do take an existing concept from somewhere, put your own spin on it and try to make it better. Taking someone else's idea and doing a half-assed copy job is just insulting.
Seriously, I wish this guy the best. Just do your own thing. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.