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Is it ethical to copy a business?

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A couple of days ago I found a business, that is situated in the US. They sell their products worldwide via their online shop, but they do not market their products in Europe and the shipping fees to Europe are very high or it takes a long time (around two weeks) to get the product (via Amazon.com).

I haven't done any due diligence about the market in Europe yet and I don't yet know, if there are already companies, that sell in that niche, (so I don't know yet, if it even makes sense to go at it) but a "what if" question came to my mind.

So now I am wondering, if it is ethical to copy the business idea/the products and bring them to the european market.

I mean, it is not going to be a one to one copy, as I already have ideas for other products and I wouldn't want to market the company the exact same way, but at the start it would be more or less a direct copy).

What is your opinion about that? Is it ethical to copy a business?

Thanks.
 
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Timmy C

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A couple of days ago I found a business, that is situated in the US. They sell their products worldwide via their online shop, but they do not market their products in Europe and the shipping fees to Europe are very high.

I haven't done any due diligence about the market in Europe yet and I don't yet know, if there are already companies, that sell in that niche, (so I don't know yet, if it even makes sense to go at it) but a "what if" question came to my mind.

So now I am wondering, if it is ethical to copy the business idea/the products and bring them to the european market.

I mean, it is not going to be a one to one copy, as I already have ideas for other products and I wouldn't want to market the company the exact same way, but at the start it would be more or less a direct copy).

What is your opinion about that? Is it ethical to copy a business?

Thanks.
Sure it's ethicalish? Depends how much you intend to copy? Why not look at what there doing l, do what there doing bad better , and do it that way, so now you have something better to. Not just a me to product.
 

ChrisV

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They don't market to Europe? So no, it's definitely not unethical. If anything you're doing the European people a favor.

If they can't keep up and you're offering a better service to Europe all is fair in the free market.
 
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Depends how much you intend to copy? Why not look at what there doing l, do what there doing bad better , and do it that way, so now you have something better to. Not just a me to product.
I am thinking of copying much at first, but if things work out, I will give the business my own spin. So as time goes by, my business would differ more and more.

They don't sell to Europe? So no, it's definitely not unethical. If anything you're doing the European people a favor.
You can buy their products in Europe too, as they also sell on major platforms like Amazon, but it seems to me, that their main market is the US.

Sure, maybe you are even doing them a favor through your competition. Perhaps you are helping them step up their game and become better entrepreneurs and in the long-term they actually generate more business.
I haven't thought about it that way. That is an interesting perspective. Thanks.
 

ChrisV

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You can buy their products in Europe too, as they also sell on major platforms like Amazon, but it seems to me, that their main market is the US.
It's a positive value skew. Business = shape up or ship out. If they're not going things well enough that's their own problem.
 

ecommercewolf

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In it's most basic form everything is a copy of another business.

On top of that, you mentioned you are adding other products that the other company does not have, plus you're selling to a market that does not have access to the product... so if you do it right you are bringing more value. I think you're looking too deep into it.
 

Tourmaline

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It is unethical to copy their pictures and their copywriting. Copying their business model and catalog and everything else is fine.
 

Stargazer

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A German named Karl Benz invented this thing called a car.

It didn't stop any other country from making cars did it?

Dan
 

Walter Hay

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It's called "Competition". Just be careful that to avoid the appearance of copying, you don't make changes that are detrimental.

I saw an attempt at copying my importing and B2B business fail, and the new competitor did it all himself. I just watched it happen. First, he failed to understand the philosophy behind my business model. This led him to introduce a huge range of unrelated products that did not help customers achieve what my product range did.

In a few words; he failed to give value.

Walter
 

payingkarma

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Completely ethical... It's free-market so you can do what others do... it's called "New Competition"..

You can't copy when there are intellectual property rights or trade mark or brand and such involved.

Think if you would be impersonating the other company... if so that's not right.

You can't call StarBuckz and run a coffee shop with the same color theme and closely looking branding.

But you can certainly run a coffee shop and provide similar experience... no issues
 

Entre Eyes

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That reminds me of the time one of My Fav Sea Food Restaurants had Crab Cakes so delicious that I had to get the exact recipe.

One day I called them anon and told them I was bringing a friend for crab cakes but she has allergies so needed to get the recipe.

Got the exact recipe so I could enjoy them at home anytime I wanted. :innocent: :halo:

But later I remember reading about a guy who took getting other people's recipes on steroids and even got into the Fast Lane with it.

 

MJ DeMarco

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Copying stuff is illegal; you can't copy text, photos, steal testimonials, steal IP, steal tradenames...

Competing in business and creating a better value skew than what already exists is not illegal.
 

welshmin

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A couple of days ago I found a business, that is situated in the US. They sell their products worldwide via their online shop, but they do not market their products in Europe and the shipping fees to Europe are very high or it takes a long time (around two weeks) to get the product (via Amazon.com).

I haven't done any due diligence about the market in Europe yet and I don't yet know, if there are already companies, that sell in that niche, (so I don't know yet, if it even makes sense to go at it) but a "what if" question came to my mind.

So now I am wondering, if it is ethical to copy the business idea/the products and bring them to the european market.

I mean, it is not going to be a one to one copy, as I already have ideas for other products and I wouldn't want to market the company the exact same way, but at the start it would be more or less a direct copy).

What is your opinion about that? Is it ethical to copy a business?

Thanks.
Say you were inspired by them if you prefer. It's ethical, as businesses cannot cover the entire world. You're just meeting an unmet need elsewhere.

Build from their foundation then improve. They have obviously figured out what worked so that is a starting point.
 

Cyberdeth

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Copying is fine, for example: Apple vs Dell vs Compaq etc. Xero vs MYOB. That's how competition is born. However, customers are smart and they usually go for the company that can offer better value.
 

paulmp

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You can copy a business model, there is very little point in reinventing a wheel that is working perfectly fine elsewhere... what you can't copy is their words, ads, photos, videos, IP, trademarks, branding etc.

If it was illegal or unethical to copy a business model we'd only have 1 option for everything. Think about it... what is the difference between Coke and Pepsi (and all the other brands), they both sell fizzy colas.

The difference is in the branding and positioning (and the taste I guess, I don't know, I don't drink the junk).
 

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