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A midnight mystery for you all: which one of these sites is the original and which is the imposter?

The exposition: through a link to a sweet looking site from Cameron, I was incredibly impressed and wondered who was responsible for this beauty. Following a link in the footer, I came across Freebird New Media, also a nice looking site.

I knew it looked familiar, though. Not familiar like “I’ve been to this site before”, but familiar like “I’ve seen another website with a similar layout”. After a quick search through the Grid section of my digital morgue file, I came up with MWI.

Curse this intuition of mine. Have a look:

Comparison thumbnail

This discovery warrants some design vigilantism. I'd like to use my powers for good and alert the rightful company about the swindler, but I'm not quite sure who is who. Here are the possible options:

  1. MWI is the true king of Gondor owner of the design.
  2. Freebird is the true owner of the design.
  3. Both companies purchased a template for $2.99 from Websites “R” Us and got just what they paid for
  4. I actually designed both sites and this is my sick way of boosting the SEO for each

What’s the verdict?

Update: Joshua from MWI has confirmed that theirs is the original design. Details about the theft.


Odin/Velmont said:

I'm betting on 1. I just think it looked more polished. None of the code is especially good though. Really hard to say. Funny you were able to find this.

Posted on September 20, 2006 03:20 AM

Jeff Louella said:

I go with design 1. I do think this is a common design though.

Posted on September 20, 2006 11:43 AM

Jared Christensen said:

I think it's entirely possible that each entity designed their own website with no knowledge of the others' existence. It's a pretty basic grid layout.

Posted on September 20, 2006 12:40 PM

Nathan Smith said:

Dude, I say you unleash the Ring Wraiths on those dudes. Undead fury style, woot.

Posted on September 20, 2006 03:05 PM

Joshua Steimle said:

As the true king of Gondor I can definitively say it is #1. Here is the complete story for those who are interested.

And yes, it is true that the code on MWI's site is pretty poor, which has to do with it having been coded quite some time ago before we became concerned with standards 'round these parts. But that will all be rectified when MWI launches its new site later this week, unless I'm interrupted while porting over the content, which I almost undoubtedly will be, in which case it will be done at a later date yet to be revealed.

Posted on September 20, 2006 11:35 PM

Chris Kavinsky said:

looks like Freebird got the message. They have a different design on a placeholder page.

Posted on September 21, 2006 12:54 PM

Clifton Labrum said:

Ooh, I'm anxious to see the new MWI digs.

Posted on September 21, 2006 04:43 PM

Charlie said:

Good eye, Daniel! 18 bazillion websites and you found two that were just similar enough to warrant suspicion.

Freebird's now working on Rip Version closed.

Posted on September 25, 2006 01:25 PM

John said:

do you have a link for Websites R Us? lol

Posted on February 21, 2007 01:43 PM

Sorry: comments are closed.