One of the things we pride ourselves on the most, at Cleartrip, is our unwavering commitment to hard work in pursuit of originality. If our competitors solve a problem well we doff our hats to them for a job well done and then double down to find ‘the Cleartrip way’ of solving the same problem better. This is our nature. This is in our DNA.
So, it’s a surprise for us when we find competing brands that want to short-circuit the hard work route by copying blatantly- we can’t wrap our heads around the motivation. Not really. But there you have it- some brands copy other brands blatantly because it is cheaper, easier, and achievable without a smidgen of skill or hard work.
Opportunity or opportunistic?
When the government decided to open up the skies for air travel on the 25th of May, we put out TravelSafe to address the prevailing uncertainty around flying. We aggregated and curated content that would be helpful to travellers, like quarantine guidelines, airport and airline information, rescheduling and cancellation information, and airline policies. We made sure that the page was accurate and current. And most importantly we ensured it was easy to use.
Very shortly thereafter we found EaseMyTrip put out their own resource that looked suspiciously familiar to us.
The resemblance was uncanny. From the logo treatment on top to the way information is formatted in cards and presented in the first fold.
We scrolled lower and the evidence continued to mount. We were shocked to see that the entire Travel Checklist section seemed like a Copy-Paste of what we’d done, down to the iconography.
Even what we called the section (Must check before travel) is what they called the section.
To bell a cat
We knew this was no coincidence. We decided to do some fact-checking to ensure we weren’t overreacting to simple happenstance. The first thing we did was go deeper into the CSS to collect evidence and establish this was being done deliberately and blatantly.
More than skin deep
We took what appeared to be the most visually glaring example of plagiarism and dug deeper beneath the skin. All our icons were custom-designed, in house, and deployed as SVGs. Too much of a coincidence, then, that another designer in another team, elsewhere, came up with such a strikingly similar set.
We ran the face mask SVG (ours as well as the ones EMT was using) through this DiffChecker. Here’s what we uncovered-
100% identical. One. Hundred. Percent. What are the chances? We’re convinced that these icons are Cleartrip proprietary and are being brazenly re-used by EaseMyTrip without our permission. There can be no other explanation for our custom-designed SVG finding a 100% code (path) match in the wild.
Also, what’s with the thermometer icon, EMT?
Copy garbage, paste garbage
The other thing we did was look at our content carefully. We’ve been on a mad schedule to ensure our site is as accurate and as current as it can humanly be. With the page being updated every night we’ve been rushed as a team and not as diligent in proof-reading as we usually are.
We’ve inadvertently pushed a few typos and mistakes to production and we wanted to see if these would also find their way into EMT’s resource page. Because it’s very, very unlikely that two copy-writers in two different teams would make the exact same typo. What did we find?
Here’s the first one- we missed the ‘h’ in Madhya Pradesh in the airport information table. And, right as rain-at-5pm-in-Bangalore, we found it on EMT’s resource.
Next up? We missed the word ‘bag’ (see red underline) for GoAir check-in baggage allowance.
What do you think happened over at EMT’s resource page?
This is brazen copy-paste at work here. It’s clear that EaseMyTrip doesn’t really care about helping their customers with accurate and timely information and are really about piggy-backing on someone else’s hard work to opportunistically appear to care. Because it’s no cost to them. And not much effort, either.
Well, we want to make sure we call them out for the copycats that they are. We want to make sure that there is a cost to this kind of opportunistic brand building. And we want to make sure they have to put in the effort to make this right.