Fame and fortune

A number of people have sent me messages over the last while about various IAM knockoff sites popping up over the net, some innovative community sites, and just some cheap clones (I even saw one that used many of the little icons from IAM and even had a parody account making fun of me — if anything lets you know you've reached celebrity status, maybe it's that). Some seem to be legitimate attempts to build something positive, and maybe it's my megalomania talking, but I think some of them are just products of spite and jealosy!

Anyway, people have asked me what I think of all this, so here's my official response: I think it's great. (Although I have to admit that I think that exact copies are a little lame, and I hope their designers will push themselves a little harder; it's a lot harder to innovate than it is to copy, but I certainly find the copying flattering).

I have always said to people who don't like the way IAM is set up to go and build their own community site. I've even told people fairly regularly that I don't mind if they use a copy of IAM's interface (hey, I think it's a good interface — people SHOULD use it). I am utterly thrilled that some people actually had the moxie to attempt it. I haven't seen any yet that carry even a fraction of IAM's feature set, nor have I seen any that could handle IAM's load, but I have seen a few that are playing with some very interesting ideas, so I'm looking forward to seeing what people do with them.

I'll just give one warning to the designers and programmers: build your system to handle load from day one. Don't underestimate how big it can get! Being sloppy on a few structures at the start made me waste weeks on reworking later. Especially if your system is more “open” (ie. easier for anyone in the general public to join), make sure if can handle tens of thousands of users and the demands they bring. Also, make sure that every system is designed to be automated, because if your site becomes popular, you won't have time to answer those messages.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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