Netscape Rips Off Hosting Company's Marketing Idea


In early April we wrote about Bob's Cube, a promotional microsite for hosting company Hostway. The microsite presented the virtual world of an office cubicle which allowed visitors to click into the cube and explore. It was engaging enough to grab attention for a few minutes. Well, it seems the idea has been stolen by ailing Netscape to promote its browser. Called "The Cubicle," Netscape's microsite is a near identical copy of the Hostway's concept. Hostway's "Bob's Cube" was launched April 1 (oh no, is the whole thing a joke?). Netscape's "The Cubicle" was launched May 27.

Unfortunately for Netscape and fortunately for Hostway, not many people will see "The Cubicle" because it is delivered as a blockable pop up. They call it a "daughter window" to somehow make it sound less nefarious. Not very smart on Netscape's part when they could have simply launched the rip off in a separate, regular window.

UPDATE: Hugh, in comments, rightly points out this cubicle thing has been going on for quite some time.

by Steve Hall    May-30-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Online   

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It all sounds to me like they are both ripoffs of Microsoft Bob, which was a ripoff of GEM on the Atari, which was a copy of something at xerox that I forget the name of. One of the early demos of server side image mapping was a picture of some guys cube and desk. At least the project manager of Microsoft Bob got to marry Bill Gates. This has been going around for 10 or twenty years at least.

Posted by: hugh on May 30, 2005 10:12 PM

Yeah all Ideas start from some place and the Hostway idea maybe borrows thematically from the aforementioned cubicle themes but takes in in a new direction, whic I must confess has had me wasting more time then I care to admit.

The Netscape creative is just a rip off not treading any new ground... just like their browser. Funny how that works.

Posted by: John Grrr on May 31, 2005 1:38 PM

In 1971 my father gave me a picture of his office and work area. I would cut and rearrange the picture to be able to interact with his work environment. I got to choose all the ways that made me happy. Someone owes my father a lot of money.

Posted by: kab on May 31, 2005 3:55 PM