Yesterday we reviewed a new site called Couturious from the founders of Like.com. At the time we didn’t know that there was a firestorm brewing between Couturious and a site called Looklet.com. According to the folks at Looklet.com, the technology and format behind Couturious is allegedly quite similar to that of Looklet.com.
So we asked the CEOs of each site to submit to us a comment on this issue.
We received the following quote from the inventor of Looklet.com via it’s CEO Adam Berg.
Couturious is a rip-off of Looklet.com
Like.com, the company behind couturious, tried to aquire Looklet last year and I guess turning them down led them to this desperate copycat action. We’ve heard plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, but we are not flattered. Apart from the glaring lack of original ideas, couturious doesn’t show much of the quality or attention to detail, essentially the love for fashion we’ve put into Looklet. Considering the feedback we’ve received from users and the industry the last couple of days, all others recognizes this as well. To quote one of our users; ”If Looklet had an ugly sister couturious would be it”.
Olle Hemmendorff, inventor of Looklet
Here is the response from Like.com’s Munjal Shah, the company behind Couturious:
Dear Budget Fashionista,
Before Looklet had even launched we purchased Fashmatch and began working on a dress-up product. When we saw Looklet we thought it was a good platform, but we felt it needed to be improved with key features (see below). We flew out to Sweden, indicated to the Looklet team that we were trying to make a “build or buy” decision. Looklet initially wanted a very high price tag for a site that had just launched a few months prior. So we continued on our original path of building the product ourselves, catering to the American market.
We focused on improvements many of which are “under the hood” improvements to the engine vs. improvements to the user interface. The important of which was to ensure all items on the site are purchasable. This was not a small change and required to approach designers and retailers very differently. We felt that Polyvore, Looklet, Mixmatchme.com (which has very similar functionality to Looklet – I am not sure which came first), and the hundreds/thousands of dress up sites on the web had established some standard conventions on how to present the dress up interface. We wanted to go beyond this and deliver more.
We wish the Looklet folks the best and think they are good guys. In the end we do feel that being first and being the best are not necessarily the same thing. In this field we knew that there was room for improvement (especially in the utility of being able to buy) and believe consumers benefit as Couturious brings this next generation to the market. As that old saying goes, “Good Better Best, you got to keep moving to be better than the rest, because the good get better and the better get best.”
Here are some ways we improved the concept:
1) We felt the site had to be a place where you could actually buy the items with a link. This was not a small difference but something that trickled down to everything we did, from which designers we worked with to how we sourced inventory. We felt that utility of the site was fundamentally different if you could easily buy the items.
2) We wanted a site where you had prominently displayed designers and could show some recommended outfits from them alongside outfits from the community. The same is true of fashion bloggers. We wanted to be able to highlight their designs (which we had done on the homepage along side users).
3) We wanted a site where items from FashionWeek showed up first before any other dress-up sites. The six designers we have highlighted have agreed to this.
4) We wanted to use our computer vision technology to scale and process more items onto the site faster. We did a lot of work on this back end technology and believe we will be able to scale the number of items faster as a result. This is the primary user complaint of these photo-realistic sites: they have too few items to choose from.
5) We wanted to have a better browse and search experience. Looklet’s experience is to show most recent only. Not even most “hearted” or highest ranked. We delivered a better search experience for outfits and for items (using our Like.com technology) and a more intuitive way to see what the community really likes.
6) We wanted the ability to search the inventory of items by genre. As inventory grew we thought this would be very important to ensuring users could find what they were looking for.
7) We wanted to support multiple body types and wanted to add both a crowdsourced and artificial intelligence based muse to help you when you get stuck (these last items are coming soon).
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.