Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

A very entertaining Linkedin and Twitter spat has broken out between Hiring Hub and Change Exchange over copying each other’s business

Unless you have missed it or been living under a rock for the last week. A very entertaining Linkedin and Twitter spat has broken out between Hiring Hub and Change Exchange over copying each other’s business. It has been alleged that Change Exchange plagiarized Hiring Hub Business model. However, Change Exchange say they “saw a gap in the market where only a handful of organisations do something similar”.

Hiring Hub was created as the love child of both Simon Swan and Sara Jones who saw a gap in the market for recruitment marketplace utilising a similar model to Uber.

However, were Hiring Hub actually first to market or did they also copy a business model themselves?

Certainly companies like or were established long before Hiring Hub were a twinkle in Simon Swan and Sara Jones eyes.

But there has also been other recruitment marketplaces in the UK – Most notably , and,

As always the truth is not as simple. Being first usually confer a serious advantage to companies but also brings its share of problems. The whole intent to be the first mover in a new market segment is to capitalise on the lack of competition to capture mind shares and market shares.

From a marketing point of view, this is a unique opportunity to establish your brand as the dominating player in a new field. Who has the best cola? Coca-cola, but why not Pepsi. Who has the best car rental services? Hertz but why not Enterprise Rent a Car. And so on. By building customer loyalty early on with great customer service and establishing a superb reputation, a savvy product manager has the opportunity to strengthen his brand and create a formidable barrier to entry for potential competition.

However there are risks as well in being a pioneer. The market may not be established yet, and prospects may reject your value proposition because it does not match conventional assumptions. Therefore a lot of the marketing budget will go into educating the prospects and having a few –not too formidable- competitors can help you create the market place. Other typical issues include having miscalculated the target audience or the pricing might be incorrect. Finally distribution channels might be inexistent and will need to be created from the ground up.

Ultimately as Simon Swan Say, “Imitation is sincerest form of flattery”. Check out Hiring Hub blog and see what you think.

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