Stealing Jeffrey's underpants:
February 15, 2001 5:20 PM   Subscribe

Stealing Jeffrey's underpants: A wonderful homecoming for Mr. Zeldman (link courtesy of, of course).
posted by aladfar (27 comments total)
I know everyone would have found this without a link here on MeFi, but I thought it might be nice for us to have a forum in which we might discuss what a phony this guy is.

posted by aladfar at 5:22 PM on February 15, 2001

What a phony who is?
posted by bkdelong at 5:25 PM on February 15, 2001

The front page was also originally a direct rip of Zeldman's front page - check out the ALT tag, even! He's removed the front page design, but the direct rip off from "coming.html" remains. Originally, the file was even called coming.html.

Interestingly, it looks like the site is being deconstructed as I type; the inner page is now gone, too. On the front page:

Never give credit where credit is due. Never attempt to learn anything new. Never.
posted by hijinx at 5:34 PM on February 15, 2001

So I'm currently seeing:

No one appreciates anything. No one appreciates
something new. No one allows you to learn.
People will kick, bite, yell, and cry - no matter what you do.
Don't learn by example, but rather, destroy.

and I hate to say it, but the kid's got a point. You gotta learn somewhere, and of course there's a difference between viewing source and copying an entire site, but many people learn by example. I'm growing more lax in my old age, of people copying my stuff for their use in learning. I've yet to see anything of mine show up on a strictly commercial site though, and that would be a different matter altogether.
posted by mathowie at 5:52 PM on February 15, 2001

Darn it, gone already. Anyone take a screenshot?
posted by gleemax at 6:14 PM on February 15, 2001

As a "victim" of some of the same "borrowing," I sometimes see in my referer logs people taking designs wholesale and playing with them online. The fact that they're doing it online makes me wonder. But I know they're just playing with code (as I often do) and figuring things out. It's just a little, y'know, curious when it's online. And also? If you freelance or own your own company (as Mr. Zeldman does) protecting all your work is important, because if you don't say "No!" to one person, it's hard to point to another case of borrowing and say, "That's wrong! But this is all right!" when the results on display are exactly the same.
posted by honkzilla at 6:26 PM on February 15, 2001

And there's The Man, always trying to keep us down ...
posted by sylloge at 7:02 PM on February 15, 2001

This isn't the first time he's swiped someone's entire site. About a year ago he swiped the whole Glassdog design and paraded it around as his own while marketing himself as a webdesigner for hire with his own company. That, in my book, is wrong. I learned a lot of what I know by viewing others' sources, too, and taking elements of what you like and trying to incorporate them into your own design is a better way to learn than stealing someone else's work and masquerading it as your own. Incidentally, this isn't a kid we're talking about, either... he's in his 30s. Not that that makes any difference, but he's been on the net for a long time and he ought to know better by now. If you like someone's design, ask them for advice on recreating your own. Don't steal it and then bitch when you're caught.
posted by evixir at 7:06 PM on February 15, 2001

I wish I'd grabbed a screenshot . . .

Really, it looked exactly the same only with greys rather than oranges. He even had a picture of himself in dark sunglasses - just like Jeffrey's portrait.

Taking a look at his source code, I noticed that he'd even left in Zeldman's comment tags. This guy wasn't learning by example, he was stealing plain and simple.

posted by aladfar at 7:21 PM on February 15, 2001

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Though why anyone would want to pilfer Zeldman's design, though, is beyond me. The best part of Zeldman's site has nothing to do with how it looks.
posted by crunchland at 7:46 PM on February 15, 2001

Oh. In that case, what I meant to say was:

"There's Lance! He's the man. Always getting down (with his bad self, etc.)"
posted by sylloge at 7:55 PM on February 15, 2001

"View Source" is the best way to learn how to build web pages. But some of us keep our wholesale ripoffs of A-list sites offline, and let the more derivative stuff out into the wilderness...
posted by holgate at 8:01 PM on February 15, 2001

It seems a redesign is in progress as we discuss . . .
posted by aladfar at 8:31 PM on February 15, 2001

Am I the only person who notices how similar A-list sounds with elitist?
posted by crunchland at 9:35 PM on February 15, 2001

Am I the only person who notices how similar crunchland sounds with [sic] brunchsand?
posted by ericost at 10:47 PM on February 15, 2001

Screenshot (93K)
posted by nikzhowz at 11:02 PM on February 15, 2001

I didn't understand a thing. I guess the site has changed during the night...
posted by Sirine at 1:18 AM on February 16, 2001

smaller shot (40+;)
posted by macewan at 2:28 AM on February 16, 2001

I think holgate's got it right, and Matt brings up a few good points. I have always encouraged people to use View Source to figure out how something ticks; it's really a great thing, and it also offers a wonderful way to experiment.


Popping the whole thing up as your site is shady. Sure, you need to learn and you need to start somewhere - no arguments here. Play with it offline, maybe show it to a few friends, but learn from it. Try to roll your own. It's a lot more rewarding, and you won't get linked from MeFi and Zeldman in the process. :)

Thwarting design-stealers? Make your site really ugly, that's all.
posted by hijinx at 4:46 AM on February 16, 2001

By the way, if someone ever rips off your site design and then tries to market themselves as a web designer, if you've mentioned their name on a weblog, searches done for their name should and probably will get that mention ranked pretty highly in the search results)Not very impressive to a googling prospective date or employer!Saving something to view source it so you can pick up techniques is one thing, but passing it off as yours entirely -- especially if you plan on making money off of it, in some way -- is quite vile.
posted by lia at 5:32 AM on February 16, 2001

Any chance it was meant as parody? I mean, that picture…
posted by rodii at 6:12 AM on February 16, 2001

Any chance it was meant as parody?

that's sort of what I thought, maybe. I mean, he doesn't just steal the design, he parodies the catchphrase, fer chrissakes.

I dunno.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:28 AM on February 16, 2001

If it were a parody, would he be so quick to take it down?
posted by crunchland at 7:02 AM on February 16, 2001

That's a good point, lia, but you never mentioned his name. Christophe Dahlkvist, Christophe Dahlkvist, Christophe Dahlkvist, Christophe Dahlkvist, Christophe Dahlkvist, Christophe Dahlkvist, Christophe Dahlkvist
posted by jpoulos at 7:05 AM on February 16, 2001

My first impression was that it was parody, but if he has taken credit for the work of others in the past...
Crunch is right. If the guy felt it was just innocent parody, it would still be up.
posted by gimli at 8:04 AM on February 16, 2001

It wasn't an innocent parody, nor a parody in the slightest sense of the word. He's done this in the past and taken credit for others' design for anticipated commercial ends. He's been online for 10 years now and he knows better. Whether or not he's made any money off this behaviour in the past is unknown, but regardless, it's pretty tacky behaviour overall, to say the least.
posted by evixir at 9:19 AM on February 16, 2001

It's back, and now it sez:

Layout Design By Jeffrey Zeldman - used with permission.

True? (note URL on the Zeldman link)

posted by rodii at 8:07 PM on February 19, 2001

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