Imitation: Sincerest Form Of Flattery

Square Peg Design ScamMy client, Excel Diamonds, notified me this morning that the site we designed & programmed for them, was actually not designed and programmed by us! He was joking of course, but his point was a company named Square Peg Design had the site listed in their portfolio.

Here is a picture:

Square Peg Web Design Scam

They liked the design so much that it was the first site listed when you clicked on their "portfolio" section of their web site. Of course, this made a bunch of us here at RustyBrick a bit upset. But honestly, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so hey - we are also flattered.

My client told me he discovered this portfolio after seeing in Live Person, a person crawling his site day after day, this whole week. He then tracked down the IPs and domains to Square Peg.

So we both, my client and I called Square Peg individually. We talked to a guy there who said it was a mistake. In summary, he said he hired a 3rd party designer from India to off-load some of the work, and he asked if he can use one (or some) of the designer's web sites in their portfolio. One of the sites this Indian designer claimed as his, was Excel Diamonds, a site we designed originally and then again in March 2007 - even before Square Peg's domain was registered, which was on July 2009.

Eventually we talked to Square Peg and they immediately took the site off their portfolio. They said it was a big mistake and they apologize for not doing their due diligence for validating that the site was designed by who their Indian designer said it was from.

Do I believe him? Honestly, I do. I wish I didn't. I mean, it is just bad business doing something like that and I wish he was lying to me.

Believe it or not, this was not the first time someone took credit for our work. In fact, someone from India tried to convince people that he was RustyBrick. He emailed people using the email web.rustybrick@gmail.com to try to convince people he was us. It eventually got back to me and he stopped using the email. We were also impersonated on Twitter. Again, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

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48 COMMENTS

posted by Lisa Merton on: Jun 23, 2014 07:34am

We tried it at Fragweb as well. However, we did not like what we got multiple times, so we gave up the hope for cheap outsourcers.

posted by Justin Rolner on: Jun 22, 2014 07:36pm

Wow, 5k that sucks man....we spent only 300 bucks on SEOTakeOver.com and got a pretty awesome site. Use outsourcers, but be careful to select carefully.

posted by Adam on: Jun 22, 2014 01:44pm

Try to hire a web designer on Elance, and then you will see that most of the indian designers have a ,,portfolio" of sites, which were not actually designed by them. Adam Web Designer at Chillatnove Malta

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To make responsive designs work, a media query is used to determine the screen size that the site is being accessed from. The script can detect all devices, whether they are tablets, laptops or smartphones. Then, it uses CSS to show the website in a suitable format. Images can be re-sized accordingly to fit on screens that are smaller. The text is made bigger and the menus can switch to a variety of different dropdown formats, as opposed to the mostly standard horizontal display. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8114631 website design

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posted by Alex J Fierro on: Apr 15, 2010 09:12pm

HEY SQUARE PEG! NICE TEMPLATE SITE!!! http://themeforest.net/item/portfolious-professional-business-template/47805 What kind of website "design" company buys a premade design... for THEIR OWN website?? SQUARE PEG WEB DESIGN: http://squarepegweb.com/ PRE-BUILT COOKIE CUTTER PAID DESIGN: http://themeforest.net/item/portfolious-professional-business-template/full_screen_preview/47805 For people that don't understand what's going on here... instead of designing a website, they bought a premade design from this site and just changed the text around. Click the link above and see what template site they bought their design/layout. LOL UR BUSTED!

posted by Createmyownwebsite.co on: Sep 22, 2013 08:20am

Why do we need flat design? I mean is this really user friendly design or what?

posted by Website DesignCompanyMelbourne on: Jun 21, 2013 06:12am

Square Peg and they immediately took the site off their portfolio. They said it was a big mistake and they apologize for not doing their due diligence for validating that the site was designed.

posted by best web design on: Sep 30, 2013 07:33pm

They said it was a big mistake and they apologize for not doing their due diligence for validating that the site was designed by who their Indian designer said it was from.

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posted by professional web design compan on: Oct 13, 2013 07:17pm

Eventually we talked to Square Peg and they immediately took the site off their portfolio.

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posted by Barry Schwartz on: Apr 15, 2010 04:25pm

FYI, I did not include this in my post, but maybe an other reason why we do not outsource web development to other companies, including companies from India.

posted by Barry Schwartz on: Apr 15, 2010 05:07pm

Furthermore, he told me his brother's father-in-law passed away and sent a link to his obituary which 404ed (i.e. page not found). (1) I don't need to know about family deaths (2) Why send a link that 404s?

posted by John on: Apr 19, 2010 01:31pm

Haha, nice find

posted by John on: Apr 19, 2010 01:35pm

Some interesting complaints and comments

posted by John on: Apr 19, 2010 01:32pm

Haha, nice find

posted by John on: Apr 19, 2010 01:37pm

Some interesting complaints and comments

posted by Swing Trading on: Apr 19, 2010 02:47pm

Interesting post. I have made a twitter post about this. Others no doubt will like it like I did.

posted by Mabelyn on: Apr 15, 2010 09:24pm

I would like to at this time "define" what the word "DESIGN" means: de·sign (d-zn) • To conceive or fashion in the mind; invent • To formulate a plan for; devise • To plan out in systematic, usually graphic form • To create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect • To have as a goal or purpose; intend. • To create or execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner. To think that this company has the nerve to incorporate the word "design" into their name is truly saddening. What a scam!

posted by Alex J Fierro on: Apr 15, 2010 06:13pm

After viewing the email chain and seeing this guy's pricing structure, there is no doubt in my mind that he is simply outsourcing all the work to Indian freelancers...

posted by CFO on: Aug 2, 2010 02:51pm

He is such a rude human and never go by ethics. Square Peg Web or e4 Media none of his business are registered businesses and he rips off the customers the maximum he can, I spent more than $5000 and finally got a site which doesn't work or looks good, he made several unauthorized charges on my card and several delayed deadlines and every time he blames his offshore team, but during the initial discussions he never told me about anything apart from his in-house team.. I just want to tell him that money making isn't everything about and especially business.. business is about customers...

posted by Barry Schwartz on: Apr 15, 2010 07:58pm

Some interesting complaints and comments about the previous companies at http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/fraud-and-cheating-c170539.html#c309703 The name of the previous company was E4 Media Group or something like that.

posted by MJT on: Jul 9, 2010 04:01am

I ran across this blog because I was doing some research on Square Peg. They are a competitor of ours (we use the same lead referral service) and they truly make it hard for honest people to compete. I mean they blatantly lie about everything in order to sell a customer. I usually don't badmouth competitors to potential clients, but it's not like anyone can make an informed business decision when someone lies about their skill-sets, their guarantees, number of customers and who their customers are. I hope these guys wise up and start playing by the rules.

posted by on: Apr 15, 2010 05:52pm

I wonder how many web design/development companies are out there who are simply just fake "fronts" that just send all the work overseas. With those kind of companies, you never know what kind of treachery or scams you'll be dealing with!

posted by tamar on: Apr 15, 2010 09:15pm

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

posted by Barry Schwartz on: Apr 18, 2010 12:55am

Interesting...

posted by Frugaltree.com on: Feb 22, 2011 05:09am

That is true. We just finished business with Squarepeg, and to say the least we were a little disappointed. It took them 9 months to do a job they said would be done in 2 months. They kept making mistakes in our design and request, and then tried to blame us for requesting ‘new’ changes when they didn’t follow what they were supposed to do in the first place. We hired Squarepeg because one day we had lunch with the owner and he seemed like a reliable dependable guy. Unfortunately the rest of the company and every one he hired is nothing like that. The programmer and designer were very unreliable, made mistakes, and were extremely late on getting things done. I would never recommend Squarepeg to anyone, and you comment reminded me of why. When you’re looking into a company, you shouldn’t just look for a good owner, you need to know the people working for him are good too, whether they are outsourced or not.

posted by William Cross on: Apr 17, 2010 07:06pm

They are spammers too.... http://seo-shop.com/seoforum/post198099.html

posted by Alex J Fierro on: Apr 15, 2010 07:45pm

The part that confuses me is... why would SquarePeg even claim that they had anything to do with the site in the first place? Obviously because their Indian outsourcing company claimed that they had done some work on it, but then why would SquarePeg list it if SquarePeg itself didn't do work for them? That's a huge degree of separation and a real stretch to claim it on your portfolio, especially front and center as the VERY FIRST THING in your portfolio. Why not just use a site you really made as your first entry? Why? The only answer is you know what you're doing is shady and don't care in the first place... I'm a bit ticked off because I put a lot of work into ExcelDiamonds.I wonder how many of these sites featured in the portfolio are really Squarepeg sites and not just random sites that their Indian outsources claimed they may have done work on?

posted by on: Apr 17, 2010 08:23pm

Well I posted a "I call BS" on the AffSpot Affiliate Marketing Forum after noticing something funny this morning.. Multiple posts touting the brilliance of Square Peg Designs. A couple other forum members did a little digging and it seems that somebody is pasting generic sales text on a number of forums around the internet. http://www.affspot.com/showthread.php/squarepegweb-com-lets-10952.html

posted by Milton on: Apr 21, 2010 09:26am

Hi we run a business in Australia called Square Peg Design (since 1995 and Trade Marked here) - graphics and boutique web design. Just to point out that the name of the 'appropriators' of your work was Square Peg Web Design – I was a little shocked! and just thought I would point this out for clarification as the comments come up in google search!!.

posted by Brett Hill on: Jun 24, 2010 11:25pm

I love stupid people. So this guy makes a claim and then says "So, every business has had problems over the last few years and none of us are perfect but there is no running here" --- which would lead you to think he learned from his mistake. Not the case, Square Peg Web's site then says on http://squarepegweb.com/about/ "With thousands of clients all across the United States and Canada." --- So I figured I would look this up. I did simple name server checks at services like DomainTools. It shows that they only had around 140 sites on their NS, which is the one they are still using - if clients such as Pittsburgh Urban Media are truly a Square Peg client - http://whois.domaintools.com/pittsburghurbanmedia.com So when you look up the sites they created, its far short of 500, let along the thousands they claim. If I was going to use them, I would make them send me 1,000 clients to prove that comment. So why would someone who keeps getting caught lying continue to not tell the truth? This company IS VERY SHADY. I also looked at the other links on this page and I see they did some quick damage control (aka deleting) to cover their tracks. Very shady, but nothing the delete button cannot fix! IT GETS BETTER - READ THIS So now they offer this 110% money back, but on the below complaint posted by the other company, they state the client wanted revisions and then they state they are going to sue her!! What is the real kicker here is he states it occurred in July 2009, which is when they registered their current site http://squarepegweb.com!!! So let me get this straight. After you figured you were going to sue someone because they were not happy and wanted changes, you then came up with an idea to refund a project 110% if not happy? I hope the lady below takes this to court with her! VERY SHADY COMPANY - PS I would never want to work with your firm just for the reason that you would post my name online and threaten to sue me because I was not happy! What kind of business owner does that? http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/client-ripped-us-off-c266196.html I would recommend not working with Lorraine Kruntz or compassionfundonline.com. We were hired to create Compassion fund online and it was a nightmare. She kept changing what she wanted over and over again. Then when I wanted to cut ties all together, and refund her the moneys paid, she created a new agreement. In fact this happened twice. Finally she called me on July 4, 2009 telling me how great the site was. Then we emailed me saying everything was wrong. She then charged back all the monies. We won the dispute and she has again charged back the monies and I will be filing a small claims case against her. I would not do business with her if I was a web developer. John Mueller e4 Media Group

posted by Barry Schwartz on: Apr 15, 2010 04:59pm

Update: He sent me an email with the 3rd party designer's name. It was "Jason Snow" email snowjason20@yahoo.com. He listed the following web sites in his portfolio: http://www.choclatique.com http://www.outdoorpros.com/ http://www.exceldiamonds.com/ http://www.evadanielle.com/store http://www.internationalvacationhomes.travel http://cookiecornerhawaii.com http://danaydesign.com/ http://medicalidbracelet.com/

posted by Barry Schwartz on: Apr 15, 2010 07:01pm

So our client blogged about it and a comment there makes an excellent point. The comment says: They admit outsourcing? Interesting, as their own website advises hiring a company which, in their own words, " is actually doing the work themselves". From http://www.squarepegweb.com/blog/view/Three_Simple_Steps_to_Website_Success : "Choose the right company: Make sure the company you choose to do business with actually will be doing the work themselves. More and more companies are outsourcing overseas to save money, but that does not help you. Making sure the company is actually doing the work themselves helps ensure the quality of your website."

posted by on: Apr 16, 2010 01:59pm

Haha, nice find, Alex! What a bunch of jokers...

posted by Diane on: May 25, 2011 03:34am

Question- is there any legal ramifications to this? I just had something similar happen, although it was a subcontractor who I paid to help me build a site- now every site I ever had her do ONE edit on is now in her portfolio even though they were MY clients?

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