Funnel Hacking Gone Wrong (+ Our Official Response to Plagiarism)

September 14, 2020
POSTED IN BLOGS › Ethics in Marketing    

I’m up early on a Sunday morning to write this post because last night at around 11pm, we received notice that—yet again (for the ZILLIONTH time)—we’d been plagiarized.

And if we’re being honest…we have made some pretty serious errors in our handling of this, which is why I think it’s getting more and more out of control with each passing day.

This post is our attempt to correct these mistakes.

First off, we’re in the business of templates and swipes. That means we are GIVING people shortcuts and tools to make their lives easier.

  • Our templates have copy prompts right on them.
  • Our templates have lots of graphic assets that you’re free to use.
  • Our courses have sales copy helper sheets, offer shots, and more.

And…we see funnels ALL the time that are using them exactly as intended! We think, “Oh hey—I recognize that headline!” or “What a cool way they used Funnel Launch Party design” etc. etc.

When people BUY our products, they are essentially buying a license to use our design and copy.

And there’s been a ton of success from our customers, which is amazing.

Here’s where it goes from “Yay! So glad for your success…” to “Oh hell no you didn’t just do that…”

When you plagiarize our copy or our content…especially copy you did not buy a license for…THAT is when we have a problem.

The problem we’re facing right now is that the Offer Cure sales copy is being ripped off more and more every day.

The first time we noticed it was with one of our own customers.

When we discovered she was a Funnel Gorgeous customer, my empathy kicked in and pushed down my anger. She clearly had bought Offer Cure and our templates, taken the course, then created an offer and put it out there.

Nothing about that was an issue. Even the fact that she had a similar name didn’t really bother us too terribly much.

But the copy on her page was so obviously a rip off…all in the name of “Funnel Hacking”, that we instantly felt a gut check.

This part WAS illegal.

We spent hours talking about what to do.

We decided to be the bigger people. In fact, in a private group we discussed what to do, and we decided…we weren’t going to sweat it.

Turns out that was the wrong decision.

Because what followed was a LITANY of funnels doing the exact same thing. And eventually, we realized…this isn’t okay.

We’d made a mistake by not calling her out on this. We shouldn’t have just pretended it was okay. Because then it was…

Another funnel.

Another funnel.

Another funnel.

After last night’s rip-off we tipped over the edge. We decided to take finally take action.

Neither Cathy nor I are in the business of throwing our weight around to scare people. We’re not punitive. We’re not looking for easy money grabs. Our first reaction to the first funnel we found was to stay silent and try to be the bigger party. But in doing so, we inadvertently gave the message that we’re okay with people copying us, and we’re not.

This is our public statement on the matter….

  • We are HAPPY for people to buy our templates and swipes and to use them. Your purchase is your license.
  • We are NOT OKAY if you rip off our original work. If we’re NOT selling it as a template or swipe, it’s not yours to take.

People don’t go into a grocery store and buy all the goods and then figure on their way out they’re free to take the signage and the cash register.

If you’re not sure what the difference between funnel hacking and plagiarism is, take note of the screenshots below.

This first picture is a section of our of Offer Cure copy. The three funnel screenshots below use copy that’s way too close for comfort by just changing a few words…that’s plagiarism. In each of these funnels, the copy continued to “model” so closely, that people who didn’t even write the original copy could tell where it originally came from. That is NOT OKAY.

Offer Cure Sales Copy: (1) There IS A WAY to create your info products with reasonable assurance that they will sell (because who wants to create stuff that will be tossed two months later?) (2) There IS A WAY to do it in just a day or two (because who has weeks and months to dedicate to the offer creation process?) (3) There IS A WAY to push through procrastination and have it DONE (because enough already!)
This is Offer Cure’s ORIGINAL sales copy
Three examples of people plagiarizing our Offer Cure sales copy
And here are three examples of when MODELING becomes RIPPING OFF

So what would be okay? What would be considered modeling or market research?

Funnel hacking would say, “at this point in the Offer Cure copy, they are showing their customer the solution so I should too”. 

Do you know how many ways there are to word this section we built? If you want to model a high-converting sales page by placing a “solution-oriented” block of copy in the same spot you see, do it—just think of your own words! look at these alternative, ORIGINAL ways we thought to say it. (This took us like six minutes to write, BTW.)

  • Imagine being able to accomplish your dreams and live your life (Because that’s what we’re really here for right?)
  • What if you could quickly send high-converting emails that GET OPENED?
  • Think about a world where your launches don’t flop and instead become repeatable and predictable processes you can do over and over again?
  • Girlfriend, you can GET what you really want (without feeling overwhelmed!)
  • Here’s the truth: You can fix your sales page in time without paying a pricey consultant to do it for you
  • Truth bomb alert! The solution to your lagging sales is hiding in plain sight…let me show you how you can know exactly what to fix

And if you’re not sure if you’re funnel hacking or copying, ask yourself this: “Would the owner of the copy you modeled be able to tell it’s theirs?” Or better yet (since ALL of these funnels were discovered by customers—people who didn’t even WRITE the original) ask yourself if the customers of the original work could tell it’s a ripoff. Because if they can, and you didn’t buy it as a swipe or a template with a license, you’re plagiarizing.

Take a few minutes and use your creative word skills, or maybe the sales copy helper sheet you bought, and make your stuff original.

Last thing…

We don’t think everyone who copies is bad. Not even close. In fact, that’s why it took us so long to say something. We know everyone is trying to do the best they can with what they know. And we know that the lines can get blurry, so we’re trying to unblur them—and we’re not perfect at it either.


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This blog post originally appeared on JulieStoian.com

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