The Verge just unveiled Instagram's new messaging app - Bolt. A "one tap messenger" app to allow you quickly send an auto-disappear photo or video to your friend. Bolt is a bloody copycat of a startup's product: Taptalk, it does exactly the same thing, with almost the exact design... of course, Bolt looks prettier with its elite team from Facebook and Instagram.
Just one day ago, the infamous "Yo"'s creator released their own copycat version for Taptalk: Mirage, I guess those folks might realized that the hype for Yo is actually a mirage... what a inspirational name. Again, with their money, previous users base from Mobli (an Instagram-wanna-be apps largely invested by celebrities for ages), and the proven ability to create media buzz, they might in a good position... until Instagram joins this game.
(Taptalk, bolt, mirage. Whose who?)
It's not new Facebook created a number of copycat products recently, luckily none of them take off, however this is a very bad trend. Companies like Facebook and Instagram join force with the copycats crowds will hurt the startup community and hurt the innovation.
Everything is a re-mix, however there is still a fine line between copycat and re-mix. Taptalk is a remix of Snapchat, because it adds new unique designs, make it much easier (from a few taps to one tap). Mirage and Bolt are copycats, they do exactly the same, looks almost the same.
It's a sad thing to see Facebook and Instagram are now killing innovations in this copycat way. No matter they will success or fail in their copycat strategy, it is always a bad thing for startup and innovation.