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This article was published on May 30, 2008

Spanish start-ups round-up: the copy cat approach

Spanish start-ups round-up: the copy cat approach
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Every once in a while, our Web Tipr’s mail us a round-up with interesting start-ups from their country. Yesterday Victor Cruzate sent me a quick update from Spain. Here are three new start-ups that take a shot for eternal Internet glory.

PlanetakiPlanetaki is a RSS reader and web bookmark service that allows you to create your own version of the web. Which, of course, you can share with others. Well, planet is actually is a big word, as it’s more a fancy-looking list of your desired sources. That’s exactly though what the team has in mind: “We are a small group of people who believe there is beauty in simplicity and that there is indeed a great need of simplicity on the web.”

WolpyOn Wolpy you can share your opinion of your visited places, keep track of all the trips you’ve made, explore new hotspots and see where your pals have been. To sum it up: it’s the kind of site where you go for the anticipatory pleasure and the nostalgic feelings afterwards. The service – developed by two geek friends who met in a LAN party – is currently in Alpha.

BubokEvery Spanish speaking user that has the ambition to become a writer can make his or hers dream come true on BuBok. They can upload their book, give it a nice and professional look and then make it available for sale. If you don’t feel the need to pick up a pen, you can always check out books of aspiring writers on this well-designed site.

The Copycat approach

The three services all look very nice, and the ideas are well executed. Yet the last start-up, BuBok, is basically a Lulu rip-off. This is actually pretty smart, as a Spanish site probably appears more trustworthy and accessible to people from Spain. I’m sure Dutch people from my parents’ generation would prefer a Dutch service as well.

The other two start-ups copy part of an idea from respectively Netvibes and Dopplr…, in English. Netvibes talks about an Universe, Planetaki calls it a Planet. Dopplr, Tripit, and a dozen of other travel services track your trips, so does Wolpy. I’m not sure whether these two Spanish start-ups will get some traction as there already are some excellent alternatives for them.

BuBok’s approach is safer: try to copy the copy cat style of some German entrepreneurs like the Samwer brothers. Just clone an English service and conquer your home market. For Spanish start-ups, the potential is even bigger as millions and millions people all over the world speak Spanish.

However, from a creative and adventurous kind of view, trying to conquer the world is more exciting. But with tons of new start-ups launching every day, the chance of becoming the next Twitter or Friendfeed is small. Good luck to these brave Spanish entrepreneurs who are willing to take it.

[WebTipr: Victor Cruzate]
More Spanish Web 2.0 news (in Spanish) on Loogic