This is so rude from Zendesk. In case you think someone has ripped of your product, in any way, you (as the CEO of a 30+ company with 10,000 customers) SHOULD NEVER, EVER write something like that.
I'm 100% with Freshdesk on this one specifically because of the tone of Zendesk and Freshdesk. The way Mikkel responded to Freshdesk is silly and childish.
If someone were to make a knock off of my product, I wouldn't tweet at them like Mikkel did. Or support one of my buddies (who is perhaps disguised as a blogger for blog XYZ) that's trolling a company's image, saying that they're the same as Zendesk. Or calling them Indian cowboys.
Zendesk, I hope you understand that you've turned me (an actual person who supports everything you do, and someone who talks to the folks at Assistly with a great and friendly tone) into someone who honestly hopes you loose this "battle" and have left a nasty look in a lot of people's eyes.
I don't know much about Freshdesk's product, but I know the way they reacted was nice and professional (exactly the opposite of how you responded). +1 on that.
Lesson learned: You don't do marketing by bashing on someone's product without looking like an ass (and perhaps loosing a couple customers).
P.S.: (to the Freshdesk folks) Congrats on stepping up and putting time in to create a page like this. I would have maybe included screenshots of the product to further help your customers understand that you're not a knock off of Zendesk.
Why would you decide who is right based on tone?
Why not on the validity of their argument?
The customers are there to tell whether they're a knock off or not. I don't want to say anything as I'm not a customer.
Though he should've learned from Michael Richards and never said something that stupid in the first place. He had plenty of characters to phrase it right in his original tweet. But you know what they say about hindsight...
@mrgirish not attacking your nationality only your lack of innovation for product development, if you were offended in any way sorry
Let's parse that.
@mrgirish not attacking your nationality only your lack of innovation for product development - here he attempts to justify himself, by trying to explain what he meant.
if you were offended in any way sorry - here he says he is sorry if @mrgirish was offended - NOT that he was sorry for offending.
That's like me saying "Please come out and have Thai with me and my friends. Oh - you don't like Thai food? Sorry to hear that - will I see you there anyway?". In both cases there is no acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and in both cases the other person is effectively blamed for either being offended or for not liking Thai.
Sorry, but that wasn't much of an apology for a racist slur.
Including a side by side comparison of features almost gets them there but not quite since its still relevant to the article itself.
Kudos to freshdesk for a tactful reply to what could have easily spiraled down to a pathetic childish argument. And in the mean time Zendesk's brand was hurt and freshdesk got front page in HN. Brilliant!
I'm sure Zendesk does something better than Freshdesk.
Anybody who brushes off FreshDesk because of its Indian roots is doing FreshDesk a favour. This is a sharp mind at work and it is lethal.
FreshDesk is executing the standard modus operandi of upstart against an incumbent.
Jobs is a master at it (I'm Apple I'm Microsoft), Calacanis too (remember the SEO controversy, and then the Angel controversy?), and Girish is in the same league. The idea is to frame everything as a controversy, and linkbaits people into discussing it.
Notice how a custom domain is used and it is a mini website, not just a blog post? It is a custom website intended to fuel controversy and will drive a lot of SEO juice from bloggers all over the world. Sit back and watch its PageRank explode.
Girish is also running very hungry by executing a social media campaign. People may not buy from Twitter, but it buys mindshare. It will be a matter of time before FreshDesk gets a good recall rate, as long as it acts heads above other people. The name itself enjoys co-recognition from Freshbooks as well as ZenDesk.
Don't forget, Girish comes with a Zoho pedigree, and this is a company that has bootstrapped itself in India and no one would say the software is anything but world-class.
As for ZenDesk, Girish has stuck a fork into Ben Keepes for the lack of disclosure (by the way, I've been a long time reader of CloudAve, always insightful, even if [I now have to perceived it as potentially] biased), and then masterfully weaves ZenDesk CEO's twitter reply with the overtly racist overtone that cloudavesyd (onya Aussies) "Indian cowboys"-tweet. Note that mikkelsvane wasn't party to the "Indian cowboys" comment, but the way it is put, mikkelsvane sounded like he was in agreement (although to anyone who pays close attention to this type of things, he clearly was talking about something else).
Girish, if you are reading - I'm in Australia, if you could - please don't turn this into a wider "Australians enjoy India bashing meme". We already have a hard time here, and race doesn't factor much if at all in business.
As for ZenDesk, the important thing is to stay above the fray, establish their incumbency, but emphasize their own underdoggedness. Both can play the jingoist game and appeal to emotions.
1. We ignore the comments. But that will seem that anyone can say anything and get away with it. It is wrong.
2. We could engage in a war of words on Twitter. It seemed stupid to go that route.
3.Write the entire story and present how we felt about the whole thing. - That is what we did.
We did not consider SEO or link juice to setup a separate site. Our blog uses Posterous and to my knowledge Posterous does not support embeddable Twitter widgets. So we went the separate domain route. I was actually of the opinion that a post on our blog is better SEO.
I posted this on social networks to publicize our response. I posted it on HN for a meaningful discussion which I think happened and I learnt some good things and some mistakes.
I definitely don't want the Australian - Indian racism debate anymore than you do. I think it is disgusting. We were attacked for no reason and we wanted to respond. It's Monday morning here in India and we are back to work on improving our Product.
Absolutely right about Australian-Indian racism debate. A lot of Indians doing very well here, and the last time something flared up, the news attracted a lot of unwanted attention to the nationals who have settled down here.
I'm sorry to have distracted people from a meaningful discussion. You have executed well, and this has to be discussed.
Not only was this annoying and sketchy, but it was totally unnecessary. We were no threat to them. They would have been better off doing just about anything else with their time.
Even though Freshdesk doesn't @reply everyone who mentions Zendesk (just those who are unhappy with it), and even though Zendesk is an "incumbent" (in the absurd Valley way where anything that's been around longer than a year is ancient), this still gives me a really bad impression of them (as does this whole PR stunt), and furthermore, they'd probably be better off building their product and figuring out how to best meet the needs of their current customers.
That's nonsense -- a variation on the "Field of Dreams" fallacy of "build it and they will come". Customer acquisition, which PR and marketing feed into, is absolutely essential.
In fact, your advice is the opposite of what most programmer-founded startups should do. You don't win by having a better product that nobody's heard of. And I think anyone that's been hanging around startup-y folks for a while can tell you about a handful of friends who misunderstood that point to their own peril.
All that this post really did for me was make me hear FreshBook's name again. In fact, the ZenDesk naming spat is more likely to make me actually remember the name. And that's probably enough that if my company is looking for a SaaS support tool in the future, that we'll give them a look as well. Which is assume is exactly what they were hoping for.
For all the talk of what they're doing to their pristine brand here and blah, blah, I don't think anyone serious is going to hold this move against them in a purchasing decision. Bringing in new infrastructure software is not done on a whim.
Over at Mixergy, about a year ago, the founder of a BabySitter service talked about how she sneaked into university campuses to post advertisements, all the time humming the "mission impossible" tune to keep her in the right mental frame.
It becomes spamming when you insert an ad for your stuff in a personal place like on the windshield of someone's car, or in someone's twitter client's @ inbox, unless you think it's something they'll legitimately want to hear because they need help that you can offer (this is rare). Predatory customer acquisition from your competitors via spamming is well on the other side of the line. Combined with this reaction site which uses tactics that would be at home in a political smear campaign, and I'm fairly certain that this is a company I don't want to ever do business with.
I'm fairly certain that this is
a company I don't want to ever do business with.
On a personal level, I loath getting spam as much as everybody else, so please don't spam me!
I don't know about that - my thinking is that if blackhat is the only way to get something to succeed, It's probably not a very good idea anyway, and I'm probably better off spending my time doing something different.
Aussie here. Australia has in the recent years acquired a bad reputation when it comes to its treatment of immigrant populations, for e.g.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_against_Indians_in_Aus....
If you truly care about avoiding an "Australians enjoy India bashing" meme, then make sure to hold Christian Marth (@cloudgroupsyd) accountable to his tweet, and other Aussies who say things like this. It belies an insensitivity toward other cultures, and we should really address this seriously.
My original tweet was an off the cuff remark, I didn't like Freshdesk's choice of name and I still don't. It's nothing against the founders, the product or anything else. And it sure as heck isn't some dodgy conspiracy aimed at ensuring that Zendesk succeeds....
There used to be a time when a gentle jibe in the ribs between friendly groups included off-colour remarks making fun of race. I grew up in that environment in Malaysia. The only problem is on the internet, you are not anyone's friend, and there is no nuance at all.
The whole point of highlighting this exchange, the surrounding publicity, the custom url/etc is to raise the profile and get people to pick sides to generate discussion.
This PR technique is as old as the sex tape and about exhausted as it gets. It's the online equivalent of reading "britney spears vs lindsay lohan".
However, it doesn't detract the truth of what he said. In fact, even as I deconstruct it, I still find myself siding with FreshDesk. Mind control at its best.
I'm aware of Freshdesk because they made a retaliation website in response to something stupid that somebody said on Twitter. It doesn't inspire confidence in their ability to provide help desk software. They are spending time worrying about what other people think of them and say about them instead of just rocking out their product. I'm not impressed by that at all.
I know and so am I (aware). But that's the point. You are aware and so are others. And a % of those people don't feel the same way and they have exposure now that they didn't have before. Net it will be a win. Not the strategy for everyone of course but in this case it's a win.
which was just created yesterday (12/3/11):
Created On:03-Dec-2011 14:26:48 UTC
One judgment I can make is that the cloudgroupsyd comment was xenophobic on its face. I wouldn't stand for that, defend it or excuse it. If there's any kind of software in this world that ranks high on the Global Village factor it's the kind with Desk in the name. The kind of attitude that permits someone to utter stuff like that publicly is toxic to this environment.
Suppose the recipient is trying something underhanded—does that make it okay?
Edit: correct an attribution.
FreshDesk is executing the standard modus operandi of upstart against an incumbent."
Agree. Compete.com numbers (no bashing please) show 1.28 million monthly for zendesk to 2.4k for freshdesk. Should be interesting to revisit this in 3 to 6 months and see what has happened.
1. You can host a separate site on its own IP (and, even better, an IP in a different C subnet than their main site) and point links from that domain to the home domain. Thus link juice gets passed to home domain in a roundabout manner.
As far as the domain becoming irrelevant in two weeks time: it doesn't matter. If it gets some coverage and links from authoritative sources (ala Hacker News, which doesn't nofollow), the domain will gain authority and that authority gets passed on to the other domains it links out to.
2. Buzz. As larrys pointed out, ripoffornot.com is a great, controversial domain name. That alone could inspire a bit more buzz, which -- generally -- means more authority getting passed to the site via links (see point 1) or via social sharing.
3. Highly targeted. When someone searches for zendesk vs. freshdesk, this domain has an extremely high chance of ranking. It uses both terms extensively and includes a bit table comparing the two services. Good for users, great for bots. more over it's attention grabbing and reads well.
4. Reputation Management. Having an influential person talking smack about your brand is obviously not a good thing. What happens if that negative review starts ranking for you name or, even worse, the term "[Brand] Ripoff" starts showing up in google instant results.
Freshdesk is owning this bit of bad press. When someone searches for "freshdesk ripoff" or something similar there's a good chance this domain will show up because it's targeted (see point 3) more than a blog post could be.
All of those factors mean that this domain is telling one helluva compelling story. People like stories and are happy to spread them around.
This is the best compromise. A separate site to discuss the situation. With many links to the main product site to pass through some of the domain authority as well.
- We're definitely not racist, don't have an anti-Indian angle . In fact my fellow Editor, @Krishnan is Indian. And for all I care he could be an Indian-African-Martian mix, he is there for what he knows, not where he comes from.
- Ben is a syndicated contributor, and as such he expresses his opinion, which we may or may not agree with. As Editor, I select which of his - and other authors' - posts we publish, and I try to filter out bias - probably not 100% successfully.
- CloudAve can't control what guest authors say on Twitter. All we can do, and again, try really hard is make sure what gets published on our site is unbiased, and hopefully valuable information.
- Personally I find his attack Tweet and the lack of disclosure of his past involvement with ZenDesk unfortunate. I even tried to make light fun of it, saying Freshdesk is actually a rip-off of FreshBooks, which in turn is a rip-off of Fresh Choice. Apparently some did not get the irony, taking my tweet literally, even though Fresh Choice is a restaurant chain. Go figure ...
- In the grand scheme of things this tweet was a mistake, yet Ben continues to write (mostly) insightful posts, of which we get to cherry-pick and so far our readers seem to like it.
- Kudos to FreshDesk for turning this into a PR coup - I suppose this incident brought them more visibility than they would have gained in months without it. Furthermore, now Ben will feel compelled to actually review their product:-)
(I called them a rip-off of Zendesk back in late October - http://mobile.twitter.com/ecaron/status/123594375560302592 - and it took several days for @vshankar90 and @mrgirish to stop harassing me on Twitter...)
A couple people complained about their product on twitter and they built a whole page responding to it? In it, they respond to the criticism by making personal attacks against those who complained about them? Really weird.
Stop starting flame wars, start making a decent product.
Don't throw all the blame on the Freshdesk people. Everyone is responsible for what they say - and it appears to me that you're eager to let the 'someone with 73 followers' off the hook.
I've had people call me every name in the book over my projects: a copy-cat, a sad and pathetic developer taking advantage of people and those are just a couple off the top of my head. Did I respond by calling those people ignorant or stupid or unethical? No. I just let it be. I feel good about what I'm doing and I keep trying to make products I'm proud of. Haters gonna hate.
> Passing judgement on Product innovation based on the founder’s nationality reflects poorly on the intellectual ability of the person making the judgement.
They are complaining that nationalist insults or racist insults make the speaker look like an idiot. Is this ridiculous, heavy-handed, and unfair?
Perhaps it is simply reflective of the fact that current culture looks down on racists.
But my argument is, what does Freshdesk gain from going back and forth with @cloudgroupsyd? Beyond that, @cloudgroupsyd apologized but still they chose to bring up this quote to rabble-rouse and make personal attacks against him. We all say stupid stuff, we all make mistakes. Especially in this world of 140 characters or less. What more do they want the dude to do? Become a crusader for Freshdesk? Apologize to them in person?
I'm a firm believer in forgiveness. Someone wrongs you and they apologize. What do you do? You move on. You don't write a blog post about.
You can argue if that apology was enough or if it was a full apology. But I feel like saying "he didn't apologize" is an oversimplification.
Taking my english skills, calling someone an indian cowboy, is saying indians (posers) trying to be cowboys (the real deal).
Literally, figuratively, metaphorically is definitely saying more than what it's not. And it's not positive.
Instead of discussing facts, @cloudgroupsys' small mindedness to discuss and expose their ignorance (and what likely shows in many other things) simply, cannot, be overlooked.
"Cowboy" is a term a developer often uses to describe someone who develops something without thinking it through properly, often fails to test, and ignores the consequences.
It's often used like this: "He's a real cowboy - he wrote a SQL query that he tested on his own machine and then deleted data when he deployed it to production".
You are correct - it is an insulting term in this context.)
Cowboy coding should have been super obvious to me, lol.
The CEO of Zendesk made the comment "@benkepes you know what they say. Imitation is the sincerest from of WAIT-WHAT-A-FREAKING-RIP-OFF! ;)"
Even if the allegation is correct, that is no way for a CEO to represent his company. Perhaps he should have contacted Freshdesk (privately) and told them if he thought there were trademark or patent issues, only bringing anything public if they refused to cooperate. If not, he probably should not have replied to the original comment at all.
Which they aren't. It would seem that you were exaggerating at best and lying at worst.
Poaching dissatisfied customers of a competitor only proves that they're targeting some low hanging fruit (which is a good thing in this case)
When you are leading, don't elevate small fry onto the same media frame as you by debating with them. You just give them (potentially) free access to your entire expensively earned PR channel for free.
The indian cowboy slur against Freshdesk is beyond ignorant. Especially for a technie. They're usually pretty good for researching.
Maybe Christian Marth should learn indians invented counting, the pentium chip, hotmail, fiber optics and lots of other things without which our ability to bask in our own glory is not as possible.
If they're not perfect, but as we can see from Zendesk, neither are others.
I don't want to rag on Zendesk. I've been using them for years. But with stupid remarks like this, their incredibly slow / almost non-existent development on the product, and lackluster support have me keeping an eye out for replacements.
Kind of dangerous with stuff like Assistly looming out there.
That said, I'm not sure an entire domain name was warranted for this. I thought it was just a blog post at first.
If you're on the right track, competitors are going to try to poach your customers.
If you're on the right track, some competitors are going to talk trash about you when they think no one's looking. Or even when everyone's looking! Using profanity in their Twitter feeds, even!
But just because you're on the right track doesn't mean you can't derail; take the high road and let your customers decide. How you deal with unethical competitors is just one mettle-proving battle in a much larger campaign.
I sympathize with Zendesk, but there are times where it's wiser to just let your tongue bleed out. Let that extra salt sustain you for the more important battles ahead.
Last time I checked, it was people connected to ZenDesk who are the one's talking trash.
Read some of the other comments in this thread.
> Ignoring the interface and naming similarities, you can't complain about ZenDesk on Twitter without multiple Freshdesk spammers bombarding you.
Copying your competitors features... well, that happens a lot. Copying their name and their features, and then acting surprised when people call you on it? That's pretty much textbook douchebaggery.
But the copying doesn't stop there, because they even copied the pricing structure!
And then they act all upset when they get accused of copying.
As for the racially inflamatory remarks... go check the last big discussion on hacker news about the state of the Indian education system. The Indians themselves say that cheating is blatant and pervasive. So while that kind of strawman argument doesn't do much for the intellectual quality of the argument.... you shouldn't complain about being stereotyped if what you are doing conforms exactly to the stereotype.
In other words, if the shoe fits, wear it. If not, then throw it.
Everything else is just smoke and mirrors, where the Freshdesk guys are trying to pretend that it is all about name calling, it isn't. Based only on what they themselves say, it is obvious that Freshdesk is a copy of Zendesk.
When the big guy talks smack about a presumably smaller guy, it's because they're threatened?
Who cares if their pricing is a rip off, it's good for Zendesk if Freshdesk is a ripoff, because no one will use it. By saying and doing nothing Freshdesk could spiral into a blackhole of me never hearing about it.
Instead Zendesk put Freshdesk on it's own level by talking about it as an equal.
Zendesk used it's brand power to legitimize Freshdesk as an option just by talking about them like this.
Instead of never seeing Freshdesk, I checked out a Zendesk competitor because of Zendesk, with more than normal scrutiny. One feature I now like about Freshdesk is that it manages multiple SLA's.
P.S., I use neither Zendesk or Freshdesk.
yea, I read it that way at first but I don't think that is what they are saying. "Knockoff" is probably what they meant.
Maybe some folks start to believe their own legend too much. Originality and innovation is far rarer than we'd like to think.
Think of all that could have been accomplished on the product had they not been squabbling and setting up websites to argue with one another.
No one comes out on top in situations like this. I think it's best to end it with something like: "I'm sorry you feel that way. We'll let the customers decide."
It's like playing chess. Zendesk made a bad move and Freshdesk used that move to respond brilliantly.
They should be spending their time improving the product, coming up with new ideas, or responding to legitimate support inquiries.
Neither of these companies showed any "brilliant" response. Both end up looking bad.
And at the same time, by picking (or rather extending) a fight with the industry leader, they are gaining lots of visibility for their product.
Was it worth it for FreshDesk to put in the 2 hours to defend their reputation? Of course. How is that not brilliant?
They could have mockingly made a fo-ZenDesk logo or any number of other things that didn't make it look like they are on the defensive.
Either way, as a customer I am more concerned about either of these companies using ANY of their time on this. Regardless of how much time they spent, it reflects on where their priorities lie.
I now know who Freshdesk is (didn't before) and might consider them in the future. We used to use Zendesk but found it too expensive for our needs. Plug: we use Tender.
Oh, that's silly. Writing up and posting a small 1-page website did not take any time at all away from "coming up with new ideas, or responding to legitimate support inquiries".
It's fine if you don't like it, but don't act like they were somehow derelict in their normal duties by making this.
This kind of response is a double-edged sword. The majority of comments in this thread seem to support the idea as a marketing ploy and that is fine. However, the other side of damaging the company's reputation & culture needs to be considered.
I do not want to deal with companies who make it a common practice to respond to slight arguments with long posts and websites instead of dealing with more important support issues, features, and bug fixes.
Time is a tradeoff. It's a finite resource that needs to be used wisely. It reflects poorly on your company (especially an early stage startup) when you publicly spend it doing things like this.
If either of these companies are serious about their products they would not be spending time responding to trivialities like this and would let the customers and product speak for themselves.
It's marketing, pure and simple. And if you think any company that spends time/money on marketing/PR doesn't care about you, the customer, you're going to have to have trouble finding any companies you want to give your money to.
The fact that Zendesk is using "analyst" payola smacks of the worst practices of four quadrant research firms and enterprise software. "Want to the upper-right quadrant? Sure thing, the price will be..."
So at least in this case, it was exposed and we can properly adjust the value of all involved's reputations.
They took this and made it a part of their company by registering a domain name and making a big, glittery page about it. Also, since ZenDesk isn't exactly a behemoth, and it names names, it's quite personal.
with this new campaign, they're likely to get an infusion of customers and cash, which will in turn be more beneficial to their product than the 30 minutes it must have taken them to set up the mud slinging website.
If one of the companies can show actual instances of customer confusion, then there may be a case as this is an important test in a trademark case.
The fact that zen haven't filed suit speaks volumes.
And of course there is a long history of companies doing similar things. Say ending a domain in "ly.com" as only one example.
* I'm deliberately not mentioning the company or product by name, because I don't particularly want to start a subthread about this situation - the particulars would detract from the point I'm making.
By the way, I'm not against copying. I distribute my website, multiplayerchess.com with WTF License to let people clone it easily.
Again, what I see here is bullshit. It's unethical, it's not honest.
Either way I'm not really impressed (I'd guess most consumers aren't impressed) by pointless personal bickering. Marketing based on negative sentiment is not effective.
However, it alienates the undecided. Mudslinging works best when targeted to base voter blocs. We rarely see it in product advertising, though, because of this fear of alienation. It takes a very well-put-together campaign to attack your competition without giving them too much exposure. The last effective one in recent memory is probably Mac vs. PC, and that focused on targeting the frustrations of current PC users. Often you see it set up in that David vs. Goliath light, which is what I think Freshdesk is trying to do here.
This however, isn't marketing. Or, at least, didn't start that way. It started with what you said: pointless personal bickering. There's no reason for it and Zendesk should probably have never have brought up Freshdesk in the first place, negative comments or not. Freshdesk took it as an opportunity to do a compare/contrast while people were paying attention. I'm guessing it has zero effect on sales in the long run, though.
(Personally, I'm now even more glad with our choice of using Assistly.)
a) an entrepreneur; and
b) think that "rip-offs" like this one are in some way unethical...
... you need to get your head out of your ass, ASAP!
Taking other peoples' great ideas and applying them to make your own product even better is not called "ripping somebody off". That process is called "business".
It's worthy of debate, but we'll all feeding this PR stunt (and if some people feel Girish is a troll, then you're feeding a troll too).
And usually it's considered 'poor form' to submit your own stuff to HN.
My tweet, "“Seems to me that #Freshdesk is an unethical troll trying to cash in on #Zendesk‘s good name.
But that could just be me….”" was an off the cuff remark. I still think Freshdesk is trying to leverage Zendesk's brand but hey, hat's just my opinion. I do note that other folks in here have commented on the similartiies between the two products, I've reached out to Freshdesk asking to ommuncate with them to review their product - am looking forward to comparing them with Zendesk.
The image on Freshdesk's site showing a Zendesk post with my name on it actually relates to a CloudCamp that Zendesk was helping to spread the message about earlier this year. I run CloudCamps in aus/nz (for free, as in gratis, voluntary, unpaid). So that image is kind of irrelevant - it's kind of like saying that a Red Cross volunteer is somehow in the pocket of a large corporate that sponsors the Red Cross.
That said I did do some writing for Zendesk for their blog - around a year or so ago and not since then. So saying I'm a paid blogger for zendesk is kind of like saying I'm an advocate for mcdonalds since I worked there when I was 15. And for anyone who really cares, I have possibly the most complete disclosure statement of current and past engagements - feel free to cross check any other comments I make... http://www.diversity.net.nz/diversity_analysis/ben_kepes_dis...
Finally, in relation to the comments from Christian Marth about he country of origin of the Freshdesk founders - that I obviously don't condone. Those who know me will see (from the size of my nose if nothing else) that I'm Jewish. My mother spent time in a concentration camp and my Grandfather was murdered by the Nazis because he was Jewish - with that background it's unlikely that I'd be a candidate for pulling the race card.
There is no such thing as a good idea, only good execution.
Being first doesn't count for anything. Having a vaguely similar name doesn't count for anything. In the end, only how well your product works, how many users you can attract and retain, and how much value it provides matter.
As an Indian-started helpdesk software company ourselves, the 'Indian cowboy' comment raised our brows a bit. It was very unfortunate. But then I realised it was said by a relative nobody. That didn't stop it being used to inflame the situation, though.
Disclosure: I'm from Kayako.com, competitor, the original Original helpdesk and bemused bystander ;-)
Agreed. That comment was from a bystander and Freshdesk pulled it into the story to sensationalize.
Yes, I remember back in 2005 when there was Kayako, Cerberus, Activecampaign, Request Tracker and PHP Ticket. All required self-hosting of files and maintenance. A cloud based helpdesk just wasn't an option.
In the end, customers will select technology that fits their needs. Those needs may be completely technical in nature but more and more, customers are making decisions about technology vendors based on the ethics and relationship with that company.
Nice to see you contribute this thread.
> customers are making decisions about technology vendors based on the ethics and relationship with that company
Indeed. In such a crowded space with plenty of the same feature-wise, there is no doubt that the personality of a company (in this case, conveyed over social media) is going to play this kind of role.
PS: We were doing SaaS in 2005 :-)
Can you write a post in a week to let us know how many customers you gained from this? If you can find out how many came from ZenDesk, even better.
I wonder if these tactics actually have a measurable impact on sales?
However, I do think their criticisms of Zendesk and their paid blogger's method of product 'evangelism' are fair and they have every right to take their shot and fire back a bit. It's all good, the better product development team will most likely win either way.
I will be reminded of this incident every time i see the Zendesk logo when i submit a ticket on a site that uses them.
What an awful way to lose respect and damage credibility.
Yuck on both counts.
Is setting up an entire website really a proportionate response to a dumb tweet? (Obviously, it is if you're stirring up controversy).
Seriously, guys... don't feed the trolls. You should know better than this.
It can make the signal-to-noise ratio unbearable. It cheapens the community, and makes it less interesting and useful.
Who else is going to promote you for free?
People who genuinely like your product. It's even better than free, they're paying you money.
So my question for FreshDesk is this ... How is your service more innovative than ZenDesk?
They are a business, they want to make money. Consumers will choose whichever product they prefer. Everybody wins. End of story.
Once all the dust settles, it will be clear that Freshbooks IS a complete rip-off of Zendesk. 'RipoffOrNot.org'... errrm yes. You could think of worse products to rip off, so in that sense they've done well.
I'm not going to point out the obvious stolen elements. Anyone can see the app is not just inspired, but clearly deliberately copied. They've also spent a lot of time reading all the feature requests on the Zendesk forums. There is also an import feature from only one competing helpdesk product. Guess which one.
At the end of the day, Freshdesk is built exactly like any Zoho product (Girish worked for Zoho). And based on how it feels it might as well be a Zoho product: feature wise it ticks a heap of boxes and it's low cost. But to live with it has many limitations that won't stand up in actual real life, as in this case, the running of a help desk. It's seriously lacking workflow, custom widgets, the 100+ 3rd party integrations, and plenty more settings and customizations that make Zendesk what it is.
Zendesk has many decent alternatives but Freshdesk isn't one of them. If you're actually considering Freshdesk there are a huge amount of alternatives including freemium ones. Mojo Helpdesk comes to mind but really the web is full of them.
I don't understand the comments against their response. I find shameful that a paid blogger tweet against a competitor with a subjective attack without disclosing the conflict of interest and that the guy paying the blogger chimes in insulting the competitor.
And Ghandi's quote at the end fit so well, I am still smiling :)
Well, Assistly before they got bought and couldn't keep their service up.
You risk more by attacking downward and you have less to gain.
Aren't most of the products rip-off in some sense? Take Apple, Google, Yahoo or any other company out there. Rarely, if ever, a company comes up with something totally new and innovative that it doesn't resemble anything else in the market. A new category, that is. ZenDesk didn't invent helpdesk system. Instead, like all other companies, they are evolving and perfecting helpdesk systems. FreshDesk is also an attempt at this, (and so is our product Visual Website Optimizer for A/B testing tools).
I wish companies compete in a professional and respectful way, this war of words simply disgusts me.
Freshdesk is SCUM. This kind of strategy, of generating controversy and creating "noise" around your company is rooted in the "there is no such thing as bad publicity" belief. It's immoral, and ungentlemanly.
And yes, it is very common with 3rd world companies. I've seen it before. Very often their products ARE rip-off of established market products as well (no idea if this is true in this case though). I suppose it comes from the social corruption and "everything goes" that surrounds life around there. Basically lack of civilization.
It would be very sad if the market rewards them instead of the companies focused on developing a good product, improving it and keeping an atmosphere of cooperation and civility in the industry.
Agree or not, look at the attention they are getting.
The sales numbers will tell whether or not it was worth it - given that this is essentially free...I can't see how it won't be worth it.
As for Zendesk, anyway you take it, they have a crisis on their hands.
Having said that I am grateful freshdesk is there to spur some innovation.
What they're completely missing is Steve's greatest lesson: If you want to trample your competitors, just build a better product.
No wonder Girish who is an ex-Zoho did the same with this tweet.
Seems to be a nice way to market your product as a replacement to the current market leader.
I think their response was a bit too involved. They were insulted by some blowhard (CEO or not) and instead of rolling with the punches, they write an emotionally-charged, whiny blog post. Not to mention a name is the stupidest thing to fight over. If you want to see a real rip-off, check out github vs bitbucket.
Just focus on making your product. If you're doing well, some people may turn into little girls and get jealous and throw tantrums. Ignore them and focus on your goals. Engaging in back and forth like this shows nothing but weakness.
Just noticed they actually bought a domain for this. Even worse. I don't see good things in the future for Freshdesk if this is how they respond to an affront. Also, why are they comparing themselves to Gandhi? You've got to be kidding me...?
I hate when companies publicly bash each other, even if it's in retaliation.
Use the publicity That you've been given freshdesk but don't overdo it!
I agree though, this is great publicity for FreshDesk. May the best service win.
Freshdesk is playing dirty all while trying to convince us that it's the other guys that are playing dirty. I hope we all see through the BS. You don't win hearts and minds by being a bully and they're being bullies while trying to look like victims.
When I see a company do something like this, that's so cheap and obvious, I immediately wonder how desperate they are. They're also doing themselves a disservice by calling attention to the fact that they've been called a ripoff. People's first reactions will be to wonder why they feel the need to defend themselves so vehemently against that sort of thing. If they're not a ripoff then why do they have to work so hard to convince me otherwise? Am I saying they're a ripoff of Zendesk? No, but their actions have now put the idea in my head. Major backfire.
This is completely bullshit. If you take a look at the website of Freshdesk, you'll see that they stole the design of Zendesk. They probably did it to draw the attention of Zendesk and gather some angry tweets that can be used in such a way you see.
This is the last article I've seen in HN. I'll never enter this website again. Seriously, enough bullshit for a coder.
Time to leave HN alone with the embarrassing promoters and gossip girls.
Are there that many different possible designs for a helpdesk system?