This morning, I learned of a disturbing initiative. An initiative based in doing good but one that was conceived with no good at all.

In the summer of 2009, Kunal Jham, Jason Bornhorst and I created an iPhone application DoGood. The app gave users across the globe one act of kindness to do every day. After six successful months and bringing good to the world around us, we were acquired by Tonic Inc.

In the meantime, the app was featured on The New York Times, CNET, Forbes Tech, GulfNews’ Friday Magazine in the UAE, UM Alumni News, One Magazine in India and an interview with SMB Advisor Middle East.

This morning, I came across Batelco’s initiative – GoodCall – that was so blatantly similar that it screamed of plagiarism. To put it into perspective, let’s look at their marketing copy and reach out.

DoGood – “What if 300,000 people across the globe did the same act of kindness every day?”

GoodCall – “What if 800000 people in Bahrain and 5 million people in GCC, Jordan and India through our network start doing one Good Deed every day?”

Look & Feel:

DoGood

On clicking the “DONE” button, users were given an option to share this DoGood with friends via Twitter, Facebook and Email. Users could also click the little arrow and leave a story on how they did their DoGood.

Batelco GoodCall

Batelco GoodCall Initiative

 

DoGood Comments Page

Every DoGood had a stories tab attached to it. As one can see in the screenshot above, the little arrow led to this screen where users were allowed to leave little comments detailing how they actioned their good deed and in turn gave inspiration to others.

DoGood Stories and Comments

Batelco Good Call Comments

Batelco Good Call Comments Tab

DoGood Global Counter

DoGood Global Counter of all DoGoods

Batelco Good Call – “statistics”

Now, I don’t have a screenshot for the “Statistics” part of their app but its crazy how they couldn’t come up with a better name there either.

CONCLUSION

Apparently, Batelco’s Good Call won the Silver at the Dubai Lynx 2011 which raises the question that do the jury check to see if a campaign has been plagiarized or not. If not, this is an alarming reminder to awards in the region.
DoGood has been around since June 2009. It has been featured in…
1. The New York Times – http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/app-of-the-week-2/
2. Forbes – http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/02/dogood-iphone-app-technology-personal-mobile.html
3. CNET –  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-10273077-233.html
4. GulfNews – http://gulfnews.com/life-style/people/dogood-a-good-deed-indeed-1.590021
5. SMB Advisor Middle East – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7KMRYnRtpg
The point to be noted here is that both 4 & 5 are local publishers which leads even more credence to the fact that it wasn’t merely a situation of localization on part of Batelco.
Does intellectual property and idea ownership hold no scope in the Middle East. Are brands so blind to plagiarism that they will win awards and rip the concepts of others off?