Plagarism? Say it ain’t so, Norfolk

Another one for the “OMG Norfolk” file.

Take a look at these screenshots (click to enlarge). The first one is from seattle.gov while the second one is what the new Norfolk website looked like – at least for a couple of days. That is, until somebody noticed the similarities. According to The Virginian-Pilot, Seattle officials took note and contacted Norfolk, who took down the new design. The old website is back up.

The giveaway was the Seattle links on the Norfolk site. Duh!

A major difference that I noticed, though: the mayor’s office and city council in Seattle had Facebook and Twitter links on it. That would never happen in Norfolk 😉

Photos from The Stranger

20 thoughts on “Plagarism? Say it ain’t so, Norfolk

  1. I don’t see the broohaha. The home pages don’t look “too” similar, to me. How much can you do to make a “box” different.

    But keeping links to the Seattle area is lazy. Somehthing a bad proofer like I would miss. Maybe this was Norfolk’s first foray into cost saving measures.

    1. As you move from site to site, it is pretty easy to identify those that are using the same themes. (And yes, there are tons of ways to make boxes look different 🙂 ) This one looks like it relied quite heavily on the Seattle site.

      If they were going to do that, they should have contacted Seattle and asked for permission. A lot of time and effort goes into building a website, even though the source is generally available for all to see (if you know where to look).

    1. I agree with warren. Even if they looked at their design and liked it so what. I actually like the Norfolk better as it does a better job with colors at directing you attention. At some point if the city keeps try to improve things for the users and all they get are complaints the city will just give up. Of course then they will get complaints as why they don’t ever update their design.

  2. Methinks Seattle doth complain too much. If Norfolk copied it, it should apologize. But in the big scheme of things, Norfolk residents should be happy their IT people found a good idea and adapted it without going to the time and expense of creating something from scratch. Heck, if they took Seattle’s perhaps they should offer to split the cost of development. It’ll still be a good deal for Norfolk residents. I think it’s ridiculous that they took the Norfolk site down.

    1. If I had to guess, I’d say they used a program which downloaded the entire source code and all images from the Seattle site and then started tweaking from there. I know some political consultants who use that for every campaign website they build. I can’t see any other way they could end up with Seattle links unless they just did a basic copy. If you were coding it yourself, that would never happen.

        1. That will save you the html file for that page, I’m talking about a program that literally downloads the entirety of the website; images, videos, all the pages, template and CMS files, anything on the server that is publicly accessible.

  3. I agree with Chris, et al. Good ideas are meant to be copied. And building websites is as close as grabbing someone’s code or pulling a template from any of a million or more such sites, free and/or paid. I liked the new site. Norfolk should put it back up. And add Twitter and FB accounts for the city council, CAO, etc. 🙂

  4. Steve, there’s STILL Richmond council members in prison? All the ones that went when I was a kid should be out by now…

  5. Coby: I was using hyperbole. You’re right they should be out by now. You were a kid? Doesn’t seem like it was all THAT long ago.

  6. I figured, but I wasn’t sure. I remember when Rev. Young and Morrisey went, and there were a few others.

    …and I’m not that young, thank you (and Vivian) very much!! 🙂

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