Consultant, McKinsey & Company

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What should I do if I see on the market a service online similar to the one I am about to launch?

I've worked for months on a project and plan to launch it within 6 months. Then I discover something partially similar... what should I do? Patent the idea, launch in another market?

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    Feb 23 2011: I think you have a big opportunity on your hands. If you have people doing what you are doing it means that indeed there is a market and your idea is on the right track. You can learn from them, improve your product or you may join and improve both products.

    Unless you are talking about just a process or an algorithm, there is no reason to either patent the idea or go other markets just because there are others doing the same thing, there will always be someone doing something somewhat similar to what you are doing.
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    Feb 16 2011: Most of the times the company that invented or released first a certain technology, product or service is not the one that is known for this or has the best business.
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    Feb 16 2011: without any more information I must first and foremost reply, "I don't know?"

    having said that I would then remind you that if you can use information you glean from their success or failure to make a better version you may actually be in a better position. to be first to market has it's ups but if you can be a cheaper better version 2.0 then you may go farther than the original. myspace was popular before facebook, but facebook is the one that transformed the web.