I need a website similar to Facebook with all the features exactly same as Facebook
I need a TempleRun game clone
I need a travel website similar to makemytrip.com
Being in software services industry, one must have come across these kind of requests from clients at one point of time or another. But do clones really make sense?
Are these serious enquiries?
It is very difficult to know if these are really serious enquiries. Often one finds, that these kinds of requirements generally come as one liners. It maybe because client thinks that the existing application is the perfect blueprint for the requirement. It can be true in some cases as well. But there is no easy way to qualify such enquiries as valid ones. It becomes easier if you already know the person from which the enquiry has come. You can then take a decision based on your previous experience with the client. The client might have some idea which is similar to some existing application and may want to work with you to give it a concrete shape. In such cases these are definitely good enquiries and possibility for more business. When you dont know the person who sent the enquiry, one needs to be careful in how to approach.
Checking what kind of preparation client has done for his idea can be a good way to judge his indulgence in the same. If the client comes with some preparation in the form of documentation, drawings, research; this is a good sign. If not, then a good idea would be to call the client for a brainstorming session or meeting. When you speak to the client, you will have a good chance to gauge how serious the client is. Also, it is a good idea to try to understand what kind of time and budget investment client have in mind.
Temple Run wasnt built overnight
Because the client is seeing something running in front of him, it is very much possible that he may not appreciate the kind of effort that must have gone into building it or that might be needed in rebuilding it. Moreover, he is seeing the popular version of the software that is reaping money right now. In all probability, he does not understand that the product didnt look like this in its first release. It has taken this popular shape through multiple market releases. Client will expect the same level of delivery from the remake version on the client one. Beware. Set the expectations right. Just because something is already done, does not make it an easy thing to re-do. You did not build the original product. For you, it is as good as a new product.
Does client have a market plan?
If you are in services industry, in all probability you are not asking this question. In all probability client has also not given it due thought. You would want to seal the deal as quickly as possible. This is not a good idea.
Please take some time with the client to understand why he thinks making this clone is a good idea. Understand the business model. Client may want to serve a different demographic. Client may want to solve a problem in the existing product through his product and create competition. Unless you understand the positioning and viability of the product as a successful product, there is high probability that client will realize this mid-way and stop the project. It will be a loss-loss situation for both parties.
So, go ahead with the cloning requirements, but make sure you have got the answers for:
Is the client serious? Has he thought it through? Does he realize what it would require? Does he have the time and budget for that? Does he know how he is going to sell it?