About the MetaLab/Mozilla thing…

Sometime last night MetaLab’s Andrew Wilkinson published a blog post stating that Mozilla copied their website design. Upon first read, I was under the impression that this accusation was based on a single image posted on the semi-public Mozilla Lab’s wiki. It turns out this initial assumption was incorrect; Mozilla posted a video in a blog post announcing the editor that displayed the design (perhaps simulated) which was  a direct copy of the MetaLab site.

My initial confusion was based on the limited details in MetaLab’s blog post; there was no mention of anything other than a single image on the Mozilla Lab’s wiki. I think Andrew should have included more details about the incident, as well as further proof.

That being said, I’m a little concerned about how MetaLab handled this whole situation. In a matter of an hour or so, they posted a blog post on the MetaLab site (basically trying to incite a riot by asking readers to tweet and comment), various twitter posts, and (in my opinion the worst part) published on post on Clients from Hell. The Clients from Hell tumblr is theirs, and they can do what they want with it—but as of this morning I’m no longer a reader. I don’t appreciate them using it as a platform for their business.

All of the above was done before they had spoken with anyone at Mozilla. Aza Raskin did contact MetaLab (based on Aza’s tweet, it seems like it was about two hours after the first post when live on MetaLab), and seems to have resolved the situation. MetaLab mentions in their post that they “expect better from a respectable company like Mozilla” — yet they never gave Mozilla a chance.

In the end, the whole thing felt like a attention-grabbing move, and not an authentic concern over plagiarism. Mozilla is a respectable company, and Aza Raskin is by far one of the smartest and most genuine people in the industry. I feel like MetaLab made a mad dash to publish (in many formats and venues) hoping to grab some attention and press. Thats not cool in my book. MetaLab could (and should) have had some class and waited until business hours to contact Mozilla; would it have killed them to wait until they received a response before lighting the fire and trying to shame Mozilla?

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