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Maxvoltar - Oh Balls!

Maxvoltar is the personal weblog of Tim Van Damme, a freelance interface designer at Made by Elephant.

50° 54' 47" N, 4° 25' 50" E

Oh Balls!

11AM. Overslept. Feeling grumpy. Opening my NetNewsWire to catch up on RSS and warming up the brain. In my Mint folder, I suddenly see a dozen of new referrers, all coming from one single domain. Curious as I am, I immediately check out why the person managing this domain is so interested in me that he links to my sites from every single page

Turns out, he indeed is a fan of my work. He’s such a big fan that he wants to look just like me. But that’s not enough, he wants a site that looks just like mine. And if ripping one site isn’t enough, he decided to also use the layout for his personal site.

Talk about freaky fans…

Here’s a screenshot of what the site looked like before I had some fun with it:

Looks familiar?

Notice that he didn’t even change my picture. As Geoffroy Delobel puts it:

He even kept you’re avatar picture in the “About us” section. Seems he found your face well designed too, ahah!

On top of that, he also used Panic’s paperclip label (top left)

Plenty of reasons to have a little fun with this guy. Besides the obliged posting on Twitter, I changed a couple of images (he was hotlinking everything), and the end result looked like this:

With some help of Hasslehof


  • How did you know about this ripoff?
    People who rip off site designs, all seem to miss some brain cells. They always hotlink my Mint file. Also: Google Alerts is a really awesome tool. If these 2 fail, sooner of later someone on Twitter will tell me.
  • OMG he’s hotlinking your JS-files, NUKE THE SITE
    That’s not my style. Having a bit of fun with him, yes. Ridiculing him for an afternoon, yes. Taking a site down, no.
  • You should sue him!
    Again: not my style. They already make an ass out of themselves.


  • Blaze

    3712 days ago

    Haha. Awesome!

  • Ewan

    3712 days ago

    Haha, brilliant. Sucks to be him.

  • Stefan

    3712 days ago

    LOL, in his contact page, the google maps link still points to your address. So he only changed the visible address, not the one in the google maps link. And even the Made by Elephant is still there.

  • Shawn Blanc

    3712 days ago

    If anything his site is better now. I mean seriously, who doesn’t love the Hoff?

  • Jelle Vandebeeck

    3712 days ago

    Super!! Hahaha…

  • Marko

    3712 days ago

    Ah man as I said earlyer love the hotlinkd background! :D

  • Matt Shaw

    3712 days ago

    Brilliant. I still can’t believe that there exist people with audacity to copy so blatantly, even more people who are using another’s effort to promote their own supposed skill. It does make one wonder of the quality of service they offer if they cannot be bothered to create something original for their own site.

  • Stelabouras

    3712 days ago

    Hahahaha, I really laughed out loud with the way you decided to ridicule them ;)

    But seriously, some people can’t tell the difference between inspiration and piracy. That’s sad.

    Imagine how many others copied this page without asking and without you knowing about it. Sigh.

  • FilipWroblewski

    3712 days ago

    Oh god… I saw you posting this ‘site’ on twitter… I suggest spamming his mail with thousands of ‘lorem ipsum’ emails :D

    On the other hand, maybe the number of ripoffs determines how good you are. :D

    Good luck.

  • Rob Schultz

    3712 days ago

    Well done. The Hoff strikes back!

  • Hans

    3712 days ago

    don’t mess with the hoff!

  • Mark

    3712 days ago

    I love finding out about blatant design rips like this. It’s not even imitation. Imitation implies that something—anything—was changed. Not the case, unless you count your creative genius and The Hoff.

    Have you emailed them yet to ask to take it down?

  • donotfold

    3712 days ago

    Haha, nice job :) It’s even worse… he placed his name behind “designed by” … weirdo :s

  • Tim Van Damme

    3712 days ago

    Thanks all! Yes, I did send him an email (on both his personal and professional account). Haven’t heard of him yet…

  • Dave McNally

    3712 days ago

    Whilst public ridiculing is always fun for those following along, it may not be the best first approach and some people really don’t know any better, although I doubt that very much in this case.

    I would have probably sent him an email first, asking for an explanation and to remove the stolen work without taking it public but each to their own and it wasn’t my work stolen…

  • Relative Sanity

    3712 days ago

    The Hoff is truly genius. I always find it hilarious when people hotlink their ripped-off assets.

    A friend had some serverside code that would randomly replace hotlinked images with similarly Hoffed up poison pills. But the automation would take some of the fun out of the sting.


  • Jonathan Stark

    3712 days ago

    You don’t have to nuke the site with the JS. David K suggested the “snowing penis” effect, which I think would be apropos.

  • Tim Van Damme

    3712 days ago

    • Dave McNally: I understand this may all come as a shock when the guy returns to his computer, but remember that I left out (in this article at least) all the links and didn’t mention his name. That’s still showing respect, even though he blatantly copied everything.
    • Jonathan Stark: Flying dicks sounds tempting ;)
  • Todd Austin

    3712 days ago

    Too bad he will only see this if he is a Safari user. Hoff doesn’t show up in Firefox.

  • Dave McNally

    3712 days ago

    @Tim: That’s true, I’m not by any means defending this guy and he deserves the ridiculing. I just perhaps would have waited for an email reply first but as I said, we all have our own methods and what he did is clearly wrong whatever way you look at it.

    The main thing is you found out about it in the first place.

  • Karinne

    3712 days ago

    Ah! I was wondering why you were linking to that site on twitter! Too bad I can’t see the Hoff in the background while using FF… only the original grey … bummer! :)

  • Ryan Townsend

    3712 days ago

    Todd & Karinne I think you two need to clear your browser cache – I had a lack of the Hoff too until I did.

  • Harry Roberts

    3712 days ago

    Not your day I’m afriad – this guy likes your Made by Elephant tagline:

  • Fernando Lins

    3712 days ago

    Hahahaha well done!

  • Sebastiaan de With

    3712 days ago

    Brillaint. Very hasselhoffy solution is hasselhoffy.

  • Jerome

    3712 days ago

    Haha, good job! How can people be so stupid anyway?

  • Jan Vantomme

    3712 days ago

    Nice one. Looks like the site is down now for a redesign.

  • Vasily

    3712 days ago

    I can understand ‘borrowing’ some elements, but hot-linking is just silly and far over the top. He (or she) must be 12 or something.

    Anyways, yet another testimonial to your great work, Tim.

  • Paul

    3712 days ago

    I’m suprised it is still up! If someone was caught you would imagine they would put up something different rather quickly.

    I don’t think a designer has ‘made it’ until one of their designs is copied, but hotlinking all the images wins bonus points!

  • prisca

    3712 days ago

    well done, Tim :) that must have been a shock to him – that image :D
    this has just cheered up my day ;)

    I agree that ridicule is not always the best way – but such blatant rip off deserves to be made public, best deterrent yet – he might just learn his lesson :)

  • Jon

    3712 days ago

    When I was running some guy stole ALL our graphical layout elements and then had the balls to ask us to link to his site afterwards.

  • Jack Osborne

    3712 days ago

    It looks like the lad still has not learned his lesson. After a quick gander at his source code you can clearly see him referencing

    I’ve taken a screenshot to back up the above.

    Lets see where he takes it from here.

  • Fred

    3712 days ago

    Haha, this one is still up!

  • Julian Schrader

    3711 days ago

    Haha, nice one! :-)

  • Legoman

    3711 days ago

    If anything his site is better now.

  • Hans

    3711 days ago

    if everything is hot-linked, can’t you make his server crumble and die? : )

  • Reinier Meenhorst

    3711 days ago

    Classy way of dealing with this! Well done Tim.

  • Jim Jeffers

    3710 days ago

    You’re my new hero.

  • Rogie King

    3709 days ago

    LOL, awesome. However, I would have done some serious JavaScript hackery.

    What a n00b. Nice work Tim – Sexy background that you put on it too.

  • Nick Pellant

    3708 days ago

    Problem with things like this is that it gives a bad name to all young developers/designers and gives the impression none know what they should/shouldn’t do…

  • shpyo

    3706 days ago

    OMG? D.H.? Pwned ;).
    Sexy…. ;>

  • Thomas

    3705 days ago

    Haha, zotte sfeer jawel!

  • Nokia Man

    3705 days ago

    This David Haselhoff idea was truly great.

  • Milan

    3705 days ago

    Har Har. Reminds me of that Davidson/McCain Prank. Well done!

  • Dan

    3705 days ago

    Hell if that guy stole one of my designs I’d hotlink his server to death. And the current design is terrible, and still has Panic clip. I also spy comic sans….

  • Gardener

    3704 days ago

    Haha, good job!

  • Martin

    3702 days ago

    Seems like Uncle Monkey Tech liked the wallpaper so much that they keep it for now :P

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