Welcome to the first in a new, on-going series we fondly called,  “CLONE SPOTTING“, the original series … about copies.   =P

By “copies” or “clones”, we are referring to the ever growing list of businesses, brands, concepts, app, ideas that are re-purposed, redesigned and rehashed for the Korean market — and vice versa.

NOTE:  Some services are close proximities where the “copy/clone” comparison might be stretching it, but we feel still frames the service in a way that is easy for most to relate to.   Futher, we will also include analogous companies/tech/products in our clone series, for example, “Soju is the vodka of  Korea “, but mostly because “Analogous Company Spotting” doesn’t sound cool and again, I think everyone gets the point.

We will be exploring and delving deeper into this topic from different angles throughout the series, but its best to start simple:  With a simple reference guide of Korean/International IT/business/product “clones”.

Disclaimer:  At least for the purpose of this list, we are making NO claims, implications as to “ethics of (product) cloning”.   Further, there are many cases where we its just not practical to list ALL the clones (eg. the “social commerce” market has over 600+ known clone sites,  so we list only the first or few “largest” in the category.   Also, “which came first?  The A or B company” might be under debate and whether a company even is a true “clone”.

We will be delving into such issues and delineating the nuances and subtleties as part of the series, and we welcome (constructive) exchanges and input at any time. =)

But we have to start somewhere, so…..





( US to KOREA )

  • Twitter.com — Me2day.net  (subsequently bought by NHN)
  • LinkedIn.com  — Linknow.kr
  • Ebay.com —  Auction.co.kr (bought by Ebay)
  • GroupOn.com  — Ticketmonster.co.kr
  • Gilt.com  — Tryst.co.kr,  PrivateLounge.co.kr
  • Yahoo.com (as a portal)  — Naver.com , Daum.net
  • Google.com — Naver.com  (in terms of “dominant search engine”)
  • Disqus.com — Cizion.co.kr
  • Yahoo Groups — Daum Cafe
  • GoogleMaps — Naver Maps, Daum Maps
  • Napster — Sodibada
  • YouTube — PandoraTV


  • Cyworld.com  —  Facebook.com
  • Naver 지식In  — Yahoo Answers
  • 통합 검색 (Combined Search Results) — Google Universal Search
  • Hotmail  —  Hanmail
  • Overture — Zingu



  • Foursquare — I’m In
  • What’sApp — KaKao Talk
  • TapTapRevenge — BeatRider
  • FarmVille (on Facebook) —  EveryTown (on Cyworld)



  • Ycombinator — Seoul Space  😉
  • BlackBerry — BlackJack
  • WinZip — AlZip
  • Windows Media Player — GomPlayer
  • Norton — Ahn Labs
  • MsWord — Hanguel
  • CostCo — Kim’s Club
  • Walmart — E-mart
  • Kindle — Papyrus
  • Starbucks — Tom&Toms

* Samsung is even known as a  “fast-follower”  company, so I’m not really sure to include their products in the list as it could/would go on indefinitely, but here are a few  just to get them in there.


  • iPhone – Galaxy S
  • iPad —  iTab
  • iOS —  Bada


And just for fun… here’s my favorite clone:


Apparently, Twitter has decided to expand operations in Korea by establishing a soju bar in the basement of a massage parlor (the red lettering sign).   Talk about localization!  =P

(For those that missed the sarcasm, this is random local bar in Seoul that decided it make free use of Twitter branding.  The best part is that its called “Twitter2” … “2”!? Well, I guess like its namesake, “Twitter 1” bar must being doing so well, that it needed a expand to keep up with demand.  Bonus points for anyone that can tell us where Twitter1 is located. lol)




What do you think of our list?  Did we forget anything?

We welcome anyone to suggest, or let us know if you “spot a clone” as well.


  1. April 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm — Reply

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