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Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos joins the dark side

29 May 2014

Posted in: Design

Finance Department in Morelos State

It's not the first time that people steal or copy my designs. We saw it few years back with my old blog design and Italian corporation that eventually removed my design after sending an email to the CEO of the company.

Today we are in México, in the state of Morelos. Beautiful and warm state just few kilometres from Mexico City.

Almost two years ago I did an awesome project for Government department dedicated to tobacco control in México. We worked near 4 months on the content and data transfer from old server to new one. The idea was to create and maintain a full database of related projects, papers, campaigns and everything related with tobacco in Mexico.

First signs of evil

My client informed me that they are receiving strange email contacts that have nothing to do with what they are doing in their department. I checked server side and everything seemed to be working just fine. We related this with just user mistake of clicking in wrong Government website.

Only few days ago several fellow designers from Mexico (some of them actually live in State of Morelos) and few friends informed me that several Government pages look very similar to the project I did few years back. They were actually very similar :).

Copy Paste here we go

Before we continue with detailed analysis, you can find the original here. The copycat actually did pretty lame copying. Most of the people that steal something, try to accommodate and customize stolen design to their needs.

In this case "Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos" used a special tool and actually copied entire html pages with original content and all the minimized assets, images and logos and they didn’t bothered too much about changing the images names and emails in the code. You can see the copy here and here.

Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos robando diseño Here you can see homepage

Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos robando diseño This is actually the same page but different department, so there are actually two websites

Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos robando diseño In the code it is obvious from where the code is taken and the date. They also have wrongly spelled their own department name..

Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos robando diseño They used member profiles template as some ugly icons cemetery

Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos robando diseño This one was a kick in the balls, they didn’t changed Javascript obfuscated email, so user sees correct email, but ALL sent emails are going to the original email. Sure, if user doesn’t manually change it in their email app. Pathetic.

Social promotion

They are also very proud, so their social media person is promoting every single day the new portal on their twitter and facebook accounts so people could visit their new shiny web portal. Maybe this article helps them promote it more.

Wishing happy Thursday and inviting people to visit their pirate website

Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos robando diseño Wishing happy Tuesday and inviting people to visit their pirate website

It’s not fair

I can’t say that I like when people do this but it’s entertaining. So from my point of view, it tells me that I’m on the right path and need to continue improving myself. This weekend I’m planning to make detailed instructions how they can improve their copied design if they decide to keep it.

It’s not fair to all tax payers in the state of Morelos, knowing that their money was used to steal someone else product. They are even stating that their funds are completely transparent, so I guess that we could find out how much they actually payed for this “original” design.

I'm not sure which agency and under who's authority this robbery was made but they did very lame work doing post processing, their new content is full of tip-fellers and wrongly spelled words.

Mexico has plenty of awesome designers and developers, and even when clients don't always have enough money to hire them to do the quality work, the government should organize better their use of peoples money and invert in something original like Department of Tobacco Control did.

What is next

My client will send official complaint and we will probably ask them to remove the content or give us some credit. Maybe they decide to hire me and we can do things right, so they could have also custom design made just for them.

Edit

I was contacted by other fellow designers, saying that this was not the first case of very dishonest behavior of that department. Recently they had a poster competition that ended really bad, and many designers were affected. Here you can see the results.

Update June 03, 2014

The copied website is taken down, at least one of them, I guess social pressure was too high to risk it and try to go with it. If "Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos" is reading this, you can get in touch with me and we can see how we can improve your internet presence.

Update June 05, 2014

And the second site is also replaced with a new one.

Conclusion

I can imagine all the effort, time and money used to build both sites, then remove them, create new versions, copy all the info, publish new sites etc... All of this was totally unnecessary and could have been avoided with right people in charge and right decisions. Once you join the dark side, it's hard to go back. About "Secretaría de Hacienda del Estado de Morelos", I hope they learned the lesson and will respect hard work and won't take any shortcuts in the future :)

Davor Peić is a designer & developer with more then ten years of experience.

About the author

Davor Peić is a designer & developer with more then twelve years of experience. Find more about his work on www.davorpeic.com