Client: - How much does a copy of Facebook cost?

“How much does it cost to make a copy of Facebook (Avito, Yandex.Taxi, ...)?” - One of the most popular questions of customers, to which we will give a detailed answer today and tell you how it looks from the side of people who have to do it.

"Black box"

When we are given the task of copying some kind of service, then for us it is a kind of “black box”. It does not matter what kind of program it is: a site, a mobile application or a driver. In any case, we can see how it looks from the outside, but we do not have access to what is inside.

It’s approximately as if they showed us a car and asked to make an exact copy, but didn’t give us the opportunity to look under the hood: we can limit ourselves only to an external inspection and sit behind the wheel. But getting into the trunk is no longer possible!

Accordingly, we will be forced to solve the following problems:
Assume and come up with - but how is this “car" arranged inside, in which we see only the body?

Imagine what parts it consists of. To understand: any modern car is about 18,000 parts ...

Estimate what specialists are needed to create these 18,000 parts and how long it will take to create each.

In software development, this is a similar process: the system that we create must be divided into a bunch of small components. To figure out how and by whom to create them, and how they will interact with each other. That is why “just copying” is a difficult and voluminous task.

"The tip of the iceberg"

Avito, Facebook, Yandex.Taxi ... If the client knew from within the business to which he refers, then he would find that dozens, if not hundreds, of programmers have been working on it who have been creating the service for several years.

Paid thousands of hours of specialists who went to the product.

Considering “how much it costs to copy Facebook,” we will see all the results of their work. And, when we make a list of these results, the client always discovers what he saw, on the strength, 10% of Facebook.

The remaining 90% become visible to him only after we have done quite a lot of work. You do not see the engine, steering racks, fuel line when you get behind the wheel of a car?

What will happen next?

The client understands that he does not need 90% of the capabilities of the service. These are labor costs that will not give him any benefit. Thousands of man-hours spent on opportunities that will never come in handy. Expensive and worthless.

"Copy the daughter of a neighbor, but cheaper!"

Why does a customer come with such a request? It seems to him that since this work has already been done, there is nothing easier than to take and copy. Saves a ton of money!

But there is a small problem - we can’t take anything from Facebook, because:

  1. We (and no other contractor) have access to the source code. Yes, even if it were, it is the property of another company.
  2. We do not have design sources, that is, the design will also need to be recreated.
  3. We have no knowledge of product architecture. We can only guess how it is arranged inside. Even if we read a bunch of articles on the Habré - there will be only an approximate description.

Alas, the request “do as a neighbor” does not make the job cheaper :(

"Give me a poker!"

A software product is not an end in itself: with it, a client wants to solve his business problem. For example, earn or save money, capture an audience, create a convenient tool for employees.

Only here is the paradox: the client does not come to us with a question about the business task. He comes up with a technical solution. That is, with a request like "I need a poker." And why is she to him? Maybe he’s going to chop wood, and there you need an ax?

The client is not a specialist in solutions (usually he solves such a problem for the first time in his life), but when he sees the poker, it seems to him that HERE IS, magic wand!

But, when we ask the question "what business problem do you solve?" and think about which solution would be really optimal, it turns out that it has nothing to do with Facebook or poker at all. Well, that’s nothing at all.


It appears that the query "how much is a copy ...?" - meaningless. In order to answer it literally, you need to do a tremendous job that will not be useful to us or the client. Why so sure? Yes, we did this work, many times =)

What to do? We have an opinion - write a technical task.

Any normal reader at this point thought “you say it because you want to sell us !!!”

Yes and no. Try to find a good builder who will start building a house without design estimates. Or a car mechanic creating a car without blueprints. Or an experienced entrepreneur creating a new business without a financial model.

Even if we make a program for ourselves, we will start with the terms of reference. We, just like you, do not want to spend “extra” money on this. But we know that we cannot do without it. Otherwise, the skyscraper will collapse, the business will take more than bring, and with the car, it is not known who will ride whom.

This article has only one purpose: to avoid useless work, and to do useful work for you. Let's talk, why do you need a "poker"?

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