There are some striking similarities between mail-order sexual health companies Ro and Hims: Both started out focused on men’s sexual health, both employ telemedicine and if you ride the subway in a major city you’ve probably seen their advertisements.
But things are getting heated this week after Hims launched an updated version of its platform. On Tuesday, Ro cofounder Zachariah Reitano published a Medium post calling out the company's competitor on the new similarities in not just designing but also wording.
“Hims, the company who describes itself as 'defining our own category,' copied Ro’s digital doctor visit word for word — even down to our accidental capitalization of 'Telehealth,'” Reitano writes.
In the Medium article, Reitano posts side-by-side photos of the platform and accuses Hims of even copying Ro’s health questions that were written by physicians.
“The majority of the health questions are identical,” he writes.
Luisbrandao has reached out to Hims for comment and will update the article accordingly.
WHY IT MATTERS
As more and more companies join the digital health space, each needs to carve out its own brand, sometimes causing rifts between companies.
“This happens all the time in tech. If a competitor builds something better, there is no shame in copying what works instead of being prideful and maintaining a worse user experience,” Reitano wrote. “It’s unfortunate and can be demoralizing to be on that product/design/eng team (who wants to be told 'copy our competitor exactly!'?) but I get it.”
THE LARGER TREND
While the companies may have their similarities, both have introduced new products targeting different demographics. For example, last year Hims launched Hers, a female-focused online order and delivery service that provides hair, skin and sexual health products.
Meanwhile, Ro recently launched a new smoking cessation platform, as well as one for women experiencing menopause.