Imagine you're starting a local Twitter clone. You copy Twitters functionality, layout and even their claim. You get some coverage on Techcrunch and Mashable and some nice investment money from some infamous copycats turned venture capitalists.

Problem is, you just don't have enough users. Just 20.000 of them four months after your launch, to be precise. So what do you do? How about buddying up with a company that offers free downloads of movies and TV shows and that repeatedly got in trouble for doing so?

That's exactly what the German Twitter clone Frazr decided to do. Frazr cooperates with - a platform that enables its users to record and download shows from more than 30 German TV stations. Some of these stations previously got injuctions against Onlinetvrecorder.

Downloading American Dad, ER and Family Guy for free at

The company responded by moving its corporate headquarters to Vanuatu and its TV recording units to Sealand. OTR, as fans call the site, might not be exactly legal - but it's extremely successful in Germany. The site has 370.000 registered users and 70.000 visitors per day, at least if you believe OTR owner Guido Ciburski.

Frazr apparently did, and they wanted in. The startup partnered with OTR to get new users to join both services simultaneously. Users who sign up for OTR are now asked if they want to get TV show updates per SMS through Frazr. They also get a little incentive: Sign up for Frazr, send two messages and you'll get some points that help you to get easier access to OTR downloads.

"Don't want to miss your favourite TV shows ever again? Frazr will remind you! Record them with just one click!"

Frazr even went the extra mile to make sure OTR users feel welcome on their platform. They build a landing page and added some special hints to their help section that describe how to record shows through Frazr. One of the featured TV networks for this function is PRO7 - the very network that won an injunction against about a year ago.

Need some help with recording shows from stations that previously won injunctions against OTR? Just write to

People have given Frazr a hard time for essentially copying Twitter, but they deserve some credit for innovative ideas: Facilitating legally questionable downloads of commercial video content - now that's a feature that Twitter users have been missing out on.

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