16-year-old brings in millions in revenue, but raises plagiarism and ethics concerns

wrong16-year-old Christian Owens started his first business at 14, his second at 15, and has raked in nearly 2 million in revenue thus far. But has he done it by cheating?

Christian’s first business was Mac Bundle Box, which works with software developers to bundle up apps and programs and sell them as price-reduced packages. But virtually every facet of his business runs parallel to MacHeist, and questions are being raised: How can such a precisely similar model get away with shameless copying?

Perhaps it’s because he’s 16. Perhaps it’s because he’s already onto the next thing, which for him is a new venture called Branchr, a pay-per-click advertising company that distributes 300 million ads per month on over 17,500 websites, iPhone, and Android applications. Branchr has already made $800,000 in its first year and employs eight adults including Alison, his 43-year-old mother, and has already acquired another company.

In the world of PPC ads, copycatting is just a part of the game. But from concept to execution and everything in between, Mac Bundle Box mimics MacHeist too closely for comfort. Christian says Steve Jobs is his hero and the source of his inspiration, but if MacHeist didn’t exist, it’s difficult to imagine Christian bringing in the revenue he is.

From copycatter to ad-spammer, Christian is apt to have an infamous – but likely very successful – career.

My one suggestion: although I don’t know what his eight employees do at Branchr, it’d be great if he could hire a writer for Mac Bundle Box. His first line, “15 app’s, for only $49.95,” already has two punctuation mistakes, and I haven’t seen such an excess of exclamation marks since… well, since I was 16.

Just sayin’.