from the borderline-scams dept
Projects cannot resell items or offer rewards not produced by the project or its creator.There have been a few cases in the past where this has popped up. Last year there was the Ambiolight and earlier this year there was the machined gamers dice -- both of which were called out by people in the comments as being mere reselling of products made by others already on the market.
It appears that others keep trying to do these kinds of reseller setups, tricking users along the way. A few weeks ago, I saw the projects for "Full of Fuel" external batteries. I have a bit of an obsession with external battery packs, and have been personally using a fantastic Anker Astro Pro 20,000mAh battery -- which looked nearly identical to one of the Fuel of Fire batteries. The other two Fuel of Fire batteries also looked like other external batteries already on the market. Thankfully, plenty of people started pointing out similar things in the comments. The guy behind the project initially defended it, claiming that they had "changed the design" but many didn't believe it. The guy behind the project apparently promised to send a sample to one of the most vocal critics to prove that it was different... but then stopped responding altogether, and the project was cancelled (apparently by Kickstarter).
It appears that something similar is happening with the so-called Rock Smartwatch, which launched with a bit of hype, including some odd claims such as that the watch had 1080p resolution (huh? on a watch?!?) and 4GB of RAM. Some folks quickly pointed out that the watch appeared to be nothing more than a rebranded Z3 watch from China. There was a fair bit of evidence to support this. The creator of the project, "Vak Sambath" first started claiming that he was devastated and suggesting that their manufacturing partner had somehow leaked or made different versions of their work.
Because, he then posted a different, but equally unintelligible comment claiming those first comments in which he defended the watch weren't really from him, but were because his computer got hacked:
Hey Guys... first and foremost... I'd like to apologize for whatever happened to do. It wasn't me. I wasn't in front of my computer all day. Someone got into my account. When it rains it pours guys. This is the real Vak. My account got hacked from some freaking hot mess reason. This hasn't been easy.
We appreciate kickstarter for allowing small companies to enter new markets with new ideas, that may not be popular with a small sector that does not like change.
The rock is taking a more innovative approach that some may find hard to understand since it is a new direction.
On Saturday morning, things took an even weirder twist, as Vak suddenly decided to just start posting over and over and over again in the comments pretending that they were getting lots of "great encouragement" from their backers, and those backers were asking questions. So he started answering them, but each time he posted, plenty of critics just kept commenting about Vak's own ridiculous claims and calling out that the whole thing was a scam. And rather than respond, Vak just kept posting the same exact "email answers" over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, perhaps in the faulty belief that this would somehow drown out all those calling him out.
The other odd thing was that some folks noticed that even as a ton of people bailed from the project earlier in the week, there was suddenly an influx of new buyers, according to Kicktraq's data:
Finally, around noon on Saturday, Kickstarter stepped in and cancelled the deal, at about the same time Vak was insisting the fact that Kickstarter had approved the campaign was proof that it was legit. In an email to backers, Kickstarter's Trust & Safety team admitted that the project clearly violated numbers rules:
A review of the project uncovered evidence of one or more violations of Kickstarter's rules, which include:Vak then went quiet on Kickstarter, but it didn't stop him from continue fighting the bizarre fight on Twitter. First, he pretended that people were just upset because they were "using parts from China." But, of course, that wasn't what anyone was claiming. Then he claimed that what he "learned" from the project is that "what we have isn't for Kickstarter."
Accordingly, all funding has been stopped and backers will not be charged for their pledges. No further action is required on your part.
- A related party posing as an independent, supportive party in project comments or elsewhere
- Misrepresenting support by pledging to your own project
- Misrepresenting or failing to disclose relevant facts about the project or its creator
- Providing inaccurate or incomplete user information to Kickstarter or one of our partners
Either way, I expect we'll see more of this sort of thing happening over time, but it's kind of neat to see the community itself work all of the details out and help out these questionable projects (even as it's funny to see the project creators try to tap dance around their claims).