Monster Cable Blames 'Rogue Sites' Rather Than Its Own Business Practices For 'Stealing Good Will'

from the apparently,-trademark-lawsuits-and-$1800-cables-aren't-profitable-enough-any dept

The Copyright Alliance blog has a new post up patting itself on the back for its tireless efforts in pushing PROTECT IP through the legislative system. CA writer Sandra Aistars has joined the deceptively-named U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a series of “educational meetings and briefings to urge support for legislation targeting these so-called rogue sites.”In addition to the expected “contribution” from the AFL-CIO (“online infringement costs jobs, steals wages, and cuts benefits, blahblahblah”), a name well-known to Techdirt has reared its astronomically-priced head to decry the global impact of pirated goods: Monster Cable.

Illustrating the diversity of jobs impacted by online counterfeiting and piracy, David Tognotti, General Counsel of Monster Cable, shared his company’s story. Monster Cable, founded by a first-generation American in his garage, now owns 400 patents and employs 500 people. But during the last several years, the company has lost “hundreds of millions of dollars” to counterfeits.

“Our brand is respected by consumers worldwide,” he said. But “rogue web sites are stealing the good will we’ve built, and siphoning off sales.”

The implications of counterfeit versions of those created by a company like Monster Cable goes beyond lost jobs and revenues. Counterfeit electronics are made in substandard factory conditions, and can contain unlawful and harmful amounts of substances like lead and chromium, he explained. Consumers have also complained of stolen credit card information, he said.

I’m really not sure what sort of “good will” these rogue web sites are “stealing” from Monster. Could it be all the “good will” it built up by suing anybody who dared to use the word “monster” in their own ventures, including entirely unrelated businesses such as a mini-golf course, an automotive parts shop and (although it dropped this case before it went too far) the manufacturer of deer salt blocks?

Perhaps Tognotti is referring to the “good will” built up by Monster’s overpriced cables that are pushed via deceptive point-of-sale displays and contain incredibly high profit margins. While there isn’t anything wrong with separating fools from their money, your product should at least be able to outperform a wire coat hanger.

If anything’s hurting Monster Cable these days, it’s the self-inflicted beatings handed out by its pricing structures, questionable sales tactics and general disregard for its public image. With the ready availability of inexpensive cables that perform just as well as Monster’s, it’s highly doubtful that pirated goods are the driving force behind any “loss of sales” that Monster claims.

(Another small note: if you have a whole lot of spare time, check out Monster’s extensive list of “blacklisted sites” on its corporate web site. Topping the list are ebay and Craigslist. Apparently, Monster would rather you didn’t purchase second-hand cables, either.)

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Comments on “Monster Cable Blames 'Rogue Sites' Rather Than Its Own Business Practices For 'Stealing Good Will'”

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69 Comments
John Doe says:

Monster cables are no longer needed, if they ever were

With the move from analog to digital signals, there is no longer a need for “high quality” cables. Most any cable is capable of transporting 1’s and 0’s. That is what is hurting their sales. Of course their lawsuits against non-related companies have stopped me from every buying their cables again.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Monster cables are no longer needed, if they ever were

I would go further and explain why.

As long as the receiving end can distinguish a 1 from a 0, it doesn’t matter if the 1 or 0 is distorted.

With analog, any distortion of the signal is distortion of the information. With digital, it doesn’t matter if you have a distorted 1 or 0 — as long as you can still recognize which digit it is, you have perfect information.

With that perfect information, you can make another perfect copy — that has perfect undistorted 1’s and 0’s. That’s why a copy of a copy of a copy is identical to the original. Information loss only occurs when it becomes impossible to receive and distinguish 1’s and 0’s.

NotMyRealName (profile) says:

Re: Re: Monster cables are no longer needed, if they ever were

i’ll amend it. only in the last cable run (to the speakers) after it’s been changed back to an analog signal, does wire quality maybe, possibly, have some bearing on sound quality. there is -never- any reason, however, to buy anything other than the cheapest possible HDMI cables that will reach.

Think of it this way… whats the cheapest, thinnest, shittiest, unshielded, garbage, abused, often kinked all to hell, wire commonly used in very long, very prone to interference runs? cat 5. and with the right hardware in place on either end, you can push gigabit speeds through it without errors, and thats only got 4 pairs. HDMI runs 15 conductors. for reference, HD video runs at at most 35 megabits, double for 3d. So, theoretically and mathematically, through a single cat 5 wire, you could run 13 instances of hd 3d video with band left over, without error, lag, or distortion. Fuck HDMI.

Richard (profile) says:

!!!!

Listed on the blacklist site is the well respected UK consumer organisation Which.

They claim their list is of sites that sell counterfeit goods. However Which doesn’t sell anything – what it does do is:

“We campaign to get a fairer deal for all consumers and publish expert, unbiased information to help you make the right choice, whatever you’re buying.”

I guess they don’t like honest testing of their products either!

Seriously this totally undermines their credibility.

(As if that needed doing).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Buying cable at Fryes

“Our brand is respected by consumers worldwide,”

As it happens, I was in Fryes last week to purchase some audio cable. Looking over the selection, all I could see was Monster brand cable. Even the packages that looked less flashy and more generic was, when I examined it more closely, a product of Monster Cable. I don’t purchase Monster Cable.

I thought that this is Fryes, they surely have other brands, hopefully something generic and not overpriced. I asked a salesperson “do you have anything that’s not Monster, because I’m not buying their stuff” As he guided me to exactly what I was looking for, he commented that he gets a lot of customers like me who don’t buy Monster anything.

So, they may be “respected worldwide,” but there are an awful lot of people (admittedly the kind of geek who shops at Fryes) who don’t share in that respect.

Scote (profile) says:

“there isn’t anything wrong with separating fools from their money”

I’d say:

“there isn’t necessarily anything *illegal* with separating fools from their money “

Ironically fooling people, as Monster Cable does through its marketing efforts, doesn’t mean that the people they dupe are fools, nor that they deserve to be ripped off. I think there is something *wrong* with what Monster Cable does to consumers–it just doesn’t happen to be **illegal**.

Right and wrong aren’t always the same as legal and illegal.

HothMonster says:

So Best Buy employees used to pay 5% over BBY’s cost for products on their employee pricing program. I have heard it changed but dont know how its changed. But anyway back when I paid 5% over cost I bought a 180$ monster cable, guess how much it cost me. 7$ and change.

Now I don’t know if Best Buy pockets the other 173$ or if a part of that goes back to Monster or what. But selling, or allowing it to be sold, you product at 25x what the store pays might have something to do with why people are seeking out other cords.

As far as Best Buy marking that price up, monster sells them through their site for the same price.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Its still 5% over cost, but its capped at a low of no less than 50% of the original price.

50′ of cat 5 at BB is was roughly $35-45 on the shelf. That costs $5 at 5% over cost. Now it will be $17-22

100′ of 10 or 12awg speaker wire, $30 on the shelf, $7 at employee price. (and now $15)

I could go on, my GF works there, and we’ve bought quite a bit in the last few years.

There was a bit of a run on stuff before this went into effect, now all they are doing is driving people to buy stuff online. (Except for stuff that they don’t make a huge markup on)

Anonymous Coward says:

There is nothing special about Monster Cable products. They have been complete jerks in regards to their mark(s). Those things certainly do not help them sell more cables.

However, it would appear that Monster is complaining about actual counterfeit products here not about people just deciding that they do not need to purchase a Monster brand product. They are complaining about people buying falsely branded Monster products. They are complaining about the counterfeit products taking sales away – this proves that having questionable claims and being a jerk has NOT hurt their reputation to the extent that td claims.

What exactly do counterfeit products have anything to do with the things that td points out are the real issues?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

However, it would appear that Monster is complaining about actual counterfeit products here not about people just deciding that they do not need to purchase a Monster brand product.

Read my comment above. They have listed “Which” as a rogue site. “Which” does not sell anything – it is a well established and respected consumer advocate organisation. The only possible reason why Monster could have blacklisted them is dislike of honest criticism.

It follows that you are flat out wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Hmm, we can all agree that Monster is a jerk of a company. You seem to be interpreting Monster’s list of ‘Blacklisted Dealers’ as a list of ‘rogue sites’. The blacklisted dealer page says ‘Many unauthorized dealers sell fake Monster products’. It does not say that every site listed there is a rogue site or that every site there sells unauthorized products.

If people are really purchasing counterfeit products then how am I flat-out wrong?

Sure, Monster, being the jerks that they are, have included every site they do not like on one list. That does not change their statement that ‘the company has lost “hundreds of millions of dollars” to counterfeits’ – which may very well be true given their prices.

It is you that got it wrong. Stop conflating unauthorized dealers with rogue sites.

383bigblock (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Why split hairs in Monsters defense. Its a simple fix, if a site is selling counterfeit itemsthen list the counterfeit sites. If Monster wants to list a site as rogue becuase they differ in opinion on the quality of the cable then fine…let them be dicks and do that. They only hurt themselves as apparent by the comments on this blog. But don’t defend their rogue list because it may contain a site that sells counterfeits, if you know it for a fact then call them out. They’re trying to fake a case to justify their “millions of dollars” claims by throwing out a large list of cohorts. When in fact the true list of counterfeiters is quite small while the list of those site that disagree with them is large.

MAC says:

Monster Cables...

This has nothing to do with whether or not Monster is a jerk company.

If this is an outright case of some one stealing Monster’s branding then they should be stopped. If you own a brand then it is yours. Period. You can license it for a fee or whatever but without the legal paperwork, using someone elses brand is illegal as it should be.

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

Re: Monster Cables...

How many cables do you believe Facebook, eBay, Which, Costco and Sears are making?? They are all on the list and I seriously doubt any of them make counterfeit cables, much less sell them.

However, I’m sure the mini golf place, the automotive parts place and the deer salt block maker have seriously impeded the Monster Cable branding somehow! I, just for the life of me, can’t figure out exactly how!

I suppose Monster Cable should probably go after the actual manufacturers of these alleged counterfeit cables and leave the rest of us alone.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Monster Cable is for stupid jerk moron losers

Anyone who pays anything more than five percent of their ludicrous list prices is a gibbering idiot, and should be sterilized. Most people, in blind testing, couldn’t tell the difference between Monster’s shite cables and lamp cord. What a crock of unholy shite they’ve foisted on stupid people all over the place. Never owned one, and never will. If you go to an acquaintance’s home and see Monster Cable installed, run away and never go back!

Peter Piper says:

Monster Cable is basically a legal 'scam' selling $1 cables to the uninformed for $50

Now if you had a legal scam selling cheap cables for big bucks, you’d probably want to protect it and shut out the competition, wouldn’t you? Even if it means wrecking the internet to do it.

Btw. has anybody noticed how hard it is to find cables that are NOT Monsters? Somebody must be paying somebody off to not sell anything but Monster. Now THAT would be illegal.

Mostercable are morons says:

they contradict themselves

They list buy.com as blacklisted. They list buy.com as an authorized dealer. Which is it?

Howcome no matter what you search, ebay and craigslist come up at the beginning of the list? Seems like they have something against them?

I think they should make a more competitive product and maybe they would gain more market share…

sandy says:

missing the subject...

I think everyone missed the point. Monster as well as many other brand names are and do have a ton of counterfeit copies out there. Monster cables are a very small portion of what they create. They have headphones, power strips, and many other products. The monster beats are so popular that they have been flooded on the market with china counterfeits. I should know I bought a pair. Here is the thing though those websites, craigslist, ebay are just the vehicles to sell counterfeit items and not the root cause of the issue. I bought the counterfeit pair on purpose and if your smart enough its easy to tell what you are buying. The issue is that they see this as tarnishing their name, which in a sense is their right to feel that way. The problem is that they want to take action against the wrong people. What needs to change is the root cause of the issues and not a band aid that hurts everyone. Protect ip is dangerous and hopefully will never pass.

Shawn says:

STUPID

I think Monster Cable site is stupid to blaim craigslist its not craigslist people dont have money like they used to buy brand new stuff people like to buy used things off ebay,craigslist used store etc… Its not craigslist PEOPLE WANT TO SAVE MONEY PERIOD. So if someone could buy something used over something new and works the same they will buy it and find it anywhere anyway they can. pawn shops etc. anywhere.

Voice of Reason says:

Honestly -

I think both the writer of this article and companies like Monster Cable are taking it too far.

There is a legit concern about counterfit merchendise being sold on third party sites. In the vein of “parting fools from their money,” petty con-artists will buy off cheap, off brand merchendise and market them on sites like CL and eBay at “discounted” prices – which will still bring the con-artists 300%+ return on their money – as well as cheapen the reputation of the supposed company. Both CL and eBay do a good job of warning their users about this.

I would hope they’d go farther than just warning to something along the lines of logging ip addys and reporting them to the authorities for fraud.

However, tearing down sites like CL and eBay goes too far. There has to be some sort of accountability with the consumer. Namely, don’t be a fool.

EE says:

Years ago, the late Bob Pease from National Semiconductor challenged any and all of the ‘golden ear’ audio cables, including Monster, to a double blind challenge of their wonder speaker cables vs.18 ga lamp cord.

None accepted the challenge.

Why? Because what they sell is snake oil, pure & simple.

Monster is just po’ed cause others are cutting into their scam.

Mike says:

HDMI

I just got my first HD TV. It.is.disappointing.

I don’t see any difference between regular and HD TV…

So, do I need to pay $100+ for Monster Cables? I doubt it would make HD TV impress me any more.

Monster’s list is an example of how this whole thing won’t work.

First, you take down these sites and they will be back up in a week with another domain name and IP address.

Second, most likely every one of those sites sells something other than TV cables. Shutting down those sites will affect the products of all the other vendors. If I make flowered USB drives and sell them on one of the sites Monster doesn’t like and has taken down, do I get to sue Monster for infringing on my business relationship and, effectively, putting me out of business because they dislike what someone said about their trash cables?

Basically, it comes down to this. This country cannot function without the Internet. When the RIAA/MPAA, etc goes out and kills sites, these sites can’t sell products. The dead sites don’t make any money. They close. People lose their jobs. They don’t pay any taxes. They increase the burden on social services. And on and on

When the government looks at Monster’s desire to throw a tantrum in the interest of ‘anti-piracy’ and they look at the potential for lost tax revenue, Monster’s, and everybody else’s, interests are going to take a back seat to collecting taxes.

This is one company wanting to take down hundreds of sites – sites like Craigslist and eBay. (Do they think eBay is going to be shut down because Monster doesn’t like what its users are selling? Hell no.)

When you consider, once this gets going, there will be hundreds of thousands of sites businesses want taken down, you realize how impossible this would be to enforce.

Remember the RIAA once claimed the amount of money they lost to piracy in one year was greater than the whole GNP…

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