“The Rock” smartwatch finds itself in a hard place, Kickstarter finally steps in.

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rockwatch

Link to Kickstarter

Piggybacking off the success of the Pebble, the new Rock smart watch offers some never before seen features at a competitive price, however a growing number of backers have seen these features somewhere before…

Who watches the watchmen?

Unfortunately, we were a little to late to get in on this controversy when it began.

A few days ago, a large number of backers started crying foul.  Here’s why:

The Rock Smartwatch

The Rock Smartwatch

uPlayTablet Z3 Smartwatch

Their prototype looks shockingly like a $109 China made Android smart watch.

z3

Every real-life demonstration of the Rock smart watch is performed with a model that looks precisely like the uPlay Z3 down to the placement of the buttons and small surface features.  The “Rock Metal” watch model looks slightly different:

metal

But the only real picture of it looks like a spray painted Z3:

watch

This project sounds strikingly similar to Vybe where they’ve taken a product from China, dusted it off a little bit, added a few features, and rebranded it.  It’s not a terrible business practice if they do it right, and we were going to give the watch a fair treatment in our original draft of this post. The train wreck of a comments section however makes it pretty obvious that the project’s creator is less than scrupulous, but for many other reasons than we suspected.

We’re happy to say that Kickstarter has stepped up and cancelled the project, but we’re a little surprised by the reasons why.  One commenter posted an email he was sent from Kickstarter announcing the cancellation of the project:

kickstartercancel

Kickstarter has always taken a back-seat when it comes to allowing projects of questionable viability because they don’t want to be involved when a poor project planner tanks a project that was successfully backed.  They take their fair cut for providing the service (web-hosting, payment processing) and let the project go along as the creator likes.

We’re not too surprised that this guy was apparently shilling his product, but the last bullet point is rather alarming:

Providing inaccurate or incomplete user information to Kickstarter or one of our partners

So…they waited until the guy raised over $30,000 before verifying his user information?  Did they even try?  It’s one thing for a guy to rebrand a cheap smart watch, but a bullet like that leads me to believe that he was actually attempting to steal the money, run away, and hope that nobody found him.  Kickstarter makes a point of reminding backers that they aren’t guaranteed a kickback:

warning

But if they aren’t going to even bother verifying the identity of a project’s creator until hundreds of backers start to suspect something, then they’re no better than Craigslist as far as accountability goes.  Exactly what service are they providing? Are backers expected to run their own background checks? If I want to give my money to a scam artist, there are a ton of places online where I can do so instantly without even waiting 30 days.  Heck, I’ve got ten such offers in my inbox right now!

Perhaps Kickstarter should adopt a new warning:

cl warning

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{ 3 comments to read ... please submit one more! }

  1. The creator “vak sambath” was misleading the backers from the start, dodged all questions with vague half assed responses, then he decides to spam the comments section of his ks page to push down negative responses. Best part is he tried to blame that on “hackers” yet the spam was a message stating he was looking into our concerns. Very nice hacker to benefit his project if you ask me. This guy is a total con artist and hope no one has to deal with him or this pos project again

  2. Sounds like the crappy Ringbow debacle/theft.

  3. I like how e goes right up to typing to log in to Facebook or Twitter then cuts out. He didn’t log in. And he knows that he would never be able to type on that small a screen.

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