Dealextreme – selling uncredited open source hardware

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No big surprise, like some random eBay sellers, Dealextreme is also selling a cloned version of our prototype shield. They removed our name but left the version number – normally this is ok, it’s open source hardware. We’ve only asked they credit our design somewhere (Made available under CC 2.5 Share-Alike/Attrib.). Over the last week we sent them 4 requests to credit our design on their page and as expected they have not. They request you send emails to [email protected] – it just goes to nowhere. When we called they had no idea who we could talk to about updating their page or who actually is making the cloned shield(s). Dealextreme likely gets these from a nameless seller and they’re just getting boards to sell (oddly enough they’re using text from someone else’s site on their page).

We’re not going to link to their page (and please don’t post a link to them in our comments or elsewhere) – it’s not helpful.

This is an example of what can happen when you release open source hardware. People always ask us “what happens if I get cloned” – so here ya go, this is what happens when you are cloned. The quality is poor and the support is non-existent – someone who bought one emailed us and said the pads “fall off”. This doesn’t affect our business, but we’d like to see DealExtreme and the cloners follow the very simple request of crediting our design. DealExtreme is known as a shady source for all sorts of things, from counterfeit iPods and accessories to cell phone jammers, no one can stop them – not Apple, not the US gov. We do not expect them to credit OSHW either.

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  1. I’ve gotten burned by DealExtreme and don’t plan to do business with them again.

    I used to experiment making homebrew GBA and DS software. When I first started looking for a DS flash cart, I found one really cheap on DealExtreme, and thought this was perfect since I never planned to get super serious with development or anything. I bought it, and within a month, it died. I did some research and found out that fakes were out there of this card, and that DealExtreme had sold many of them. But I bought my card after all that was supposed to have been "dealt with" by their company. I’d owned it too long to have returned it by then, so I just let it go.

    My brother ordered the same card from them several months afterward, and he also got the same fake card. His still works after many months, but it was still easily identifiable based on my previous research. When I emailed them to complain about still selling these, they wanted him/me to return it, and I found that it would just cost more in the long run to send it back than to just forget it. I also had no confidence in them sending anything back, or sending an actual good one, so I let it drop.

    I no longer intended to buy their electronics, but later on I ordered a composite/svideo adapter cable since it was really cheap. Terrible video quality. Unusable, in fact. I threw it in the garbage because I doubted even the connectors were grounded enough to salvage.

    So yeah. I won’t go as far as to say that DealExtreme knows they’re selling bootlegs and copies, but I feel confident enough in saying that they don’t care if they happen to do so. Do business at your own risk.

  2. bigbodysmallbrain

    i will still buy these from adafruit or make my own(which even though i only used adafruits parts library i still gave them credit and put on there logo along with mine and the OSHW logo) i give credit where credit is due.

  3. I bet the Navy Seals could get them! 😀

    Never Forget FDNY 9/11/01

  4. Jean-Claude Wippler

    Sorry to hear about this. It’s never nice to see this happen without credits.

    Just think of imitation and flattery… (well, that’s what I do when it happens to me).


  5. Jean-Claude Wippler

    Sorry to hear about this. It’s never nice to see this happen without credits.

    Just think of imitation and flattery… (well, that’s what I do when it happens to me).


  6. This really grinds my gears!

    Although, I have to admit, I did order from DealExtreme once. I needed a tripod mount ring for a Canon lens. The Canon ring is $140, DE had it for $17 with free (but sloooow) international shipping.

    But in this case, $11 vs $12.50?!? I can’t imagine why anyone in their right mind would buy the unsupported knockoff of questionable quality! The documentation you provide as well as the helpful support is well worth the meager buck fifty extra.

    Stay strong and don’t let this get you down, they’re not worth it.

  7. Chinese make free software useless.

  8. DE is located on the other side of the world, in a land where the notion of IP, and its protection is pretty much non-existent. Based on what I’ve read about DealExtreme, I’d stay well clear and not give them *any* of my money.

    Here’s some food for thought: Sure, they’re selling clones of your product, but it sounds like the quality is quite inferior. Do you guys really want your good name – acquired through hard work – associated with that? I wouldn’t.

  9. One good thing with deal extreme is that they usually dont expect you to ship back broken crap to them, where as most ebay sellers do.

    IMO there is no saving in getting the protoshield off DX compared to here, they have proven themselves hopeless with shipping in a reasonable timeframe, whereas adafruit is the opposite and constantly overdelivers with fast shipping.

    Free shipping from DX is worthless if it takes them a week to getting around to doing it, and then another 5 to get to you.

    Plus by supporting adafruit you are supporting more cool stuff being made, so to me, DX is fine for low cost USB junk, generic media players that have lousy firmware and will never see an update and useless GSM only phones, but I will be supporting the originators of open source kit rather than a backyard copyshop operation.

  10. It’s kind of a reach, but I wonder if a DMCA takedown notice would apply to this? You might not be able to reach DealExtreme on their home turf, but eBay is a US company.

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