Updated: Scammed: The X-Tra battery campaign on Kickstarter

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1kind

EOS 90D
Nov 1, 2012
109
10
Funny how when you think you're making money off a scam, you don't notice it as a scam, but when that check never arrived, then it is a scam.

This is one problem with the influencer model. They offer to give you 20% of sales and the dollar signs go off in your mind and then your followers get scammed and you lose nothing.

The scammers know that these influencers are greedy and blind to reality when money is on the table.

Personally, anyone of the people who "bought" this item should be reimbursed by the influencer who vouched for it not by the credit card companies.
Commission or not, its hard to vet which is real and what isn't. Its harder when they show the actual product in a working form. I backed a 15" portable monitor. They sent it to LinusTech for review. You'd think that its legit right? That they sent it to a reputable tech reviewer. But they still scammed all the backers. He wouldn't have known either.

The same if a product was sent to Peter McKinnon, Vanessa Joy (Canon EOL), Unbox Therapy or even MKBHD (Marques Brownlee). Or maybe even reputable tech news sites like Engadget, Wired, etc. They wouldn't have known and they would have shared it with everyone.
 
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kiwiengr

EOS M50
CR Pro
Feb 14, 2015
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From the stupid grifter model in HK lending his image for money and attention.....to the website backtracking on content not originally or correctly labelled as PAID/SPONSORED CONTENT.

Did he, or was it just lifted? If they are scamming, why would they be concerned about getting approval for use of the image?
 

Eric Potter

I'm New Here
Nov 8, 2020
21
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So you're one of those people who likes to pile on and kick a person when he's being honest and freely owning up to a mistake? I really don't understand why you as a guest feel you're entitled to be rude to the host of this site.

Just an observation but it's a shame that he wasn't as honest and free about his commission at the time of recommendation. This goes to the heart of influencer and grifting culture.

I really don't think it'll be an issue going forward as he'll be far more diligent in the future, as will those influenced.

At the end of the day, he didn't put a gun to anybodys head and make them fund it. People have to be accountable for their own calls. It's not like Pyramids and Ponsi's are anything all that new.
 

seismichippo

CR Pro
Sep 14, 2020
4
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Just an observation but it's a shame that he wasn't as honest and free about his commission at the time of recommendation. This goes to the heart of influencer and grifting culture.

I really don't think it'll be an issue going forward as he'll be far more diligent in the future, as will those influenced.

At the end of the day, he didn't put a gun to anybodys head and make them fund it. People have to be accountable for their own calls. It's not like Pyramids and Ponsi's are anything all that new.
This is the important point. If he is just pointing out something that he thinks is interesting, that's one thing. But he should be transparent about when he benefits from the reporting.

It's a little different, but it always bothers me when review sites don't state up front how they received the product to review. Transparency, especially in the era of the influencer as a business model, is key.
 

Refraction

EOS M50
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Sep 5, 2020
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Unfortunately affiliates get sucked in by the lure of money and their followers drop their guard and spend based on 'trust'. This type of thing is here to stay unfortunately.
 
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cayenne

EOS R6
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Mar 28, 2012
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I've never been able to bring myself to support a kick starter project. I'm a confirmed skeptic and have little trust, even if its a big company like Canon.

I've had VERY good results on many Kickstarters so far...the only thing I"ve run into has been delays in the past year due to the pandemic, but I can understand that type delay.

But I've bought even some high dollar ticket items and have been very satisfied.

In fact, one I just backed is the new Reveni Spot meter, which looks to be very handy for my film work (Medium Format) with cameras without built in meters.
This one is done in conjunction with Nick Carver, and his metering system...

So, I guess just pick and choose carefully....if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
;)

C
 
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cayenne

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Mar 28, 2012
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You can do your own crowdfunding on Shopify which they use for a couple of hundred bucks.

Well, Kickstarter is very well known....until you mentioned this capability on Shopify, I'd never heard of it, and I"m guessing most people wouldn't know about it or find it....

I often browse KS when bored to see if anything interesting shows up that I might like....

Just a thought.
 
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cayenne

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So you're one of those people who likes to pile on and kick a person when he's being honest and freely owning up to a mistake? I really don't understand why you as a guest feel you're entitled to be rude to the host of this site.

Yeah I noticed that too.
I wish there was a thumbs DOWN vote like there is a thumbs up....I'd have used that on that post.

Why isn't there a thumbs down?
 

Canon Rumors Guy

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Update to the article:

A few people have suggested I only wrote this article because I didn't receive affiliate revenue that was due.

The collection of affiliate dollars was done by Kickbooster with a due date of January 12, 2021. To be paid out to me the first day of February. Up until this point I had continued to receive project details including my purchase being locked in and a survey from the campaign.

I only noticed by chance when I was poking around Kickbooster last week that funds had not been collected, so I reached out to Kickbooster. I then noticed that all communication from the campaign had also stopped. This campaign wasn't something that was in the forefront of my thoughts, so I was just riding it out like I always do with Kickstarter.

There have been some pretty outlandish comments about affiliate "disclosure". Yes, there should have been an affiliate disclosure on the post, like it is site-wide now. However, that would not have changed the fact that people got screwed over by a scam campaign. A couple of dozen sites, like me, didn't vet this properly, which lead to their readers buying into a scam campaign.

I have also found 9 other sites that affiliated this campaign without any sort of disclosure of being an affiliate. None of those sites has owned up to this being a scam. It doesn't make things right, but bad practice runs rampant in this industry. However, I don't believe any of these sites or myself had any bad intentions or purposely wanted to deceive readers.

Because I have written this article, many people have been able to get refunds, unfortunately not everyone will be able to, but I highly doubt that any other site would have ever followed up on this campaign being a scam.

Out of all the sites that promoted it, I have only seen two write an article about it, mostly trying to absolve themselves of any wrongdoing for not doing due diligence before posting about the campaign. I repeat, any site that claims they properly vetted this campaign is being disingenuous. It took me less than 5 minutes to figure out that "Jeffery" was BS, which is what frustrates me the most. Had I done due diligence before I posted, all of this would have been avoided.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me directly through PM or email.
 
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Canon Rumors Guy

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Jul 20, 2010
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X-TRA Responds to their lack of communication:

Dear Backers,

First, we are genuinely sorry for the lack of communication. It's challenging for us to send out the regular update during this moment as our entrepreneurial teams encounter both the quarantine and CNY break in China. We took a risk travelling across continents during the last few weeks to ensure our conceptual design could go-to-market in the coming March.

The battery is critically demanding for quality as it matters to every backers' safety. Any mistake or fallacy on our product is not allowed. So, we did an onsite GEMBA walk to ensure our suppliers' quality is qualified for product manufacture. We locked one potential manufacturer partner in Shenzhen during the travel. We turned down another in Qingdao as we can hardly get to our partner due to the escalating pandemic control policy in Shandong Province. Alternatively, we found a qualified manufacturer partner in Guangzhou who passed our quality check. Those two qualified suppliers in the adjacent location can help us build synergy to fulfill the orders.

It is also time-consuming for us to validate the quality, and we also contact global certificate providers to provide product & logistics safety certificates in the meantime.

Looking ahead, we have several milestones to reach

1) There are still 208 backers who didn't complete the survey yet; if you didn't finish the post-campaign survey, we can't get the final BOM to make. It will be another time consumption for all backers. The survey is still open, and wait for their response.

2) Due to the Chinese new year, the manufacturer's plant already shut down, and we are hoping for their return to work around Feb 26th.

3) Product manufacture, test, and certificate will be done in March. The first batch of X-tra will be shipped in April.

4) We will improve the way we communicate. We will post as many pictures as possible about mass production to backers.


Thanks for your patience and waiting!


Best,

The X-TRA team

That's all well and good, and I'm not sure of the motivation behind this communication. We have the internet everywhere, there is never an excuse to go radio silent. I also don't know how Kickstarter releases funding to the people behind campaigns. Was this statement merely to slow or stop the Kickstarter and Indiegogo investigations that have been confirmed to be happening?

Secondly, it doesn't take away from the fact "Jeffery" as represented in this campaign doesn't appear to be legitimate.

They have never responded to my requests for comment directly, which was something that happened on a regular basis at the beginning of their campaign.

I would still continue to advise backers to try and get a refund through their financial institutions.

For those that are wondering, no funds have been released to affiliates, If affiliate dollars ever do roll my way, they will be donated in one way or another and I'll be very transparent about that.

I have unlocked this thread, keep comments and criticisms civilized and rooted in fact. Thank you
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
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Mar 25, 2011
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I deal with Chinese companies, and although they could not ship or manufacture products during the lockdown, they kept in touch with me and shipped very shortly after shipping was allowed again. Shipping and production began last spring. There is no reason to claim lockdown, its been over for almost a year.
 

Canon Rumors Guy

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I was just going back over some things, even to the first communication I had ever received. I've looked at this email about a dozen times before, but I didn't notice what you see below until today. It's probably a bad sign that he didn't know his own name.

I wouldn't put too much faith into today's statement by "The X-TRA Team".


jeffceoxtra.jpg
 

kirbic

I'm New Here
CR Pro
Jun 20, 2016
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Given the language in Update 6, which I received this AM, it is apparent that the project is being driven by someone in mainland CN. They talk extensively about vetting suppliers, all on the mainland. With COVID travel restrictions, there is currently no way for US based management to do this effectively. I think the "Jeffrey Parker" business is a (rather disingenuous) ploy to make the engineering effort for the campaign appear to be based in the US. It is possible that the latest communication is just an attempt to thwart a KS investigation, however I'd be inclined to think not. Why put that much detail into the supplier discussion if that is the case?
 

Canon Rumors Guy

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Given the language in Update 6, which I received this AM, it is apparent that the project is being driven by someone in mainland CN. They talk extensively about vetting suppliers, all on the mainland. With COVID travel restrictions, there is currently no way for US based management to do this effectively. I think the "Jeffrey Parker" business is a (rather disingenuous) ploy to make the engineering effort for the campaign appear to be based in the US. It is possible that the latest communication is just an attempt to thwart a KS investigation, however I'd be inclined to think not. Why put that much detail into the supplier discussion if that is the case?

For a scam to work well, it has to appear legitimate. The first contact email I posted above had an IP that resolved to Amazon (Likely AWS) in Toyko.
 

ReflexVE

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May 5, 2020
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For a scam to work well, it has to appear legitimate. The first contact email I posted above had an IP that resolved to Amazon (Likely AWS) in Toyko.
That is an AWS address. But that would raise red flags for me. AWS is not a user service where you'd be logged in and sending emails from a gmail account. Can you post or send me the full header of that email (in Discord perhaps)? Gmail is not hosted in AWS, it's hosted in Google's cloud. There is no reason to fill out your contact form from an AWS host either unless you have one there specifically to avoid being traced.
 

Canon Rumors Guy

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Jul 20, 2010
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That is an AWS address. But that would raise red flags for me. AWS is not a user service where you'd be logged in and sending emails from a gmail account. Can you post or send me the full header of that email (in Discord perhaps)? Gmail is not hosted in AWS, it's hosted in Google's cloud. There is no reason to fill out your contact form from an AWS host either unless you have one there specifically to avoid being traced.

I posted it in the DISCORD moderators channel.
 

LDS

EOS 5D Mark IV
Sep 14, 2012
1,717
248
WS is not a user service where you'd be logged in and sending emails from a gmail account.
If it was sent via the web form it's the IP from which the Canon Rumors web server was contacted - it could have been a virtual machine running in AWS. Anyway they didn't even set up their own domain and email addressed for the project, just relying on gmail ones.

I just got an email from them saying that they'll be delivered in April...
Be careful, moving the goal posts is common technique - ask those who were waiting their ZX Spectrum Vega+...
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
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I was just going back over some things, even to the first communication I had ever received. I've looked at this email about a dozen times before, but I didn't notice what you see below until today. It's probably a bad sign that he didn't know his own name.

I wouldn't put too much faith into today's statement by "The X-TRA Team".


View attachment 195784
He has also spelled Jeffrey and Jeffery on different occasions.

Chinese sellers often take on US names rather than use their Chinese name. I'm used to that, its just to ease communications, and as long as they don't pretend to actually be anything other than a Chinese seller using a easy to pronounce name, its ok with me. The one I've been dealing with calls himself Simon Zhou. I really doubt that first name. Its the name I put on wire transfers and they go thru.
 
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