Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wrist Charge - A Kickstart Knockoff

Wrist Charge Logo with hand in hang ten pose
Welcome to Kickstarter, Creatine Marketing. We've followed many a scam brought to you by the likes of Pulvino and friends at Creatine Marketing, but Wrist Charge just might be the first endeavor we've brought you that actually asks you, the consumer, to pay the $50,000 price tag for to get the scam started. Why was I not surprised to find Creatine Marketing was right in the middle of this, running the promotion?

Picture of Mohzy Loop iPhone charger demonstrating charging and extras on purse
Mohzy Loop
For this client, I have to admit, I wanted to think it was cool. Really. Wrist Charge, "the band in charge". My first thought jumped to green energy. Could it be? A motion powered charger? No, no mention of cool electromagnets or anything. Too much to hope for, but I'll keep looking. Surely, Wrist CHARGE at is at least bracelet shaped battery that can hold an extra charge for my iPhone on the go right? That's a cool idea (and I later found exists over at ThinkGeek). No, despite the name, Wrist Charge is nothing more than another USB cord. Ok, I guess an easy to carry Lightning cable isn't a terrible idea, but is this really the kind of idea worthy of the Kickstart community? In fact, didn't I see this done already in the Chinese markets, Amazon? Yep, I sure did, for a mere $15. In fact, DealsWoot has a special featuring them for $8.99. Well, maybe it's at least better quality? Looks like Mohzy is Apple MFi certified,  and Wrist Charge hasn't even been approved for it yet. So why then do we need Wrist Charge?
arm with ThinkGeek Wrist Charge Portable Battery
ThinkGeek Wrist Charger

Really we don't, it's just another product knockoff marketing itself as innovation. The truth is, I really don't think the Wrist Charge is a bad idea. It's just not a great idea, or even an original idea. For that matter, it's not even an original name. The ThinkGeek Wrist Charger, a much cooler product IMO, shares the name, yet actually provides a charge on your wrist.

Jerry Castro showing his Wrist Charge
Jerry Castro demonstrating Wrist Charge
My view of Kickstarter is a tool to help innovation, not helping fund a businessman copying someone else's product. In fact, if I saw this product in a store,  trusted the brand, and didn't know the history its marketing team has with misrepresenting products and services, I might have bought this, but I for one have no desire to give money for a mediocre product that already exists. In fact, according to Kickstarter, creators have no contractual obligation to use backer money for the project, or even complete the project and fulfill rewards. Kickstarter provides no guarantees. but recommends backers to make a judgement call based on creator's relevant experience, and provided details; details that Jerry Castro does not provide. There's no explanation for the high $50,000 Wrist Charge goal more than "Injection Molding (this is the BIG EXPENSE), Design and Production Expenses, Cost of Materials". Like Creatine Marketing staff, Jerry Castro claims a plethora of successful products, none of which look very successful or at all innovative either after looking into them, and none of them similar to a product like Wrist Charge. Seems to me, $50,000 is going to be profitable for Jerry Castro's bank account than he stands to make from this knockoff product.

So what's the tie in with Creatine Marketing that causes my instant skepticism? I'm skeptical of anything Creatine Marketing is involved in, and here are a few of the related reasons why. First off, I noticed this product in the first place seeing tweets form several Creatine Marketing owners Robert Black Jr & Jennifer Mount, and staff blogger Sasha Norikov all started tweeting endorsements. Looking at the Kickstarter page, there were a few comments from Sasha responding to an unhappy backer as a customer, and not a hired promoter. Finally, looking at the product website, it reeked of Creatine Marketing's badly customized Wordpress theme M.O.. Finally, it was definite after seeing Wrist Charge's Twitter feed is maintained via Creatine Marketing's old favorite and exclusively white-labeled tool, SnapSocial.

Now that I knew Creatine Marketing was involved, I started to notice all the trademark tactics: unsolicited spam, false claims of solutions, and treating paid, syndicated press releases as commercial endorsement. Since we already know from the many other examples at, Creatine Marketing is known for making promises and then taking your money and giving nothing back, there's no way I'll be sending you my money, Jerry Castro. Fool us once... and this time your reputation catches up with you.

Related Pages

  1. Wrist Charge KickStarter Page
  2. Wrist Charge Website
  3. Mohzy Loop USB
  4. ThinkGeek Wrist Charger
  5. 5 Important Things to Remember About Kickstarter

Update (July 26, 2013)

*from the editor
Since the original publication of this article, we've been contacted by Jerry Castro and been in dialog with him regrading a request for removal, and eventually a threat of SLAPP for slander, which I am addressing in a dedicated post.

*from the author
Given the attention this has received, I thought it to be worthwhile to provide an explanation for the statements I made above.

Concept and Design

I found no indication that the Wrist Charge is an actual copy of a specific product design, however, there are numerous products with the same functional idea that have been around for years already, as I mentioned above, even some which in my opinion are better designed and more functional, and while the very idea of wearing a charging cable around my wrist doesn't strike me as particularly fashionable, there might be a market with high school girls. For what it's worth, I think male or female would be better served with a product like Charge Card (an already funded Kickstarter), which would serve the same purpose in a more utilitarian and convenient design. From my perspective, there's little to no innovative thinking with Wrist Charge and whether it's diectly knocked off or not, it's not the first of its kind, by any means. 

The Tactics

I am calling Wrist Charge out on its marketing tactics. Deceptive marketing really irks me. Paying someone to write and distribute press releases is not the same as getting real industry endorsements. Claiming the Wall Street Journal wrote a story about your product when you paid to have them publish your won writing is outright lying. Same goes for Yahoo Finance, CrownSourcePR, and other that are quoted on the project homepage, all written by Wrist Charge. Using your dormant extra twitter account to tweet endorsements to your product page is just as bad. Building up a following from zero with a contest does not qualify as real product engagement. These are all trademarks tactics of a scam artist, and if you choose to employ them, you look like one too. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

The Creator

And that brings me to my next point of criticism for Wrist Charge, it's creator, Jerry Castro. Jerry Castro is an inventor. Some inventions are successful, some aren't. In America it's up to the consumer to decide a product's success. In that same way, one's past work says a lot about one's future potential. Jerry Castro in an inventor of the type of things you find in the clearance shelf at Walgreens. His products like The Makeup Frame, and Zen-Ergy Balance Bandz aren't exactly the success of the Frisbee, and that's ok, but peddling mediocre ideas doesn't make you a successful innovator. Maybe I'm missing something here, but again it comes back to how important it is to make honest representations.

The Money

My final point is a conclusion I come entirely based on my three points above and my tendency to be cautious of those asking for my hand-earned dollar. There's no saying Jerry won't go forth and bring unto us Wrist Charge bracelets that grant wishes and more. I was making the point that based on the information (or lack thereof) presented in Wrist Charge's project page, coupled with the deception shown in marketing the project, I would think twice about donating money to the project. Kickstarter is not a store. It's a fundraising site. Once you give the money, it's gone, and you can only hope you choose wisely. Wrist Charge certainly wouldn't be the first Kickstarter project to take the money and cancel the project, and it's something that you have to remember, ESPECIALLY if you are not familiar with the Kickstarter community. YOU AREN'T BUYING ANYTHING, and beyond that, you have no say in what happens to your money after you hand it over. So choose wisely. For my dollar, I'd rather give it over to a project creating something that hasn't been done already, and provides a breakdown of what the money is for.

We admit that it is possible that the business arrangement between Creatine Marketing and this company may have changed or not be fully expressed as we have shown here. If we have incorrect information or you wish to clarify the information posted here, please feel free to contact us with the necessary information.

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