10 Reasons not to Buy Fakes

Posted on September 11 2014

Counterfeit goods touch almost every industry. From watches and bags to milk and medicine there’s a fake for everything. Sometimes we laugh it off as harmless. They say mimicry is the best form of flattery. But what does it really mean to us? Here are 10 reasons to think about…

1. The wrong person gets the rewards

The entrepreneur who put their time and effort into making the original product gets virtually none of the benefits. Coming up with great ideas, researching, prototyping, analyzing, iterating through versions, testing, certifying and marketing products all needs to be done before a single unit is sold. How are they going to get returns on all this?

2. It’s immoral to steal someone else’s idea

In most countries it’s illegal. Nobody deserves to be ripped-off, nor are companies making so much money they don’t care. Why should anybody go through the whole product development process, qualify that there is a valid demand and then bear all the effort to launch it – only for some other dude to come along and take their money?

3. Counterfeit products are of inferior quality

Fake producers are only interested in making cash. They’ll cut corners to make production more convenient and cheaper for them. They didn’t design the product, undertook no R&D or product certification. They won’t know the potential pitfalls of using a different material here or there. Fake things fall apart all the time, we’ve all seen it. Why risk it?

4. Bad products are bad news

Any negativity to inferior counterfeit products trickles over to the original designer. People may see examples of inferior or broken fakes and assume the are the original products. Some customers may have purchased a counterfeit product thinking it is original. Who are they going to turn to when it fails?

5. Industry pricing gets completely screwed up

In every vertical there are standard supply chains with producers, intermediaries and sales channels. There are norms for transactions and margin. The faker crashes in with an inferior product, piggybacks off the existing market and takes everything for themselves. Their margins are normally super low. So are their prices. They didn’t have all the overhead costs leading up to the original product’s launch and have managed to reduce costs by switching out for cheaper inputs. They’re getting something for nothing anyway, right?

6. Counterfeit products slow the industry down

If the person who gets all the money doesn’t care about the products (because all they do is copy someone else’s) then they’re not going to advance it any further. The original product developer might not have the capital to keep going. Why would they even put in the energy to advance the product if they know it’s just going to get copied anyway?

7. Newcomers to the industry get put off

When there’s a faker already hanging around the market place churning out counterfeit products it makes alarm bells ring in everybody’s mind. Bootstrap businesses have enough trouble launching new products. Breaking through and making success only to have the sales income pulled from underneath is a horrible risk. Would an angel be willing to invest in a new start-up knowing there’s a increased chance of making nothing in return due to foul play?

8. Fakers don’t contribute to anything

It’s not like they’re forging relationships in the industry. They’re not pitching in at trade events, trying to establish new norms or sharing new techniques. They’re not using peripheral services, or activating the community, or supporting grassroots initiatives, or educating the market, or developing over decades to become industry figureheads. Who’s friends with a faker?

9. It’s fundamentally illegal

Did we mention it’s illegal? Just because counterfeit goods are all over the place doesn’t make things okay. The time and expense of chasing fakers back down their holes is being diverted away from the finer, more deserving things in life. it costs a fortune to try and protect what shouldn’t need protecting anyway. Wouldn’t the world be better without these bad guys?

10. People who buy counterfeit products look pretty uncool

Feigning ignorance is bordering on negligent these days. Why buy the fakes when the original one is better and more ethical. At first glance they might look the part but it’s a hollow victory and they stand out way more in the daylight. Counterfeit goods are going to fall apart at the worst time anyway. Don’t you want to support the brands you allege with?

So that’s it…

Factory Five has been operating in the China bike industry since 2010 and as the fixed-gear market has grown around us, so have the fakers. We’ve seen enough. Brands we cherish are being ripped off daily, even our own products. It’s time to stick our pitchfork in the ground and say something. We don’t sell fakes and we never will – and we don’t deal with people who do. Join our cause, please share this list and let’s remind ourselves what counterfeit products really mean.

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