Kickstarter's DRONE SCAM! – SGR
. Sometimes these scams are intentional and sometimes its a lot more complicated than that. Regardless. The end result is always the same: You get absolutely shafted And today, boy, o boy, is that true, The Zano drone was one of Kickstarters earliest major failures.. Of course, plenty has come and gone since then, but the Zano, the little drone that managed to pull in other 2 million not only ended up being the most successful campaign in Europe for the longest time., But also it was such a tremendous flop that Kickstarter themselves Had to send in private investigators to find out if it was a scam, Was it huh im not telling you that straight away, im gon na lay out the facts and let you guys decide in Kickstarters, ZANO drone scam, Welcome to slopes game room. Our story starts back in 2014 at the height of Kickstarters popularity, when the Torquing Group unveiled the ZANO Autonomous Intelligent. Swarming., Nano Drone Kickstarter campaign and in short, it was a HUGE success. The original idea came 18 months earlier when the team had created a surveillance drone for a local defense, contractor.., Bringing us back up to speed that surveillance drone had now become a palm sized aerial photography drone with a campaign video showing off the ultra delicate looking device Recording bikers and people jumping off of cliffs, Apparently a lot of those sorta people exist as it smashed its 125000 goal. When 12075 backers got it to 2335119, with a final figure of 2094833 after fees becoming Europes, best selling Kickstarter, Why did people have so much trust in something that would become a huge failure? Well, obviously its because the campaign was so well made.
? Not only did the product look good and have a great video, but it also had some pretty big names found directly on the campaign page like BBC FOX NEWS TECH CRUNCH. The LIST WAS ENDLESS And with quotes such as Our supply chain is 100 ready to go from vital components that make ZANO fly to the very boxes that ZANO is packaged in are all priced and sourced. How could you not get suckered in? On top of this? The campaign obviously included several stretch goals, including high definition, video recording wireless charging built in storage, the ability to fly upside down for some reason and even thermal imaging cameras too Calm down Jasmin, Calm, down., Even without all the extras. For the time. This bad boy was significantly better than any other drone on the market within the price range.. It was an absolute steal Anyway, that campaign ended and the updates were constant, pretty much nothing but good news heck. They even opened up a website to take pre orders too, which gained well over 3000 additional sales, resulting in a further 561794 48281 in accessories. Unfortunately, with a project of this size and scope, delays obviously happened and, although most were fine with this., You always gon na have people that dont understand what Kickstarter is all about, as they would kick off, demanding updates, which, in all fairness, the team did provide, albeit Sometimes vaguely before the drones FINALLY started getting shipped out slowly and only to website pre order.
Folks. Ya know the people that came in 2nd, But that wasnt the only issue the drones themselves, barely worked at all BUNNY HOPPING AROUND never staying up for more than a few seconds or a couple of minutes before crashing into the ground, all whilst recording, incredibly low Quality footage. The gesture control that was a huge selling point literally did not work at all and no way was this drone going to fly on its own without you controlling it like it was originally designed too. It was actually quite hard to find footage of these drones in action. Apparently, 600, roughly made their way out to people that pre ordered the devices. Again. Almost none of the original Kickstarter backers managed to get any, and one of the reasons for that is because there was a very small window where people could actually play with these things. Ya see things were not good, not just with the drones themselves, but also at the company.. Remember that surveillance drone. I told you about that. Pretty much kickstarted this Kickstarter well, apparently that didnt work all that well either.. The drone would constantly lose connection and it would simply fail whenever it bounced between wi fi signals, resulting in it bouncing off any surface. It was close to. Thankfully, the company was gon na be able to fix this, or so they said, and they kept that contractor on edge for the best part of 3 years constantly claiming that they were THIS CLOSE to perfecting it.
Yet they never were.. The end result was ZANO Yet another drone that simply didnt do what it was set out to do. The money raised was spent on supercomputers to get the drones working super expensive drones that they themselves would work backward from in order to sell them. Cheaper CES stands and a cool 50000 for each director for a job well done At that CES show. The team was very dismissive of any competitive drones. And from a consumers point of view they were with em. The amount they were planning to put into this thing. For the price was simply unbelievable. Funny that Crazier still the drones didnt even fly at the CES show they literally just showed the drone said what it could do, mugged off the competition and walked away as one of the best robots or drones at the entire show. According to Engadget, Excuses ranged from the wifi in the room not being strong enough, his laptop being stolen and best of all., It was simply too impressive. It was military specific and because of that right now in this state, it could get confiscated by US authorities if they flew it. Shrug The team continued to spend money of extremely expensive 3d printers high end apple macs. The both got new cars to lease a BMW. M4 and BMW M6 to be specific and they hired an absurd amount of staff to get the job done. Just to be clear, they did all this for a drone that, according to their Kickstarter page, looked to be pretty much ready to go with only a 6 month window between completion and shipping em out the door.
Of course, they were pretty far from that end goal. The team would work endless hours to get the job done and they were happy to do so, some of which didnt get overtime for their work. They just believed in the dream of finishing a product and getting it shipped to 12000 people in the long run. The benefits would outway the long hours. Of course it wasnt all just technical people that were bought on board, but also human resource type people simply because of the campaigns over whelming success. Ya, see. The original plan was for the team themselves to test the product and answer the customers themselves. If the campaign doubled to say 1600 customers, then of course that wouldnt be an issue., but it didnt. It went well past that resulting in hiring specific teams to look after these areas, specifically And with the success of the campaign, came all those extras too, when they team tried to add the SD card slot, it resulted in the drone being to heavy resulting in new Motors, but they also made it hevier, resulting in bigger propellers. You get the idea, Of course, the backers didnt know anything about all of this. The updates came in thick n fast and were generally positive.. Although backers did start to worry about what was going on when certain fibs obviously popped up Like on February 2nd when they showcased the PCBs that arrived in the offices that day, which they obviously forgot about when they posted them arriving several weeks later in another update, Aaaaand they arrived again a couple of months later, Something fishy was definitely going on heck.
They were already well past the ship date, and now they were recycling updates In order to speed up production and get the products out ASAP. The directors decided to go full speed ahead into production before even the final pilot build was created.. In other words, They skipped what was essentially the final test run before buying and molding all the pieces needed. Let me explain So the prototypes were completed in their eyes. At least, which means its time to go fully into production right, not exactly Ya, see the advised move when manufacturing. Something at this scale is to actually move into. Yet another test, run., Jumping from say 10 working units to several thousand – is a mammoth jump not just for the company, but also the manufacturer in china. Of course, its gon na be cheaper doing it their way in the long run. If everything goes to plan., But the absolute ideal solution would be to now move from 10 working units to 100 make sure they work if they do ship them out, then go 1000, etc, etc, etc. Of course, they skipped these test runs, which again, of course, was a stupid idea.. The plastic pieces came back too heavy compared to the prototype from 55g to 70g, and this, of course resulted in a drone that could fly for minutes at best, rather than of an hour. They advertised. They tried bigger batteries, but that didnt work because they were obviously heavier.
They tried to return the propellers, but of course, that didnt work either, as the chinese manufacturer refuse to accept them because well the propellers were not defective. The design was, They had no choice but to take the hit and order more BIGGER propellers which they did, but now they were too big, almost touching each other warping with the slightest vibration., They tried to shave off plastics from the main body, but that didnt work. Everything they tried brought them to a new dead end and they was loosing more and more money everytime. They tried something new. Eventually, they did get it working to an OK degree according to them, and the plan was to release the drones to website backers BEFORE kickstarter backers. In order to please paypal, Siiiggghhhh paypal, Ya, see at the time the company was not only bleeding money, but they were desperate for more. In order to just simply complete the orders., PayPal had blocked the majority of the money they had raised from those website sales, as they require businesses to deliver WORKING products within a short 20day window timeframe., And the only way to get that money back was to prove To PayPal they could ship these units. The longer they took, of course, the smaller that figure became because backers were constantly asking for refunds by this point., A figure they could sign in and see going down down down, but couldnt ever get in full, at least Anyway. As I said, they did eventually get a nice chunk of drones, working.
And they started to ship em out to the website. Pre order peeps. In order to please the paypal gods And once those drones went out, the complaints came in., something the team was not ready for. They couldnt understand why the drones didnt work and said they would post an update that would tackle these problems as they apparently only just realized upon testing that 1 in 3. Drones had issues how the hell did you not work this out beforehand, unless, of course, they just wanted to get them out regardless right, The problem was it simply wasnt tested enough and it wasnt finished.. They were able to get some of that money. Finally, from pre order peeps, but the majority that came in instantly went out the door again paying for refunds as Kickstarter backers, who were already wound up, that they were put in 2nd place. had started, seeing what these drones were or to be more specific, were not Capable of The forums that the team looked after became a breeding ground for angry backers and all of the companys biggest supporters, one by one fell off.. This heavily affected the health of one of the directors that were losing sleep having severe chest pains and according to the doctor, it was all stress.. Obviously, Eventually he had no choice but to leave the company with absolutely no shares tools, money or anything to his name. For his health, according to him at least, and shortly after the remaining less technical directors, had no choice but to shut up shop to declaring bankruptcy, which resulted in letting all personal go and selling off all stock, including that supercomputer, which every single Zano drone had to Be connected to in order to work.
, And what do you think happened when that was shut? Off. Every single working drone simply fell from the sky at the exact same time, Leaving nothing but a cool. Looking drone that simply cannot fly, but instead all it can do. Is just sit their blinking red trying to connect to something that doesnt exist So in the end, were the ZANO drones, a scam Not originally anyway.? The intention was there from the get go and, of course, the holding back of PayPal funds is something that has plagued several crowdfunding projects that we have discussed in the past.. However, perhaps it was for the greater good. The team behind Zano had not 1 but 2 attempts at creating an incredible piece of drone technology and in both examples they failed to reach the goal that they set for themselves. Unfortunately, when they crossed the line of telling lies to people at conventions and hiding information and REPEATING information to backers in exchange for real information, its hard to not see this thing move into the realm of a scam project. In fact, on a personal level, a good friend of mine, who was an avid Kickstarter fan like myself back in the day, backed this project and was so stung by his experience that he vowed to never use the platform again. And I dont think he did Its a pretty cut and dry story. If you ask me. Someone had a grand plan and convinced the world TWICE that they could deliver, they could deliver something that the big players couldnt and when you put it like that, perhaps we, the backers, are slightly to blame.
. Kick off. Yeah definitely kick off before the days of Kickstarter. Do you not think investors that were fooled into investing didnt kick off when projects went tits up.? Of course, they did Nowadays its a different story., Its easier for 100s, if not 1000s, of people to support these projects, and they do so for less money, and because of this they have no choice but to simply take the campaign owners word as gospel. If you are new to these videos understand that these websites are not pre order, websites., They are crowd funding sites full of great projects. And, of course, terrible projects like the zano, Which might be coming back. Remember when I said that zano were very critical of other drone companies at CES YEAH. Well, the main company was extreme flyers, who not only tried their best to introduce themselves at the show before getting completely shot down by zano. But they were also the company that constantly got belittled by team zano for having a drone that only did half of what the zano offered.. This was what resulted in zano winning that engaget best of the show award. This was what resulted in potential customers sticking their noses up at extreme flyers., Because theres was only 720p instead of 1080p because it didnt have technology that would would avoid obstacles built in and it was more expensive than zano. Extreme flyers definitely took a hit from this. Even tho they had a working prototype at the convention and the Zano team didnt.
. They literally held a drone and told people what it will do one day, Also its worth, noting that extreme flyers also had a crowdfunding campaign. That from what I can tell was a success its far from a high end product, but it never lied about what it was going to be to the detriment of other companies that did lie Anyway. Extreme flyers only went and purchased the majority of dead stock from Zano and are actually trying to fix it. Of course, it was still not as amazing as the original pitch, but hey they actually did it and showed it off at the 2018. Ces show. Who knows what will ever come of this.? Perhaps those backers still might get something for their investments, or perhaps this is all just a massive middle finger to the company that so openly slagged off the competition.