Yay! Let's Play Copycat

SparkFun gets a super fan. How do we deal with the copying of our images and designs without permission? We don't! Instead, we innovate that much faster.

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Let's start with a quote to set the mood:

Originality is the art of concealing your sources. - Benjamin Franklin

We noticed GE Tech pop up back in September. Their site is by far the best 'lifting' of the SparkFun style that we've seen. By 'best' we mean that they were the most blatant with their out-right copying of our site.


Oh - and if all of you readers happen to ping their site beyond what they might be able to handle, above you can see a screenshot.


Look at those fun LED products: The Luxeon LED White 1Watt is 10% off. Looks like I'm on sale!


That's my hand! No really. That's my hand. I took that photo of my hand in an attempt to demonstrate the monster brightness of the Luxeon LEDs back in 2008. You can see it here.


However, on their same product, that(!) is not my hand. So this proves they have a camera... I'm just saying...


I like that they kept the 'add to cart' buttons, but didn't like our 'out of stock' button, so they made their own. Well done!


The LED matrix - oh no! Please don't copy those pictures. They're from so long ago! Circa 2006 when I asked Owen Osborn (Owen was one of the two engineers that worked at SparkFun at the time) to 'just light it up for the picture'. Those naked pictures are so old you can see the white canvas cloth I used to take pictures on. So embarrassing!

I give GE-TH.com some credit! They are adding features as they go. They've got a "specials" side bar, google translation, and the ability to write a product review. This is a good thing: a little competition of features keeps us innovating new ones (you've seen the unicorns, right?).


They've even copied our problem with (weight loss training programmes) Spam! I'm glad they are enjoying comments to their post from watch movies online as much as we are.


This all started with an awesome heads up from our new friend Gregg. He sent us a 'what's on your mind' comment about some Ebay auctions going on in the UK. You can see the image of the product above, and if you can't get to the ebay auction any more, you can see a PDF of the auction here and here.

Arduino Pro Mini
vs. Made in Nanjing - note the similar flames

Putting our SparkFun flame on the Nanjing Arduino Mini is a little too far. We do happen to have a trademark on that flame (we fought for it after all), but that's not the problem I see. What is confusing is that we didn't design the Arduino Stamp - Arduino did! We designed the Arduino Pro Mini so we would appreciate it if you would copy us correctly. I know, I'm splitting hairs.


In the end, we can't really protect our images (we hate water marks, don't you?), and trying to patent any of our products is just silly talk. We are both selling very similar items. Welcome to the global economy! You should buy everything you want from them. If it's a commodity item (USB cable, LED, desoldering pump, etc) then you'll probably do all right. They have some datasheets, some times, and they may even respond to the customer service email: support@geeetech.com. They do seem to have pretty good feedback rating on ebay.

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. - Charles Caleb Colton

So what can we do about this? We could live blissfully in denial, but that's no fun! Instead, we'd like to accept GE Tech's gracious flattery. We must be doing something right if folks are willing to copy us. I accept the compliment. Instead of wasting time protesting, we're going to keep teaching, innovating, and doing fun homepage posts that get spammed. And maybe in the process of being copied we'll learn something from each other.

Comments 123 comments

  • Mike Bakula / about 14 years ago / 4

    Just saw this after completing my order today -- and y'know, I'm not feeling any buyer's remorse... :)

  • yulingo / about 14 years ago / 3

    I think the most hilarious spam comment is the second one on their latest post:<br />
    <br />
    "Wonderful solutions.I'd like to recommend checking out a lot around the idea of french fries. What do you think?"<br />
    <br />
    I think french fries and electronics don't necessarily mix to well...

  • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 3

    ...I wonder if somewhere in ShenZhen there's a bunch of scruffy Chinese guys drinking beer and building self-destructing robots... <br />
    <br />

  • JRMorrisJr / about 14 years ago / 3

    So as I was reading this, I thought, Chinese. Very typical. Then I thought, "Oh come on, no profiling!"<br />
    <br />
    I'm sure this was done 60 times already this morning, but I'll be the first to say: Yeah.<br />
    <br />
    Domain Name ..................... GEEETECH.COM<br />
    Name Server ..................... dns13.hichina.com<br />
    dns14.hichina.com<br />
    Registrant ID ................... hc403571718-cn<br />
    Registrant Name ................. Ran Liu<br />
    Registrant Organization ......... Liu Ran<br />
    Registrant Address .............. XueFu Road, NanShan Dist.ShenZhen Guang Dong China<br />
    Registrant City ................. ShenZhen<br />
    Registrant Province/State ....... GuangDong<br />
    Registrant Postal Code .......... 518000<br />
    Registrant Country Code ......... CN<br />
    Registrant Phone Number ......... +86.077552658411 - <br />
    Registrant Fax .................. +86.077552658407 - <br />
    Registrant Email ................ ydliuran@163.com<br />
    Administrative ID ............... hc403571718-cn<br />
    Administrative Name ............. Ran Liu<br />
    Administrative Organization ..... Liu Ran<br />
    Administrative Address .......... XueFu Road, NanShan Dist.ShenZhen Guang Dong China<br />
    Administrative City ............. ShenZhen<br />
    Administrative Province/State ... GuangDong<br />
    Administrative Postal Code ...... 518000<br />
    Administrative Country Code ..... CN<br />
    Administrative Phone Number ..... +86.077552658411 - <br />
    Administrative Fax .............. +86.077552658407 - <br />
    Administrative Email ............ ydliuran@163.com<br />
    Billing ID ...................... hc403571718-cn<br />
    Billing Name .................... Ran Liu<br />
    Billing Organization ............ Liu Ran<br />
    Billing Address ................. XueFu Road, NanShan Dist.ShenZhen Guang Dong China<br />
    Billing City .................... ShenZhen<br />
    Billing Province/State .......... GuangDong<br />
    Billing Postal Code ............. 518000<br />
    Billing Country Code ............ CN<br />
    Billing Phone Number ............ +86.077552658411 - <br />
    Billing Fax ..................... +86.077552658407 - <br />
    Billing Email ................... ydliuran@163.com<br />
    Technical ID .................... hc403571718-cn<br />
    Technical Name .................. Ran Liu<br />
    Technical Organization .......... Liu Ran<br />
    Technical Address ............... XueFu Road, NanShan Dist.ShenZhen Guang Dong China<br />
    Technical City .................. ShenZhen<br />
    Technical Province/State ........ GuangDong<br />
    Technical Postal Code ........... 518000<br />
    Technical Country Code .......... CN<br />
    Technical Phone Number .......... +86.077552658411 - <br />
    Technical Fax ................... +86.077552658407 - <br />
    Technical Email ................. ydliuran@163.com<br />
    Expiration Date ................. 2011-07-27 06:50:48

  • CF / about 14 years ago / 3

    I think I'll keep my money here in the good ole USA.

    • I don't really want to turn it into a USA vs China argument. You'd be surprised how many USA companies sue each other over copyright infringement. I'd rather talk about getting copied can be a good thing for us: keeps us on our toes.

      • TimCole / about 14 years ago / 1

        Very sporting of you, but this blatant rip-off is out of line. Of course, you have about zero chance of doing anything about it. We consumers, on the other hand, can refuse to do business with disreputable outfits.

      • CF / about 14 years ago / 1

        I'm looking at the angle that it's safer to shop close to home. At least if something goes wrong, I can always drive to someplace in the US. It's a little hard to go to China for a refund.

  • theBecwar / about 14 years ago / 2

    Interesting discussion. 2 comments:<br />
    <br />
    1) As Linux proves (and SCO never figured out) the value is in the service and support. With some specific exceptions, open source is the way of the future, and the best way to continue to make money in the future is to provide a better level of support for what you're selling than the next guy. If someone wants to copy you, let them. They'll always be at least one step behind you.<br />
    <br />
    2) Please tell me that people really aren't trying to spam them with repeated get requests. Unless they did something tragically stupid (like firing off a new session on every get request), or you can get a significant number of people doing it, you aren't going to take them to their knees. Also most ISPs don't look too kindly at DOS and DDOS attacks. I'd recommend following SFE's lead. Take the high road, innovate and improve.

  • PeterG / about 14 years ago / 2

    SparkFun is so much more to me than simply the price of its components. I learn stuff here all the time, I'm pleased with the service and fast shipping, and am constantly making use of SF designed items like the Pro Mini. <br />
    <br />
    Keep doing what you're doing, and I doubt GETech will take much of your business. I definitely won't be going anywhere.<br />
    <br />
    Defend your flame though... using that mark on non-SF items is misleading to consumers and is (at least in my mind) fraud. Besides, you don't want to get a bad name because knock-off parts with your logo fail or don't work as advertised.

    • Travis! / about 14 years ago / 1

      Agreed. I've learned so much through the guys at #sparkfun and on the tutorials!

  • ddcc / about 14 years ago / 2

    I sent them an email about the issue; below is their response.<br />
    <br />
    Subject: RE: GEEETech ?? [RE: GEEETech Website]<br />
    From: zzzzzzzzzz@hotmail.com<br />
    Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 12:00:38 +0800<br />
    To: xxxxxxxxx@qq.com<br />
    <br />
    ?????[Hello Friend]<br />
    <br />
    ?????????????????????[I previously felt that this style was very good, but am now in the process of resolving it.]<br />
    <br />
    ?????????? [Thank you for your mindful suggestion.]<br />
    <br />
    Pyemth<br />
    <br />
    --------------------------------------<br />
    <br />
    From: xxxxxxxxx@qq.com<br />
    To: yyyyyyyyy@163.com<br />
    CC: zzzzzzzzzz@hotmail.com<br />
    Subject: GEEETech ?? [GEEETech Website]<br />
    Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 03:26:19 +0800<br />
    <br />
    ?????geeetech.com???????sparkfun.com?????<br />
    [Isn't your website geeetech.com a ripoff of sparkfun.com?]

  • kvan / about 14 years ago / 2

    Can we redirect all the free day traffic to them? <br />
    <br />

  • Ray_82 / about 14 years ago / 2

    The funny things is: they have "Copyright � 2010" on the site :D

  • KWood / about 14 years ago / 2

    Pinging now (ping -c 100000 -i .01 www.geeetech.com)

  • Member #68931 / about 14 years ago / 2

    It looks like they would be open to a SQL injection attack, I wouldn't run one, but just so ya know...<br />
    <br />

    • numinit / about 14 years ago / 1

      Nice finds everyone. I think I may have found a decent injection vector. It appears that I was mistaken about the quotes. They really DID leave it THAT open. Try this one.<br />
      <br />
      (1+OR+1=1);+INJECTION_GOES_HERE+--<br />
      <br />
      Not that I tried anything (except for an SQL benchmark as a proof-of-concept).

      • numinit / about 14 years ago / 1

        Just kidding, it doesn't work. You guys will have to find one for yourself. I don't want to be involved in any revenge plans. :)

    • crweedon / about 14 years ago / 1

      and possibly some HTTP TRACE XSSing, nice find on the SQL. if anything this whole thing goes to show why Nate and the crew at sparkfun are awesome, they could whine and moan, but instead they go right to work making gadgets and gizmos for us to play with. bravo sparkfun, bravo!

    • numinit / about 14 years ago / 1

      Ha, I noticed that too and thought I was the only one. The sad thing is that it looks like their site escapes single quotes, so that may limit creativity unless there's a way to get around that.<br />
      <br />
      Some other fun stuff on their site:<br />
      http://www.geeetech.com/docs/<br />
      https://www.geeetech.com<br />
      http://www.geeetech.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=1=1%20OR%201&search_section=order<br />
      <br />
      Here comes Bobby Tables...<br />

      • sycophantic / about 14 years ago / 1

        http://www.geeetech.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&keyword=%28select+orders_id+from+orders+order+by+orders_id+desc+limit+1%29+--&search_in_description=1&categories_id=&manufacturers_id=&pfrom=&pto=&dfrom=&dto=&x=0&y=0<br />

    • WOW.<br />
      <br />
      These guys are really asking for a visit from Bobby Tables.

  • Ken7 / about 14 years ago / 2

    I did not know that the website was part of Free Day.

    • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 2

      Yeah, they didn't have many in stock though and China really jumped on it.

  • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 2

    Also, might I just add a big fat "Whoa there, Chief!" to the comments here with a more xenophobic tinge? Let's not play like we don't all benefit from how well the red machine spits out cheap, heavily leaded, electronics. I've bought my share of cheap junk direct from China and I gotta say it works a whopping 70% of the time, and at 10% of the price what more could you ask for? hahaha.<br />
    <br />
    I think the bottom line is that what makes SparkFun great isn't just the engineering, I mean yeah, they churn out some pretty sweet widgets. But SFE spanks the competition because of things like the Antimov competition, A HUGE tutorial page (compared to other electronics sites at least), and quick and witty response to blatant trademark infringement. <br />
    <br />
    Don't get too worked up about it, I don't see a "GE FREE DAY" coming anytime soon, and if it did, we'd blow their server bank through the wall, take our free stuff and spend the next 3 months on here reading tuts and trying to fix their knockoffs.<br />

    • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 2

      (psssst... Sparkfun... don't tell them where the BatchPCB fabhouse is located) lol

  • Kuep / about 14 years ago / 2

    Just clicked on the link and read their first post, the English is horrible. Don't think you have anything to worry about SF.

  • EvilTwin / about 14 years ago / 1

    No hoodies?, BLAH, amateurs.

  • defuzo / about 14 years ago / 1

    And here is another copycat:<br />
    http://www.gabotronics.com/<br />
    Or GT-garbage xxtronics.. saw something, ahg. A "All in One :Instrument, calculator, multimeter, oscilloscope..." <br />
    <br />
    Build one of those, or (jupp watch a move that u seen before or something, kids maybe?)..

  • TheRegnirps / about 14 years ago / 1

    Several people have noted that they didn't even copied the red theme. Not to defend copying, but given the choice, most Chinese businesses will choose "lucky colors" and the two most popular are red and gold. So, copying the red theme would be irresistible.

  • tchilax / about 14 years ago / 1

    I appreciate your service and perspectives~ Thank you.

  • UNTEngineer / about 14 years ago / 1

    Wow this is so sad that people cant make their own websites, and their own technology and they go and steal other people's work, especially when it comes to cheap solutions such as Arduino and Online Robot Part shopping. I mean theres so many stores out there, they would probably get more business if they were original.<br />
    <br />
    I have to share this as well, PJRC had to post a warning about counterfeit Teensy's. Good news is that ICE and the US Government can now disable and block access to a website that is hosting illegal content or is selling counterfeit items. Im sure if SparkFun or PJRC have problems, they can complain to them, but I think we are a niche when it comes to counter-fitting.<br />
    <br />
    By the way, I appreciate buying parts from locally (even though its about two states over from me), and spending my money in the USA! Thats why I shop at Pololu, SparkFun, NewEgg, Parallax and so many more stores, cause Chinese knockoffs just arent the same quality items AND the money isnt really going back to the artists/inventors to help them keep going.<br />
    <br />
    Woops, too long. My two cents ;)

  • TheRegnirps / about 14 years ago / 1

    Amazing. Blatant. Flattering. Not surprising though. You have a good looking style and there is no protection in China and nearly everyone copies. The local police would tell you to hire someone to beat them up.<br />
    <br />
    I don't like watermarks either but used them for a while when every picture I took for the andahammer site appeared on eBay and various web sites all over the world. Then they started copying things and not even removing the site name if it was in the background or on a spec sheet. In the long run, the copying seems to help more than hurt. We have English docs and support where the copiers tend to not even answer email. I have been vacillating between setting up for high key product photos or keeping the "home spun" look which doesn't get copied much anymore. Improvements are harder than they should be. I made a poor choice in template when I started and need a total rebuild.<br />
    <br />
    AT lhese guys pulled their ARM9 pictures off the Chinese web site instead of ours. Add their shipping from Guangdong and they don't compete.

  • WildCard / about 14 years ago / 1

    I would not bother using a lawyer to pursue them. Take the high road and denying some lawyer some serious cash is satisfying enough.<br />
    <br />
    I would not order from China even if there prices were 50% lower. I have never been dissatisfied with anything I got from sparkfun. <br />
    Just about all the Chinese stuff I have bought out of china are already in my dumpster. Who do you call for service?<br />
    It's not just about the product...it's the people that stand behind the product. Lets see them copy that.

  • Member #13530 / about 14 years ago / 1

    This is full of irony. As much as I like Sparkfun and prefer to buy from domestic companies, they're what made me open the door to dealing with Chinese vendors in the first place.<br />
    <br />
    I needed a bunch of 2-pin spring terminals. Sparkfun has them, but at $1.50 a piece. Ouch!<br />
    <br />
    Fortunately, Sparkfun hadn't followed the mood-setting quote about concealing sources. The datasheet on the terminals reveals the manufacturer.<br />
    <br />
    That manufacturer will gladly sell anyone up to 10 samples of the terminal for only $0.14 each. So Sparkfun is marking this part up at least 1,000%, and they probably pay even less in quantity!<br />
    <br />
    Of course shipping makes that more expensive, so I made the best of it by stocking up and sampling many other connectors as well. For $30, I got what would have costs hundreds at Sparkfun.<br />
    <br />
    So I can see why Sparkfun is laughing about the Chinese stealing their website design. They're laughing all the way to the bank, because they're making a fortune off the Chinese by selling their goods for ridiculous markups.<br />
    <br />
    Here's some constructive advice. Instead of Sparkfun giving a bit of their wealth back to us in gimmicky events like Free Day, why not reduce prices instead? Had the markup been reasonable (a few hundred percent), they would have gotten my order; as I do consider paying a little more worth supporting a domestic company. And they would have gotten other orders too, since I've recommended buying directly from the manufacturer to several others on public forums who've complained that the price of connectors at Sparkfun would break their project budget.

  • That is hilarious! Did not even bother to change the RED to BLUE!<br />
    <br />
    Hey, I am doing a intern in Hong Kong, and Shenzhen is sort of near. I should try to get a visit of there place! lol I'll go and where my sparkfun tshirt! LOLLLL!!<br />
    <br />
    ok ok, I have service@ge-th.com and ydliuran@163.com

  • If I was running SparkFun, GE Tech would have made me rage - good onyas all for taking it graciously and in a humorous way.<br />
    <br />
    On a related note, this XKCD strip might be worth investigating if GE Tech makes it big time: <br />
    <br />

  • rsmurphy / about 14 years ago / 1

    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." ~Einstein <br />
    <br />
    Einstein was the heavy-weight champ when it comes to pirating intellectual property...

  • DojoMojoMofo / about 14 years ago / 1

    Classy response to it! Anyone can sell your products, but it really shows that you have genuine geeks working there, and the kind of information you guys give out constantly isn't so easy to imitate! At best, they could hope to mirror your site, but with all the guides and breakout boards you make, they'll always be behind.

  • Helicopter / about 14 years ago / 1

    for those interested this is supper fun!!!<br />
    <br />
    in windows open command prompt and type this and let it run.......... :)<br />
    <br />
    ping -t -l 65500 www.geeetech.com<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    I think they might be in mexico(not china) from there ping times<br />
    Reply from bytes=65500 time=72ms TTL=51

    • NewsparkFunCusty / about 14 years ago / 1

      Helicopter: for those interested this is supper fun!!!<br /><br />
      <br /><br />
      in windows open command prompt and type this and let it run.......... :)<br /><br />
      <br /><br />
      ping -t -l 65500 www.geeetech.com<br /><br />
      <br /><br />
      <br /><br />
      I think they might be in mexico(not china) from there ping times<br /><br />
      Reply from bytes=65500 time=72ms TTL=51
      <br /><br />
      <br />
      They are actually hosting in DALLAS EVEN!!! That's pretty manipulative, but you want central USA hosting for 1 thing and 1 thing only, equal American distribution times.<br />
      <br />
      So their intent is obvious to market to america.<br />
      This can also be used if sparkfun tries to nail them to the wall.<br />
      Also the hosting company is as follows.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      So if you know anyone who works there....make a call...wink wink...<br />
      <br />
      Happy hunting everybody.

  • Jade / about 14 years ago / 1

    SparkFun isn't just a site - it's everything that makes a good business. Innovative people, exceptional service personnel and quality products.<br />
    <br />
    Others can copy the site alright, but they'll never replicate what makes SparkFun unique - the community brought together by a common interest.<br />
    <br />
    Cheap knockoffs will remain what they are. No way of preventing them, especially outside of local legal jurisdiction. Let's hope that whatever publicity we get out of this is positive and that more people learn about the real company standing behind innovation.

  • DennisGreene / about 14 years ago / 1

    Hey, I wonder if they are going to do a free day as well. Anyone know that?

  • CowboyBob / about 14 years ago / 1

    I hope they didn't buy the ATMEGA chips from the same place in China that ripped off SF. That woulds be hilarious!

  • Azayles / about 14 years ago / 1

    I'm in no way supporting of condoning what geeetech have done in copying this site, but I can see why they did it.<br />
    I've been buying parts for various projects from Sparkfun since early this year and I've never had ANY problems with the products I've bought or with the ordering process itself. The site is easy to navigate and well laid out unlike many sites I've seen.<br />
    Sparkfun truly deliver 100 percent with making good products, taking on board customers ideas and delivering amazing service. They go above and beyond the level of most other companies in terms of how they treat their customers.<br />
    <br />
    I live in the UK, but I'm perfectly happy with ordering from Sparkfun in Colorado because they keep their prices competitive, their shipping rates fair and the times fast, and from what I've seen they have amazing customer service.<br />
    <br />
    Geeetech, I'm sure, will try and emulate the Sparkfun approach to business as much as they've tried to emulate the site, but they will have a very difficult time ahead.<br />
    Noone does it quite like Sparkfun does, and they will always have that edge for years to come.

  • macpod / about 14 years ago / 1

    They better be careful. Oracle might sue them.

    • Exonerd / about 14 years ago / 1

      Even better, let's get G.E. to sue them! OMG can you imagine them wetting themselves as a major multinational moves even the chinese gov't to make them "disappear"...

  • nmushov / about 14 years ago / 1

    I love you Sparkfun!

  • bidontr / about 14 years ago / 1


  • press5 / about 14 years ago / 1

    just placed a big order with SFE in homage to your copycat. :)

  • bdwyer / about 14 years ago / 1

    I opted out of buying the pocket oscilloscope for $60 and bought it here a while back.<br />
    <br />
    SF: Loyalty+2pts

  • balboajeff / about 14 years ago / 1

    I emailed them, rockylou84@hotmail.com ,<br />
    "your website looks a lot like the Sparkfun website. <br />
    Except their prices a better."<br />
    I think I'll place a Sparkfun order as a salute.

    • balboajeff / about 14 years ago / 1

      I received a reply;<br />
      Dear Friend,<br />
      <br />
      Thanks for your concerns, we don't like to do so and we are consummating it, more products with good price and quality will be availble soon.<br />
      <br />
      We will change to to our own style,<br />
      <br />
      Thanks again<br />
      <br />
      Perfect, I couldn't have scripted this, I just sent my money off to Nate and the fine folks in Boulder.

  • shodan / about 14 years ago / 1

    this is the essence of business<br />
    <br />
    your competitors will copy you, rip you off and undermine you any way they can and they're not even evil for doing it<br />
    <br />
    this is the poking that drives continuous improvement of a business, it's unpleasant and discouraging<br />
    <br />
    it's the ultimate test of a successful business

  • bbotany / about 14 years ago / 1

    As they said: "Red color is taken to make it more delicate and beautiful."<br />
    <br />
    Red color is most certainly taken, isn't it? I will think of them next time I need "leatest" chinduinos and "superheterodynes".<br />
    <br />
    But if I'm building, I think I prefer the speed of "local pickup", and that puts Sparkfun (and admittedly, JB Saunders and their boxes of peculiarities) at the top of the list.<br />
    <br />

  • otorresbaca / about 14 years ago / 1

    Shocking !!! after all your hard work... bad karma for them... cheers from norway.

  • Bravo, SFE, for taking the high road on this blatant business theft attempt. Just keep on doing what you've been doing from the start and lowlifes like GEtech won't have a chance of keeping up.<br />
    <br />
    Apparently many Chinese businesses use the US as a dumping ground for bad products since there's no practical recourse when problems occur. Buyer Beware!

  • Jesse B / about 14 years ago / 1

    I may be pinging some undisclosed domain right now :)

  • Lance-o-Rama / about 14 years ago / 1

    Nowadays duplication seems to be the sincerest form of flattery (they wouldn't duplicate what they didn't like.) I guess the best thing to do is to just take it as a compliment.<br />
    <br />
    I had an entire PodCast format copied, with a similar name and everything. That was when I decided "I quit!". I'm not going to keep supplying the world with excellent information, only to be outright copied. It takes A LOT of work to put together information of value for everyone to use. I don't think most people really realize that.<br />
    <br />
    I appreciate your website, and I'll just stay right here, thank you.<br />
    <br />
    After proof-reading this, perhaps I should follow my own advice. ;)<br />

  • Member #160628 / about 14 years ago / 1

    opps I almost forgot...<br />
    "with great power comes great responsibility" ~ Ben Parker aka "Uncle Ben"

  • Member #160628 / about 14 years ago / 1

    On second though<br />
    wget:<br />
    <br />
    btw the man pages uses the words robots hehe...<br />
    <br />
    GNU Wget is a free utility for non-interactive download of files from the Web. It supports HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP protocols, as well as retrieval through HTTP proxies.<br />
    <br />
    Wget is non-interactive, meaning that it can work in the background, while the user is not logged on. This allows you to start a retrieval and disconnect from the system,<br />
    letting Wget finish the work. By contrast, most of the Web browsers require constant user's presence, which can be a great hindrance when transferring a lot of data.<br />
    <br />
    Wget can follow links in HTML, XHTML, and CSS pages, to create local versions of remote web sites, fully recreating the directory structure of the original site. This is<br />
    sometimes referred to as "recursive downloading." While doing that, Wget respects the Robot Exclusion Standard (/robots.txt). Wget can be instructed to convert the links in<br />
    downloaded files to point at the local files, for offline viewing.<br />
    <br />
    Wget has been designed for robustness over slow or unstable network connections; if a download fails due to a network problem, it will keep retrying until the whole file has<br />
    been retrieved. If the server supports regetting, it will instruct the server to continue the download from where it left off.<br />
    <br />
    have fun<br />
    <br />
    macports:<br />
    <br />
    $port install wget

  • Member #160628 / about 14 years ago / 1

    grab a copy of backtrack :<br />
    http://www.backtrack-linux.org/<br />
    and go to town fellas... ;)

  • Ray_82 / about 14 years ago / 1

    These people are unbelievable,they deal with people without any principles,in someday they will copy themselves!!

  • Member #615 / about 14 years ago / 1

    It's possible that this website could go offline, and what if Sparkfun reconsiders legal action and needs a copy of the site?<br />
    <br />
    I think we should all download as many copies as possible to make sure this isn't a problem. The following command might be a good start. Run from a Unix terminal on a machine with Perl installed.<br />
    <br />
    perl -e 'use LWP::Simple;$i=0; while(1){get("http://www.geeetech.com/"); print $i++ . "\n";}'

  • Member #68753 / about 14 years ago / 1

    One of the reasons that got me buying from sparkfun is that I am sick and tired of buying products made in China. No thank you, I am perfectly capable of building my own crap.<br />
    <br />
    Keep up the good work Sparkfun, keep the sparks alive for those of us who long for the day when manufacturing returns to the USA.<br />
    <br />
    I am all for free trade, but I think free trade should only extend to free countries.<br />

  • Benjius / about 14 years ago / 1

    Thanks SF! your reaction made my really proud of being your customer !!!<br />
    This is the kind of attitude I like.<br />
    <br />
    I know you have been harassed by blood sucker lawyers in the past specially from the now defun sun microsystems.<br />
    <br />
    But you're showing the world out there how to do business.<br />
    <br />
    Who needs more lawyers anyway ?!

  • tiagofumo / about 14 years ago / 1

    sparkfun is by far, the best eletronic components site =x

  • Henry Dorsett / about 14 years ago / 1

    Good on ya for the attitude! I'd be torqued sideways if someone did that to me. Just don't let them pass themselves off as you.

  • suttonr / about 14 years ago / 1

    major props to Nate and sparkfun for this post, makes me feel even better to be a customer

  • Kdiggity / about 14 years ago / 1

    I just wanted to say, I am a loyal SFE customer and I am staying that way. Actually, the company I work for had manufacturing operations in Shenzhen and we just got screwed royally there. Unforturnately, there is very little SFE can do in this matter.<br />
    <br />
    But Nate said it best, innovation is the key to success in business. Keep up the good work!

  • I really don't think "General-Electronics-Tech" is trying to be friendly here. They completely copied your website because they are too lazy to write their own, or because they think you have a dominant position in the hobby electronics market (which you do :-)) and that by making identical websites, they can trick people into thinking they are selling similar products with the same guarantee of quality. Like a phishing site that tries to steal customers instead of personal data. <br />
    <br />
    Also, I think I have just become an avid reader of their blog because the comments are so completely fake and off-topic that it's almost funny.

    • Actually, let be correct my self. Close inspection of both site's source code reveals that GET didn't copy and paste HTML and CSS from SF. Instead, somebody worked really hard to make a similar site that is still written differently. For example, the gray bar that runs right below the top navigation bar is not continuous on GET's site, but it is on SF. That's because they layed their site out using tables, not CSS. Plus, the font is obviously different.

      • I can settle this for you guys. They did lift a lot of our HTML and CSS, but they did so months ago while we were completely rewriting the site from scratch. So what they lifted had already been deemed old and busted by our standards and, thus, from an IT perspective, we don't care. =)

        • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 1

          lol, thanks for the lowdown on that one, I kinda figured that was the deal. <br />
          <br />
          good stuff... hahaha

      • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 1

        Yeah, that thought hit me like a ton of bricks earlier, I didn't get a chance to go check out the code and confirm though. Just a glance and a few clicks will be evidence that it's not built the same (Which means they didn't copy (easy) but instead imitated (crazy) the site, lmao. It is possible however that it's ripped from an earlier version of Sparkfun, I haven't been around long enough to know.

  • Sam R. / about 14 years ago / 1

    Wow.....kinda flattering to have sparkfun copied....but it is a little annoying. You guys have so many loyal customers....you should have sparkfun events...that aren't just in Denver :) Would anyone else attend something like that???<br />

  • Chinwah / about 14 years ago / 1

    If someone here in Taiwan does that to SparkFun drop me a note and I will send some friends to visit them...

  • roybean / about 14 years ago / 1

    <br />
    i've been holding out buying a few hundred of these, and now nate retires them!<br />
    <br />
    watch these ass-clowns, they are greasy cave-men

  • Gary D. / about 14 years ago / 1

    Just made a sparkfun purchase today to spite the copycat... Cheers guys !

  • NewsparkFunCusty / about 14 years ago / 1

    Lets rather play a funner game, destroy the website/db of anything associated with them and see who comes up with the best idea or the best attack actually implemented.<br />
    <br />
    I say we start a forum post about the ideas we can harass them with!<br />
    <br />
    I wrote them a nice comment to the tech support, you all should too!

  • philba / about 14 years ago / 1

    I've had experience dealing with sales from Chinese companies. Shipping time and cost, customer support and returns are a huge issue. While I will purchase from them, I assume that returns are a lost cause and just toss anything that doesn't work correctly. Note that their shipping times are 2.5 - 3 weeks via airmail. And trying to get a screwed up order straightened out is like pulling teeth. <br />
    <br />
    On watermarking - you should do it. sparkfun.com will give you some free advertising.

  • MA$TER_E / about 14 years ago / 1

    Hey everyone! I found this and had to register so I could leave a comment. I've been lurking on the site for a while, reading through some of the AWESOME tutorials and learning what a micro controller is, how it works, what I can do with it as well as how I can use IMU's.<br />
    <br />
    A friend that did FIRST referred me to sparkfun and got me going with all the electronics and he had nothing but awesome things to say. I've yet to do business but after all the help I've already had from the sites tutorials why wouldn't I? This site is packed full of good stuff!<br />
    <br />
    From a complete novice yet to actually build a 5v power supply; you go sparkfun! Awesome quote from Benjamin and you have my, future business :-)<br />
    <br />

  • Member #41959 / about 14 years ago / 1

    There are good reasons, other than just pure loyalty to a good vendor, to stick with SF. Counterfeit electronics -- parts pulled off of e-waste boards -- are a huge problem. Since most counterfeit electronic components come from China (thanks to all the e-waste everyone sends that direction), there's a very good chance that many of the parts on their boards have had an earlier life, and not handled very well in the process of reclaiming them. In the case of passives, they may not even be the right value. Counterfeit electronics have caused military systems and aerospace systems to fail. Not Good.

  • Member #115365 / about 14 years ago / 1

    the sad thing is I could really use the Ultrasonic Distance Detecting Board shown in the image. Sparkfun, could you flatter them right back by imitiating that item for me?

  • Shazzamy / about 14 years ago / 1

    I see quite a few people are pinging them

    • Pinging is for amateurs, what people need to do is to make about a 100 GET requests per second on that search form, that would crash their SQL server.<br />
      <br />
      Maybe I'll have some fun later... :D

      • Right now I am sending several thousand emails using their contact form! Hahaha...

  • WKUACE / about 14 years ago / 1

    I'd much rather order from right here. Sparkfun is the first place I refer people to when they ask. Its really sad they even used the same pictures. Your defiantly safe.

  • I dig that dashboard thing they've got. We should copy that.

  • Cyrusm / about 14 years ago / 1

    holy cow. judging from their prices I wouldn't be too surprised if they were just buying from SF and marking up the prices from there.

  • Exonerd / about 14 years ago / 1

    Nate, I have to say I'm impressed with your attitude about all of this. I'm sure it helps that the imitation is so laughably blatant, but still...I'd be pretty furious if some company was selling knockoffs of something I designed (here I'm thinking more of the Arduino copies). Part of the problem with U.S. patents is that it's the responsibility of the patent holder to enforce their claim. I'm not sure how this works for trademarks and the like...<br />
    [..short rant..]<br />
    It's kind of pitiful when anyone demonstrates such a complete lack of originality, or even real effort. Someone might want to tell some of these Chinese companies that merely copying some of the products of more innovative companies will not make them a success. You can't entice people like me with cheapness alone. Oh, and the broken English doesn't help them any...Argh.<br />
    [../short rant..]<br />
    Honestly, these guys don't even need to be spammed...their site and "writing" is laughable enough.

    • I'd much rather use them as a guiding propellant for us than something that uses up our time and resources.<br />
      <br />
      If it was within the US then yes it would require us to take action (but not like SPARC did). But because GE Tech is international, there are much more complex legal routes to take. The first major point is that we don't (yet) have a trademark in China, so we really can't go after them there.

  • sephers / about 14 years ago / 1

    ahaha i love how the majority of the comments are unrelated spam :D

  • Sparkfun is an amazing organization and you do not deserve to be ripped off this way. <br />
    <br />
    I'm just sayin'...

  • scharkalvin / about 14 years ago / 1

    You can bad mouth China if you want, but you guys DO sell some products that are made there. There is a lot of DREK that comes out of China, and also some very good stuff, often from the SAME FACTORY! Example: Grizzly imports some very good machine tools from China, and Harbor Freight sells some very similar tools that are low quality knock-offs. Quite possible both came off the same factory floor (well one of them literally off the floor!).

    • hads / about 14 years ago / 2

      I don't believe any SparkFun staff were badmouthing China at all.

      • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 1

        I think he was probably addressing his peers on the forum, not SparkFun directly

  • Member #68931 / about 14 years ago / 1

    When is their "Free Day"?

  • mjkuwp / about 14 years ago / 1

    I think you should consider taking action. Of course you should review any action with your own attornies( I am not one)<br /> <br /> Something I have seen done in a situation almost exactly like this one has some of the following components.<br /> <br /> ...[OTHER company] could be held liable for substantial statutory damages as high as $150,000, as set forth in 17 USC �504(c)(2). Attorney�s fees and costs can also be recovered<br /> <br /> ....<br /> <br /> In the circumstances, [U.S. Company] demands that [OTHER Company] immediately:<br /> <br /> 1. Cease the use and distribution of all copyrighted material, all infringing works derived from U.S. Company�s work, and all copies of it;<br /> <br /> 2. Remove all infringing content and any further works OTHER Company may have taken from U.S. Company, and notify U.S. Company in writing that OTHER Company has done so;<br /> <br /> 3. Provide U.S. Company with a list of all companies owned by and/or affiliated with OTHER Company, including addresses, telephone numbers, contact e-mail addresses, and website URL�s for each product sales website associated with each of the affiliated companies;<br /> <br /> ...<br /> <br /> I have a little more information than this.. but it should give some hints as what a person could do.

  • sanloublues / about 14 years ago / 1

    You don't have to watermark it, but you could fill in a comment about sparkfun in the exif tags of the images without really increasing the size more than a few bytes. Easy to remove, but it would be a nice lazy people gotcha.

  • BB / about 14 years ago / 1

    Well at least they'll be a better source than SFE for the coveted ATmega368: http://www.sparkfun.com/news/350

  • w1tgf / about 14 years ago / 1

    Maybe they are actually from a SparkFun in an evil parallel universe, where the only difference between our beloved SparkFun employees and theirs is that they have "evil" facial hair. http://tinyurl.com/64teyb

  • CrashOverride / about 14 years ago / 1

    Woah this is mindblowing... it's like Shang Tsung stealing your soul. I think that letting this go is a really really bad idea. <br />
    <br />
    PS: When you get your satellites up, attach lasers... the burning kind...<br />
    <br />

  • MTMentat / about 14 years ago / 1

    Ha! Who wouldn't want to jazz up their products or documents with your Flame? Glad you aren't seriously put off by this particular form of flattery, as I have definitely used graphics from your site before (with ref., though). Seems like just one more step toward taking over the internet to me.

  • jakkjakk / about 14 years ago / 1

    Always china... If someone is going to lie, cheat and steal its CHINA. Never see it in Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, or the Philippines. Wikileaks even released the cable that shows the U.S. knew China was hacking google and other American Companies. We should not be doing business with this country.<br />
    <br />
    It's cool that your taking a live and let live policy to this. You should keep in mind appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive. They'll do this to other companies. You should at least fire off a letter to the government about it and let them know. They won't do anything but at least it makes them aware. <br />
    <br />
    Another thing I worry about is them selling products you make have copyrights on. Just a quick search they're selling the Lillypad. Doesn't sparkfun have the copyrights to the LillyPad? <br />
    <br />
    It's one thing to let someone use your products to learn and play with for free, but to let someone else profit off your hard work without payment is another. <br />
    <br />
    I'm not saying sue their pants off because the lawyers may cost you more than what they're taking. You've gotten to the level where you need to have a plan to protect yourself. More will follow. There's never just one.<br />
    <br />
    One thing you may want to consider doing to your pictures is adding a comment to the jpeg image.<br />
    COM 0xFF, 0xFE variable size Comment Contains a text comment. is the tag to do so. <br />
    <br />
    It doesn't block anything or let the whole world know its yours or even stop them from removing it but if it is found and someone is looking for it, it will help. Plus makes it that much harder on the copier.<br />
    <br />
    Anyways I'm done ranting, just things to keep in mind.

    • wait, Aren't the LilyPads CC-BY-SA ?<br />
      <br />
      Anyway I like Nate's position on the subject...<br />
      In my opinion this is exactly why open source hardware causes innovation , rather than trying to squeeze every penny out of your "Intellectual property" you're forced to make something else, something that hasn't been done before =]<br />
      <br />
      For me this is what the future looks like ;)<br />
      <br />

    • They can't sell copyrighted stuff in the US, because of the Federal Trade Commission regulations. <br />
      <br />
      So, if SF doesn't want the Lilly Pad sold by them, it won't happen. Simple as that.

  • Valen / about 14 years ago / 1

    They don't even spell their name right. General Ele_tronics-Tech. Might as wel use that Google Translator if you have it.

    • They probably felt it safe to not use the complete General Electronics name considering its resemblance to General Electric, which I'm pretty sure would attempt to sue for some name copy righting infringmants.

      • Valen / about 14 years ago / 1

        Yeah, that thought crossed my mind. But such a minor difference didn't stop Sparkfun from getting harrased by certain lawyers some time ago. Oh well, clearly lack of creativity on the part of the copy-cats.

  • RobinEdinburgh / about 14 years ago / 1

    The Chinese copying and reverse engineering western designs? Surely not...! :P

    • Pearce / about 14 years ago / 1

      We're serious and don't call us Shirley.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      ...sorry, had to do it in memory of Leslie

      • Sam Pratt / about 14 years ago / 1

        THANK YOU! Far too few people have seen airplane! We'll be attacking from the south, a flight of four planes, low and fast. We'll be making our run at dawn. "But when will you return!?" I can't tell you that. Classified.

        • zosguy / about 14 years ago / 1

          except, I'm pretty sure that quote is from "Hot Shots".

          • bdwyer / about 14 years ago / 1

            It was in Airplane before hotshots...however where was it used before Airplane?<br />
            <br />
            <br />

  • JRMorrisJr / about 14 years ago / 1

    Ahhh! Open air markets! lol...

  • Member #32561 / about 14 years ago / 1

    Linking to these losers' site increases their page rank. They really don't deserve that.

  • sgrace / about 14 years ago / 1

    I did my own investigation... Apparently their "HQ" is a park.<br />
    <br />

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