Hypocritical Amazon Won't Sell Google Chromecast Devices But They Will Sell Plenty Of Rip-Off Versions

jeff bezos
As we've previously reported, Amazon takes a pretty lackadaisical approach to counterfeiting on its marketplace. Legitimate manufacturers that sell their products via Amazon are find that their creations are being reverse engineered and counterfeited by Chinese companies. To make matters worse, these Chinese companies are marketing these products as the original -- even though they are of inferior quality -- and undercutting the originators. It's a truly despicable business model that Amazon is seemingly complicit with.

However, it isn't just small companies, like ElevationLab in the example above, that are being ripped off via cheap knockoffs on Amazon. Huge companies are also the victims of these unscrupulous copycats. Take Google, for example. Amazon and Google have a long-running dispute over hardware sales, YouTube integration, and Google's refusal to support Amazon Video on its streaming sticks. During the most recent chapter in the ongoing drama, Amazon informed Google that it would no longer sell the Nest family of smart home devices on its website.

The list of "forbidden" Google hardware also includes Pixel smartphones, Google Home speakers, and Chromecast devices. However, that isn't stopping Amazon from profiting off the sale of counterfeit devices that look like Google products, right down to their logos.

Take for example the original Chromecast; you can't purchase it via Amazon, but typing in "Chromecast" into the search box will bring you to this knockoff:

chromecast copycat

We're getting dizzy just looking at the name of the product listing: WiFi Display Dongle,Wishpower 2018 WiFi Wireless 1080P Mini Display Receiver HDMI TV Miracast DLNA Airplay for IOS/Android/Windows/Mac(New Version). It's made by Wishpower and is available for $25.99 with free Prime shipping. Interestingly enough, it even qualifies for Free One-Day Prime shipping. Not only does the Wishpower WiFi Display Dongle look like a carbon copy of the original Chromecast, which is seen below, but they even pirated the Chrome logo.

original chromecast

Let's say that you don't want the first-generation Chromecast, and instead were searching for the second-generation model? Amazon, err Wishpower, has you covered there as well with a near-identical clone priced at $27.99 with free Prime shipping.

Needless to say, you get what you pay for. And unfortunately for some Amazon customers, they mistakenly bought into the madness. Some users typed in "Chromecast" into the search box and didn't take the time to really research what they were buying. After all, the devices look like the originals, but they certainly don't perform like the originals. Just looking at the product review for the second-generation Chromecast knockoff (which has 2 out of 5 stars), people are complaining about being misled.

chromecast vs knockoff
Counterfeit item on the top, original on the bottom.

Here's a sample of some of the reviews:

-First of all this should not be the first item when searching Chromecast, this also looks exactly like the same product and even used the same logo but does not work. If it did work and I did give it a chance it would get a decent review. Refunding immediately.

-Knock off.Ordered it by mistake thinking it was Google Chromecast

-Do NOT buy this! It is NOT a google chrome! On the box it says “Gongle” And it did NOT work on my tv or with my phone and I did everything possible to get it to work! Very disappointed!

-This should not be an option when searching for a Chromecast since this is not an authentic item. It didn't even work. I would give no stars if possible.

It would be easy to say that the onus should be on the buyer to be on the lookout for such scams. However, why is Amazon even allowing such devices to proliferate on its marketplace? And to add insult to injury, Amazon is knowingly allowing this to happen, because doing a search for "Chromecast" brings up these obvious fakes as the top search result. In this case, Amazon is absolutely complicit in these nefarious actions.

And don't think for a second that Amazon doesn't have the capability to filter out and kill these sorts of scams -- it does so with its own products. If you search for an Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick or any other Amazon hardware product on its site, you will only find the original version; you won't find any cheap knockoffs being paraded around at low prices to fool customers.

For its part, Amazon says that it is working to ensure that counterfeiters are dealt with properly. Amazon issued the following statement to TechCrunch in regards to ElevationLab's complaint about counterfeiters:

Our customers trust that when they make a purchase through Amazon’s website—either directly from Amazon or from one of its millions of third-party sellers—they will receive authentic products manufactured by the true manufacturer of those products. We strictly prohibit the sale of counterfeit products and invest heavily – both funds and company energy – to ensure our policy against the sale of such products is followed.

We work closely with vendors, sellers and rights owners to strengthen protections for their brands on Amazon. Any rights owner can register with Amazon’s Brand Registry service to manage and protect their brand and intellectual property rights on Amazon...

Customers are always protected by our A-to-Z guarantee, whether they make a purchase from Amazon or a third-party seller. If ever the product doesn’t arrive or isn’t as advertised, customers can contact our customer support for a full refund of their order. We take this fight against bad actors very seriously and will not rest.

That sounds to us like lip service. We know that Amazon has a huge marketplace with millions of products being sold, but it seems as though it could be doing a much better job to stop counterfeiters and address the concerns of companies that are being ripped off.

(Top image courtesy Steve Jurvetson/Wikimedia Commons)