Copying has a long and rich history in Silicon Valley, from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs & # 39; infamous robbery of Xerox PARC to the legal nightmare that is the Apple-Samsung smartphone design process, crushing almost the entire company to keep Facebook for Snapchat.
Although Facebook has earned itself a reputation as a modern technology giant who is not ashamed to clone the best functions of its biggest competitors, Amazon has gone one step further. That's right, it's a shoe cloned. To be precise, Amazon has copied the feature product from Bay Area-based clothing company Allbirds, which happened to storm Silicon Valley a few years ago with its low-maintenance, ultra-comfortable running shoe.
Kudos to Tinder product chef Jeff Morris Jr. for pointing out this brutal creative theft:
Amazon now copies Allbirds directly.
We have reached "peak cloning" in Silicon Valley.
There are no rules anymore – if you build a product that works, Amazon or Facebook will copy it.
People used to care. Not anymore. pic.twitter.com/73bDMgruMX
– Jeff Morris Jr. (@jmj) September 19, 2019
Much has been written about how Allbirds, an attempt in Warby Parker style to simplify a traditionally involved purchase into something thoughtless and utilitarian, was able to take over the fashion-negative technology industry. (The secret was to make a beautiful shoe wrapped in a harmless design, simple colors and a modest price tag, and to use the phrase "merino wool".)
But less has been written about the army of copycats that have since cloned the design of the Allbirds and sold their knock-offs online at lower prices. In fact, Allbirds has made great efforts to defend themselves against such copycats, including the famous fashion designer Steve Madden. In that case the result was one settled dispute over trademark infringement. like you search for & # 39; Allbirds & # 39; on Amazon, you will find a wide variety of clones for sale.
Now Amazon, via its own private label 206 Collective, has jumped on the clones of Allbirds. Amazon has gone on one private label spree in recent years, and it now sells its own products in dozens of categories and under different names completely separate from the Amazon brand. It is important to note that this behavior has brought Amazon into hot water with regulatory authorities, especially in the EU, where the company is being investigated for using sales data from external sellers to develop and sell its own similar products.
Again, here is the company's new 206 Collective shoe in addition to an Allbirds shoe:
That said, the shoe looks nice and it is $ 45, which is barely more than half the price of your standard pair of Allbirds. A little more confusing are the reviews. Each seems to have been written by an Amazon Vine user that are people Amazon invites its exclusive program based on their review history. Those customers receive free products and are encouraged to write about it, although they are contractually obliged to make that known.
Each of the 23 positively glowing reviews from Amazon & # 39; s Allbirds clone is from Vine users, except the most recent earlier this month. It says: & # 39; All birds copy cat. They suck. "It is not clear whether Daniel from Santa Cruz, California has bought the shoes, but apparently he does not think very much about them or the shameless copying behavior of Amazon.
But does it really matter if the shoe is beautiful, comfortable and cheaper than Allbirds? For people like Tinder & # 39; s Morris, it is indeed so. "There are no rules anymore – if you build a product that works, Amazon or Facebook will copy it," he wrote on Twitter. “People used to care. Not anymore."