When Facebook served us up a deal on the Polyend Tracker that seemed too good to be true, we decided to investigate. And found what we believe may be a scam involving a product called the “Modorro Alphawave Tracker”. And things got very weird in the process.
With all the chatter about cloning, copyright, business practices and the sometimes questionable behaviour of certain brands I was struck by an example of “democratising music technology” through a Facebook advert for the Polyend Tracker. At least I thought it was the Polyend Tracker. In fact it’s a product by a company called Modorro, the “Alphawave Tracker”. Here’s a quote from the website:
The Alphawave Tracker has a retro form factor updated with forward-looking functionality and designed as an easy to use compact standalone workstation. Made for creatives who break patterns on a daily basis. Designed to help artists forge unique avenues of sonic construction. Introducing the first hardware tracker in the music world.
Now, wait just a minute, isn’t that how the Polyend Tracker marketing starts? Yes, in fact, it’s identical. Other than the re-arranging of photos and some style changes to the text it’s exactly the same. Modorro, whoever they are, has ripped this off completely.
So have Modorro – whoever they are – cloned the Polyend Tracker? No, I don’t believe so. All they appear to have done is borrow the marketing and photoshop out the words “Polyend Tracker”. They haven’t even bothered to replace it with their own logo. They even have a video that’s since been pulled but I still have the thumbnail:
But it gets weirder. While I was editing this article, Modorro changed their website and replaced all the references to the Alphawave Tracker and the doctored images with the actual Polyend Tracker complete with unaltered photos. What’s all that about? How can they have a fake product one minute and a genuine one the next and still believe they are selling something real?
Here’s a screen grab of the new version of the website just in case it changes again.
The best clue is probably in the price of $49 which is stunning for a hardware anything. The Polyend Tracker retails for $499 which is something they’ve got wrong here. Do they really believe someone is going to be fooled by this and send $49 their way? According to the presumably made-up customer quotes this is an awesome deal.
We have reached out to Modorro and Polyend for information, although we’re only expecting a reply from of them.
I’m not for a moment comparing people like Modorro to any genuine manufacturers in our industry but it did give me pause to think about how far these things could be taken and where we draw the line. In that vein, I created my own line of Eurorack modules in a satirical video to emphasise the point (below). In the meantime if the price seems too good to be true then it probably isn’t – beware of scammers!
- Modorro website – please don’t buy anything, we think this website is a scam!
- Polyend website – if you want a Tracker, buy one from Polyend.
- Report internet scams here: Avoid and report internet scams and phishing – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)