There will never be a time when retailers like Amazon stop needing new products. That’s a good thing, except for the companies who troll around looking for new products to submit, but in the process end up exploiting the inventors who so eagerly trusted them.
Recently Amazon announced a new program called “Launch Pad” designed to feed the Amazon machine with new retail ready products while giving inventors an accelerated way of getting to market.
It all sounds like a good thing, until the invention companies known for their “questionable” business practices start to exploit the program for their own good.
With great fanfare Edison Nation announced a nation-wide tour to review new products for Amazon, giving us all the impression that there was a legitimate partnership between the two companies. But is there? The answer is “not really”, at least no more so than the dozens of other companies Amazon let’s into their “network”. (if you would like to join the Amazon network just email them at firstname.lastname@example.org )
So why is Edison Nation peddling their search using the legitimacy of Amazon’s brand? Obviously I don’t know the inner workings of Edison Nation, so what I proffer here is theory and opinion based on years of watching them interact with inventors. But here’s what I think.
Like most struggling companies Edison Nation is clearly feeling the pain of a business model that doesn’t work, having laid off a % of their workforce in the last few months, this search presents an opportunity for good press, and a look of stability for their investors.
Edison Nation sells development services to inventors through their Enventeys company. Knowing most of the items bound for Amazon will not be retail ready, this is likely more a feeder effort for their development company and their submission contest.
Most inventors don’t have the money to develop products. So Edison Nation has announced a new 50 million dollar “pledge” for this project. What “pledge” generally means in a situation like this is they have worked out a deal with companies willing to, under the right conditions, lend the inventor money to pay Edison Nation to develop the product to present to Amazon. You may want to read the ultra fine print before using this service…just sayin.
Remember, Edison Nation, and its founder Louis Foreman have a long history of “acquiring” inventor patents to build their portfolio. If Edison Nation does find a retail ready product from an inventor, will they simply pass it to Amazon? or will they lock the inventor into their normal relationship contract – you know, the one that allows them to own your patent and become your power of attorney as stated in Exhibit A part 1c of the agreement they make you sign. (http://www.edisonnation.com/documents/innovator-agreement )
Whether it’s Edison Nation or some other company, in the end what really matters is that inventors are presented legitimate opportunities to sell their products on Amazon without being exploited.
The fact is you don’t need questionable companies to get you to Amazon. What you need is a good retail ready product and enough time in your busy schedule to fill out the submission application – here’s the link. http://www.amazon.com/gp/launchpad/signup/form
I really want to believe Amazon isn’t intentionally feeding inventors into the jaws of exploitation. But the performance of these companies, and their reputation in our community is not exactly a state secret.
Maybe Amazon knows about their business practices and partnered anyway. Or maybe they just didn’t do their homework before lending companies the credibility of their brand to help draw you in – either way – shame on you Amazon.