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Should You Bite The Hype And Purchase A Waiting List Spot For A Copter That Hasn’t Yet Been Announced?

You have to love it. A leak of a new product that may or may not actually be real, surfaces online and a few select retailers jump at the opportunity to sell you one by starting a waiting list and CHARGING you for the privilege of purchasing it down the road…when and if it ever ships.

Huh, charging me to get on a list of a product that we don’t even yet know is real? Really?

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In this case the product in question is Yuneec’s Typhoon H and at this stage, we don’t know if this leak was intentional or accidental. But, it’s what happened just a few hours after this leak that caught my interest. Read on…

While even the name of this product is a guess at this point, I’m going to operate under the assumption this new model is a six-bladed hexacopter. But, I have no inside information, so like you, I’m guessing. It seems that multiple dealers took the opportunity of this leak to encourage us to pay for the privilege of being the first on the block to get one.

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Hey, in a way, that’s kind of nice of these dealers to go to the effort of starting a waiting list as it’s a way for those who take pleasure of being early adopters to secure a place in line. But in reality, is this a solid business practice?

Maybe I’d be a little more enthusiastic about backing the concept of paid waiting lists if these dealers were offering some sort of an “early adopter” incentive or discount off of the retail price. After all, this specific product has yet to be announced, we don’t know if the few facts posted on the “pre-order” page are accurate and, if we participate by paying the deposit upfront, we are actually assisting the dealer by letting them know the interest level so when they place their orders with the factory, they will have some level of confidence they won’t get stuck with too much inventory. So, in essence, we are assisting them more than they are assisting us.

There’s another question and that’s simply: Is this ethical?

Huh, you may ask? What does ethics have to do with this?

The answer lies in this: If the dealers offering this pre-launch purchase opportunity actually have inside information on this product and IF they signed what’s known as a NDA (non-disclosure agreement), can they be offering it for sale at this point without violating the terms of the NDA agreement?

For those who may not be familiar, NDA’s are a fairly common form of a contract that allows manufacturers to discuss the specifics of future products with select dealers or members of the press in order to gain input, to generate a level of excitement or for financial planning purposes. For press, NDA’s are typically used to allow stories to be produced in advance, but not released until the agreed upon date. Typically a NDA specifies the product that is being discussed and includes a date that the information gained can be publicly released. While the screen grab posted above does not contain too much information about this product, this one contains quite a bit more information:

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Allow me to add that I’ve been offered numerous NDA contracts during my career and sometimes I sign them and sometimes I don’t. The reason I sometimes don’t enter this type of agreement is that many of my stories involve speculation and if I know the answer, it can adversely affect my storylines. While this manufacturer has offered an NDA to me, I declined as these days, I’m more focused on performing detailed and opinionated reviews than I am on being the first out with a new story.

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I have to say that I got a bit of a chuckle when reading the above description as I’m a stickler for grammar. Yeah, I’m not perfect and have made mistakes in the past, but I’ll “assume” the seller meant to say that the camera “spins” and not “spends” a true 360 degrees. I’ll add what’s the difference between and “true” and a “false” 360 degrees? I’ll guess the copy meant to read…a full 360 degrees.
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With the Consumer Electronics Show opening its doors in just a few days, I’m sure we’ll soon find out quite a few more details about this rumored copter. If it’s one that seems to enhance the functionality of my existing copter fleet, I may just have to turn around and “spin,” I mean “spend” a few bucks to purchase one. But, I’ll probably make my purchase from a dealer that doesn’t ask me to pay them in advance for the privilege to purchase one. I’ll stick to buying from dealers that do it the old fashioned way and allow me to order it in advance and NOT charge me until it is ready to ship.

And yes, I’ll be there and I’m planning on visiting the Yuneec booth and while I won’t be the first to tell you about its new products, you can bet that I’ll do my best to give you as many facts as possible.

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