Is GlocalMe/uCloudlink a fake company that’s tricking consumers and kickstarter?

Is GlocalMe/uCloudlink a fake company that’s tricking consumers and kickstarter?

GlocalMe Website

UPDATE Nov 20:

Was this whole thing fraud?

One of our users, John, left this comment:

“What happened to the G2. All mention of it on Amazon is gone, and Glocalme is not even advertising this on their websites. Have they hit a problem??”

Which made us do a little more research, looks like that a company actually was outright buying up lots of product and reselling it with another name.

From GLocalMe’s Press Page: “August 14, 2015 Update: We are currently investigating more details about this company and the KickStarter campaign. At this time we would not recommend backing the GlocalMe G2.”

Looks like there is some re-branding happening now though, a company by the name of Besteker has appeared and the G2 has been pulled off the shelves.

——————————————————————————————

UPDATE Oct 1:

GlocalMe/UcloudLink reached out, and we posted it here.

——————————————————————————————

This entire post began as research into GlocalMe’s Amazon reviews that they listed on their KickStarter campaign.  After coming across a post on reddit, the reviews both looked and read very suspiciously, but like with everything, the more you start digging, the more interesting things about a company starts to appear.  I now would like to introduce you to GlocalMe also known as uCloudlink.

There’s a new KickStarter campaign that wants to promise consumers an easy way to travel and maintain an internet connection, GlocalMe.

GlocalMe promises a device that will work worldwide, with no contract, no sim cards to buy and operate worldwide on 3G/4G networks.  There’s a few companies that already do this including WorldSim. 

GlocalMe KickStarter ScreenShot

Amazon Reviews

What started to catch my attention is a nice little section on KickStarter where they put a screenshot of their amazon reviews.

Just by skimming through the reviews, you will see that their reviews are very much cherry-picked to emphasize the pain points (a common sale strategy), but once you start reading them they appear to not be genuine.  Notice how each of the following reviews touches on a little pain that you normally do.

GlocalMe Amazon Reviews

The common thread between the Amazon reviews and the Kickstarter campaign appears to be the both the broken english and the fact that the amazon reviews read like informercials where they highlight the ‘pain’ points that consumers feel and how the product was able to solve them.

KickStarter’s Broken English

“This fact prompted us to dig deeper into a solution where we started to envision “GlocalMe’ and all the possible benefits.” (Missing correct quotation marks)

“To break away from tradition – SIM card is a carrier of restrictions” (Bad English)

“GlocalMe is offering its availability for all types of devices and software.” (Bad English)

“Large battery also lasts for up to 15h of continuous use.” (Bad English)

Amazon’s Broken English / Emphasizing Pain Points

Ariel Zheng – 5 Stars

It is a surprise thing that Glocalme do not require a sim card. More importantly, it’s much cheaper, AT&T usually charges me $30 for only 120MB international data roaming, this device only costs me 30 EURO for 1GB. I also found I can share the wifi easily with 5 person without issue. How amazing it works.Boost fast and work as expected. Perfect mobile hotspots!! Very….Very convenience!

San Diego Nerd – 5 Stars

My Verizon iPhone gets messages/emails from all over the world, the data roaming is very expensive. Typically Verizon charges $20 per MB or $25 for 100MB. For one week travel, I need about $100 data. Two weeks ago I used Glocalme while traveling in UK. All I need was EUR10 (200MB) data. Very nice saving!

(WGTM NOTE: Notice how he said he normally needs $100 of data but later he said he only needs 200MB which would have been $50 on Verizon’s network)

Connie G Scammell – 5 Stars

Just remember that gigabytes in Europe cost a lot more than in the US, yet Glocalme’s rates are decent. Customer Service is also quick and courteous.

Make sure that you will have connection with this device before heading out on your trip. Many parts of Africa are still not connected, and eastern Europe is in part still in the dark. All of North America is covered, though

Hook the device into an ethernet cable and you can get LAN to device connection without costing anything. This is true in a US hotel room. When not used as a hot spot, you can use this as a battery pack and recharge your phone once or twice. It’s only 6000 mbps but it does help keep your phone charged.

(WGTM NOTE: Gigabytes are actually a fraction of the price in Europe and other countries, you can actually get 5-10GB of data for around $10USD in most of Europe.  But my point is highlighting the broken english.)

But if you notice, all of the 1 star reviews are written in perfect english.  Interesting…

Reedy – 1 Star

My wife and I just returned from 3 weeks in Europe, (Italy, Greece). I tried to use the device while there. When I tested it in my home in the US it worked fine. When I got over to Italy and Greece, no go!!. It was always notifying that I was connected to wifi, but had limited access.

SL – 1 Star

Good concept, but tested in US first before my trip and slow as snail (one PC connected, takes about 2 minutes to load Amazon top page, and that’s if you are lucky to have any connection at all). wasted 10 euro to top up the account.

P&S – 1 Star

I have contacted this seller on 3 occasions – all without resolution. This wireless device is very unreliable – rarely creates a usable Hotspot for any phone/ laptop/ desktop to connect to…

Triedit – 2 Stars

After I ordered this I realized that the info stated for this is for the Glocalme G1 which is not the same device.After 3 wks of trying to get it on my laptop (as it says I can do) I am told that the Glocalme or Glocalme G1 do NOT work on a laptop which is why I bought it.

My overall point is that there are A LOT of red flags, from the broken english, to the 1 star reviews written extremely well, and the 5 star reviews missing punctuation, verbs, nouns, and things basic English users should know of.  This post doesn’t even mention that GlocalMe’s data rates are actually pretty high compared with buying a local sim card which was something the founder, Jeff Koehler, had a goal of.

The Company & uCloudLink

The last sentence about Jeff Koehler had me googling. I wanted to learn more about the ‘team’ behind the device.  Notice how no where in the KickStarter campaign are the names of the founders actually written out in plain text, their names only appear in images.  This is to prevent search engines from connecting the dots, this was yet another red flag with this KickStarter campaign.

I believe I found Jeff Koehler the photographer, he makes a few references to being a photographer on the KickStarter campaign, however on his own blog, twitter, facebook, I couldn’t find a single reference to his KickStarter, it makes me wonder if he even is aware of it existing.

A few more Google’s, and I came across this press release from Aug 26th, 2014, “GlocalMe Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Rental, An Opportunity to be a Millionaire“.

Very interesting, “Hong Kong uCloudlink Network Technology Ltd., manufacturer of the revolutionary GlocalMe pocket Wi-Fi hotspot…”

uCloudlink? Who are they? The KickStarter made it sound like it was more a ‘homegrown’ project, not a massive enterprise with more than 50 employees.

eb5bc2b8a5d7b2adae60e66139ea79c7_original

Simply googling uCloudlink or GlocalMe + Jeff Koehler returns 0 results.  Kind of surprising for a company where Jeff is the Chief Designer.

Alright, let’s try Kevin Gao, surely he lives in Hong Kong and is apart of all this. Nope, no trace of him either, only return with google is another press release on reuters, “GlocalMe G2 is Off to Great Start in Kickstarter campaign” (My favorite part of this press release, * Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.).  There’s another Kevin Gao, however he’s associated with HyperInk and lives in Los Angeles.

Alright lets try Nikolina Jovanovic, the last team member, surely she exists, she has a very unique name. She actually does seem to exist, here is her LinkedIn profile showing a connection to the company. Odd that none of the others have a connection to the company. But what’s interesting is that she’s not the Co-Founder, she lists her title as “Director of Business Development, EU Division at uCloudlink International Network Technology Limited(UK)”.

According to the previous press release the founder of uCloudlink is actually someone named YoYo and neither Nikolina or Kevin.

The glocalme product being listed on uCloudLink's website, http://ucloudlink.com/ukl_product.html

The glocalme product being listed on uCloudLink’s website, http://ucloudlink.com/ukl_product.html

 

As with everything on KickStarter, buyer beware, however this seems to be an extreme case to both con and try to trick members of KickStarter to thinking that they are bringing a unique product to the market, and a small independent operation.

After connecting all the dots, not finding data on two of the three members of the team, discovering that they are misleading consumers with their job title and position in the company, and the mix of both positive and negative amazon reviews, I believe this company is coming to light as a fraud where it’s members are just attempting to trick the consumers and have crafted a nice little ‘get rich quick’ scheme.

Buyer Beware & if anyone from the company would like to reach out and share their version of this story, please do, whogavethemmoney at gmail.com.

 

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Tiffany Rush 113 posts

Tiffany Rush My background includes being a novelist and a non-fiction writer specializing in MBA thesis topics. Additionally I'm an investor and strategist for a few tech startups (which will not be written about here). Go ahead, challenge my wit!

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17 Comments

  1. DaveQuick
    November 10, 20:35

    I took the risk – just got mine via DHL yesterday. It’s working great in Seattle – pumped a little more than 700 megabytes through it in two days. It’s giving me consistently 7Mbps down and 5Mbps up and in some areas (near my office in SODO) I got higher by 1.5x. Haven’t tried internationally but I’m gad I took the risk so far seemed like it would be handy for travel (car trips with the kids, or business travel).

    • DaveQuick
      March 13, 21:04

      Just an fyi – it is a very limited “unlimited” plan they have. 500MB a day before throttling.

      Let us put it in perspective. They market an “unlimited” bandwidth service. They cut the speed dramatically after 500MB. That’s 500,000,000 bytes or 4,000,000,000 bits… you have claimed up to 7Mbits/sec throughput on your service for 4G in the USA…. that would mean you’d hit your throttling in 571 seconds of usage or nine and a half minutes. So literally as a backup bandwidth provider for my home which is out due to a wind storm this device is useful for about 10 minutes before being throttled into something slower than an old school dial up modem. Not exactly what I thought I was paying for in a full year of “unlimited” bandwidth. Should have made that a bit more clear in the Kickstarter. Sigh. 10 minutes of pleasant internet a day and basically agony after that.

      -owner of a 1 year “unlimited data” plan that never got this fine print (seriously – read the page on the campaign – this is explained no where within it for the 1 year unlimited plan)

      • Oli
        September 19, 14:21

        Thats a weird perspective you offer here. I use this device to travel around the world. And despite being constantly online I use less than 1GB per month.

        • davequick
          September 19, 14:48

          Um, given doing a couple git clones here and there and the necessity of remote desktop into secure facilities eats through that much bandwidth in 10 mins a day I don’t find it an odd perspective at all. Maybe it is great for you, and it lacks for others like me.

        • DaveQuick
          September 20, 12:02

          A weird perspective? If you have to clone a git repo or spend any time on a live site incident remoted into servers, you eat your data in 10 mins before being throttled. Doesn’t seem odd each time I cursed the piece of shit. But, you know – different use cases and it works for you. I just found it useless.

  2. Thomas James
    November 11, 21:59

    Received mine at the start of the week via DHL too. The device is exactly as promised on the kickstarter page. It may have been a little late shipping, but they are the fastest funded-to-shipping kickstarter I’ve backed. Happy with the device.

  3. John A Adams
    November 20, 09:58

    What happened to the G2. All mention of it on Amazon is gone, and Glocalme is not even advertising this on their websites. Have they hit a problem??

  4. MilesRunner
    November 25, 03:52

    My G2 is working fine in the country side of Vietnam. They may be a HK company, and were slow to ship, but the product works. I got a decent deal through Kickstarter, so I’m not complaining.

  5. Oli
    May 11, 12:08

    GlocalMe is not a fake product. I got one three months ago and brought it to my big trip to South East Asia. For those who understand I wrote a details review on my travel blog: http://weltreiseforum.com/blog/testbericht-glocalme-g2/ The most important points i like to repeat here.

    1. The device works very well and reliable with fast connections. The operating is very simple and you basically dont need to read the manuel. The great thing is: When you leave one country you normally can still use the left over MB in the next country.

    2. While prices are a great deal if you compare it to roaming, they are still quite a bit more expensive than local Sim-Cards. For Cambodia I got 1GB for 12 Euro. The local card would have been 3 Dollar for 2GB. This makes GlocalMe a good deal for people who travel fast.

    3. Its not so convenient to have an extra device whose batteries can be empty in the moment you need internet. I hope that in the future there are companies who offer the same service as an App.

    4. While the rates are a good deal, the device itself is not. It takes a lot of time until you safe enough to justify the high selling price – but if you anyway look for a powerbank or a Mifi the additional costs are not so huge. The device is hard to order in Switzerland with only over priced offers in most online shops.

    All in all I am very happy with my device but I guess its not the right tool for everyone.

    • Timothy Reynolds
      September 19, 11:23

      Hi Oli,

      I am looking to rent the GLOCALME. Their website lists paymnet options as Visa, MC, AMEX and Paypal, but whn I go to check out, it always goes to Paypal. That mkes me a bit nervous. As I wold rather pay with Amex for more recourse.

      I would appreciate any insight you may have.

      Tim

      • Oli
        September 19, 13:58

        Hi Timothy,
        no idea about renting. But whats wrong with paypal? Its the same with Skype. There you also end up paying with Paypal even when you use your creditcard.

        Best,
        Oli

        • Timothy Reynolds
          September 19, 14:06

          Thanks for the response. It was doing something weird where I could not use a credit card on Paypal’s site. I will try again later.

          Tim

          • Oli
            September 19, 14:15

            I just looked again on the website. Renting seems to be a new option which didn’t exist when i got mine. But when I consider the high rental prices I would just buy it. You would break even after 2 weeks.

  6. MJLav
    August 24, 01:51

    They are now selling the G2 model on Amazon, but the lack of explanation about how exactly it works is more than a bit disconcerting. There is also a review that states that is bleeds data. The reviewer turned it off one night with 400mb’s of data left, and it was gone the next morning. He also stated that he did a simple test of Googling the word “test”, and it used nearly 2mb of data, even though he immediately turned it off. There seem to be more questions than answers with this thing. Also, for those “testing” within the US – that is a worthless test for how it will behave when you actually land in Europe, and are at the mercy of this device.

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