One of the more common questions in the DMC is if it’s okay to buy from AliExpress and Wish. Members often think the only pitfall of these Chinese marketplaces are b-grade quality and possibly long shipping times. But it’s important to make sure that you’re not purchasing dice that are stolen designs or even just stolen. In fact, even on places like Amazon, it’s important to purchase thoughtfully.
This blog post serves as a guide for how to buy responsibly and even gives some basic advice to dice companies on how to avoid dice plagiarism issues.
AliExpress and Wish
AliExpress and Wish are Chinese marketplaces. They ship directly from China (hence the long shipping times).
“Aliexpress works similar to how trade companies work in China. They purchase dice in bulk from factories, sometimes as b grade discounts, sometimes as overstock, or just with a trader discount. You never know with Wish or Aliexpress what scenario you may be dealing with.”
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to purchasing on these sites:
DO: Buy from brands that legitimately sell on this marketplace. Bescon is a good example. T&G is another example. Those companies sell their dice on those marketplaces because that’s just a channel they use. Of course, it’s even better to buy those goods from known retailers. Some of our favorite dice stores carry Bescon and T&G such as The Dice Shop Online and Dark Elf Dice.
DON’T: Buy stolen products. An excellent example of stolen product turning up on those sites is when Halfsies’ first campaign showed up on those markets before being shipped to backers (or even to John Wrot). 1) Don’t buy it. Don’t. You’re not “getting it first.” You’re not “getting it cheaper.” You’re funding thieves. 2) Don’t post it to the DMC. I know this sounds backwards, but you’ll be advertising it. 3) DO message the creator. It’s awful news to deliver (I’ve actually done this personally), but they need to have the information.
WHY: Why does this happen? The factory might be underhanded and sneaky. Or maybe an employee at the factory took them. Sometimes the retailer can handle the situation legally, but even mold patents and contracts are difficult to enforce in China.
“The risk is they can post whatever they want, but there’s usually not a lot of recourse if there’s issues. And patent violations are rampant and hard to target for those who own their dice molds, which is disappointing and discouraging”
Don’t support that particular seller if you see stolen product. Contact the company. If you’re unable to, contact the Fanpage directly and explain what you’ve found. Again, best not to post it publicly.
Stolen designs aren’t limited to Wish and AliExpress markets. You’ll see dice sets showing up on Amazon that are strikingly similar to dice that YOUR favorite company developed.
DO: Research. “I’m using that glitter, too!” isn’t going to cut it. Accusing people of stealing a design is serious and offensive. Sometimes similar designs happen unintentionally. Sometimes it’s a matter of something being unavailable (remember when everyone tried to copy confetti cause there was no other way to get it?). If you are worried about a stolen design, make sure it’s a literal EXACT COPY or exact mold that’s being taken. For example, if you see dice pop up using Lucky Hand’s molds, that’s an issue. In that case, you’d message Lucky Hand directly. Molds are property. If you see an exact copy of something like Gio Lasar’s dice, that’s his design. Message Gio Lasar.
DON’T: Buy stolen designs. I see this ALL THE TIME. People say “you can get those same dice only without the rounded d6 on Wish.” “The trays are $10 less on Amazon.” People make the assumption that retail game companies are trying to “rip you off.” I can’t emphasize enough how much this isn’t the case. What’s really happening is that the companies that you love are having their designs stolen, often from traders, often traders in China who have access to the same factories. Paying that extra $5 for the set to the company you love ensures customer service, better quality control, and jobs to the people in that company who do things like travel to conventions and support both the DMC and gaming communities. People gush over personalized notes, free dice, stickers, candy, and other extras. Support the companies that give that sort of connection to us.
So DO: Support your favorite dice companies.
DON’T: Look for cheap knock offs, whether it be on Amazon or on AliExpress or Wish.
Some Simple Advice To Dice Companies
What can dice companies do? DO contact the page if you see people in the group who have copied your design. We understand that there are some reputable traders, but there are some traders just waiting to steal your ideas. Those traders will NOT be welcome in the group. Obviously there are going to be some borderline situations, but the DMC supports original dice design.
If you’re a dice company, DON’T post your prototypes until you are really ready to launch your KS or post your product for sale. I know the DMC loves prototype shots (I do, too). And I know dice companies like getting feedback on things like names and ink colors. But it’s not worth it. It really isn’t. The sooner you post your beautiful prototypes that you worked so long and hard on, the greater the chance that someone will copy your design and sell your design – maybe even before yours are produced.
I was hesitant to write this article for three reasons. First, I don’t want this to sound like there’s any hate for China. China produces ALL the things. I have mad love for China. Second, I don’t want to start paranoia. It’s important not to whip everyone into a frenzy over something you think is a “stolen” design. Third, it was very difficult not to call out every single example of people who stole designs of other companies. I stand with retailers, and the only reason I’m not posting the awful examples of “plagiarized” design is because I don’t want to call attention to the knock offs. They don’t get free advertising. Screw them.
Finally, remember that this post is not a guilt trip or judgment. I’ve bought from Wish. I may again. What I won’t do is buy dice that I know are available at my favorite dice retailers. What I won’t do is buy a design that I know a different company came up with. Rather than going to a retailer and finding cool dice, only to look them up on Wish to see if there are “better prices,” pay the extra few dollars to get the set from a retailer. Otherwise, that retailer won’t be around much longer.