(Potentially) Stolen Transformers (& the YouTubers that Review Them)

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PrimalxConvoy

NOT a New Member.
Citizen
Commodities Tealeaf.png*

I have wanted a place to discuss and compare whatever information or "evidence" regarding this (rather seedy) aspect of the TF collection scene, so I'll kick this off with some links to how others in our community feel about it below.

I also hope this thread can be of use to anyone who wants to discuss this issue at other threads (by simply linking to this thread at other ones), so that those threads don't get sidetracked.

Plus, any extra or pertinent links shared by any of us here might be added to this first post, in order to create an info hub for those wishing to use it that way. Hope this helps, folks!

Possible Youtubers that might receive, or might have received (again, allegedly) stolen TF products to review include:

- Tonton
- PrimevsPrime
- Chefatron

(Please let us know here of any updates to either add to, or subtract from this list).

Possible reasons why such YouTubers are not popular are below.

Either they've received official toys from Hasbro/Takara before anyone else (which would mean they've probably broken YouTube's rules) or they've procured them illicitly.

Here's some info regarding YouTube's paid promotion rules:

- https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/10588440?hl=en

- https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/154235?hl=en#zippy=


Thus, such TF YouTubers are either receiving official product and breaking YouTube's rules, or they're receiving toys unofficially before most shops receive them and before Hasbro or Takara show them off.

Here's an example of a legit YouTuber in Japan, Wotafa, previewing MP Jetfire. Notice that, even though his video is mainly in Japanese, he goes out of his way to declare that the toy was sent to him officially by Takara:

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0Uuf5n3-ww

Here's a screenshot of that video. Notice the "Takara Tomy" and "Paid Promotion" info.

Screenshot_20220730-195658.jpg

In the video below, Ben states that the toys are from both Hasbro and British toy retailer, both in his video and in the title/description:

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmidZ6wgaeg

"Rival" site, Tformers, also clearly stated that they received promotional material from Hasbro too:

- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ShyT8Xu-VWg

Thus, as the YouTubers we've been discussing haven't done the due diligence displayed in the videos above, I doubt they are connected to Hasbro or Takara in any legitimate or official way.

Also, I'm not sure if the community is sticking up for Hastak, but rather it might possibly take issue with (some of) the following things:

- PVP seems to have alluded that they're somehow "connected" to Hasbro, but has given no evidence to back up their claims.

- They possibly don't follow YouTube's rules (see above).

- They possibly take potential ad revenue, views/subscriptions and mind-share from other YouTubers, due to reviewing toys before they can, seemingly via illigitimate/illegal means.

- Their videos often fail to include neither the boxes for the toys, nor the instructions.

- Their reviews might be inaccurate, as the toys might be pre-production samples, and thus might negatively showcase the figure. Errors might actually be absent from the final products, but potential sales of toys might be lost due to the public making purchase decisions prematurely.

- They might never have engaged with the community and "owned-up". Some fans might just be miffed over their seemingly duplicitous behaviour (rather than the potential theft) regarding the sources for their toys in their reviews. At least KO and 3P reviewers or collectors can state where they got their toys from and don't usually imply or state that the toys are official. They call a "spade a spade".

Some YouTube links:






https://youtu.be/6XqRMbgULvI

* https://youtu.be/l4RYIYf3BZI (An explanation, in the video description, about why "Tealeaf" is an apt description of such YouTubers, from a personal POV).

Discussion links:

- https://www.reddit.com/r/transformers/comments/pbnabf/can_somebody_tell_me_which_reviewers_review/


- https://www.reddit.com/r/transforme...ah_just_leave_it_to_the_people_buying_stolen/

- https://www.seibertron.com/energonpub/viewtopic.php?t=38394&p=681731#p681731 (Stolen Botcon toys and general discussion of stolen TFs in general).

- https://www.seibertron.com/energonpub/studio-series-86-discussion-p2140777.php#p2140784 (A few comments, showing how Seibertron.com deals with such leaked toys in their main site news pages. The original comments were removed but the main reply fun the staff is still present at the link )

A copy of part of the original (now removed/edited) conversation is below.

PrimalxConvoy - Thanks for just posting the screenshots. Much obliged.

jtanimator - Aka “thanks for letting us reap the rewards of somebody’s effort while we spit on them so we can have our cake but look skinny too.” If you’re gonna post the pics, you’re not keeping your “honor” by not posting the video. If you’re gonna enjoy the results, it’s low to not support the person who took the work to make it. And I’m probably gonna get blamed for starting something, but I’m pretty tired of slight handed comments like this acting like this is good.

Razorbeast88 - Credit was given to the YouTuber that created the review. I understand disagreeing with the previous comment but your perception of the news staff's intentions seems misguided.

jtanimator - I’m not pointing fingers to anyone specific. I’m pointing out a VERY common reoccurring issue on this site that many people are taking part in, including the staff. The video should be linked if it’s contents are being posted, and we’re enjoying the results. If you don’t support the creator and how he does things, fine. But then don’t look at the screenshots, watch his videos or enjoy the rewards.

Razorbeast88 - I cant say I've been under the impression that staff doesn't support the creator, posting screenshots instead of the review seems more like a compromise/middle ground for those that want the news and those that don't support the reviewer.

Zerowolf - It's a difficult issue because of some folks complaints about the YouTubers ethics. This approach offered the best compromise so that we could still news these leaks and offer credit where credit was due. If you want to watch his reviews check out the review forum where he posts them, along with all the other reviews from users like Lore Keeper, and ChuckDawg.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Maybe you think it's fine, or not. If so, why? Maybe these reviewers are actually legit and so are undeserving of such speculation or judgement? Perhaps it's hypocritical to buy 3P/KO toys** and then complain about such a possibly related issue? Should other (Transformers sites) link to such YouTuber's videos in their news sections of simply use screenshots and not cite their sources (as one video above suggested)? Maybe you've got some information or evidence to share relating to this topic? Feel free to post it below!

**
For more info and debate on KO TFs: - THE KNOCK OFF TRANSFORMERS THREAD | The Allspark Forums https://www.allspark.com/forums/threads/the-knock-off-transformers-thread.134/
 

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UndeadScottsman

Active member
Citizen
Regardless of how I personally feel about it, people who complain or call the reviewers who recieve these prototypes "thieves" and other names, but also go on to view, share and dicuss the content feels pretty hypocritical to me. If you think it's a moral failing, that's prefectly okay, but you cannot divorce yourself from the content with snippy remarks and a dismissive additude. Viewing and dicussing these potentially stolen toys justifies and contributes to the culture that spawns the behavior that causes them to allegedly get stolen in the first place. If you think it's a problem, and you're still consuming the content generated by it, then you are part of the problem.

I'm sympathetic to youtubers who feel disadvantaged by not trafficking in potentially stolen items, but I still see many of them fall into the above trap of insulting their competitors while at the same time reposting the very content they're maligning. Makes 'em look like damn fools.

That said, personally, with all that's going on in the world, I couldn't give two poops about people sneaking a few early toys here and there out from under the nose of a multi-"Billion with a B" dollar company. Hasbro could easily take a more proactive approach to toy reveals and completely cut the legs out from this subculture, but they choose not to. Am I supposed to get up in arms about something that Hasbro can't even be bothered with take proactive steps in mitigating?
 

PrimalxConvoy

NOT a New Member.
Citizen
I didn't know that Hasbro dealt with the thieves by switching factories. I thought the move to Vietnam, at least, was due to rising production costs in China, a desire to not "put all of one's eggs in one's (Chinese) basket" and floods/damage to Hasbro's Chinese/Thai factories?
 
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Princess Viola

Dumbass Asexual
Citizen
Honestly speaking, I really can't bring myself to care if someone is reviewing some Transformers toys that they (either directly or indirectly) acquired through illicit means. Because at the end of the day, we are just talking about toys here; it's not like these leakers or reviewers are involved in some massive scheme to break into Hasbro and/or TakaraTomy's headquarters and steal all of their Transformers design documents, concepts, and internal prototypes and spread them all over the internet. They're just toys, admittedly they are stolen ones and the leaks often come long before Hasbro has officially announced them, but they're still toys nonetheless.

And considering that the ultimate source of these stolen toys are some underpaid Vietnamese factory workers, you'll once again have to forgive me really not being able to care if some underpaid worker steals from the literal multi-billion dollar company Hasbro by swiping some finished toys off the factory line and selling them to a reseller to have a bit more money for their family, you know? While I'm certain that Hasbro is aware of these goings on, the actual effect it has on their bottom line is likely completely unnoticeable, you know? Probably why they don't really put more effort into stopping it.
 

ZacDeath

WWOPD
Citizen
I am not bothered by it. If anything it is a free commercial for Hasbro, for people to get excited about upcoming products. I think part of it is just people being jealous or frustrated that somebody else got it first, and the rest of us have to wait so long. Maybe these reviewers are part of the design or engineering team, in which they deserve to have early copies.
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
It is entirely possible that some of these toys are QC rejects and were never going to be sold legitimately anyway.
 

Galvaplexia

Active member
Citizen
So there’s this concept in brand marketing called being a brand ambassador. Basically, it’s a way how companies can get semi-free advertising for their stuff, by giving free samples to people who will use companies’ products as fans and as consumers, happily showcase their use, and inadvertently get other fans and consumers to buy more products.

Why do I bring this up?

I can’t help but wonder if people like PVP and chefatron have such agreements with Hasbro. I mean, we will never know, but I wouldn’t rule it out, bc say what you will about PvP, but he at least is good at making TF products look GOOD. He is incredibly enthusiastic and gushing about pretty much most of their figures. And his videos are done in pretty high quality (editing, filming, lighting) to showcase said figures. His videos are essentially cheap or free advertising for Hasbro. I can’t help but wonder if Hasbro saw what he was doing, were impressed, and reached out to him to offer him free stuff way before they ever even hits the streets, in exchange for continuing to make videos. Pvp, a die-hard TF fan, gets free toys before anyone else does, and Hasbro gets free advertising. Win-win.

Again, not saying this is what is happening with him and those like him. But if timing of when figures are release vs when these YouTubers’ videos are released is what is getting everyone’s tighty-whities in a bunch, it’s not real evidence of anything.

And remind me again why we are sticking up for the bottom line of massive multi-billion dollar global companies that abuse child workers and pollute the environment? Y’all know that this isn’t Santa taking a cut out from an elf’s salary bc an elf lost track of a box or two off the back of the sleight, right?
 

LBD "Nytetrayn"

Broke the Matrix
Citizen
I don't care enough to go digging through all that stuff, but I am curious if there's any real evidence backing up some pretty serious accusations beyond "they got it before I did."

I mean, shoot, if that's the criteria, then I'm callin' all y'all thieves, 'cause I don't get anything first! :ROFLMAO:
 

MrBlud

Well-known member
Citizen
Hasbro’s net income for 2021 was a mere 424 million. So while they have billions in revenue; almost all of it is eaten up by operating expenses.
 

PrimalxConvoy

NOT a New Member.
Citizen
So there’s this concept in brand marketing called being a brand ambassador. Basically, it’s a way how companies can get semi-free advertising for their stuff, by giving free samples to people who will use companies’ products as fans and as consumers, happily showcase their use, and inadvertently get other fans and consumers to buy more products.

Why do I bring this up?

I can’t help but wonder if people like PVP and chefatron have such agreements with Hasbro. I mean, we will never know, but I wouldn’t rule it out, bc say what you will about PvP, but he at least is good at making TF products look GOOD. He is incredibly enthusiastic and gushing about pretty much most of their figures. And his videos are done in pretty high quality (editing, filming, lighting) to showcase said figures. His videos are essentially cheap or free advertising for Hasbro. I can’t help but wonder if Hasbro saw what he was doing, were impressed, and reached out to him to offer him free stuff way before they ever even hits the streets, in exchange for continuing to make videos. Pvp, a die-hard TF fan, gets free toys before anyone else does, and Hasbro gets free advertising. Win-win.

Again, not saying this is what is happening with him and those like him. But if timing of when figures are release vs when these YouTubers’ videos are released is what is getting everyone’s tighty-whities in a bunch, it’s not real evidence of anything.

And remind me again why we are sticking up for the bottom line of massive multi-billion dollar global companies that abuse child workers and pollute the environment? Y’all know that this isn’t Santa taking a cut out from an elf’s salary bc an elf lost track of a box or two off the back of the sleight, right?

I doubt it. YouTube's terms of service states that anyone who receives products that are then used for promotional reasons in a video on YouTube MUST be declared as such. Usually, you'll see a "Includes Paid Promotion" popup in the corner of the video, or similar language used in either the title, video description of both. In other cases, such as with Mattel, I've seen YouTubers read out an official disclaimer, sent along with the toys that were featured in the video.

( Note) I've put some of the parts of this reply into quotes or behind spoiler tags to limit the overall length. Hope it helps.)

Here's some info regarding YouTube's paid promotion rules:



Thus, such TF YouTubers are either receiving official product and breaking YouTube's rules, or they're receiving toys unofficially before most shops receive them and before Hasbro or Takara show them off.

Here's an example of a legit YouTuber in Japan, Wotafa, previewing MP Jetfire. Notice that, even though his video is mainly in Japanese, he goes out of his way to declare that the toy was sent to him officially by Takara:

-

Here's a screenshot of that video. Notice the "Takara Tomy" and "Paid Promotion" info.

Screenshot_20220730-195658.jpg

In the video below, Ben states that the toys are from both Hasbro and British toy retailer, both in his video and in the title/description:

-

"Rival" site, Tformers, also clearly stated that they received promotional material from Hasbro too:

-

Thus, as the YouTubers we've been discussing haven't done the due diligence displayed in the videos above, I doubt they are connected to Hasbro or Takara in any legitimate or official way.

Also, I'm not sure if the community is sticking up for Hastak, but rather it might possibly take issue with (some of) the following things:

- PVP seems to have alluded that they're somehow "connected" to Hasbro, but has given no evidence to back up their claims.

- They possibly don't follow YouTube's rules (see above).

- They possibly take potential ad revenue, views/subscriptions and mind-share from other YouTubers, due to reviewing toys before they can, seemingly via illigitimate/illegal means.

- Their videos often fail to include neither the boxes for the toys, nor the instructions.

- Their reviews might be inaccurate, as the toys might be pre-production samples, and thus might negatively showcase the figure. Errors might actually be absent from the final products, but potential sales of toys might be lost due to the public making purchase decisions prematurely.

- They might never have engaged with the community and "owned-up". Some fans might just be miffed over their seemingly duplicitous behaviour (rather than the potential theft) regarding the sources for their toys in their reviews. At least KO and 3P reviewers or collectors can state where they got their toys from and don't usually imply or state that the toys are official. They call a "spade a spade".
 
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Nevermore

Well-known member
Citizen
I didn't know that Hasbro dealt with the thieves by switching factories. I thought the move to Vietnam, at least, was due to rising production costs in China, a desire to not "put all of one's eggs in one's (Chinese) basket" and floods/damage to Hasbro's Chinese/Thai factories?
As far as I'm aware, the main reason for the move to Vietnam was the rising cost of labor in China, but the fact that it also stopped the leaks for a while was a welcome benefit.

The fact that Hasbro was considerably better at revealing toys well in advance around the same time (which in turn was largely the result of Hasbro employing Hunter PR back then) helped mitigate any potential grievances by fans who were thirsting for new reveals.


I recall that Hasbro undertook all sorts of attempts at the time to prevent leaks: "Not for sale" markings which not only made them even more attractive to prototype collectors (essentially serving as some sort of "seal of authenticity"), but were also very creatively interpreted by defenders of those leaks by arguing "That just means they're not intended for sale at retail", deliberately defaced toys with ugly splotches of paint on their heads, serial numbers intended to help identify the exact route that particular specimen took...

hvpn.jpg1113852741_prowl2.jpgprowl_proto_2.jpg4418244e0877b92341_0.jpg4140844d76b599cab7_0.jpg1d18_1_sbl__scaled_800.jpg0b75_1_sbl__scaled_800.jpg98e1_1_sbl__scaled_800.jpg5bc7_1_sbl__scaled_800.jpg8309-1.jpgrotf-g2-megatron (3)__scaled_600.jpgB8__scaled_800.jpgFABBarricadeTestShot.jpg
 
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