I started seeing ads and news posts for a new Maglite LED flashlight around Amazon’s October 2022 Prime Day.
It started with: “This 8-in-1 flashlight is on sale for a Prime Day price.”
A new Maglite keychain flashlight? I made a note to look into it when I had a chance.
What I didn’t know at the time is that I would start seeing these ads everywhere. Magazine articles and deal posts peppered my news feed.
Recently: “This Portable 8-in-1 Maglight [sic] Mini Super Bright Utility Flashlight is Now Available for just $19.99.”
*Note – this is the moment – I’ll explain in a bit.
I clicked through and it was listed at $21.99, even though they advertised $19.99. “You save 26% – Ending in 5 days!”. All of this seems uncharacteristic for Maglite.
I came across another ad for these lights this week.
The magazines advertising these products say things like:
Normally sold for $107, this four-pack of versatile flashlights can be found at only $64.99 for a limited time.
I searched for the light, but couldn’t find it at typical Maglite flashlight dealers.
I found identical or at least very similar products on Amazon for around $12 individually or less than $20 for 2. See for yourself: COB small flashlights at Amazon.
If you bought 4 of the identical-looking products individually on Amazon, that would come out to $48 – much less than the advertised “on sale” price of $65.
Did the Maglite name make these lights better or different in some way? Would they be more reliable? Or, given that they have built-in batteries – safer?
Or is this a case of inflated pricing, which happens a LOT these days?
Here’s how it goes: a company finds a tool or product that is trending on Amazon, they slap their name on it, pay for ads on Facebook and YouTube, and funnel potential customers to their online stores where they charge a hefty premium. Is that what this is?
These past few weeks, I’ve been thinking to myself that Maglite must surely be desperate for sales to license or put their name on this cheap-looking rechargeable keychain-sized flashlight, and to advertise it at inflated pricing on popular online magazines and websites as fiercely as they have been.
This doesn’t even appear on Maglite’s website, which seems strange.
I realized something when doing a proofread of this post. Remember up top where I said “this is the moment”?
I chuckled a bit at the caption to one of the news feed headlines. Magazines are publishing sponsored deal posts and content for this, but misspelled Maglite as Maglight?
But it’s not just a typo, is it?
This is Maglite’s logo. Notice the emphasized MAG part of the logo.
Here’s the logo on the product – MAGLIGHT. Notice the emphasized MAG part of the logo.
This entire time, I thought this was a Maglite product, but it’s not, it’s a Maglight.
With the Maglight logo emphasizing the MAG part similar to how it appears in Maglite’s logo – can anyone blame me for being confused?
I started off wanting to inform you that these Maglite lights appear to be no different than products sold on Amazon at much lower pricing. And along the way, I realized these might not be Maglite products at all.
Maybe Maglite somehow approved of this? (I reached out to the company for comment but have not yet heard back.)
Maglight is a common misspelling for Maglite. But I find it hard to believe this is a simple typo.
Looking online, there are deal posts, news feed placements, and store listings by Engadget, BoingBoing, Mashable, Popular Science, ZDnet, Cult of Mac, TMZ, and many others.
Did no one at these channels raise any questions about how Maglight looks awfully close to Maglite? Did they think they were promoting and selling a Maglite product?
It’s not fully clear what’s going on here, but none of this looks right to me at all.
Yeah, sketchy AF.
I was going to report them for a trademark violation, but the product listing seems to have been taken down. Anyway, I can’t find it now.
This kind of garbage is why Amazon is no fun to shop on anymore.
They’re NOT on Amazon, they’re sold at magazine and websites’ web stores, and in at least one news personality’s online shop.
Amazon has nearly identical products at much lower pricing, hence the “overpriced” part of the title.
Oops, my bad. I misread “… a new Maglite LED flashlight around Amazon’s October 2022 Prime Day…” to mean that they were offered on Amazon.
Ah – sorry, maybe I could/should have worded it better.
The magazine running the sponsored promotion got me in a similar way with “on sale for a Prime Day price.”
Looks like Maglite could stop importation based on the trademark being confusing similar:
That’s happened before – https://toolguyd.com/fluke-sparkfun-multimeter-trademark-infringement/ .
But in this case, going by article publish dates, they’ve been selling for months.
Great catch, Stuart. “If it walks like a duck” does not apply in this case, does it?
I didn’t even realize the real Maglite was still in business. They haven’t been relevant in decades since Surefire came about, and even less so since everyone started copying Surefire.
As far as this stupid product, the Chinese don’t GAF. They will sell a gazillion, make their money, change the name, then sell another gazillion.
Yep. Knockoff. Plus… Nah… not worth it… I do wish Maglite as a company was still as standard a quality as they were when they were issued to Police and Security officers when I was a kid.
Makes me sad that they are so easily ripped off, considering their past. *Sigh* Nostalgia though… Got me there.
Thanks Stuart, I never would have caught that small difference.
Wonderful detective work! I’ve seen similar garbage in the photo industry over the years and I’m sure big consumer companies have entire infringement departments.
MAGlite (now I’m really trying to spell it correctly!) isn’t apparently in that league anymore. Dangitall.
I have caught myself typing in MAGlight instead of MAGlite when searching for their website. Brilliant marketing on who is manufacturing these as I am positive a good percentage of people have and will purchase them because of the confusion! I don’t see a copyright infringement as the spelling is legally different and they are not using MAGlites logo so I think they are in the clear. Curious if MAGlite will publicly address this?
It’s definitely trademark infringement, and was done deliberately to confuse consumers.
This product combines inflated pricing (from what I can tell) with trademark infringement – in my opinion – and instead of directing customers to a 3rd party web store using Facebook and YouTube ads, customers are directed to magazine and web channels’ online stores by sponsored content from those same magazines and media channels.
It is brilliant marketing, but extremely deceptive and harmful to users’ interests, as well as Maglite – in my opinion.
Somewhat Shady Marketing – buying something at Home Depot and selling it for 2X as much on Amazon.
Very Shady Marketing – buying trending tools from no-name suppliers, jacking up the price, buying ads on Facebook and YouTube, and directing customers to independent online stores where they sell the tools “on sale” for 2X the going rate (or higher).
Next-Level Shady Marketing – paying magazines and media to promote a product via sponsored content, and selling it at those same channels’ online stores at ~2X the going rate for the same thing on Amazon, all the while leveraging a recognizable brand name and styling in a way that is likely to confuse customers.
First I’d seen with that blatant branding…misstep…but these are all over the place and have been for probably two years or better now. You can buy them on Aliexpress for about $4 (they started out around $2.50) and multi-packs at good pricing. US pricing on Amazon and such is ridiculous.
That said, these are actually very handy little lights to have around no matter which brand/non-brand you purchase. There are a few variations out now with the original square cob, or a round one, or a round one in a round frame, etc. As long as you don’t get a sloppy defect where the charging port is wonky or charging doesn’t work, it’s worth buying if you get one less than $10. I picked it up because it’s so lightweight and I’ve often found myself in situations where I didn’t have enough metal for my Rover light or even a small flashlight to hold onto, but also needed to position the light somewhere besides the floor below where I was working, so this featherweight magnetic light fills the bill and the light quality, output, and run time isn’t half bad. I bought some of those overpriced AntMan magnet swivel hooks to use with this gizmo as well. Now if all I have is a screw head, I can place the light on just that…been very handy at times.
As for Maglite, it’s up to them if they want to pursue IP issues but that’s an expensive and often fruitless path to take with agile import sellers and platforms. I’m glad Maglite is still around and wouldn’t say that they’ve become irrelevant but they sure dragged their feet in development and while they do have some decent lights these days (and still stellar customer service and parts availability) they’re well behind the curve in both performance and value.
Getting Customs involved shouldn’t cost a lot, but it’s still their call. And Customs is only likely to stop mass importation, not individual orders.
Shady companies have sold products with lookalike logos and soundalike names for ages. LEDs are really cheap so flashlights sold by capitalizing on the Maglite name is not at all surprising.
This is a pretty common thing on Amazon it seems, these days.
For instance: MeanWell makes a solid lineup of switching power supplies. UL listed, easily found documentation, etc.
Their logo is a simple white MW, stylized over a red square.
Well, another brand has decided to ape that logo…except their brand name is a notably squished-looking “NVVV”
Friggin…I mean…come on folks.
It’s just a means of benefiting from the reputation of another maker while pricing your products below theirs and taking advantage of the “ohhh, that’s a good deal!” Impulse when someone’s shopping around. It’s an easy mistake to make for the buyer, and blatantly unethical on the part of the seller.