UPDATE #2 (Friday 12th August): Paul and I have spoken with Massimo Banzi from Arduino LLC about the issues. We're confident that changes will be made to fix the situation for resellers and we'll update you as we hear more.


UPDATE #1 (Friday 12th August): Massimo Banzi from Arduino LLC has reached out to us and we're working together to see if we can resolve this.


TL;DR we can't accept their new distributor agreement. It is unfriendly to resellers like us and our beloved customers.

After the split of Arduino and Arduino (brief explanation here) we sided with the camp that has setup shop as Ardunio LLC in America and rebranded to Genuino in the EU.

We believed (and we still do) that they are the true heart of Arduino and we wanted to support them.

In fact we were very eager to support them!

Ten months to make first contact

However hard we tried we couldn't seem to actually get setup as a reseller with them. E-mails went unanswered for a long time and when we did get a response the information was incredibly minimal.

But we persevered and it took us seven months and for Paul to bump into Massimo Banzi at the New York Maker Faire to even get hold of a contact that could help us...

Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2015 17:10:00 +0100

Hey Arduino.cc crew!

I notice you've just announced the Genuino Starter Kit - congratulations!

Paul had the pleasure of chatting with Massimo at Maker Faire New York and was given your e-mail address as a contact for us to get Genuino reseller pricing details.

We're really keen to support Genuino!

- Jon

After some to-ing and fro-ing to get the "confidential" reseller price list (*sigh* do we still do that?) we finally managed to place an order on January 5th 2016 - almost a full year after our first attempts to make contact.

Happy days! Everything was fine and dandy - though the margins are kinda sucky.

Most importantly we could show loyalty to our preferred Arduino (read Genuino) by selling products that supported them financially.

Five months later...

We got in touch in May to place a new order - especially eager to add the new MKR1000 to our range.

Date: Thu, 5 May 2016 12:58:20 +0100

Hey [contact name], we're about to place a new order any word on the MKR1000 or sourcing 101s yet?

- Jon

And the response was blindingly quick (well the same day at least, unusual for them).

Hello Jonathan,

Thank you for getting in touch.

I am glad to inform you that our resellers portal is now available! Please, find the attached promotional brochure with our complete product-line. I will also send you the distribution agreement shortly.

If you fill in and sign it, and then sign up to our resellers platform: http://resellers.arduino.cc, you can buy our products directly from our online store. You will just have to wait for your profile approval.

Great news!

They now have a proper reseller portal - that will make life easier. Oh, but we'll just need to sign this new distributor agreement first - it should just need a quick skim through to make sure there is nothing particularly onerous in there...

Wait a minute... we can't sell Genuino branded boards into the US? What the heck, let's find out what's going on here:

Date: Mon, 9 May 2016 08:51:31 +0100

we do sell into the US so we cannot agree (unless there are legal restrictions that require us to do so) to limit selling of Genuino to specific territories.

- Jon

They know how the internet works right? That it is possible for someone to order a product from *gasp* another country and indeed for that very product to be physically delivered across country borders with almost no hassle!

What a time to be alive.

ping! Ooh a response...

Date: Mon, 9 May 2016 09:57:56 +0200

Yes, there are legal restriction about selling in the US. That was supposed to be clear since the beginning.

Legal restrictions? But Genuino is a brand new trademark created specifically to avoid legal restrictions in the EU. Surely that can't be true - that would either be stupid or ...what?

Date: Mon, 9 May 2016 08:59:04 +0100

What is the legal restriction to selling products marked "Genuino" in the US?

- Jon

taps fingers... time passes...

*ping!*

Date: Mon, 9 May 2016 14:52:23 +0200

I had a quick chat with my manager, he confirmed me we have a commercial restriction, rather than a legal one.

[snip]

Unfortunately, we cannot grant the authorisation to sell Genuino within the US, as we want to keep the 2 brands separated. So if you are already doing it I will have to ask you to stop Genuino sales towards the US immediately.

However, I can introduce you to our representative in the US, if you wish to purchase some Arduino boards for the US market.

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

You want us to to stock twice as many products, half through an entirely different supply channel, which are identical bar the writing on them, and then enforce that our customers pick the correct version?

Yeah, good luck with that.

The power of the brand

EU resellers have already taken the hit of shifting to an unknown brand (Genuino) which has no marketing value to support you and this is how you repay them?

Behold the mighty weight of the Genuino brand as seen on Google Trends:

Congratulations on messing about the people who tried (and believe me, it was trying) to support you in the beginning.

In closing...

It's a real shame that Arduino LLC seem to have lost any of the Maker-vibe it had.

They seem more pre-occupied in playing at pretending to be one of the big boys with lawyers working double-time and focussing on "brand identity" to the detriment of anything else.

What a crock.

Here are some tips:

  • Don't make resellers stock twice as many SKUs for no reason. It hurts their ability to stock your product which is dumb.
  • Everyone sells worldwide now. This agreement affects pretty much all of your resellers. They should be angry (I know we are).
  • Adding confusion to the buying process for customers is just stupid. This is basically the number one golden rule in sales.
  • We kicked back on the terms. But how many of your non-US resellers are just ignoring the rule? Hint: lots of them.
  • It's bad enough we have to deal with an unknown brand in Genuino. But we will, to support you. Just don't make it worse.
  • No one else cares about this. Not resellers, customers, or existing users. Only you. It might be worth thinking about that.

So there it is. Once our stock of Genuino boards runs out then they're gone.

Luckily there are heaps of great Arduino-compatible alternatives out there including the Adafruit Feather range, SparkFun RedBoard, and our very own Picade PCB among many others.

We'll continue to expand what we offer here so we can provide you the best alternative options.

A vostro comodo,

- Jon