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How to tell if that 'amazing' tech product on Facebook is really a good deal

You've seen the ads, many of which are quite compelling -- but here's what you don't know about some of these "magical" gadgets.

Say, this "Selfiedrone" looks an awful lot like the JJRC H37 Elfie -- which sells for close to half the price.


If you're a Facebook regular, you've probably seen your share of ads for some "amazing" tech products, the kind that leave users "totally blown away" and are on sale now for "incredible prices!"

More often than not, these ads are accompanied by some pretty compelling videos and a hard-to-bypass "Buy Now" button.

My advice: Think before you tap. Not all of these products are new, unique to Facebook or especially good deals.

Hey, I know that drone

For example, recently I spotted a video touting an "amazing" selfie-drone, with a smiling, happy girl showing how beautifully it hovers in place, how easy it is to fly and so on. It was a good video; it held my attention and got me thinking, "Hey, that does indeed look pretty sweet."

And familiar: The flier closely resembled one I'd written about before -- the JJRC H37 Elfie. And, sure enough, it was the exact same model, just with a different brand and moniker. (It's not uncommon for commodity products like this, which mostly come from China, to get rebranded by different sellers.)

In fact, despite seller Tomorrowstuff calling this the "Selfiedrone" (complete with trademark symbol!), you can see very clearly that "JJRC" is stamped on the top of the unit.

It'll blow you away how much you can save on an identical mount on Amazon, eBay and elsewhere.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

So what's going on here? Save for that trademarked name, which is weird, this is just some crafty marketing on the seller's part. And based on how often I see the ad, I suspect plenty of people are paying $89.99 for this drone.

Which, as I mentioned, you can get for a lot less: Amazon sells it for just under $50, and sites like Tomtop often offer it for even less (it's currently $36.99 shipped from the company's U.S. warehouse).

Note to self: Make a Facebook ad for a cool tech gadget, charge double, retire to tropical island.

Facebooker beware

I've seen similar videos for other gadgety products: LED valve caps, dashboard phone-mounts, those fidget-spinner things that are suddenly everywhere and so on. In every case, the Facebook seller was charging more than you'd pay elsewhere, at least if you shopped around a bit.

For example, the Nato Mount is a universal dashboard mount, with an adhesive magnetic disc and a pair of steel plates that you stick to the back of your phone (or inside of your case). Price for one: $19.99. I checked Amazon for the same product and, sure enough, it was $19.99 there as well.

But the Nato Mount is virtually identical to dozens of similar products -- including this one from WizGear, which sells for $8.99.

The LED valve caps? Facebook seller charges $21.99 for a set of six; without breaking a sweat, I found a 20-pack (!) of the exact same product for $15.99.

So, yeah: The moral of the story is, if you see something like in a Facebook ad, don't be swayed by the breathless enthusiasm ("This product changed my life!") or claims of total newness. Instead, hit up other online stores and look for the same thing. Chances are good you'll find it, and probably for a lot less.