Mystery Brand, the controversial loot box-style site promoted by YouTube creators like Jake Paul and Brian "RiceGum" Le, has confirmed that it does not own any of the prizes offered to users and collects others through a public online marketplace .
The quality of the prizes offered to users through Mystery Brand varies from cheap fidget spinners to California mansions and luxury cars. Mystery Brand teamed up with Paul and Le for sponsored videos, which eventually paid at least $ 100,000 for both creators through sponsorships. The videos showed that Le and Paul won a selection of prizes, including a pair of off-white Nike Air Max 97 shoes (valued at $ 835) and an iPhone XS (valued at $ 1
Now, Tim Perk, a company representative, is responding to a number of complaints. Perk told The Verge via e-mail that the company does not own any of the prizes offered on the site, including a manor house listed for $ 250 million or expensive luxury cars. The house in question is a Beverly Hills residence, listed on Zillow for $ 188 million. Lamborghini and Ferrari models are also shown on the Mystery Brands website.
Perk told The Verge that although certain mansions and models may appear on the site, the company does not actually have the rights to give them away.
"We don't have to physically own these cars or houses to include them as prizes in the box," Perk said. "If the user were to win such a prize, we would either offer them the exact monetary value of the prize, or our representatives would personally fly into the winner's city and help them buy car or house."
Claiming that Mystery Brand delivered "false gains" or failed to deliver goods at all, is "totally false and unjustified," Perk told The Verge . Perk also noted that Mystery Brand relies on StockX, a popular reselling platform commonly used by sneakerheads.
"Sometimes shipping can take up to a few weeks since we mainly use the StockX platform to buy and deliver prizes to the winners," Perk wrote. "StockX has a longer delivery time because each item is thoroughly checked for authenticity, and we would like to sacrifice delivery time to ensure that our customers only receive the highest quality authentic products."
Obtained by The Verge, a StockX representative said they were totally unaware of Mystery Brand and there is no formal partnership between the two companies. As a result, some products that Mystery Brand purchased were obtained using a common user account.
StockX, which expects "Stock Market of Things", allows users to place order orders for deadstock items at a specific price. The new approach to the street market in billion dollars has attracted a number of high-profile investors. A $ 55 million B series this summer included investments from Google Ventures, SalesForce, and Steve Aoki, among others.
despite wide scale and abundant funding, StockX struggled to keep counterfeit products out on the market. A number of users have reported receiving knockoffs through the platform, and often tell the experience in YouTube testimonials.
"I received a false Supreme x North Face Baltoro mountain jacket from Stockx earlier this year," another person said on Reddit. "It is actually so frustrating to see a multimillion dollar company doing well despite many incidents of counterfeit items passing through the approval process. Their lack of customer support is also a joke."
StockX says it verifies the authenticity and state of Each product before it is shipped to buyers, but scammers have often found creative ways around these limitations. StockX told The Verge that it maintained a 99.85% authentication rate, and that any substandard goods could be returned through a customer support line. But since Mystery Brand buyers would have had no idea that their orders had been met through StockX, it would be difficult for them to take advantage of this service.
Getting to comment, Stockh director Josh Luber said the company had made significant investments to keep the fakes off the platform. "StockX is proud to provide users with an anonymous, transparent and authentic marketplace. We have four approval centers globally with highly trained, highly qualified employee authenticators," Luber said. "We respond to all messages and will always do everything needed to resolve a problem – just send email firstname.lastname@example.org. "
Mystery Brands trust in StockX could also explain why many buyers had to wait so long for their goods. Some Mystery Brand buyers did not report receiving goods for more than a month However, unlike a conventional store, StockX does not guarantee that a given product will be available at any given time, it is quite possible that the products in question were simply not available at StockX at the time they were won.
Mystery Brands own terms of service also specifically state that while people "use the services of the site you may encounter in circumstances there Your accustomed items will not be received. "The terms, however, also state that the company will attempt to rectify the situation.
" In this case, the site will do its best to resolve this situation, and Try to fix the problem as soon as possible. Maximum error / error notice is 45 working days. "
After several testimonials on Reddit and wider setbacks from the YouTube community, Perk said The Verge he wanted to address if Mystery Brand was a scam.
" Our site gives everyone with equal odds to win specific prizes, "said Perk." We have also incorporated an independent service "Provably Fair" into our website, a service often used by online casinos to ensure that everything is fair and transparent and ensures that the winnings are random and "A report by The Daily Beast discovered that the odds of winning luxury goods – which the house $ 188 million – have been removed.
Perk's statement also raises new questions about where Mystery Brand counts as gambling." Careful fair "services are strongly associated with online casinos, mainly used to show that a given game is not too skewed in the house's favor. YouTube's advertising, video or sponsorship ads guidelines Destiny specifically states that links to "online gambling casinos" are prohibited as the company considers it harmful content to viewers. It is still debatable whether Mystery Brand fulfills this description, but the presence of a revised odds-making service could have a significant impact. The Verge has reached out to YouTube for further comment.
Since the controversy began earlier this week, both Le and Paul have issued statements about the situation. Le published a video that addressed the controversy and told viewers to do further research for themselves before using Mystery Brand, and apologized for potentially misleading them. Paul tweeted about the situation telling the kids not to gamble.
Perk cried out a creator involved in the situation, Daniel Keemstar Keem, in his email to The Verge and noted that Mystery Brand never approached Keem for a sponsorship deal despite Keem's claim to Twitter.
"He warned thousands of followers through twitter that we offered him $ 100,000, which is an obvious lie," said Perk. Keem confirmed his mistake on Twitter after a Storyful journalist asked him for more details on his reported Mystery Brand offer.
"Was not contacted by the exact website," Keem tweeted . "But a similar via email. Apparently, there are many like Mystery."
The Verge has reached out to Perk for further comment and will update when more information becomes available.
Update 4:12 ET: Updated to include Stock X comment.