Wind-Blox Business Practices

Wind-Blox makes a "wind and noise blocker" product that attaches to the leading straps on a bicycling helmet.

They have made a number of questionable claims and / or representations.  Examples are documented below: 

This is a desktop document.

Fabricated Claim

Wind-Blox claims to have received the 'Most Effective Wind Noise Reduction' award. 

Wind-Blox

While this claim sounds impressive, there is no such award.

Fictitious Comments

Wind-Blox used fictitious names on cycling forums to promote their products (or discredit others).  Below is one of many examples.  When caught, moderators closed accounts, etc.  On more than one occasion, IP address searches (by the moderators) established the source of the forum comments.

Wind-Blox

We appreciated being contacted by the forum moderators regarding these comments.

After getting caught, W~B may have stopped these fictitious comments.

 

Fake Twitter Followers

Wind-Blox 'acquired' over 11,000 'fake' Twitter followers (per audit report).

Wind-Blox

After getting caught, it appears Twitter deleted >8,000 fake W~B followers.

 

Family / Employee Reviews

Numerous friends / family / employee product reviews.  Examples are below:

 

"Heard the sweetest little birds chirping on my ride to work today. Thanks Wind-Blox!" - (relative)

"Works great, not 'furry' and easy to install. Terrific, look high tech (not furry). Work fine. Don't have to remove straps." -  Ted Finch (VP of Marketing)

"Amazing how much more I can hear while biking. Wind-Blox work amazingly well! I'm stunned at what a difference it makes to ride using this product. I can hear SO much more." - Fajen (relative)

"I tried these and noticed a difference right away. As the instructions mention, the noise reduction is not appreciated until one takes the wind blox off. My husband also tried them, and he liked them so much he had me order some for him..." - Adventure Cycling reviewer (identified as Wind Blox)

Favorable reviews can be obtained through compensation and / or free product giveaways.

W-B utilizes this technique:  (Amazon) 'Customer Review of Free (Wind-Blox) Product.'

Amazon prohibits family / employee reviews.  These reviews were removed.

 

Paid Product 'Endorsements'

 W-B: "The Hearing Health Foundation chose Wind-Blox and featured us as an 'Editor's Choice'."

Wind-Blox

Original W-B advertisement

According to the HH Foundation, the claimed 'endorsement' was actually a paid advertisement.

"Thank you for bringing this advertisement to our attention. We will reach out to Wind-Blox to ask that they remove or amend their wording as it is misleading." - Hearing Health Foundation (HHF)

Wind-Blox

Amended W-B advertisement

Product reviews / endorsements should be scrutinized for actual independent testing / analysis.

The HHF apparently contacted W~B.  The 'misleading' wording was amended.

 

Assorted Patent / Patent Pending Claims

Wind-Blox makes an assortment of U.S. Patent related claims:

"Wind~Blox patented technology* is wind-tunnel tested."  *misleading*

2013 - "The patent and trademark are in place." - Kickstarter Campaign Intro.

2015 -  Actual patent date: 'Ornamental design for a wind and noise blocker'.

"We've actually filed for two different patents (a Design patent and a Utility patent)".

A USPTO search located the Design patent - the Utility patent was probably denied.

To meet utility patent requirements, inventions must be new, not obvious, and useful.

Claiming to be a 'noise blocker' is concerning, surrounding sounds can be important.

While Patent related claims sound impressive, they should be USPTO compliant.

 

Wind-Blox Are 'Made In America'... Or Are They?

It appears that this "Made in America" Facebook post was intended to mislead.

In addition, Country of Origin should be clearly marked on the product / packaging.

Wind-Blox

 

Wind-Blox Claimed To Use 'Bi-directional Velcro'

Unfortunately, Velcro® does not make a 'bi-directional' hook and loop product.

Velcro® aggressively protects its brand name and highest quality product reputation.

Velcro® USA contacted Wind~Blox.  Claims regarding the use of Velcro® were removed.

 

Problematic Aeroacoustic Wind Tunnel Testing Claims

Wind-Blox claims to have performed some semblance of wind tunnel testing.

Wind-Blox

"Wind-Blox patented technology is wind-tunnel tested... blocking more than 80% of wind noise" 

"Wind tunnel tests were conducted at George Fox University’s School of Mechanical Engineering"

The fan noise generated by the small GFU Flotek Wind Tunnel is excessive for aeroacoustic testing.

  • Performing aeroacoustic analysis in a test chamber with 85 dB of fan/flow noise would be difficult.  

  • The 1' x 1' test section (fixed walls) is small.  It would barely fit a test head/helmet (blockage effect).

  • Open-jet wind tunnels are typically used for aeroacoustic testing since fixed walls can reflect sound. 

  • Meaningful 'fluid flow imagery' conclusions would be difficult given the restricted flow displacement. 

While wind tunnel testing sounds impressive, the W~B claims / conclusions are problematic.

 

Wind~Blox Claims To Be "The #1 Most Effective Wind Noise Blocker"

And more specifically, they have claimed to "stop 80.2% (25.2 dB) of bicycling wind noise".

(*Anyone who has measured wind noise knows that tenth of a percent accuracy is nonsense)

W~B recently updated their wind noise reduction performance claim.  Perhaps 80.2% was wrong.

updatedclaim.jpg

Adventure Cycling Association:  ACA's opinion is (Wind-Blox) blocks +/- up to 50% of wind noise.

Understanding wind noise can be complicated.  W~B should consider hiring a qualified engineer.

Performance claims should be supported by credible (qualified) testing / comparative analysis.

Given the questionable claims / representations, Wind-Blox risks disappointing their customers and damaging others in the cycling wind noise reduction industry, including industry reputation.