The Arduino is open source hardware. Anyone can make one. The hardware and software compatible categories are ripe with them. This category is different, though. There are boards, mostly made in Asia, which duplicate the Arduino to the point that they say "Made in Italy" on them. Some are very much like the Arduino products they imitate, but many are, unfortunately, built with supporting components that are not the best. If appearance is an indicator of quality, the knockoffs are substandard.
Why draw such a harsh distinction? Personal experience has shown us that a >60% failure rate of the knockoffs can be expected under normal use. Not because the ATmel MCU's fail, but because of the no-name counterfeit supporting chips, or the sub-standard assembly.
They all run the same software, support the same shields, and are blue. They just don't seem to hold up. I'm not going to suggest that that is all bad. There is room in the world for a $3.00 microcontroller board. Buy several, though.
This had to happen, but it didn't have to happen this way. Microduino was manufacturing boards and needed to ramp up so they went to KickStarter and started a campaign. Before this time, boards were available and being sold as Microduino boards. During the Kickstart, supplies dried up, and with supply and demand being what it is, evil-doers started stamping out knockoffs which either said "Microduino" or nothing at all on them, but were sold as Microduino. Microduino put out information in essence calling everything sold as Microduino by anyone else a forgery. This was not true, but there were plenty of forgeries being sold, and they are still being sold by the hundreds from China.
Above you see two images. Both purport to be the Deek-Robot Pro Mini. The one on the left is. The one on the right is not. The image below is the backside of the evil board. It clearly says "Deek_Robot". We talked with Deek-Robot about this. They told us that all Deek-Robot boards say "Deek-Robot", not "Deek_Robot" or "Deek Robot".
This board has a lot going for it, with the SPI connector pads and the A4-A7. One thing it does not have going for it is the backing of Deek-Robot.