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Don’t Know Which Toaster to Buy? There’s a Website for That

The Ringer – “More like a dozen, actually, for every type of online purchase—from appliances to sandals, from sunscreen to digital cameras. When did recommendation sites like the Wirecutter and The Strategist become such a central part of the online economy? And are they changing the way we shop?…anyone who has ever impulse-ordered something from Amazon knows that such an expansive market yields unpredictable results. Major e-commerce sites like Amazon, eBay, Newegg, and have all been accused of selling knockoff merchandise. In 2016, Apple sued a company for selling copies of its electronics on Amazon, claiming that 90 percent of so-called “genuine” chargers on the site were counterfeit. Despite the “substantial” resources Amazon claims to invest in preventing counterfeit goods on its platform, a 2018 Guardian investigation found it was easy to purchase everything from fake Kylie Jenner lip gloss to imitation AirPods on the site. And if third-party retailers aren’t straight-up copying major brands, they may still be misrepresenting their products. Two years ago, a home goods distributor named Joyfay went viral for selling a disturbingly leggy teddy bear that looked nothing like the one pictured on its online storefront. Recently my colleague ordered a sea sponge, and it turned out to be the size of a thimble. I am still trying to get rid of the lifetime supply of moth-repelling cedar blocks that I mistakenly bought a few years ago…”

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