€9,000, or $10,950: That’s how much it costs to purchase 1,000 fake Amazon reviews from AMZTigers, one of a number of “review manipulation services” that boost the ratings and sales of third-party merchants on Amazon, according to an investigation by consumer rights group Which, per Business Insider. That’s the bulk pricing — if all you’re looking for is a single fake review, it’ll run you €15 (about $18).
Most merchants who use this service seem to be purchasing positive reviews, but they could conceivably purchase one-star reviews in bulk with the aim of taking down a competitor.
Object of the Week is a new column exploring the objects a culture obsesses over and what that reveals about us.
Nearly two weeks after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building that left five dead, including a law enforcement officer who was beaten to death by the mob, the New York Times wondered why it was still possible to buy — on Amazon, no less — T-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as “Battle for Capitol Hill Veteran.” As if an insurrection was just another souvenir-worthy event.
In August 2019, FedEx made an announcement that puzzled anyone who hadn’t been keeping a close eye on the tick-tock of the shipping industry: The company would no longer deliver packages for Amazon.
Why would a business entirely built around prompt package delivery go out of its way to fire the single largest customer that ships more time-sensitive packages than any company in history?
The breakup, it turns out, had been the culmination of years of a combative and eroding relationship between the two giants. Six years earlier, frustrated with FedEx and UPS delivery delays during the 2013 holiday rush…
With e-commerce booming throughout the pandemic, Black Friday is looking more like a two-month-long Cyber Monday. Retailers pivoting to digital have stretched the dates of holiday sales now that they don’t have to worry about literal stampedes of shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. But not only is pandemic holiday shopping looking increasingly online, it’s also looking surprisingly healthy: Deloitte projects that retail sales might actually rise this holiday.
One reason for that bump may be the ease with which even Luddites can shop the digital sales popping up all over online marketplaces, brand websites, and even social media. Writer Roxane…
Back in August, as retailers started trying to figure out how to lure back shoppers with the first round of Covid-19 shutdowns (mostly) lifted, off-price chains like T.J. Maxx, Ross, and Burlington stood out for one key reason: their reluctance to make a serious pivot to e-commerce. That’s partly because the name brand suppliers don’t want their super-discounted wares so easily found, and partly because off-price shoppers prefer the in-person “treasure hunt” experience. Among those discounters, T.J. Maxx had the most built-out digital store, but it was distinctly limited and accounted for only 2% of sales.
Fifteen years ago, as Silicon Valley was recovering from the dot-com bust, David Hornik, a long-time VC at August Capital, started seeing a recurring theme in pitches from startup founders: overt references to a new term called “the long tail.” A typical pitch deck included a slide showing a stylized sales graph taken straight from a 2004 Wired magazine article by that name, written by the magazine’s editor-in-chief at the time, Chris Anderson.
Where Are They Now is a column that revisits once-popular companies and brands that have seemingly disappeared.
Weirder than Sharper Image, more upscale than Lillian Vernon, the loopy bazaar of SkyMall once entertained bored airplane travelers with items like pierogi Christmas ornaments, a thousand-dollar flying-saucer “Serenity Cat Pod,” and unexpected lawn statues like an extremely chill gargoyle.
At the turn of the millennium, the catalog reached millions of travelers — with airlines getting either a cut of revenues or a monthly fee to place it in seatback pockets — and totaled annual revenues over $80 million. Its first website went…
Most of us are guilty of making irrational pandemic purchases while surfing the web at night, but sometimes-Marker-writer Maya Kosoff has gone a step further: She’s shared a list of her coronavirus splurge buys and rated each purchase by how effectively it eased her existential dread (i.e. 27 Muji pens = very effective). …
If you arrived at the Vistaprint website looking to bulk-order some promotional pens or business cards or other swag you could send en masse to your remote staff as a morale boost and accidentally landed on its masks page, you most certainly would think you’re in the wrong place. A slick, minimalist grid floating over airy white space flaunts mask collaborations with the most street-cred artists around — L.A. psychedelic multimedia artist Jen Stark, Dutch illustrator Parra, New York graffiti legend Futura Laboratories, and famed graphic designer Geoff McFetridge. If art’s not your thing, then politics might be — there’s…
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