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Thu May 24, 2018, 12:23 AM

The Mystery of the $70 Hoodie That's All Over Facebook

Liz Carlson forked over $70 for a “heavyweight cotton” hoodie after seeing an enticing ad on Facebook that claimed it had “the softest interior we’ve ever created.” The ad was from an e-commerce site called Affinity Find, which has more than 700,000 Facebook followers—about the same as eyeglass seller Warby Parker. Affinity Find sells dozens of products on its website, which says a store is coming soon to downtown Seattle.

Ms. Carlson’s hoodie, however, arrived three weeks after she ordered it from an address in China. “It was reeking of a pungent chemical smell like gasoline,” she said. “The item was a rough combination of synthetic fibers with no tags and plastic zips.”

Welcome to a little-known corner of the e-commerce world, where small entrepreneurs use social-media ads and hip virtual storefronts to entice people into buying products listed on online marketplaces such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s AliExpress.

The process often involves online storefronts transferring customer details to an AliExpress seller, which ships the goods directly to the customer; the storefront bills the customer. Called dropshipping, it is a twist on a fulfillment technique that major online retailers also use to send goods directly from their manufacturers to the customer.

The entrepreneur profits by charging a high markup, betting shoppers are unlikely to stumble upon the less-expensive goods on a marketplace site. AliExpress is the most popular such marketplace, but some entrepreneurs order from sellers on other marketplace sites like Amazon.

The hoodie that Ms. Carlson purchased on Affinity Find for $70, plus shipping and tax, is available on AliExpress for about $20 with free shipping to the U.S. Several other items for sale on Affinity Find match listings at lower prices on the Chinese marketplace.

Affinity Find has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, whose website says it found advertising issues and received complaints about products, service and delivery.

The same hoodie was being pushed by other sites, including Sugar Picks, which says it sells “carefully selected unique products,” and Teelandia, which says it collaborates with local artists to design clothes. Both sites posted Facebook ads in January with the same language and images as Affinity Find’s ad.

(snip)

Flipping products from AliExpress has become so common that self-proclaimed experts are selling online courses teaching tactics, such as how to pick products that people are least likely to research online and how to hide the original price of the items.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-mystery-of-the-70-hoodie-thats-all-over-facebook-1526817601

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Reply The Mystery of the $70 Hoodie That's All Over Facebook (Original post)
question everything May 24 OP
msongs May 24 #1
sandensea May 24 #2

Response to question everything (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2018, 01:06 AM

1. the new ali baba and the 40 thieves, wherein roles are changed nt

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Response to question everything (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2018, 11:35 AM

2. Buyer beware

Something similar happened to me when ordering a football jersey years ago (around 2000, in the early days of e-commerce).

I was glad it happened early on though, as it's made me more cautious about ordering on the internets.

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