Reply All: #117 The World's Most Expensive Free Watch
March 3, 2018 11:43 AM - Subscribe

This week, the story of a man who made the extremely dubious decision to order a watch that he found in an Instagram ad. We explore the strange world that watch came from.
posted by radioamy (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Something about this reminded me a lot of MLM (aka direct marketing aka your friends trying to sell you shit in their Insta/Facebook feeds). With MLM, the only way to make money is by convincing other people to sign up as distributors. With dropshipping, it appears that the only way to make money is by selling training to other people. Both feel super scammy to me.
posted by radioamy at 11:45 AM on March 3, 2018

I was convinced we had talked about dropshipping on mefi but search tells me otherwise!
posted by ellieBOA at 2:21 AM on March 4, 2018

ODell's piece had an FPP.
posted by theodolite at 2:49 PM on March 4, 2018

I had definitely heard about dropshipping somewhere...I read something that put a lot of blame on Shopify in particular, but didn't explain it. Which seemed weird to me, because there are many plug-and-play e-commerce sites that have nice-looking templates. This episode hinted that someone built a Shopify plugin to AliExpress, which makes more sense.
posted by radioamy at 9:32 AM on March 5, 2018

ODell's piece had an FPP.

I wonder if that's why. This entire podcast gave me déjà vu vibes, like, had they covered this before? is this a re-release? It was interesting but the entire story was for some reason very familiar to me.
posted by graventy at 11:57 AM on March 5, 2018

It's odd to me to listen to some of the folks they talk to who don't seem to understand why they're not getting rich quick and think they just need to market more, more and more, and don't pay any attention to the fact that the actual items they're selling are crap. As if a pretty enough website with a hip enough target-marketed name will make people not notice the thing that shows up is shit?
posted by dnash at 12:01 PM on March 5, 2018

This episode hinted that someone built a Shopify plugin to AliExpress, which makes more sense.

It appears it's Shopify that built the plugin - they're promoting it on their own page as a tool for "want to open a store but don't have anything to sell? Just use this!"
posted by dnash at 12:04 PM on March 5, 2018

dnash—you make a good point. You can't expect to get rich quick selling dogshit.

I hadn't seen the Shopify page for Oberlo. Wow ok, Shopify, I had given you the benefit of the doubt, but you're certainly more culpable than I had previously thought? And Shopify's ad is the first thing on my Google search results for "dropshipping". It's unclear to me if Shopify owns Oberlo or is just heavily promoting them because it's making them so much money.

I mean, dropshipping as a basic business model isn't inherently scammy or unprofitable—Wayfair does really well with it, and their products are about what you would expect for the price point—but this whole thing is really out of control.
posted by radioamy at 3:02 PM on March 5, 2018

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