Sometimes even I am surprised at which posts on this site are the most popular. Every time I mention Amazon I get all kinds of traffic and sometimes comments. I will try to address them here.
Why don’t I let my kids shop on Amazon?
I am part of a large homeschooling family. We used to be avid Amazon shoppers because many of us live in rural areas where there just is no regular shopping. It’s hard to find things out in the boondocks. Then Amazon started their seller program and brought in outside sellers, many mom and pop places with disagreeable reputations. It was easy to avoid those sellers back then, but not so much now. Now every single page of listings is loaded with outside sellers, some from China selling dangerous toys, some from adult toy companies selling adult products, some from eBay sellers selling used products that should not be sold like underwear (yes, I have seen it with my own eyes), and some from dishonest sellers selling broken products as new (especially electronics.)
These are the items that pop up if you’re searching for a garden gnome (“garden gnome”):
I don’t know about you, but when I ask my kids to go find a garden gnome for Grams and Gramps this is not what I want them buying and I don’t want to have to explain the second or third one to them either.
Why don’t you sell your crafts on Amazon?
Same reason as above, but let me give you another example. A little less than two weeks ago, this guy who had left a negative review for a router on Amazon received an email from the company’s CEO demanding he retract his review or he would be sued for libel. Libel is when you write something that is false. It’s illegal and you can be sued for it. This guy apparently had written some pretty outrageous things about the product including that it was rebranded from another company. That’s when you take a product and put your name on it, removing the previous name that was there. I guess this happens a lot in electronics when a company’s reputation goes downhill and they choose to replace the name on their products with another name so they can sell them. So this guy goes on Reddit and makes a big stink. Next thing you know thousands of bullies descend from Reddit on Amazon and leave this company nasty reviews. They have never used the product. They have never purchased the product. They have never had any interactions whatsoever with the company and are leaving reviews with complete fabrications (lies) about the company based on the word of a stranger on Reddit. Hopefully, you can see my dilemma here. How does this happen? Mob mentality. Cyberbullies. Amazon not only permitted it, but left the fabricated reviews right there for the world to see. Do you still trust Amazon? I don’t. Neither does anyone else in my family. We keep our kids far away from Amazon and their cyberbullies. What they did to this company is equivalent to a public beating, something which was outlawed centuries ago.
Below is one of the products sold by this company, MediaBridge, and the outrageous reviews and insults left for this company (and its employees). Amazon permitted this. This photograph was taken today. Look at the reviews. Look at the language used, Look at all the libelous statements in the question and answer section. Do you trust Amazon anymore? You shouldn’t. Amazon has become a free-for-all. This is what a public beating looks like in 2014.
What does Google have to do with public beatings?
Another popular question. What’s up with Google? Google is like the big bully on the block. They determine who lives and dies on the internet. This site, for example, is not even indexed in Google. Not at all. I’d be very surprised if you found a single page on this site indexed in Google. Google does not reward content, contrary to what people say. Google rewards money spent on the internet. I don’t have ads on this site. I don’t sell anything. I don’t provide Google with kickbacks, so they don’t index my site. If you search “Homeschool 101” in Google, the top 30+ listings are people selling stuff. If they provide any information, it’s so they can make a buck.
Now let me explain the relationship between Google and Amazon. Google used to feature eBay seller listings prominently on their search engine pages. Then suddenly they stopped. Why? No kickbacks. They do, however, get kickbacks from Amazon. Now you know why every seller on eBay is moving to Amazon. Amazon seller fees are close to 30% and sellers are forced to give products away for free when irresponsible buyers file claims. Many buyers feel more safe using Amazon checkout than PayPal. PayPal has a very bad reputation after years of being entwined with eBay and cheating buyers out of money.
In my opinion, Bing is a far superior search engine. When I search for something, I get real results, not a lot of sites with ads and garbage for sale. I want information, not to constantly buy stuff. Bing is the only search engine I allow my children to use. If they don’t get the results they want, then Mom takes a try. We don’t use Google at all. Another excellent search engine is r.search.yahoo.com, a research engine.
Writing responsibly on the internet
As homeschoolers we have a higher than average moral center. We practice what we preach and we attempt to teach our children better values than public schooled kids who I often compare to zoo animals, especially when I see them bullying other children in public (or private). When I write an article and I say something or refer to something, I make sure I have a photograph of that information to back up what I say. For example, for this article, I have photographs of the Amazon search for “garden gnome”, the reviews for MediaBridge, and search engine results from Google showing only Amazon products (not eBay).
To anyone who believes my family and I are somehow Amazon bashers, that’s not the case. We are a family that doesn’t approve of public beatings or bullying. That includes Amazon and Google. If you are so inclined to shop for anything on Amazon this week, and it doesn’t live up to your expectations, return it. And on your return packing list, write a little note to the Amazon cyberbullies that public beatings are no longer legal for a reason.