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BEWARE OF OBSOLETE or WRONG INFORMATION ON BLOGS.

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Walter Hay

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As I read posts on the forum it is often apparent that the post is referring to obsolete information that has probably come for some “expert’s” blog.

I have seen one heavily promoted blog that invites questions, but they are never answered and the information prompting those questions is years old.

Possibly the worst one I found had dated their blog Nov. 2020, and in explaining “How to be safe” on Alibaba, they referred to supplier rating icons that have not been used for over two years.

Today I received an email from a Fastlane member asking what I thought of the Alibaba advice she found in this SHOPIFY BLOG with an incongruous name: “Alibaba Dropshipping: How to Safely Source and Manage Products From Alibaba.”

I say incongruous because it is extremely rare for suppliers on Alibaba to provide Dropshipping services, yet here is a multi-page blog supposedly to help people do the near impossible. When quoting from the blog I will use italics.

“In this post, we’re going to look at how to effectively and safely source a supplier for your product idea using the popular business directory Alibaba.

“Disclaimer:
Before making any purchases from Alibaba, be sure you read its most up-to-date information and safeguards to protect your purchase.”

The Alibaba group owns three Chinese marketplaces—Taobao, Tmall, and Alibaba.com

But the expert blog author doesn’t know about 1688.COM, lazada.com, and cainiao.com. It is worth knowing about the Cainiao network because it is a relatively new massive logistics organization set up to promise delivery to buyers using Alibaba and their subsidiaries guaranteeing Cainaio parcel delivery to any location within China in 24 hours or less, and in 72 hours or less worldwide. !!! You will hear a lot about it before long.

Is Alibaba safe? The company also offers Trade Assurance, a verification program for select suppliers, to protect your payments through the Alibaba.com payment platform.
The benefits of Trade Assurance include: Better support. When working with Trade Assurance suppliers, refunds are available if you’re not satisfied with the product’s quality.
Trade Assurance protects you from getting scammed or receiving low-quality products from Alibaba. Even though there will be some back and forth between the seller and Alibaba during mediation, you’ll be protected from bad suppliers.”


Readers should search for my posts on Trade Assurance, or if they have my book look at Ch. 8.6 List of Suppliers Around The Globe. Scroll down to the section dealing with China and under Trade Assurance you will see that the 56 page rules document is designed to make you feel safe. That’s all! Trade Assurance protection is mostly in the mind.

"Let’s take a look at several things you can do to protect your money when sourcing from Alibaba:

Verify suppliers. Alibaba has its own verification program in place that includes several levels of verification. Below is a chart that summarizes the three different levels of verification Alibaba offers. These verification badges will appear on product listing and supplier profiles, if they have them. Looking for these verifications is a good first step. "

They list the old A & V Checks and Onsite checks. Those who have read my posts will know that business licenses are often forged. They also know that Chinese businesses almost all list manufacturing in the business description when registering.

The latest Trade Assurance rules have changed as follows:

Rule 4. A & V Check. Previously they required an A&V check (Authentication and Verification) to be done before gold membership gets activated. A&V checks are no longer used.

Rule 5. Assessed Suppliers.
This was an optional extra available to China-based Alibaba Gold Supplier customers and included verification by an inspection company such as TÜV Rhineland or Bureau Veritas. Gold Suppliers who paid for this option had assessment reports available on their profile page. This also is no longer available.



“Here’s more information on Alibaba’s Gold membership for suppliers.
In addition to Alibaba’s verifications, there are also independent third-party services located in Asia that will visit factories on your behalf to verify the supplier and product quality. Depending on the size of your order, a few hundred dollars extra for added piece of mind may be well worth it.”

The blog author got something right! Certainly use an independent inspection company, but I would hire SGS, TUV, KRT Audit Corporation, or Bureau Veritas to carry out a complete normal inspection to confirm before shipment that the goods do or do not meet the detailed specifications that I set out in my order. He/she goes on to advise asking questions:

“Feel free to ask for whatever makes you feel more comfortable doing business with someone a world away. It wouldn’t be crazy for you to even ask your factory contact to take a photo of themselves on the factory floor holding up the current day’s newspaper and one of their products.”

Anyone who does that has no understanding of Chinese social and business customs. Ask a potential supplier to do that and it will be extremely unlikely if you hear from them again. In any case, which factory floor will you be seeing? And can you read the Chinese characters on the newspaper?

“Ask for a copy of their business license.” Many are forged and besides they are written in Chinese.

“you need to get samples to check and verify quality. Feel free even to contact them through another (fictitious) name and email and get an additional sample so you can compare.” You will also need a second physical address and be willing to pay a second lot of freight.

“Some suppliers that receive a lot of sample requests may change full retail pricing for them, others will offer samples at a discounted rate, and some may even provide samples for free if they feel you’re a serious buyer.” The blog author must be unaware that some samples are free but the freight never is.

May I humbly suggest that if any members need answers to questions about safe sourcing and importing they might post them on GOLD! Sharing my lifetime experience in export/import. Product sourcing specialist. where someone who knows the facts, having been there- done that for many years will be happy to answer.

Walter
 
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The-J

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$10 says that article was written by a SEO writer hired by the blog owner, rather than the "expert" themselves.

Not necessarily a bad thing, until they get the information wrong. Makes the expert look bad. (Or the expert isn't an expert at all and is just trying to cash in on the "sourcing products" trend)
 

Walter Hay

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$10 says that article was written by a SEO writer hired by the blog owner, rather than the "expert" themselves.

Not necessarily a bad thing, until they get the information wrong. Makes the expert look bad. (Or the expert isn't an expert at all and is just trying to cash in on the "sourcing products" trend)
I agree that it gives the impression that it was written by a hack writer.

The blog is part of Shopify. They make a lot of effort to promote their eCommerce website business, and employ "experts" in many related fields.

The author is identified as:
"Corey Ferreira is a passionate entrepreneur, coconut water lover, and content creator at Shopify."

I think she should be ashamed for producing out such rubbish.

Walter
 

The-J

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I agree that it gives the impression that it was written by a hack writer.

The blog is part of Shopify. They make a lot of effort to promote their eCommerce website business, and employ "experts" in many related fields.

The author is identified as:
"Corey Ferreira is a passionate entrepreneur, coconut water lover, and content creator at Shopify."

I think she should be ashamed for producing out such rubbish.

Walter

Yea I just found what you're talking about. I expected this to be some article on some random website (which is why I posted what I did), but it's literally on Shopify's domain. I don't think you'd be out of order if you reported it to Shopify.
 

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