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#117 The World's Most Expensive Free Watch


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.

Further Reading

Jenny ODell's "There's No Such Thing As A Free Watch"

Alexis Madrigal's dropshipping article

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode is brought to you by better for him a new podcast from eighty people. In each episode, Francesca Ramsay talks to visionaries in business leaders about mistakes. They ve made how they work their way through them and came out better for listen on Spotify or wherever you get, your pot casts This episode is brought to you by a Sana. A saga is an app designed to help teams plan, organise and execute all the work they do together. It helps you make sure nothing falls through the cracks, so you can focus on the work that matters most learn more. And try Osanna for free visit, asano dot com to get started. That's a ass, a dna dot com
from him. This reply, I am outscore unimpeachable, soapy j of a story to tell you. Ok and this story begins with a person making a dubious online choice in others, as an instagram that are for like really fancy designer goods that are incredibly cheap guess this is about a guy who gave into temptation and clicked on. One of those adds his name's David, and it was about a year ago he was living in San Phronsie go and he was on public transit is boy in the evening had a back home and I was on my phone and I was on the ground. And I was scrolling and I think I saw and add a limited offer of a free watch here. I know my computer. Let me show you boot nice free watch
it's like a pretty nice lookin like modernists black watch and says it's shop for some accompany farther for semi or free watch today renders seven thousand hashtags, which is par for the course on Instagram Promo promotion, give away three fashion, stylist fashion, world fashion, Photography, California, Western Kelly S F San Francisco, it goes on gas, so David sees adds like this on Instagram all the time. He is not a person who generally clicks on ads are usually much more savvy there on the kind of person who does research before design that add something anything to my wife, but he goes to the company website. The company called fulsome and co, and let me just bring up the website owner fools Cow Co. It looks pretty nice does it looks like the nice website, like any sort of new fashion syrup. What have I got the picture of a watch on Iraq and, like all the funds or the elegant funds,.
And, depending on your add blocking it may or may not have little pop ups notification telling you others around the world have purchased various things on its website, Lauren in New Orleans, United States just purchased or something or other Moline, in Buenos Aires. Just purchased the Karmann Watch so forever That is the one thing that actually meet slightly scamming lake he's not like. We just saw their sneakers right. So the watch call the Jones and it says free, limited time offer. It causes zero dollars and its margin from eighty bucks net marked down from eighty in its hurry offer ends in four hours, twenty one minute and fifty six seconds. And all of us just preyed on David's desire not to miss out on something by get did exactly what its diversity like I'm way in account envying stress and like ask myself. If I want to watch dismayed viper wearing a watch, I said: well, it's free and then, of course,
When I put it in the cart and proceeded, it was something like ten bucks for shipping, I said well, I folly hesitate. I can remember exactly, but I did by and then a couple weeks later, the Watch the statistic and possibly be stamped out of and its allies with. If you would warn you might get a rational hours. Yeah through the body is the most abominable object like I've ever held in May, Maybe tat were there near fingernail on the glass and it will just rattle It was made of metal, of course, but it was Bali, the thinnest it could possibly be stamped out of, and it felt like it. If you would warn you might get a rational hours yet, for the body is the most abominable
Jack's like I've ever held in my hands. That's a friend of David's. Her name is Jenny. O'dell and David actually gave her the watch, which doesn't sound like a particularly nice thing to do, but it was because Any is an artist and she is obsessed with junk like she did a residency and a garbage dump. Getting. This watch was like Christmas morning fur, but I would definitely pretty excited about it. Because I could tell a bad it was I really am crappy object that probably had some sort of weird joy bind it at the time she was working exhibit at a place called the music of capitalism. Where people bring in their junk she would trying to learn as much as you possibly could about it. Ok and then something about this watch that she got really fixated on. The number one question I was hoping to answer is: where was it made? I can
you said you wanted to see whether watch was born yeah exactly I wanted to know of its life story, but the most important part of that at the beginning. So she goes on the Foresman Cool website. It just are trying to figure out everything she can about this. As she's, like reverse image, searching the picture she finds on there and there's one picture in particular: that's fishy right away that building those in the photo that started with implied to be their headquarters in with this girl. So I'm looking at an image of it. Now it looks it as a they sort of modern facade. That's like softly back lit it if it were a store frontier would be the store front of a very boutique e fancy watch company totally yeah, but it is not. It is not as a ping pong Social club on bases in the random that back
I've never been but look cool and not only have they stolen a picture. Susan surrenders Ping pong club to uses their fake office. A lot of the text on the website also appears to have been stolen. I realise that the description was directly copied from San Francisco. Dot com had like brief description of their neighborhood, so that seem girls who bear to me right and, as Jenny digs a little more. She realizes that the people who built fulsome and co seem to have build another business that looks just as fake, so fine coastal. So I got a sofa coastal and it's almost the exact same website. It appears to be in any instead, so the sofa caused a website has surfboard us cover photo instead of just picture watch but other than that is pretty much. The exact same website is fulsome Anko and then
Jenny just starts finding this watch on tons of other very similar looking websites, so it's like basely there offering these lousy watches for sale, but just the company that their pertain to be changes, thrilling IRA, hip techie. Downtown, separatist or company were like a cool like coastal, sir, thing watch how I was always the same that right. So the Jones which is the watch she got, is called the elite on sofa, coastal and there's another company called Regent and CO, which again sounds exactly like Folsom NGO, which weirdly calls the watch. The run Foresman. Co sounds like it's for the guy who wants to buy, lay gum, expensive acts for some reason, and in region and co, feels like a guy who buys like those lapel things for your dress shirt for some like their pitching to slightly different
of fancy wholesome and Co. Shoppers chop. Would you agent in co shoppers where blazers not at work? Yes, they're good, something the people behind this are good at something. So Jenny does reverse image, search on the watch itself and she learned that all these websites there all getting this watch from the same place, which is a website called Ali. Express, ok, familiar Val, Express I thanks, but its way anywhere is basically like the chinese version of Amazon, like it looks like Amazon, but it's all chinese products and What is mine lowing about it is just how cheap everything is. Its very dollar storage and Ali Express has a listing for The watch, the one that is getting sold on all these differ. Websites under all these, front names. It is for sale on Ali Express for under six box,
and Jenny made one last big discovery, which is that all of these dodgy websites, Regent incur so in co. All of them are being using the same platform, this platform called shop. A fine, I don't know it's obvious shopper. Fires, basically like word press for online stores. Just has a bunch of tools. They make it really easy to set up a store online, how they visit very easy to do, and people like. How big is this like? How widespread is this scheme? That's exactly what I wanted to know and I actually found someone who's been into this so shortly after Jenny published her findings. Alexis Madrigal, whose rapporteur for the Atlantic fell for basically the same scheme he was on. Instagram saw a camel hair coat that he liked it was very cheap. He ordered it and then about four or five weeks later he got this black plastic bag in the mail and then what I behold, the actual like code out, like so synthetic
like the material with, like literally nothing that you can purchase in the United States of America that I have seen that could be like refined, intellect gasoline or diesel baby. It was, but a petroleum products been very clearly. So Alexis starts digging and he finds Olive Jenny's research and then he makes a discovery find a how to video, which teaches you how to rip off people like him what is of everybody in this video, I'm gonna, be shown you guys, step by step, how to build and start your very own shop. Why store kidney boy Ganem on Youtube, quickly lays out a kind of like tremor Youtube how this is actually done I'm so british particular store we're going to be making a man's watched or through Nikolay Stuart Man's. Watching. Create your store so and in this video
worry, is using watches, just as an example like he says that you can sell any products you one and he explained, easy. It is to set up using shop of ice templates, and so team that we found is broken, seem to click on the Brooklyn team and he had had built into it. But you ve turned out onto it that blood you suck in item Molly Express ends, shoes for products I express the weakest are adding to restore. So I like to look at these one going out to the emperor list so already has to do. Is press import and it pulls images of the item, a description of the item he sets his price. However much he wants to market up and he's all done. So, as we can see, our store is looking pretty well literally to tat mandates And so now, when you place in order, it worries, watch store he turns around and places in order at Alley Express.
Has the watch shipped directly to you, so you only paid two dollars for this watch someone's just bought it for forty Always it's early middle men have always been around, but these people don't over merchandise. They don't do anything biggest built a friend and for somebody else's calcite he's got to do something that happens on the internet, all the times called drop shipping and a lot of stuff that you buy even on things like Amazon is dropped shipped, but when people talk about dropped, shippers they're talking about these less than reputable folks their work without express- and there are a lot of them- the thing that I think really kind of blue my mind. If there's a tool called a parallel, that's the thing that allows them to sack products directly. On the site out back and they claim that eighty five million items have been processed through that system. So we're talking about hundreds of thousands of websites where all people are doing
is reselling cheap goods from China as fancy goods colonel I got this evil is less mako right because no up front and back you carry no inventory. All you have to do is get people to see that's got. This is really the essence of how Digital Commerce give minus caring about the product, knowing what the product is taking on any risk yourself or any of the other things we associate with business. So I think I see a thing that I do not know what to make of is like, like this definitely sounds scare me to me But like, on the other hand, where's hermes, so, just like retail fashion, we find out what seems to be trendy find a product that caters to people's interest in that trend. Use the power of advertising to locate those people and pitch to them and then sell a by product. None of that sounds like
it was you think. I'd capitalism is inherently a scammer, doesn't like a scam, and yet the lake. There does Univee something and Arabs thank you for this germ saying yes or no, to saying- and I thought the best people to ask would be the drop shippers and sells after the break. We meet a bunch of drop shippers revealed to us all their cigarettes
This episode is brought to you by better for it a new podcast from eighty p hosted by Francesca Ramsay. We all make mistakes.
Better, for it looks at how mistakes have shaped the lives and careers of visionaries and business leaders and helps them think differently about what their working forty you'll hear from an entrepreneur who ventured out on his, and so I went out. I took seven hundred dollars. I had in the bank, but my own pickup truck took some flyers business cards in a week later I had a business and H our role breaker, whose learned why we all care about work in the first place. You wanted to proud of the work that you do. You want to be able to tell your friends about. You ought to be able to feel like you're, making a difference. You'll hear how they work their way through their mistakes and came out better for listen on Spotify or wherever you get your pockets, This episode is brought to you by all sauna, picture this a worldwide We spend less time juggling email meetings and status updates and, more time doing the work that matters. The most your team, that's the one
the sun was built or create. A saga is an app designed to help teams plan, organise and execute all the work they do together its built to give teams Clare so you can all understand your goals and how to achieve them together, and whatever your next project is a sonnet can help reduce the busy work that waste your time from small companies to global enterprises. More than a million teams across a hundred and ninety five countries get work done with Sata, learn more Try us for free visit, assign a dot com to get started. That's a S day, dot com. Well go back to the show so Peter. I talked to a bunch of drop shippers and basically asked them like her, you cool with like what you do for money and most of them said to me like look. This is just how everything works in retail people buy something cheap, they mark it up there
sell it? Ok, but while I was talking to them, I stumbled on something that I think is much more interesting. As I drove in the world of dropped shipping, it started to feel like all the customers getting suckered indecision. Ten dollars on a six dollar watch her whenever that money was not the point, they were just the visible part of a much bigger swindle. So what's the bigger swindle well to explain what I'm talking about I'm going to introduce to you three different raptures of the first one is a personal called Kevin. That's not his real name and he's like I'd drop it rock he says that he super successful and I asked him to explain how he does it. Ok. So, for example, he started a store online that caters too, like goths and steam punk vans.
And the first thing he does for like any store is just. He tries to figure out what his target audiences into. If I've done a researcher thoroughly than I should have a pretty good idea. What type of flying people are saying? What about languages they use like? I try to name my products filling the product and seeks to them, for example, about like a black watch. I wouldn't just call it a black water. Add call it like the mechanic or something like that, and then one of the theme park met my belief that looks pretty cool rather than get watch now the mechanic re right. I mean this does not sound like rocket science, but according the Kevin being dropped, shipping is just being really good at doing this. Finding a cheap good product and finding a market for it before anybody else does
and for someone like Heaven, the goal is to become so good that you make it into this group of elite dropped shippers who are all over Youtube bragging about how rich that gun we finally rob Alomar awhile Autograph, Why must you, my colleague, less than does the guy bragging about his Bmw's programmes. Guys. Cars talk a little bit about what you could get burned. Is given on everyone. Coming you hear from Hollywood like an entrepreneur party and a lot of these dropped. Shipping high rollers also teach classes on how to draw option Some are online, but, like the top of the range is this,
in person seminar in Bali, where you go to a drop shipping retreat that cause five thousand dollars? Five thousand dollars, man, ok and according to Kevin five thousand dollars is like really just the beginning. If you want to learn how to make a lot of money, I've been to higher level mastermind with interventions that I've taken courses, I've got one and one coach, I paid over. Fifty thousand dollars left you, while you PETE Flower, a thousand dollars to fur for seminars on how to learn this doubts been over that has been over that amount, so that there is a staggering amount of money to spend on dropping courses. But he says that it was a great investment because, according to him, he's made something like million dollars on dropping, and he says there since he made all that money. People started coming to him, asking for advice on how to do it themselves. Soap, almost an act of generosity. He created his own,
dropped. Shipping curriculum what's happening, guys didn't wanna talk bout, a simple up cell strategy, let's operate into it here. This is a videos are free, but if you want a real good stuff, you can join his private online community, so there can be a private flak community, but on a few monthly by training and Up Yoda bonuses up like that for fifty dollars ok just point out that lake generally speaking in the entire history of the world, when people feel always too easily make money, they didn't turn around intolerably outside their like the top trader. Goldman Sachs isn't like those of a Youtube
are there like, hey. Here's would start to pick this morning. It just seems possible that cabin would benefit from a minimum, exaggerating how much money is making online yeah. It does seem to be possible- and I didn't want to just take heavens word- that these courses were really helping people. So the next person I talk to you is this kind of Youssef who gave me a completely different picture of. What's going on use of his this kid he's in his twenties, he lives in Virginia and when he was in college, he got totally sold on the idea drop shipping. I someone that took the advice from these quota cool entrepreneurs, and it was that advice, but actually lead to dropping out of school before had any success, and I ended up sleeping on a couch sounds like things were pretty rough. Farewell! Oh yeah, I was making a Buick sprinkles rivulet two hundred dollars a month here and then maybe not
the next month, the next three hundred their use. If was running into all of these problems that the videos totally didn't prepare for, and he said if I got for a lot of young people again think about it, I think I'm at a nineteen year old watch drop should be videos on Youtube. Glucose. Sweden is a better. He copy and paste some flannels from early expressed a goop without technically have a store in business, but when things takes thirty forty days fifty days to arrive and he's getting tunnel chargebacks from Paypal credit card companies from the banks, Yes, you have said that he had to deal with angry customers all the time. People who wanted to return items and these chinese warehouses work greater. Taking return. So a lot of times he'd have to eat the cost of the refund, and even then just maintaining his sight took a tunnel.
Less tech savvy than use if and she's had a terrible time of drop shipping she's barely had any sales at all have done to sell so far since, as that it should be functional, and how long was that that was last year, I would love to make full time income with an online devilish literally. I think every human to ask but want that. So, if you think it's not gonna be competitive, then you are unfortunately is taken and I think all the other channels are like all. You just need to work hard and it's gonna work itself out. But of course, of course, but eventually use have got to a point where he wasn't sleeping on a couch anymore. He was actually. Making sales, but it wasn't like drops shipping- was easy money. It was actually a lot more just like a hard job, and the more that I talk to people in the drop shipping world, the more I felt like use of sexually The lucky ones like I went through the drop ship sub, read it and there, Sir,
Gus. Seventy thirty split between people saying like I'm ready to quit this, are my stores failing or is dropped shipping dead and then dropped shipping gurus telling them like you just have to work harder soda for us, and it is depressing- and I talked to him people who are really struggling earnings, Leah, she's, inner forty. She lives in Berlin, she's, less tech, savvy than use. If and she's had a terrible time of drop shipping she's barely had any sales at all. I've done to sell some it seems to us that it should be financial, and how long was that those last year to last year, around March April, MIKE that so little yeah, that's nothing! That's nothing! Little! I've been doing everything even got something back on solid and do the shop saying that, maybe I should change isn't bad and they did it
the changes. So at this point, have you paid more than you actually earned nurse? I think I've spent more three thousand already saw yeah, oh my god that so much it's a lot talking to me. I felt really bad She had spent so much money on this shop. If I store- and she told me that She could quit anytime. She wanted, but she'd invested so much into it already maybe good turn it around if she just spend a little more and that's what videos were telling him to do. I'm curious, like do you believe everybody else who says that their successful there? That's still my question because a greedy locked annoying to understand what they do, how they do it. What is it that I'm not doing it? just be exaggerating idea. I have no idea
Look at their mental. Just ask myself: how do they do it? After talking to a bunch of drop shippers, I still can't tell if anyone is truly making a full time salary after operating alone. The only thing that is clear to me is that, like the big money and drop, shipping seems to be in teaching people that there's. Money and dropping right, I guess the one person who we know is actually making money doing drop. Shipping is useless. Well, there's one thing I left out about use: if these days he's not just making money through dropping he's been selling something else online too what's pop in people in this video we're gonna go over the top five measures for two thousand eighty based over two hundred bucks. You can get access the use of diamond e commerce course. He says that, unlike all the other garbage out there. His classes teaching
really takes to become a successful drops March first model of telling my course it did twenty thousand out, unlike drop shipping, there's no orders to fulfil. A customer complains there's no people yelling at me in Germany. And I'm going to show you every step of I'm going to show you how I feel the instagram I'm going to show you how I market on Instagram, I'm going to show you how I build like my facebook imma show you how to do twitter marketing, I'm going to show you how I work with influencers Special thanks this week to Alexis Madrigal. We found this story through reporting in the Atlantic, and we put a link to Tori. In our shown. It.
Reply always has to buy PDA vote and me how its Goldman are shows produced by five thousand in any and eighty Damietta Benin, Damiano and Caitlin Roberts WAR production held this week from Christa Ripple and Elizabeth Kulas. Editors are TIM Howard and Sarah Harrison backtracking, Michel Harris are in turn is Devon. Gwynn. We were mixed by required theme, song is by the mysterious brig master cylinder. Additional music this week from Bobby Lord special thanks to actually Wilson madly is listening to the radio and hearing that song. You heard sampled a million times, but you never knew the name reply all looking for a summer enter. If you are interested you can apply. I M a media, dot com, slash careers and we'll so put a link to the listing inertia. You can visit our website reply, all got diamonds, you can find representing the show and Spotify Apple podcast.
Or wherever you as things are listening, we ll see in a couple is that a brooding bar I'm glad you're eating, but I'm still unclear rear. Keeping these things Yazzi again, that's not really an answer. Just makes me think. Maybe I don't want to know, you have to find some internet we need Starbucks Parking Lot planet, When we press the left battle and spell decaf the piano Bartle made us coffee, maybe There is no garbage up, they are, moreover, you wanna join
I'll, be back you just. Enjoy your snack, my god. What year is it hell? I'm like free site is plenty got, is boring or about the air like Jello in everyday moves like he's internal action against, even though they may be their leader family back they're waiting for the council under the dude although vines and berries or something I don't eat. I just remembered, The box is giving me weird failings.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-13.