Wish App, an e-commerce site has become infamously known across the Internet. The platform has gained popularity for its odd listings and too-good-to-be-true prices. But does the Internet really know what goes on behind the scenes in order to provide a $15 smartphone?
Wish App was founded in 2010 by Piotr Szulczewsk, and Danny Zhang. The company is based in San Francisco, United States. The peculiar platform can be accessed worldwide, and roughly 95% of the marketplace sellers it hosts are located in China. The company initially began as an app in which users would create “Wish Lists” for desired products. Wish would then direct the users to merchants. However, in 2013, Wish became an e-commerce site, asking the merchants to host products directly on the site. It is now very similar to its leading competitors: Amazon and Alibaba.
A huge aspect of the Wish App that has garnered attention is its use of advertisements. With hamster leashes and phallic objects plastered all over social media, no wonder people check Wish out. Why are they so weird? One primary reason is Facebook and its algorithms.
Facebook’s algorithm seems to favor peculiar and disturbing items. This is due to the idea that the stranger the item, the more curiosity begins to spike in a consumer, resulting in them clicking the ad, thus directing them to Wish. A recent Facebook development allows for the entire Wish marketplace to be uploaded to Facebook. So, rather than Facebook advertising car accessories to people who like cars, and dog food to those with dogs, Facebook shows everyone…anything. And the more people click on a certain ad, the more it will be spread.
The Wish App also requires one to create an account on the website before having the ability to view its items. Once you’ve done so, Wish has access to your email, IP address, and other information, allowing for further advertising.
Once you’ve entered the site, you’ll see that the products are noticeably cheap. Wish sells wedding dresses, bikes, computers, and more for under $100. But how is this possible? Unlike Amazon, the company does not have brick-and-mortar stores or warehouses where the products are held. Therefore, Wish App does not have the need to hire factory workers itself, and leaves the creation and shipment almost entirely up to the manufacturers. This is not the only reason Wish is so cheap, in fact, it gets pretty dark.
In China, labor laws do exist, one of the laws being the fact that one must be 16 in order to be employed. However, with the increasing need for mass production in the country, this law is often overlooked by factories. An appalling number of children work extreme hours with very little pay. They are baited with promises of money for family, school, and food.
Unfortunately, even with exhausting days and working through the night, they receive so little that the promises are rarely fulfilled. It has been estimated that roughly 10 million children (ages between five and fourteen) across China work in these factories, working up to 16 hours a day. The working conditions are so poor, that hundreds of children end up dying from fumes and chemicals. If they survive, they are often left with a multitude of physical and mental damages including the loss of limbs, eyesight, and lung diseases. So much to endure for wages of $1 a day, or less.
All of this for what? The majority of items from Wish have such poor quality they are often returned or tossed out. If one was pleased with what they purchased, they would be one of the lucky few. According to Highya.com, Wish App has barely a two-star rating with over 900 reviews. The reviews claim the e-commerce site is a “scam” with “repulsive customer service.”
Wish App has come under fire for its scam-like business model and false advertising. A common criticism of the Wish App is its thievery. This includes massive amounts of counterfeit goods. The manufacturers will steal images, claim they sell those for a large discount, and the item arrives broken and full of illegal chemicals. The act of selling counterfeit goods is illegal in many locations, but due to the laws in China, it is very difficult to press charges against the companies. And Wish avoids being to blame, as it is simply a “marketplace.”
The act of purchasing from the Wish App unfortunately supports the selling of counterfeit goods and encourages the companies to continue with child labor and strenuous hours. Due to this, many social media influencers have been bombarded by negative feedback and disapproval by their fans for promoting the application. Let this be a reminder that not everything is as good as it seems.