How Wish built (and groped) a dollar store for the Internet

Consumers have complained to the Better Business Bureau about Wish products that never came or were unrecognizable when they arrived. France, one of Wish’s largest markets, ordered search engines and mobile app stores last fall to remove the company from their online listings, citing the presence of dangerous devices and other products. Merchants on Wish sued companies such as Peanuts Worldwide, which owns characters from the popular comic book, and claimed trademark infringement and counterfeiting.

Female buyers complained that they were shown ads for products designed for male genitals. Ads showing an animated penis appeared on apps that could appeal to children, including a game called Crazy Cake Swap. These ads were scrutinized by British advertising regulators, as were ads promising unfounded discounts of up to 98 percent on sneakers, as well as ads with a baby̵[ads1]7;s bare bottom and a woman in a corset with her breasts partially exposed.

“It’s a strategy that’s more like spam than actually trying to reach a target market,” Mx. in Grygiel. (Wish said they tightened ad controls, marketed only products from top-ranked sellers, and filtered out inappropriate ads.)

Nevertheless, Wish, which is run by a parent company called ContextLogic, did well early in the pandemic, as residential mandates stifled competition from physical retailers. But last year, as customers ventured out more and became less involved in Wish, digital advertising also became more expensive, prompting the company to reduce its costs. (It said it planned to increase the pace this summer.)

Pressure also built internally at Wish for years.

Managers were constantly moved around – like chess pieces, said one employee – which resulted in high turnover among workers who were tired of the upheaval. Many employees complained that the company was not equipped to handle the orders that flowed in early in the pandemic, and colleagues burned out during the intense stress and the long hours.

Employees said peers were often ignored or forced to wait after raising concerns about quality control issues, such as the lack of standardized product sizes for salespeople. Entries of weapons and other illegal products were often not removed, they said. There were also not many misleading entries, such as one that seemed to offer a $ 1 refrigerator, but actually sold the magnets shown in the picture of the appliance.

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