How Auschwitz Christmas Ornaments Ended Up for Sale on Amazon

Wired | 12/2/2019 | Staff
chicana948chicana948 (Posted by) Level 3
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James Thomson, a former Amazon employee and partner at Buy Box Experts, a firm that consults with Amazon sellers, says the company does do some automatic screening before items go up for sale. “If you have certain words in your listings, Amazon will find them right away,” he says, like weapons or drugs. But humans don’t manually review each product, and plenty of goods that violate Amazon’s policies fall through the cracks.

What’s less understood is how offensive items are created and listed in the first place. Some are almost certainly the work of sellers intentionally pushing hateful or racist ideologies, whether to spread those ideas or to make a buck (or both).

Listings - Byproduct - Ecommerce - Landscape - World

But many of these listings are likely the unfortunate byproduct of an increasingly automated ecommerce landscape. In this world, sellers attempt to make a profit by offering vast quantities of easily customizable items to fill every consumer niche imaginable. A merchant, for example, might flood the market with thousands of posters featuring different and sometimes incredibly obscure inspirational quotes, in the hopes that some pay off.

Two of the Amazon merchants who sold Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments, Hqiyaols Ornament and Fcheng, are still active sellers on the platform. Both currently offer a seemingly endless array of other ornaments with images from around the world, including a church in Spain, a picturesque house in Nuremberg, Germany, and a colorful wat in Cambodia. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to why one location was chosen over another, and almost none of the ornaments have a single review.

Ornaments - Someone - Sellers - Ecommerce - Net

That’s because the ornaments likely don’t exist until someone buys one. The sellers behind them have created an enormous ecommerce net of sorts, designed to catch that one person from Cumberland, Kentucky looking for a hometown-themed Christmas ornament when they log onto Amazon. When...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Wired
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