Alibaba Review 2017

Is Alibaba a scam website? This is a question that is likely to be on anyones mind upon first visit to the site. And its understandable- as the worlds largest B2B/B2C eCommerce platform, just navigating through the site can be overwhelming. Plus theres also the fact that most of the sellers on Alibaba come from China- a country which unfortunately has a reputation of being fraud-prone.

The Real Question
But NO- Alibaba, as a whole, is absolutely not a scam. Its immense popularity is a huge evidence of that. The question Is Alibaba a scam website? is actually kind of incorrect. Do take note that Alibaba is pretty similar to how eBay works, in the sense that it merely acts as a platform for third-party manufacturers and retailers to sell their wares.
The whole platform is not a scam- but the sellers can be. Here are a few methods to avoid transacting with scammy sellers on Alibaba:

#1. Avoid Free Account Members Like the Plague
As much as possible, dont do business with free members. Limiting your options to people who have a Gold Supplier status pretty much filters out most of the scammy sellers. The reason for this is that being a Gold Supplier means having to shell out money for the designation (a Gold Supplier status costs thousands of dollars) and having Alibaba physically inspect the factory/store site. Scammers usually wouldnt go these great lengths just to scam people off their money.

#2. Dont Buy Anything Branded
No, that Samsung phone you saw might be priced cheaper than what you can get in real-life electronics stores, but theres a huge chance that its also a counterfeit unit. There are no big brands that are naive enough to sell their products on eCommerce platforms like Alibaba, and if they do, the minimum order would be for hundreds or thousands of units.

#3. Look at the Companys Profile
If youll be buying a lot of products in bulk, make sure that you get as much information as you can about the supplier/manufacturers background. You can check if the manufacturer has a Quality Management System (ISO9001) in place for quality assurance along with other certifications and standards that are industry-specific to the product youre ordering. These information can accessed at the Company Profile page (which may or may not be verified by Alibaba).

#4. Check if the Company Has Long Been in Business
As a rule of thumb, the longer a company has been in business, the more that you can trust it. Illegitimate and scammy sellers are often banned as soon as they are identified.

#5. Make Sure that Payment Options are Traceable
If the seller is asking for payment through Western Union or direct bank transfer, then its a huge red flag. These payment methods cant be traced so the scammer cant be identified; a more acceptable payment option would be Paypal, since the service allows buyers to immediately reverse transactions.
Note: The rules above are not set in stone- there might be long time scammers on the platform who look like legitimate sellers at first glance. Due diligence is required to avoid getting scammed on Alibaba. If you feel that theres something not right about that seller youre transacting with, then follow your instincts and stop the transaction immediately.