Some thoughts inspried by a nice article today by Dangerous Lily (possibly NSFW, depending upon where you W), which reminded me of a slightly older piece on Daily Dot.
There are lots of reasons not to want to buy from Amazon, which I'd link to if it weren't Sunday morning and I weren't so lazy. (And if I weren't so hypocritical.) But one reason that has bothered me more and more lately is piracy. My sense is that the stuff that Amazon itself sells is generally unlikely to be pirated—though I had an experience with a replacement battery for a cell phone that left me wondering—but Amazon seems to exercise almost no control over the sellers on its "marketplace". I have seen quite a few reports from retailers who have tried to get Amazon to pull counterfeit versions of their products, only to be told that they need to order the product first to confirm that it isn't authentic. Never mind that it is being sold in colors they don't actually make!
Nowhere does this problem seem to be worse than with sex toys. The Magic Wand (no longer the "Hitachi" Magic Wand) is counterfeited so often that their FAQ includes a question about how to tell a real one. The problem seems to be worst with 'high-end' sex toys, which isn't surprising, given the room that's available to "discount" a $125 vibrator. It doesn't take much time looking around on Amazon to find these sorts of "deals".
But seriously: If we're going to be putting these near our sensitive bits, do we really want to be using cheaply made knock-offs? I don't think so! The lack of a warranty is hardly the point. Besides, there are so many great progressive, sex-positive, often women-owned companies on the web to do business with instead, like Babeland, Good Vibrations, and She Vibe (in the US). And if you live in a decent sized city, there's probably some local store with real people you could support. For my homies: Boston's got a Good Vibrations off Harvard Street in Brookline; Providence has the quirky little independent store Mister Sister Erotica on Wickenden Street (which you really should check out if you're in this part of the world).