I love product sourcing (frustrating as it is sometimes) and I’m sure you will be relieved to know that even I, after seven years of doing it, sometimes still end up chasing my tail for that illusive product that I just cannot find at the best price.

I encountered a product just like this, this week actually and I spent a good few hours to-ing and fro-ing on it before I had to admit defeat, throw in the towel and move on to the next possible product. It was very frustrating, but it’s all part of the job – and it’s actually very important for you to realise and understand that there will be times when a product is simply not viable and so instead of stubbornly trying to get the better of it, you should retreat and try something else. There’s no shame in that!

How to spot a scam website

So, on that theme and because it’s been at the forefront of my mind as I’ve been researching and sourcing, this week I want to give you a few tips about avoiding scam websites when you are on a mission to get new products.

I know this is something that can be worrying – and of course that is natural, particularly if you are new to all this and you are unsure how to separate the genuine guys from the online scamsters when it comes to wholesalers and suppliers.

Now, I am certain you will have heard the saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?” Well, that’s the phrase you need to remember when you get stuck in to your researching and sourcing. For example, I’m sure you’ve come across advertisements online for things like ‘wholesale lists’ for sale. These are advertised all over the web, you’ll find them predominantly on eBay and Google Adwords and they are simply lists of websites in varying niches that supposedly offer cheap wholesale products for purchase.

You’ll find that most wholesale lists usually sell at a very low price – 1p or 99p on eBay – and cover every niche imaginable! It’s because of this low cost that buyers tend to go ahead and purchase these lists – think about it – how many people are really fussed about spending 1p or 99p on something? Unfortunately many purchasers believe that the answer to their product sourcing prayers is really that easy and that cheap!

I’m afraid it’s not.

I don’t mind admitting that a few years ago, when I was young(er) and very naïve, I purchased more than my share of these wholesale lists and I was always bitterly disappointed. Most, if not all, provided only one or two real, up to date wholesale sources. The rest of the information consisted of broken links, useless information and companies that simply didn’t exist.

You need to be aware that most sellers of wholesale lists make some totally unrealistic claims. Usually it’s along the lines of telling you that they have hundreds of ‘really, really secret, underground wholesale suppliers’ who can supply you with goods at way below retail price – but in reality you just get a list of companies who happen to stock that particular product that the seller has found with a few mouse clicks on the internet. There’s no research into those products, no profitability calculations so they may not even be viable and there is certainly no come-back if you are unhappy with the list you have purchased.

Besides, if you were in possession of a bunch of spectacular wholesalers, would you really be prepared to give them away for just 99p? I don’t think so.

But from a buyers’ point of view, would you actually complain if you’d only spent 1p or 99p to get the list in the first place. No probably not, because in your heart of hearts you already knew before you pressed ‘Buy Now’ that you would end up with a load of rubbish. It’s just that little niggle that this ‘list’ could be ‘the one’ that makes you go ahead.

So, my advice on wholesale lists would be simply ‘don’t go there!’ You’ll be disappointed, trust me.

You should always stick to suppliers that you know are genuine and that you have completed your own due diligence on, In short, stick to supplier information that you know has come from a reliable source and from someone who knows what they are doing! You must check out potential suppliers – particularly international suppliers – as thoroughly as you can before placing any orders.

And that rather neatly brings me on to this great tool that I want to share with you today, which will help you with your due diligence. It’s called Scam Adviser and you can access it here: http://www.scamadviser.com

This is a free service that allows you to input the name of a website – so is particularly useful for looking up wholesale supplier websites like I’ve just been talking about – and it will return it’s findings, which are, I must add, very detailed and will tell you whether the site is deemed to be safe or not.

I must stress that this is not the only check you should carry out when you are looking into suppliers, but combined with further investigations, it is one step that is worth taking. I’ve used it several times this week to check wholesale websites with some pretty scary results! Results that would actually have been even more scary if I hadn’t seen them and had just gone ahead and ordered from the first website I found online!

For example, I input the web address for www.bestukmall.co.uk which I had come across on my sourcing travels. The site was fully populated with a good selection of products, the prices were in sterling and seemed very reasonable BUT to my practiced eye I pretty much knew even before I got the results from Scam Adviser that this was going to be a dodgy site (because I have never come across this site before EVER, so I reckoned it must be new, plus the ‘Contact’ page offers only minimal information – not a good sign when it’s a Chinese wholesaler).

The results from Scam, Adviser sadly confirmed my fears – showing that the website has actually only been active for 193 days and the origin is the USA although it is operating from China. Scam Adviser also informed me that the life of the website was not expected to be very long!

There were plenty of other alerts – too many to list here but which you can see for yourself if you go to http://www.scamadviser.com and type ‘www.bestukmall.co.uk’ into the search bar…

The great thing is that this works both ways though! This website that I also checked out this week was deemed ‘safe’ by Scam Adviser: http://www.sourcinggate.com – with the results showing that it has been around for 5 years and 70 days, and has a good online trust rating. Take a look yourself to see the difference in the results!

So, you see, even a pro like me relies on a variety of checks before I am certain that a wholesale website is safe to interact with. Don’t forget this yourself and I urge you to check out Scam Adviser if you are at all in doubt.