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Monday, August 7, 2023


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How TIMES staffers get rid of grime by digging up dirt in the name of saving us money. 

Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Journalists there claim they combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, they insist they’ll help you get it right (the first time). 

Wirecutter’s mission is to recommend what really matters. Each year, staffers claim they independently test and review thousands of products to help you find just what you need. 

Goal is to save you time and eliminate the stress of shopping, whether you’re looking for everyday gear or gifts for loved ones. 

Eager to please, Wirecutter staffers strive to be the most trusted product recommendation service around, and back that with a strong ethic: "we work with total editorial independence. We won’t post a recommendation unless our writers and editors have deemed something the best through rigorous reporting and testing."  

Wirecutter was founded in September 2011 and acquired by The New York Times Company in October 2016. WC earns money through subscriptions and various affiliate marketing programs. That means WC may get paid commissions on products purchased through our links to retailer sites. 

Here's another promise: "However, we recommend products based on our independent research, analysis, interviews, and testing. There’s no incentive for us to pick inferior products or to respond to pressure from manufacturers—in fact, it’s quite the opposite. If a reader returns their purchase because they’re dissatisfied or the recommendation is bad, we make no affiliate commission. We think that’s a pretty fair system that keeps us committed to serving our readers first. And of course, the decisions we make regarding the products we feature on our site are always driven by editorial and product testing standards, not by affiliate deals or advertising relationships."

Wirecutter claims its reviews take weeks or months of research and years of experience. “In addition to relying on our own expertise, we gather interviews and data from the best sources around, including engineers, scientists, designers, and innumerable subject-matter experts, ranging from barbers to cat café staff (and residents) to cornhole champions” 

Research is keen. WC says it pores over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the things WC is assessing. In a world where overpriced, top-of-the-line models loaded with junk features are often seen as the gold standard, they aim to recommend high-quality things that warrant their price and don’t push extra features you’ll rarely use. 

In February 2020, WC vetted the performance of more than 40 pairs of chopsticks on a variety of foods, including pot stickers, rice noodles, bok choy, soft tofu, and, of course, Cheetos. “Our process is often fascinating and fun (imagine creating an obstacle course for robot vacuums, say, or setting a room ablaze to test fireproof safes). And we apply our assiduous approach and next-level research skills to more than 1,000 product categories, including washing machines, TVs, artificial Christmas trees, bath towels, nonstick pans, soundbars, storage bins, office chairs, headlamps, sewing machines, mattresses, wine glasses, air purifiers, space heaters, treadmills, iPhone cases, adult toys, Wi-Fi routers, carry-on suitcases, cloth face masks, and, yes, actual wire cutters. In everything we do, we endeavor to make finding the best stuff—and knowing what stuff isn’t worth buying—quick, easy, and transparent, so you can get on with living your life,” says a Wirecutter staffer. 

Another promise obtained from Wirecutter website: "What we review are the same things we choose for ourselves and recommend to our family and friends. If we recommend that you spend your hard-earned money on something, we take it as seriously as if our own money were on the line. The most important thing to us is reader trust. If we were to recommend something due to bias or laziness, readers wouldn’t support our work. We also invite readers to fact-check our pieces, which carefully outline the time, logic, and energy we spent researching, interviewing experts, and testing gear. Often, this takes dozens—sometimes even hundreds—of hours. Each guide plainly lays out all the evidence for how we made our picks so you can judge for yourself. Reach out to let us know if you need advice in figuring out a particular shopping challenge. Our staff—made of smart and curious people who love to investigate reader questions—will do their best to help. 

"Yes, I Work at Wirecutter. No, We Don’t Get a Bunch of Free Stuff."





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