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From Consumer Reports to Wirecutter, recommendation sites are ruling our shopping habits

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We Are / Digital Vision
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Gone are the days when we’d browse a local store if we needed a new air purifier or oven mitt. Now, many people don’t dare make a purchase without first Googling “best kitchen mixer” and browsing lists of top-tens on recommendation sites.

How did these sites come to dominate our shopping carts? And if you’re not a fan of that humidifier you got off a top-ten list, are there other ways to shop?


  • Inger Stole is a professor emerita at the University of Illinois
  • Michael Zhao was the first employee and a former deputy editor at Wirecutter
  • Mark Frauenfelder is a co-editor of Recomendo

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Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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Carolyn McCusker helps produce The Colin McEnroe Show. She loves making true radio stories and listening to fake ones. In the past, she’s worked for NPR and WNYC, and she’s glad to be back at CT Public after interning in 2019. Carolyn can be reached at cmccusker@ctpublic.org.