Livestreamers should stick to what they know
China Daily

LI JIAQI, A LIVESTREAMING ANCHOR, has been in the spotlight after he recommended a particular seller of crabs to his followers in a livestreaming activity in September. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:


Photo: VCG

According to a report by Beijing News, the majority of the comments the recommended crab provider received were negative, with many who bought the crabs on Li's recommendation complaining the crabs were of very bad quality.

Li said that the crabs he recommended are from Yangcheng Lake, which is known throughout the country for its crabs. Yet when the reporter of Beijing News asked the retailer about the crabs it was selling, the reply was they are "of fine quality" but there was no mention of "Yangcheng Lake". Obviously, Li misrepresented the facts.

This is not the first time that Li has faced such a backlash. Earlier this month, Li recommended a nonstick pan in his livestreams, but when his assistant tried to cook eggs in it, the eggs stuck to the pan.

Nor is Li the only livestreamer who has embarrassed himself promoting poor quality products. An online search of "livestreamer" "exaggerating products" will return as many as 100 pages of reports.

The key problem is the business model adopted by livestreamers. The most popular model involves a livestreamer accumulating a large number of followers via his/her performance, getting commercial sponsors, then recommending the products of these companies.

In this way, the livestreamer provides an advertising platform for companies. However, a livestreamer should not be viewed as a media outlet. The livestreamers are individuals, and it is unreasonable to expect them to be like media outlets which have staff that can check the quality of products and decide how to make the best advertisements without making exaggerated claims.

That's why many livestreamers are good at recommending one kind of products but really bad when stepping outside their professional field. For example, Li was good at recommending lipsticks, but when he turned to nonstick pans and crabs, he had problems.

Maybe livestreamers can learn a lesson from Li. It is time they concentrated on the fields they know, rather than recommending products that they are not familiar with.