opening remarks

Introducing the Strategist

Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images

Welcome to the Strategist, a new site for helping you shop the internet. It is edited by people (not robots), and is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Most online shopping advice comes in the form of not particularly helpful roundups and slideshows. Our hope is to find the stuff out there that is actually worth buying — products that are really good and that we fully believe in.

The Strategist takes its name from a section of New York Magazine dedicated to helping you navigate shopping (and life) intelligently. For over a decade, it has offered practical, urban-minded guides on subjects ranging from cheese to lightbulbs. And in fact, New York Magazine editors have been helping readers shop for almost 50 years. In 1968, the magazine launched with a feature called Best Bets, which quickly became the most authoritative shopping guide in the city (we were early on the Boob Toob).

For the past six months, Strategist editors have been working behind the scenes to figure out how to translate this savvy to shopping online, an activity that has never been more overwhelmingly difficult nor shockingly easy — a strange combination that can plunge you either 70 pages deep into a comments thread about a pair of socks on Amazon, or leave you with a closet full of unopened boxes of gardening tools and wirelessly operated heated insoles. Our team still roams the streets (and Japanese airports) looking for the latest finds, but we’re also not above poking around in obscure Reddit threads for the best foot exfoliator, while harnessing all the experts in our stable: We know whom to ask when we want to find out who makes the best sheets, or beach umbrella, or dog-stink-cleaner-upper. Think of us as your shopaholic friend who cares equally about function, value, innovation, and the often overlooked fact that some of us would like a pair of earplugs that don’t look hideous.

Our guiding principles are to be trustworthy and persuasive about what is worth spending your money on. If you purchase something through our links, we often earn an affiliate commission, but we will not recommend anything we don’t fully stand behind. We hope we will answer your most basic questions — like, say, what is the best white T-shirt — and turn you on to some weird but delightful things (like a wall-mounted fishless fishbowl) you never knew you wanted. We also love a deal — and will be dutifully monitoring online sales to find the ones that you should pay attention to. We’re still in a beta stage, trying to figure out where exactly to deploy our strategic advice. Are you looking for a new pancake griddle? Wireless headphones? A really great pair of long underwear? Let us know in the comments thread below, and we’ll start hunting.

Introducing the Strategist