The Balance Commerce Editorial Guidelines & Mission
We’re a team of experienced writers and editors who obsessively scour the retail landscape (both online and off) to find the best products for your life. Besides being experts in our fields, having worked for brands like Amazon, Ebay, and Time — we’re consumers too — and we personally have a passion for products and services that make your life easier.
It is our mission to help our users make the best purchase decisions — it’s that simple. The internet offers endless consumer choice with millions of products at your fingertips. To be honest, it can be more than a little overwhelming and time-consuming to sort through all the options. That’s where we come in. We streamline the research process so you can find what you’re looking for — quickly and reliably.
What We Do
We exhaustively research and recommend a broad range of products and ultimately make a curated list of recommendations from writers with subject-matter expertise in every product category we cover. We do receive an affiliate commission on some, but not all, of the products that we recommend if you decide to click through to the retailer site and make a purchase.
After we publish an article, we don’t just forget about it. Our team is relentless when it comes to updating and keeping our existing recommendations fresh, accurate, and helpful. We have our fingers on the pulse when it comes to the latest product and services, from wallets to insurance policies and more. Our recommended products run the gamut from budget to splurge-worthy, and we’re not loyal to any one specific retailer or brand. We make it a point to source recommendations from reliable companies who deliver exemplary customer service, so you can have a seamless shopping experience.
We also know how frustrating it can be to do your research on a product only to add it to your cart and see that it’s out of stock, so we try to mitigate this by having dedicated editors check availability daily to provide you with the best user experience possible.
Why You Should Trust Us
The product recommendations from The Balance are purely editorial. Our team never takes free samples for reviews nor lets retailers, public relations firms, or salespeople dictate our content and product coverage. Instead, we do the heavy lifting ourselves by tapping into our network of experts and testers to help you make smarter purchases — and to avoid that dreaded buyer’s remorse.
Tory Brangham, Head of Commerce
Tory joined the commerce team at Dotdash in 2017 after three years of overseeing lifestyle content for About.com and ultimately launching The Spruce. Tory brings over twenty years of retail and digital publishing experience to Dotdash — having worked most recently at Amazon and Quidsi (Diapers.com, Soap.com) and before that she enjoyed a long tenure at iVillage. She combines her years as a Merchandise Director with her experience in editorial content to create a best in class commerce team of editors and writers all working in concert to help our users make their best purchase decisions.
Tory received her BA from Colgate University.
Andrew Skwarek, Lead Commerce Editor
Andrew helped launch the Dotdash commerce department back in 2016 and brings to the table a decade of experience in the online publishing industry. He’s no stranger to the commerce sector, either. Prior to joining Dotdash, he was Senior Producer & Editor at Jetsetter (A TripAdvisor Company) and also held a position on the deals team at ShermansTravel Media. Andrew received his BS in Journalism from The College at Brockport, State University of New York.
Dwyer Frame, Lifestyle Commerce Editor
Dwyer joined the commerce team in September 2017 and has worked in the print and digital publishing industry for over 15 years. Throughout her career, Dwyer has always focused on gift guides and product roundups concentrating in the lifestyle and health space. She has worked at InStyle, Time Inc., and Health and her work has appeared in Real Simple, People, Rachael Ray Every Day, What to Expect, Brit + Co, Woman’s Day, and Redbook. Dwyer received her BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Mandy Rich, Health Commerce Editor
Mandy joined the Dotdash commerce team in November 2018 and brings with her years of experience writing, editing, and producing both print and digital content in the health and wellness space. Prior to joining Dotdash, Mandy spent five years at WW (formerly Weight Watchers) as an editor for WW magazine and WW.com. She holds a BA in East Asian Studies and Communications from McGill University and an MS in Communications with a concentration in Journalism Innovation from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Ajay Kumar, Tech Commerce Editor
Ajay joined Dotdash in November 2018 and brings with him nearly a decade of experience in tech journalism, consumer electronics, and online publishing. Prior to joining Dotdash, he spent over three years at PCMag where he where he reviewed hundreds of products, built several new testing procedures, and developed a considerable range of PR and industry contacts. He’s also run the gauntlet in the daily news beat, working as a tech reporter at Newsweek Media Group to cover the latest product releases and industry developments.
Ajay’s earlier experience includes an eclectic mix of freelancing, advertising rating, law, and public policy research. He received a BA in Political Science and History from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick.
Julia Warren, Director of Product Testing
Julia joined the commerce team in May 2018 and brings with her a decade of experience working in the digital publishing industry. Prior to working at Dotdash, Julia was a freelance commerce writer and the editorial producer at TravelandLeisure.com, where she managed the site’s sponsorship initiatives. Her work has appeared online for What to Expect, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, and This Old House. Julia received her BS in food science from Cornell University and graduated from the culinary arts program at the International Culinary Center.
Avery Stone, Associate Editor, Product Testing
Avery has been with Dotdash since September 2018. Before joining the team, Avery worked as an associate digital editor at the luxury magazine DEPARTURES covering travel, food, and culture. She has also worked as a staff writer at For the Win (USA TODAY Sports) as well as a news and trends reporter at HuffPost. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Elle, Billboard, Noisey (VICE), Travel + Leisure, PAPER, Lenny Letter, and more. Avery received a BA in English Literature from Amherst College.
Mary Kate Hoban, Associate Editor, Product Testing
Mary Kate joined Dotdash in December 2018. Previously, Mary Kate worked as an assistant editor at American Media Inc., where she covered fashion and beauty for Life & Style, In Touch Weekly, and Closer magazines. She has also worked as an entertainment news editor at Elite Daily and a social media account manager at Socialfly, an agency specializing in strategy and content for clients in the hospitality, fashion, and lifestyle industries. Mary Kate received a BA in Journalism from The University of Georgia.
Emmeline Kaser, Associate Commerce Editor
Emmeline has been with Dotdash since May 2018. Prior to joining the commerce team, she worked at eBay as a product curator and writer for the site’s Editors’ Picks collections. She has years of experience searching the e-commerce cosmos for the best and most story-worthy products to meet all kinds of consumer needs. Emmeline received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College where she studied writing and liberal arts.
Chelsea Stuart, Associate Commerce Editor
Chelsea has been with Dotdash since May 2018. Before joining the team, she was an editorial assistant and staff writer at Jetsetter, a TripAdvisor company where she drove the company’s commerce initiative publishing destination-specific packing guides, travel accessory roundups, and the like. Prior to that, she was also a freelance contributor to online travel outlets like Matador Network. Chelsea received a BA in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College and sailed with Semester at Sea in Fall 2013.
Katherine Louie, Associate Commerce Editor
Katherine has been with Dotdash since August 2018. Through her background as an English/Creative Writing major at Marist College and her previous work experience at Hearst Magazines, she prides herself in creating content that inspires and informs readers. She has contributed to a variety of online publications including NBC Today, Reader’s Digest, Everyday Health, What to Expect, Men’s Health, and Women’s Health. In her new role, she looks forward to bringing her talent, passion, and creative energy to the Dotdash brands.
If you have questions, comments, or opinions you’d like to share with our team of editors, please feel free to email us at email@example.com