Editor's Note: Information in the original story and updates below have been edited to clear up confusion about unfounded scam accusations. Please follow this link for the latest update.
Original Story -
An annual holiday tradition is getting an online presence as many communities cancel many of the holiday season's usual activities.
A previous report incorrectly indicated a connection between the online store and the Quad Cities Christkindlmarkt. There is no affiliation between the two.
Director of Operations Helen W. goes into more detail on the site's blog, stating that the market will solely focus on over 200 Christmas products that don't include the more generic and standard ones seen on the shelves of larger e-commerce sites. Items are set to include trees, lights, tea leaves, jewelry, hats and gloves, and many handmade German wood items like cuckoo clocks, ornaments, and nutcrackers.
In addition, the site is attempting to translate the feel of a physical market by featuring a booth assistant on a live stream who will help guests with questions, gift ideas, and showcasing products in detail.
Update - 8/25:
An organizer with the Quad Cities Christkindlmardt reached out to say that christkindl.live is not affiliated with the area Christmas crafts fair and was thought to be the work of a scammer or hacker.
Organizer of the local market, Sarah Mullins said on Tuesday, August 25 that the group had looking into christkindl.live and found its source to not be credible and coming from an unclear location and unknown person.
A spokesperson from christkindl.live said the accusation was unfounded, and that the online market is a credible organization. Represented by Keener and Associates P.C. out of Chicago, the organization stood its ground as a credible organization.
On the topic of the market itself, Mullins stated that the organizers would be meeting with city officials on Wednesday, August 26 to decide if it will be able to take place in-person or not.
The Christkindlmardt is aiming to open physically with enforcement of health guidelines, but could move online depending on Wednesday's decision.
Update - 8/27:
Sarah Mullins reached out with new information regarding the future of the Christkindlmardt and the nature of christkindl.live.
Mullins forwarded a report from the Des Moines Christkindlmarkt saying that that organization had been a target of the impersonation. Reportedly, they were able to trace the activity to IP address operating out of Beijing, China.
A spokesperson from christkindl.live later argued against the accusations, maintaining they are a viable shopping option and had no intention to affiliate themselves with any local market.
"Christkindl is a historical Christmas figure. Thus the word is not owned by your organization and may be freely used by all," said a statement from the organization's legal representation, Keener and Associates P.C. out of Chicago.
Information about whether the official Christkindlmardt will take place in person or online will be revealed in a press release soon, according to Mullins.