Sometimes the pony collecting community gets advance notice of ponies that will be released soon because some of these are "leaked" from the factory onto the Chinese auction website taobao. As you have seen previously sometimes the products are new releases that didn't pass quality control or error ponies like Trixieshy or Lyrarays.
There are obviously some advantages to ordering from the company. It's an easy way to get error/prototype ponies that will never be officially released. Other times you can get a pony that is part of a set/playset for much cheaper than the cost of the set.
Some collectors are worried about the ethics of purchasing from taobao. We don't know how the ponies get from the factory to taobao. Are they trash, stolen goods, or somewhere in-between? Are they official since they were made in the same factory with the same materials? Or should they be considered "fakes"?
I personally am not against buying toys from taobao. (Though I am too lazy to deal with the website myself and order from ebay. )This may be a bit of a shock considering I generally try to support the companies I purchase products from instead of dealing with second-hand stores and I shop brick and mortar bookstores whenever possible.
But it seems to me the advantages of buying on taobao far outweigh the disadvantages (considering they are at this time unknown).
The major advantage to purchasing on taobao is that you never know what will actually be released and where. Last year a few people were lucky enough to get some toys of Minty, a popular G3 character remade for G4. As I don't own her I'm borrowing her picture from a recent listing on ebay.
Minty is a cute pony, very much in demand and she never actually came out in the US.... or anywhere. A G4 minty like this just recently sold on ebay for $400.
Perhaps I should start shopping on taobao....