A Amazon in India it copied products and used vendor data from its marketplace to prioritize its own product line in the platform’s searches over competitors. Internal documents revealed by Reuters detail practices the company has denied for years, including a copy-and-sell initiative that has been approved by retailer executives.
Amazon’s private label team in India had a systematic practice of creating cheap copies of items considered “reference” and prioritizing those products in the retailer’s marketplace in the country. To place the copied products in the first survey results, the team used internal data from best-selling products and the platform itself.
According to the report, Amazon products appeared “in 2 out of 3” search results. Internal emails exchanged between retailer executives reveal that private labels may be one of the company’s biggest sources of “revenue and growth” in the coming years — this category may have “greater than 10% penetration in Amazon’s global business,” according to posts.
Amazon’s former senior VP knew the strategy
The documents and emails obtained by Reuters have varying dates. But the strategy of copying products and using internal data to harm competition in India has been clear since 2016. One of the Amazon executives who appear in the exchange of emails authorizing the strategy of “copy and paste” products is the former vice-deputy. senior president Diego Piacentini. He left the company in 2018.
For Amazon, it was vital to create its own product line in the Indian market. One of them, Solimo — which even has its name based on the Brazilian Rio Solimões — was so successful that it started to be sold on amazon.com, the company’s American domain. The brand was driven by Amazon itself.
An Amazon spokesman denied the allegations made by the report. Reuters, and says the information is “factually incorrect and has no substance”. He added that Amazon prohibits “using or sharing data that is not public or about specific sellers for the benefit of any player on its marketplace, including those with its own brand.”
Amazon denies benefiting from its own online surveys
In response to the vehicle, the spokesman also said that Amazon surveys have results that are based on the degree of relevance for each consumer, and that they do not favor the retailer’s own brands.
In addition to allegations of boosting its own line of products by harming sellers, Amazon faces problems with its platform around the world. In the US, she even sold a pillow banned by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for causing suffocation deaths. The retailer has also been banning sellers who accepted refunds in exchange for good reviews in the store — the company acknowledged that this is recurrent.
But she never acknowledged that she was using internal data to manipulate surveys, as the case of India shows. In April 2020, former Amazon president Jeff Bezos told a US Congressional hearing that the company prohibits the use of seller information for personal gain.
There are currently some antitrust bills circulating in the US Capitol that might regulate big tech practices like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. With regard to the retailer founded by Jeff Bezos, the US Congress may pass a bill that prohibits the use of internal data to privilege the company’s own products in site surveys.
There is no date set by Congress to vote on the American Choice and Innovation Online Act, which would regulate Amazon.
With information: Reuters and CNET