Amazon would have copied products before putting them forward

Reuters got hold of documents from 2016 that would prove that Amazon used data provided when selling products on its site to make copies. The online sales giant would then have put forward its copies to the detriment of other sellers.

Jeff Bezos in an interview with Business Insider

Jeff Bezos in an interview with Business Insider // Source: Business Insider

Amazon is accused by Reuters to have copied products for sale on its site, then to have put forward these copies to the detriment of other sellers. These accusations are mainly concentrated in India. Amazon denies having carried out such practices.

Last March, PhotoTrend already put forward a similar accusation from the Peak Design brand, in the form of a humorous video. The brand of photographers’ bags claims that Amazon has created an Amazon Basics bag, the site’s private label, which would be very similar to its own product.

What is Amazon criticized for?

Many accusations of the same type have already surfaced, but this time, Reuters claims to have got hold of “Thousands of pages of internal documents (emails, strategic documents,” business plans “”, which would prove that the company had carried out “A systematic campaign to create manipulative copies of research results to boost its own products in India, one of the company’s biggest growth markets”, writes the London press agency.

Excerpt from the humorous video by Peak Design which accuses Amazon of having copied its bag.

Excerpt from the humorous video by Peak Design which accuses Amazon of having copied its bag. // Source: Peak Design

Clearly, an Amazon team would have used the data provided by the brands to be able to sell their product on, the Indian version of the site, to create copies.

In addition, still according to these internal documents, Amazon employees have studied customer feedback in order to target “Reference products” where the « benchmarks »In order to “To reply”. Another strategy pointed out: Amazon employees could, thanks to the data collected, contact certain manufacturers who “An impact on the final quality of the product. “

Andy Jassy is the new CEO of Amazon.

Andy Jassy is the new CEO of Amazon. // Source: Recode

Amazon would even have created a brand, Solimo, whose strategy was initially: “Use information from to develop products, then leverage the platform to market those products to our customers. ” Whoops.

The second charge

The second charge is as follows: Amazon allegedly rigged the search results on its site so that its products appeared “In the first two or three search results”, says the news agency on the basis of a 2016 strategic report for India.

This is the first time that evidence of manipulation of the results for this specific purpose has come to light. The document specifies that some very senior executives would have been aware of this clandestine strategy. Among the names mentioned, one Diego Piacentini has since left Amazon. The other, Russel Grandinetti, currently runs Amazon’s international consumer business.

But, my supermarket does the same, right?

When you read these accusations, you might be thinking: “But wait, when I go to a supermarket, the exact same thing happens and nobody makes a big deal out of it. “

It is true that the practice is not new – Émile Zola already recounted it in To the happiness of the ladies– and some benchmark brand products could undoubtedly come under the same mechanism. But Amazon’s weight and strike force, if these practices were to be proven, would make the maneuver all the more problematic and could even take it to the side of abuse of dominance.

These accusations fall badly for the online commerce giant. Amazon is under investigation in Europe, India and the United States for anti-competitive practices.

How is Amazon defending itself?

Jeff Bezos has already spoken to the US Congress on this subject in 2020. He had said that his employees do not have the right to use the data provided by sellers. In 2019, an executive testified to the same effect, adding that the firm did not give itself the right to alter research results to boost its own products.

Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO in July 2021.

Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO in July 2021. // Source: Amazon

Amazon responded in writing to Reuters’ accusations. His line of defense is simple and could be summed up as follows: Since Reuters does not want to share the documents or their provenance, Jeff Bezos’ firm cannot confirm or deny these accusations. She therefore considers that they are false.

On the specific topic of search rigging, Amazon writes: “We display search results based on the relevance of the customer’s query, regardless of whether these products have private labels offered by the sellers or not. “

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