A recent report claims that the company created knockoff items and manipulated search results to promote its own product lines. Reuters reports that according to internal documents, e-commerce giant Amazon has been developing knockoff products and manipulating search results to promote its own product lines.
Reuters reports that the documents show that Amazon’s private-brands team exploited internal data obtained from its marketplace to identify popular products sold by other companies and then create copies to compete against them. The private-brand team also reportedly altered Amazon’s search results so that Amazon-owned brands would appear “in the first 2 or three … search results” according to a strategy report from 2016.
Some of the brands that were copied included the popular shirt brand John Miller”. Amazon reportedly chose to “follow the measurements” of John Miller shirts down to the exact neck circumference and sleeve length, essentially creating Amazon-branded copies. Internal documents show that Amazon employees studied proprietary data from other brands on Amazon with the aim of identifying and targeting goods that could be used as a “reference” or “benchmark” products that Amazon could “replicate.”
This is not the first time Amazon has been accused of similar practices. In 2020, Breitbart News reported that the e-commerce giant set up meetings with startup firms to discuss their products with the pretense of potentially investing in the companies, only later to launch competing products in similar markets. In April of 2020 Amazon was accused of doing exactly what the latest documents from Reuters appear to show, that the company was using data and sales figures to target products sold by third parties and then creating their own versions (Clarion News).