Reuters has uncovered damning proof concerning the extent to which Amazon has systematically deliberate to tear off its third-party sellers in India—to the extent that it’s just about not possible for the corporate to maintain up a years-long charade.
Based on paperwork obtained by the outlet, Amazon’s India department employed an in depth marketing campaign to gather non-public information about gross sales, use the identical end-stage producers to exactly replicate merchandise, and enhance their very own competing manufacturers in search outcomes.
Reuters claims that two senior executives of Amazon’s worldwide enterprise evaluated the plan.
It vindicates years of experiences and complaints from workers and smaller companies that the corporate has taken data from captive retailers and used it towards them. Reuters experiences that, in an inner 2016 doc, Amazon actually described its plan to advertise its India-based family provide model Solimo as: “use data from Amazon.in to develop merchandise after which leverage the Amazon.in platform to market these merchandise to our prospects.”
Based on Reuters, the 2016 paperwork present that Amazon bought Solimo merchandise at a 10% to 15% lower cost than its opponents. Paperwork additionally confirmed that they’d meant to make use of the identical producers as third-party sellers to create their imitation merchandise, even replicating the measurements of shirts by John Miller, a well-liked model in India. They’d then deliberate to record their merchandise second or third in search outcomes.
The corporate has denied associated experiences that it collected data about different manufacturers’ gross sales to be able to promote their knock-offs. Jeff Bezos claimed in a Congressional antitrust listening to final 12 months—the corporate’s most worthwhile ever—that he “can’t assure” that the corporate by no means violated its coverage towards utilizing vendor information to hawk their very own competing manufacturers. The corporate is at present dealing with an antitrust probe in India, including to investigations in Europe and the US.
Final 12 months, the corporate was fined $888 million for allegedly violating EU information safety rules, virtually pocket change for an organization that pulled in $386 billion in income in 2020.
In February, Reuters reported that over 400,000 third-party India-based sellers listed their merchandise on Amazon. As of March 2021, the e-commerce information agency Market Pulse reported that Amazon’s India market was rising thrice as shortly as that of North America.
Amazon has not responded to Gizmodo’s request for remark, we’ll replace this submit after they do.
Replace 10/13/2021 5:30 pm ET: In an announcement shared with Gizmodo, an Amazon spokesperson mentioned:
“As Reuters hasn’t shared the paperwork or their provenance with us, we’re unable to substantiate the veracity or in any other case of the information and claims as said. We consider these claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated.”
They added that Amazon has a strict coverage prohibiting the corporate or workers from utilizing or sharing “personal, seller-specific information for the advantage of any vendor, together with sellers of personal manufacturers,” and that the businesses examine workers reported to have damaged it. Additionally they mentioned that Amazon exhibits search outcomes “based mostly on relevance,” whatever the model.