Amazon Reportedly Copied Products And Manipulated Search Results To Benefit Its Own Products In India

By Lisa Kim, Forbes Staff

Topline

Amazon’s India division allegedly leveraged data to “systematically” copy products and tinkered search results to benefit its private label products, Reuters reported Wednesday, which goes against Amazon’s policies.

Amazon’s India division allegedly leveraged data to “systematically” copy products and tinkered search results to benefit its private label products, Reuters reported Wednesday. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

Amazon reportedly used internal data to make and sell copycats of third-party sellers’ products and manipulated search results to bump up its private brand products to appear within the top three on Amazon.in, according to Reuters’ investigation that looked at thousands of internal documents.

The company’s alleged practice was reviewed by high-level executives – former senior vice president Diego Piacentini, who led Amazon’s international business, and Russell Grandinetti, current senior vice president of Amazon International, Reuters said.

In one case, Amazon’s India division had planned to “use information” from Amazon to make and sell products under its own brand “Solimo,” the article said.

An Amazon spokesperson told Forbes the “claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated” and denied boosting the exposure of its private brand products and using internal data.  

Surprising Fact

India’s e-commerce market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 18% and worth $120.1 billion in 2025, according to data from GlobalData. Gene Munster, managing partner and cofounder of venture firm Loup Ventures, told CNBC’ Squawk Box Asia last year that he anticipates India to account for up to 20% of Amazon’s growth over the next five years.

Key Background

In 2020, Wall Street Journal reported Amazon allegedly used third-party’s data to create its own products to compete with top-selling items. Amazon had 111 private brands, offering 22,617 products as of early 2020, according to Dataweave. Half of Amazon’s private products were in clothing, footwear and accessories. Amazon has repeatedly said it does not use internal data or amend search results in favor of its own items. Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reiterated that stance when he testified before Congress in July 2020. A month before Bezos testified, Amazon had established a Counterfeit Crime Unit to bring “counterfeiters attempting to list counterfeit products in its store to justice,” according to its statement. Amazon is under antitrust investigation in the U.S., Europe and India for alleged anti-competitive practices. 

Further Reading

Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands, documents show (Reuters)

Amazon Establishes Counterfeit Crime Unit To Combat Fake Products (Forbes)

Amazon Scooped Up Data From Its Own Sellers to Launch Competing Products (Wall Street Journal)


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