(PatriotWise.com)- In a report last week, Reuters said internal company documents show that Amazon has been developing knockoff products and manipulating search results to steer users to its own product lines. According to Reuters, Amazon’s private brands team in India was exploiting internal data obtained from its marketplace to identify popular products sold by other companies, in order to create knockoffs to compete against them. Amazon, however, denies the claims made by Reuters, saying the allegations have not been substantiated.
According to an Amazon spokesperson, the e-commerce giant doesn’t give preferential treatment to any seller, and the company has a policy strictly prohibiting the use or sharing of “non-public, seller-specific data” with other sellers.
Amazon also maintains that they do not manipulate search results, instead searches are based on “relevance to the customers” whether or not the products are private brands or not.
However, according to Reuters, the internal documents tell a different story.
One popular shirt brand in India, John Miller, was a victim of such manipulation from Amazon. Internal documents revealed that, in making knockoff shirts, Amazon followed the measurements of John Miller shirts down to the neck circumference and sleeve length.
Internal documents also revealed that Amazon employees were studying proprietary data on other brands listed at Amazon.in – including detailed information about customer returns. According to the documents the aim was to identify and target goods and “replicate” them.
While Amazon has previously been accused of launching knockoff products. The internal documents from Reuters show for the first time, in India at least, that manipulating search results to favor Amazon’s own products and copying other sellers’ products were part of a formal, albeit clandestine strategy of the company – one that high-level executives were told about.
The documents reportedly reveal that two Amazon executives reviewed the India strategy.
However, Amazon argues that since Reuters hasn’t shared the specific documents, nor “their provenance,” the company is unable to confirm the veracity of the information or the claims made in the Reuters report.
According to a company spokesperson, Amazon believes the claims made by Reuters are “factually incorrect and unsubstantiated.”