Did Amazon access third-party seller data to develop private-label products?


According to the Wall Street Journal, employees from Amazon accessed data from independent sellers on their platform to develop private-label products.

Did Amazon access third-party seller data to develop private-label products?

In a statement to The Verge, Amazon disputed claims that the company has used private seller data to help develop its own products.

Amazon also says it has launched an internal investigation.

At a hearing with the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust.

On the 16th of July last year, Nate Sutton,  an Amazon representative, disputed a key argument about how it uses sellers’ data.

David Cicilline (D-RI), the chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, asked the following question of Sutton:

You collect all this data about the most-popular products, where they’re selling, and you’re saying you don’t use that in any way to change an algorithm to support the sale of Amazon branded products?

Sutton responded that its algorithms are designed “to predict what customers want to buy, and we apply the same criteria whether you’re a third-party seller or Amazon to that because we want customers to make the right purchase regardless of whether it’s a seller or Amazon.Our incentive is to help the seller succeed because we rely on them. They have many options. So we apply the same criteria to both, and we do not use their individual data when we’re making decisions to launch private brands.

Not over yet…

Amazon has been under scrutiny for its anti-competitive practices for some time, though the Federal Trade Commission hasn’t yet opened a formal investigation into the company on the matter. 

The FTC has made preliminary inquires into Amazon’s deal with Apple to let Apple sell its products on the e-commerce site. FTC investigators have also interviewed independent sellers about how much of their sales come from Amazon.

 In February, a coalition of unions petitioned the FTC to investigate Amazon for anti-competitive practices, including its use of their data.

What’s up on Amazon?

Few days ago, I wrote about Amazon reducing his commission rates on affiliate sales. 

Every time they do, it causes uproar in the affiliate marketing world. This time is no different.

And now this…

I am an affiliate marketer and reading all this makes me raise an eyebrow at least.

Let’s talk about integrity, it’s an important quality if you want to sleep at night.

And while the rich get a bad rap for integrity, it’s my belief that it’s far easier to hold to your integrity when you have customers and cash rolling in.

So, what’s up on Amazon?

All the best,

Luc

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