Amazon India allegedly ran a “systematic campaign” of copying products and rigged search results to promote its home-grown brands. As per Reuters exclusive report, numerous pages of internal Amazon documents, including emails and business plans, reveal the malpractices.
The leaked documents reveal that Amazon’s private-brands team in India abused its authority and exploited internal data. Likewise, they copied products sold by other brands and sold them as competing products on Amazon.
Are Amazon India’s Brands Knockoffs?
Amazon’s private-brands team used Amazon Marketplace’s internal data to target popular goods and create their knockoffs. It’s known that the company’s primary goal was to “reference” and “benchmark” third-party products and copy them.
For instance, an internal document describes a detailed plan of the Amazon Brand “Solimo” popular in the Indian market. The team aimed to form partnerships with the benchmark items’ manufacturers. Why? Because those companies used “unique processes which impact the end quality of the product,” they wanted to gain insights from them and used the “Tribal Knowledge” to improve their products.
However, that’s not all; after successfully creating knockoffs, they manipulated the search results on Amazon India. Further, they used a method called “Search Seeding” to present AmazonBasics and Solimo products on top of any search results.
The company also used “aggressive” methods to promote its own brands. That is to say; they used a technique called “search sparkles on PC, mobile and app” that put the Solimo brand above all search results, be it of any category. “Sparkles” are the banners on top of Amazon’s search results.
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Over the years, Amazon has been accused a few times of allegedly copying from others. However, this time it’s entirely different and much more significant than anything the world saw before.
“We believe these claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated,” an Amazon spokesperson told Engadget. “As Reuters hasn’t shared the documents or their provenance with us, we are unable to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the information and claims as stated.”
To clarify, Amazon denied all allegations momentarily and put forward some points to defend the company. It’s unclear whether the company achieved its sales goals; the tech giant doesn’t disclose its private-brand sales in India.