Amazon reportedly favoured its own products in search results
Amazon unfairly puts products from its label brands higher in search results than products from other sellers that have better ratings and more sales, per a newly published report.
According to The Markup, Amazon gives a leg up to products from its private-label brands and products that are exclusively sold on Amazon. The report reveals how new sellers have to burn money into promotion and get a lot of things right to earn a top spot. Meanwhile, Amazon’s own brands get a fast lane that sees them climb to the top right of the bat.
For example, it took an Atlanta-based coffee grinder seller five months to reach among the first three search results for the keyword “coffee grinder.” But when Amazon introduced a coffee maker under its own brand “Amazon Basics,” it ranked right away and started to appear among the top three results for “coffee grinder” in no time.
The Markup says it analyzed search results for about 3,492 popular internet product queries in January 2021 to see what Amazon ranks in the top spot. The publication found that in 60% of cases, Amazon sold the first spot to an advertiser; however, it did add a clear label indicating that the listing was “sponsored.” For the remaining 40%, Amazon gave the first spot to half of its own products and exclusive brands while the other half to competitors. However, the key takeaway here is that Amazon brands and exclusives “made up only 6 percent of all products in the sample, and competitors made up 77 percent.”
The Markup also observed that in many cases, Amazon placed its brands above competitors that had better customer rankings and more user reviews than the Amazon product.
In its official response, Amazon denied these allegations:
“We do not favor our store brand products through search. These placements are clearly labeled to distinguish them from search results. The type and amount of merchandising shown to a customer depends on many factors, including the customer’s query, the product the customer’s shopping for, and whether the customer is shopping on desktop, mobile browser, or in our app,” said an Amazon spokesperson
Amazon previously said its search results don’t factor in whether a product is from Amazon’s own brand.
Amazon is, of course, not the first to favor its own products. Google was also caught doing something similar when an investigation from French competition authority found that the Search Giant was favoring its own ads over others. Google had to pay a fine of $267 million to settle the case.