Amazon India manipulated search results to promote 'own' products: Report
Two top Amazon executives apparently reviewed the strategy
October 14, 2021 / 12:18 PM IST
The company made cheap knockoffs and boosted its own product lines
Internal documents examined by Reuters showed that Amazon India created knockoffs and played with the search results to promote its own product lines online.
The private-brands team at the company took advantage of internal data collected from Amazon.in and created copies of popular products. Search results were then rigged to show the Amazon product lines in the top three.
According to the documents, the aim to was identify top products and then replicate them.
The 2016 internal report obtained by Reuters, called this strategy 'Solimo' and its aim was to "use information from Amazon.in to develop products and then leverage the Amazon.in platform to market these products to our customers”.
Amazon also planned to partner with the manufacturers of the products it was copying. This was because some of the manufacturers employed processes which impacted the quality.
In a document titled, India Private Brands Program, the company said: “It is difficult to develop this expertise across products and, hence, to ensure that we are able to fully match quality with our reference product, we decided to only partner with the manufacturers of our reference product.”
The documents also show that high-level executives were aware of these practices. Two of them even reviewed the strategy for the Indian market - Senior Vice-Presidents Diego Piacentini and Russell Grandinetti. Piacentini has since left the company.
"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. We believe these claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated,” Amazon said.