Reuters Investigation: Internal Amazon documents reveal a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs & rigging search results to boost its own brands like AmazonBasics & Solimo in India. Amazon exploited internal data to copy products of other firms #Thread
This is the second in a series of stories based on internal Amazon documents that provide a rare, unvarnished look, in the company’s own words, into business practices that it has denied for years.
Introducing Amazon’s own brands was critical in India. To make the business “sustainable in the long run,” Amazon embarked on a strategy centered on introducing its existing private brands, such as AmazonBasics, and new ones like Solimo
The documents show Amazon employees studied proprietary data about other brands on The aim: to identify and target goods - described as “reference” or “benchmark” products - and “replicate” them. Two top Amazon executives reviewed the India strategy
Among the brands Amazon employees planned to “benchmark” were American ones - “Old Navy/GAP”. Also on the list were Peter England and Louis Philippe. For pots and pans, a “reference brand” was Prestige.
In early 2016, Xessentia, a clothing brand Amazon had launched in India in partnership with a seller, had become successful. But many shirts were being returned by customers. Later, Amazon revised the fit of Xessentia to copy John Miller.
After Xessentia, Amazon introduced a brand called Symbol. “For every product line identified for launch, we will identify an optimal reference brand based on customer reviews and size of business,” stated the plans for Symbol.
Within months of the launch of AmazonBasics in India in 2015, four of its products were “#1 Bestsellers in their category week after week”. “Promos” were placed on “detail pages of competitor products to direct traffic to AmazonBasics brands products.”
An internal document in 2017 noted that more than half of users’ clicks on search results are for the products listed in the top eight. The company used a technique called “search seeding” to boost the rankings of its AmazonBasics & Solimo goods, according to one document
“Use information from to develop products and then leverage the platform to market these products to our customers,” one document said. Read the full Reuters investigation. With @stecklow, @phirschberg1

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