Amazon.com has repeatedly been accused of knocking off the products of sellers in its marketplace and rigging search results… an exploitation of its vast trove of data to promote its own merchandise at the expense of other sellers.
The company has denied the accusations.
But thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents examined by Reuters – including emails, strategy papers and business plans – show the company ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to boost its own product lines in India, one of the company's largest growth markets. The documents reveal how Amazon's private-brands team in India secretly exploited internal data to copy products sold by other companies, and then offered them on its platform.
The employees also stoked sales of Amazon private-brand products by rigging Amazon's search results so that the company's products would appear ahead of others.
The global retail giant denied the accusations, stating, "We believe these claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated."
The findings in the documents could intensify the legal and regulatory pressure the company is facing in many countries. Amazon is under investigation in the United States, Europe and India for alleged anti-competitive practices that hurt other businesses.