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Wed Nov 20 2019 21:25:46

Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon uses aggregated seller data when making decisions about its own product strategy, according to a report in CNBC about answers the company provided to Congress, specifically to House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline. 

CNBC pointed to the significance of this admission:

"Amazon's use of private data to shape and promote its own branded goods seems to be a key question for lawmakers and regulators probing the company's competitive practices. If investigators believe Amazon holds a dominant marketplace position, they could seek evidence that would point to the company using its dominance to compete against third-party sellers that also rely on Amazon's platform for their livelihood."

Amazon's algorithm is reinforcing. CNBC wrote:

"Amazon said it knows that its "private brand products have on average higher customer review ratings, lower return rates, and higher repeat purchase rates than other comparable brands in the Amazon store," some of which are factors its algorithm would consider."

How online marketplaces use data and with whom they share it is important, and the article reminded us of eBay's data-sharing practices described in The Atlantic in 2014. 

The publication quoted former eBay CEO, who at the time was president of eBay Marketplaces, reporting that the company sent manufacturers data about what people were looking for on eBay. "We have a really big China export business to Europe and the United States. And they respond very, very quickly to consumer taste, whatever it might be. It's really remarkable to see how quickly the manufacturing base adapts to the demand signals they get."

Some sellers point to that practice as a sign eBay is disingenuous when it says it doesn't compete with its sellers.

The issue at stake for small sellers: it's hard enough to compete with giants, but even more so when marketplaces exploit their sales data for their own benefit or play favorites.

Comments (16) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 20 22:03:33 2019

Amazon does everything from rigging the search results with ads, redirection to their own listings, theft of FBA inventory from 3P sellers, to blatant censorship of their own forums and banning sellers who tell the truth about AMZ there.

This company is VERY CORRUPT and they put their heads in the sand when there is a problem, they even send sellers cash to other locations when hackers change banking information in the seller interface.

Many sellers have lost over 300 grand when their cash was transferred to banks in London or Romainia by Amazon.

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: booklover27 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 08:54:00 2019

It's about time they figured this out!!!  Sellers are decimated by everything from being throttled for pulling your money out early, bots reading emails and finding the wrong keywords, bot going through seller inventories and accusing and punishing sellers for suspected trademark infringement and anything pops up in your metrics and you are throttled.  I was about to leave Amazon but I think I'll hang in there to see if  the federal trade commission goes after them and tears them apart.  This may make them honest.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: booklover27 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 08:54:53 2019

Also, I thank Ina for her fearless reporting and not selling out!

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 11:56:28 2019

I truly hope this isn't a shocking revelation to many a seller - it happens all the time and has happened on most venues. As a very hard but honest seller it's hard to compete with the mob.

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 12:24:17 2019

this was a lark for me opening a store - after reading this article I decided it's really just a waste of time for me (haven't sold much) and I want to close my store. Well - it's sure ain't eBay - you have to submit a request to close your store??? what the hell does that mean? here's my message after I went thru the closure proceedure:  

Account closure: Handmade at Amazon
Thank you for submitting your request. We've opened a case and a Seller Support associate will follow up with you as soon as possible.

You can access your submission from your Case Log, or directly via your Case ID:

WTF does that mean? THEY get to decide wether or not I can close my store???

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 13:23:43 2019

Are you paying them a monthly fee for your store?

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 14:41:04 2019

no fee - free trial period till dec 31st - not sticking around that long - gotta go -

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 16:40:30 2019

We need to form a Union or they will get away with murder

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 17:54:59 2019

They are getting away with it Donald, that is why the FTC and the FBI is looking into all these venues.

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: ElectronixRecyclers This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 18:27:02 2019

I've been thinking about this whole "union" thing, and I don't think you'll get away with it.  If suppliers band together in order to force a marketplace to behave a certain way, you're violating anti-trust and price fixing laws.  You're not labor, you don't have the right to unionize.

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 19:32:06 2019

Sure wish there was a way to "like" some of these comments.

Amazon has been screwing small business sellers (and large ones really) on it's site for years.

I've seen them price stuff down to 10 cents - 25 cents above legitimate wholesale cost and offer free prime shipping along with it cutting the throats of anyone who tries to compete and then gating those same categories when people do to cut out competition and drive the price back up.

They SHOULD be investigated.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 22:40:55 2019

Just thought I'd follow up with the reply for my request to close my Amazon store - I think it's pretty hysterical  

Greetings from Amazon Selling Partner Support.

I understand from your correspondence that you would like to close your account.

You can stop selling on Amazon.com at any time. To do so, you'll just need to take a few simple actions from within your seller account.

Firstly, you need to remove the Handmade feature please follow these steps:

• Go to the Settings drop down menu and select Account Info.
• Click on Manage in the Your Services section.
• Under the Handmade at Amazon section, select ‘Want to cancel your Handmade at Amazon account?’
• Select the appropriate reason and "Remove Handmade".

After this, follow these steps to close your account:

Step 1: Close your active listings.

Note that suspending your listings using the Listings Status feature does not close them. Please close your listings using the Manage Inventory tool in Seller Central:

1. From the "Inventory" drop-down menu, click "Manage Inventory.
2. Check the box at the top of the checkbox column to select all of your active listings.
3. Click the "Actions" button at the top of the page, and select "Close listings" from the drop-down menu.

You may also use our Inventory Loader or Price & Quantity feeds to cancel listings in bulk.

** Additionally, please note that we will need to wait until the orders that were placed turn 90 days old before we can close the account, this is just in the case of any potential A-to-Z claims/charge-backs that may be placed by the buyer.

Step 2: Switch your Professional selling plan to an Individual selling plan:

1. On the "Settings" drop-down menu, select "Account Info."
2. In the "Your services" box click the "Manage" link.
3. Click the "Downgrade" button.

After you request to switch your selling plan, you will no longer be billed a monthly fee.

Step 3: Settle your Payments account.

First, finalize all sales, including refunds and returns. Then disburse any remaining funds from your Payments account to your bank account:

1. On the Reports drop-down menu, click "Payments" to see your payments summary.
2. If you have positive funds in your account, click the "Request Transfer" button (in the "Current settlement amount" section) to request a disbursement.

If there is a negative balance, wait for the next automatic settlement date, at which time we will charge the credit card you have on file with us for the amount due. You can also use Make a Payment to pay seller account balances you owe Amazon. If you have a balance to be paid, a "Repay balance" button will appear in the Closing Balance section of your payments summary. Click the "Repay balance" button to make a payment. To make a partial payment, select "Other amount" and enter the dollar amount you want to pay. Partial payments are applied to your balances in the order they were incurred, oldest to newest.

Once complete, please visit https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/200399470?referral=A21SM4PORX
I88L_A3RDPCY47YSF9Z&referral=A21C3KNNL0V3F9_A3RDPCY47YSF9Z
from where you can close your account.

As a reminder, once your seller account is closed, you will no longer have access to your order and payment history.

If you decide to sell on Amazon.com in the future, you'll need to register a new seller account. Note that the buying portion of your account remains open when your seller account is closed.

Important: Before you can close your account, you will need to ensure that your seller account is not active by closing your listings, switching your selling plan, and settling your balance (see steps listed above).

To help us continually improve, we ask that you take a moment to complete our survey below to tell us about your experience with this specific interaction.

Were you satisfied with the support provided?

Yes
No

Thank you!

To view your case details, or respond, please click http://sellercentral.amazon.com/blah - blah - blah-dashboard/view-case.html/ref=sc_cd_lobby_vc?caseID=6609433861


Please
note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. If you require additional support please contact us https://sellercentral.amazon.com/hz/contact-us

Thank you for selling with Amazon,

Diego Jesus M.
Amazon.com Seller Support
=======================================
MORE WAYS TO GET HELP:
Visit our Seller Forums for help from other sellers: http://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums
Browse all Seller Help topics: http://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help

To contact us again about this issue, please use the Contact Us form in Seller Central using the following link:

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/cu/case-dashboard/view-c
ase?caseID=6609433861

Please
note: this e-mail was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.
 

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 21 23:09:03 2019

Be careful, they will try to bill your credit card even after you try to close your account, just the kind of people they are. When we first signed up they charged us 80 bucks that they should have never charged, caused NSF fees, they gave the 80 bucks back, but cost us 35 in NSF fees.

They lied about the entire issue also, we were told that we could sign up then downgrade from Pro to individual without being billed, yet they still billed us even after we downgraded. they just care about fees and theft, once they got the cash it is incumbent on you to try to get it back.

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 22 00:35:03 2019

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/t/account-hacked-money-transfe
rred-today-to-a-bank-account-i-dont-own/537917

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: GoingBroke This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sun Nov 24 22:27:20 2019

There is much more going one at Amazon that is not right. I was suspended for late shipments. I somehow got on the Seller Fulfilled Prime. With Amazons help I located and fixed the issue. Then 2 days later I was suspended. They were not interested at all in helping me figure out how my settings were changed. That was a month ago and they are holding ALL my funds with no date of when they will release them. No communication if my account will be reinstated no response to my emails or Plan of Action. Nothing except an email that said they will hold my funds for 30 days or longer!! How can this be legal? How can anyone run a business with thousands of dollars being with held? Calls to support get me answers to questions I didn't ask and have even been told there is no block on my account. Which there clearly is. Like many others I've worked very hard building my Amazon business only to be put out of business. The face-book groups are full of sellers in this same position many because of fake complaints. I'm finding some sellers never get their funds or it takes month if they do. I never thought all my hard work would get me here!  

Perminate Link for Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data   Amazon Admits to Exploiting Seller Sales Data

by: GoingBroke This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sun Nov 24 22:32:02 2019

The kicker is while my account is suspended and they are holding ALL my funds they are still charging me the monthly sellers fee!!  



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