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Found Amazon to copy product, rig search results in India; Retailers demand probe, US senator urges breakup

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Amazon copied products in India and manipulated search results, a recent investigation has revealed. Following the report, US Senator Elizabeth Warren called for Amazon to be disbanded and Indian retailers called for a government investigation into the company.

The Reuters report reviewed thousands of internal Amazon documents and found that the US company carried out a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to promote its private brands in India, one of the company’s biggest growth markets. is one.

Wednesday’s report showed for the first time that, at least in India, manipulating search results in favor of Amazon’s own products, as well as copying goods from other sellers, was part of a formal strategy at Amazon — and it That at least two senior officials had reviewed it.

Adding to the story on Twitter, Warren, a longtime critic of Amazon, said, “These documents show what we feared about Amazon’s monopolistic power — that the company is trying to benefit its bottom line while hardening small businesses.” is able to prepare and enable its platform for more entrepreneurs.”

“It’s one of the many reasons we need to break it down,” she said.

A group representing India’s millions of brick-and-mortar retailers said on Thursday that the country’s government should launch an investigation into Amazon.

“Amazon is hurting small manufacturers a lot. They are eating cakes that don’t belong to them,” Praveen Khandelwal of the Confederation of All India Traders told Reuters. The group says it represents 80 million retail stores in the country.

Indian retailers say foreign e-commerce businesses such as Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart indulge in unfair business practices that hurt smaller firms, allegations the companies deny.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on responses to the report.

In response to questions from Wednesday’s report, Amazon said “we believe these claims are factually incorrect and baseless”. The company did not elaborate. It added that Amazon “displays search results based on the relevance of a customer’s search query, whether or not such products contain private brands offered by sellers.”

Warren, a prominent Democrat, advocated for the breakup of Amazon and other tech giants in 2019, when she was running for president. Since then, as a senator from Massachusetts, he has continued to put pressure on companies like Amazon.

In a swearing-in before Congress last year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said the company prevents its employees from using data on individual sellers to help their private-label business. And, in 2019, another Amazon executive testified that the company does not use such data to create its own private-label products or to alter its search results in their favor.

Amazon documents reviewed by Reuters show how the company’s private-brand team in India secretly exploited its Indian entity’s internal data to copy products sold by other companies, then used them on its platform. Presented on

The company promoted the sales of its private brands like AmazonBasics in India by rigging search results on its platform so that its products would appear, as a 2016 strategy report said, “the first 2 or three … In.”

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation, a non-profit organization representing some of India’s biggest startups, said the practices described in the Reuters report were “extremely reprehensible”, adding to “Amazon’s position as a good faith operator in the Indian startup ecosystem”. questioning the credibility”. “.

In a blog post, the group urged the Indian government to take action against “Amazon’s predatory playbook of copying, misappropriating and killing Indian brands”.

A top official of the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party, on Thursday urged consumers to stay away from the company.

Ashwini Mahajan, co-convenor of Swadeshi Jagran Manch said, “I call upon the people of this country to #BoycottAmazon.” said on Twitter.

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