Monday, December 31, 2018

Dirty Dealing in the $175 Billion Amazon Marketplace

Josh Dzieza (Hacker News):

As a precaution, he reported the reviews to Amazon. Most of them vanished days later — problem solved — and Plansky reimmersed himself in the work of running a six-employee, multimillion-dollar weapons accessory business on Amazon. Then, two weeks later, the trap sprang. “You have manipulated product reviews on our site,” an email from Amazon read. “This is against our policies. As a result, you may no longer sell on, and your listings have been removed from our site.”

A rival had framed Plansky for buying five-star reviews, a high crime in the world of Amazon. The funds in his account were immediately frozen, and his listings were shut down.


For sellers, Amazon is a quasi-state. They rely on its infrastructure — its warehouses, shipping network, financial systems, and portal to millions of customers — and pay taxes in the form of fees. They also live in terror of its rules, which often change and are harshly enforced. A cryptic email like the one Plansky received can send a seller’s business into bankruptcy, with few avenues for appeal.

Previously: How Much of the Internet Is Fake?.

Update (2019-01-01): Rosyna Keller:

I remember an article from a leather accessories maker finding counterfeits on Amazon by stopping all shipments to Amazon for a length of time, then ordering their own “in stock” product from Amazon.

Damien Petrilli:

It’s interesting how all those big corps hates state control and taxes but enforce them on their users all the time and consider it alright.

It’s even worst as there is no appeal, no justice, no nothing.

We need new laws to take care of those state-like corporations.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

The exposition on the mysterious and mercurial app^H^H^Hproduct review/rejection/appeal process could have been written uncannily about another big A.

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