Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Apple Asked Amazon to Block Rival Ads

Eugene Kim (via Hacker News):

Apple’s latest products directly sold by Amazon have a much cleaner page layout on Amazon with no ads or recommendations until the very bottom of the page, an Insider review of the e-commerce site shows. Most other brands don’t get this special treatment, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.


Search results for “iPhone” and “iPad” on Amazon also offer a similarly clean experience. The top banner is always an Apple ad, and only one banner ad appears at the very bottom of the page, according to Insider’s recent review.

In contrast, Amazon search results for other brands, such as Samsung and Sony, show at least two or three sponsored ads from rivals. Amazon also shows a fewer number of search results for Apple’s products compared to its competitors.


The unusual arrangement follows the iPhone-maker’s private demands to Amazon to only show its products in results when an Apple term like “iPad” is searched, according to an internal email previously shared by the House Judiciary Committee. At the time, Apple also asked Amazon to make its product pages clean, without any non-Apple product recommendations.

Nicola Agius:

It’s not yet been confirmed whether Apple paid Amazon to block ads by rivals from appearing on its product pages. However, in emails shared by the House Judiciary Committee that date back to 2018, Amazon’s then-retail CEO Jeff Wilke suggested he had initially refused Apple’s request to block rival ads, writing:

  • “We cannot alter our organic search algorithm to return only Apple products in the search results when an Apple team is searched.”

He then appeared to offer an alternative solution for Apple:

  • “Apple would need to purchase these placements or compensate Amazon for the lost ad revenue.”

However, the advertising team told Insider that other companies offered to pay Amazon for this type of deal but were rebuffed.


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