Amazon Puts Its Own “Brands” First Above Better-Rated Products – The Markup

Aumentano le evidenze dell’abuso di posizione dominante di Amazon.

Il tema è simile a quello della search.

Avevo fatto una proposta di legge, quando ero in parlamento, per tutelare la concorrenza online (nel 2014).

La potete leggere qui nella versione definitiva del 2017 (è semplice, basta leggere gli articoli, in basso, che sono autoesplicativi).

Magari nel 2025 qualcosa arriverà.

Ha ragione Andreotti: “non basta avere ragione, bisogna che te la diano”, che è l’essenza della democrazia.

Source: The Markup

Amazon Puts Its Own “Brands” FirstPlay againAbove Better-Rated Products

An animation showing two similar products sold on Amazon and the symbolic process for how Amazon determines which product to display first.
It starts with the two products on podiums side-by-side. First, it shows that the non-Amazon product has a higher average product rating, which is illustrated by star icons raining on the products and the non-Amazon product being raised higher on its podium.
Second, it shows that the non-Amazon product has more product reviews, which is illustrated by scroll icons raining on the products and the non-Amazon product again being raised higher on its podium.
Finally, it emphasizes that the Amazon product is from an Amazon brand, illustrated by Amazon logos raining on just the Amazon product and the Amazon product rising above the non-Amazon product, emblematic that this aspect is most important of all.

It took Robert Gomez about five months to get his Kaffe coffee grinder to the big leagues in e-commerce: among the first three search results for “coffee grinder” on Amazon.com.Gomez, founder of Atlanta-based consumer goods startup 4Q Brands, said he obsessively refined his photos and description, amassed reviews from happy customers, and paid Amazon $40,000 a month on advertising to boost sales, one of the elements Amazon tells sellers will increase search ranking.

Then Amazon introduced a competitor from house brand Amazon Basics and another from a brand that sells exclusively on Amazon, DR Mills.“They ranked well right away,” Gomez said, each of them appearing among the top-three results for “coffee grinder” searches immediately.

The reason, he said, was clear: “Their search ranking is high because they’re an Amazon brand.”

An investigation by The Markup found that Amazon places products from its house brands and products exclusive to the site ahead of those from competitors—even competitors with higher customer ratings and more sales, judging from the volume of reviews.

We found that knowing only whether a product was an Amazon brand or exclusive could predict in seven out of every 10 cases whether Amazon would place it first in search results. T

hese listings are not visibly marked as “sponsored” and they are part of a grid that Amazon identifies as “search results” in the site’s source code. (We only analyzed products in that grid, ignoring modules that are strictly for advertising.)

Being an Amazon brand or exclusive influenced ranking more than star ratings or reviews.A bar chart showing the accuracy of different models and their ability to predict which product would appear in the top spot.

The plot shows the accuracy of five different models: (1) based on “flipping a coin”, with 49% accuracy; (2) based on number of reviews, with 52% accuracy; (3) based on star ratings, with 55% accuracy; (4) based on Amazon brand and exclusive status, with 71% accuracy; and (5) based on all factors together, with 73% accuracy.

We used machine learning to try to predict which product Amazon put first in search results based on various factors.

When we analyzed star ratings and number of reviews, neither could predict much better than a coin toss which product Amazon placed first in search results. Amazon told Congress in 2019 that its search results do not take into account whether a product is an Amazon-owned brand.

Sellers say it doesn’t seem that way to them. Gomez said Amazon’s brands have “unfair advantages” that make it harder for small merchants like him to compete” on its open marketplace. “Who bears the cost are those entrepreneurs and small businesses that don’t have the means to fight.”

The Markup found Amazon placed its Happy Belly Cinnamon Crunch cereal, with four stars and 1,010 reviews, in the number one spot ahead of cereals with better and more reviews including Cap’n Crunch (five stars, 14,069 reviews), Honey Bunches of Oats (five stars, 5,205 reviews), and Honey Nut Cheerios (five stars, 11,702 reviews). A vacuum cleaner from Amazon’s exclusive Noisz brand was placed on top, ahead of models from Bissell, Eureka, and Hoover with higher ratings and more reviews. And the Amazon-exclusive Concept 3sneaker from Skechers placed number one, four spots ahead of a similar but not exclusive to Amazon Skechers sneaker with the same star rating but 77 times more reviews.

A former Amazon employee told The Markup that the company used to give its new house brand products an unearned place at the top of search rankings when they first launched.

He said the practice has since stopped.However, we found that Amazon brands and exclusive products overall received an outsized portion of the top spot on search results, one that was far out of line with their proportion of the sample.

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