Figure: Amazon is cracking down on vendor fraud in its product ranking system. Several American and Indian employees suspected of inappropriate access to and disclosure of internal data have been fired.
Netease Technologies News Dec. 11, according to the Wall Street Journal, according to people familiar with the situation, Amazon is cracking down on a series of vendor fraud on its website, and has fired several employees suspected of helping independent businesses provide insider information.
The Wall Street Journal reported in September that Amazon was investigating alleged data leaks and bribery to employees. Since then, Amazon has fired a number of American and Indian employees for allegedly illegally disclosing internal data abused by unknown businesses, according to the people familiar with the matter. In recent weeks, Amazon has also deleted thousands of suspicious comments, restricted vendorsaccess to customer data on its website and curbed many of the technologies used to improve product rankings in its search results, people familiar with the matter said.
A spokesman for Amazon said the company was actively cracking down on those who tried to harm sellers on its website, using tools including machine learning to prevent bad behavior from happening before it happened. If bad people abuse our system, we will act quickly, including terminating their sales accounts, deleting comments, withholding funds, taking legal action and cooperating with law enforcement, the spokesman added.
However, the crackdown did not prevent some sellers from sabotaging their competitorssales. Recently, a large number of businesses claimed that competitors maliciously labeled their products as counterfeit or trademark infringement products, which prompted Amazon to temporarily block these products on the website when evaluating legitimate products.
Some sellers also buy Amazon wholesalersaccounts on the black market to obtain a large number of product listings, according to people familiar with the matter. These accounts on Amazons Vendor Central system are designed to enable wholesalers to edit product lists to ensure the accuracy of product sales. But these insiders say that many sellers abuse these accounts to modify competitorsproduct pages, such as replacing photos with unrelated products.
According to Marketplace Pulse, an e-commerce data company, an estimated 3 million businesses sell products on Amazon.com. According to Adobe Analytics, an analyst, consumers in the United States are expected to spend $124.1 billion online this year, up 15% from last year. According to analystsestimates, about half of this consumption occurs in Amazon. Competition intensifies during the crucial holiday retail season, prompting attacks on the supplier centre system.
Ankit Jain, a seller at Boca Raton, Florida, said his best-selling Mermaid Sequin pillow was suddenly misclassified as an adult product in November, meaning it would no longer appear in most Amazon search results. Fortunately, Jane succeeded in persuading Amazon to replace it. Jain has formed his own team in India to monitor his products every three minutes so that when his products are attacked, they can immediately complain to Amazon. He estimates that the attack cost him about 20% of holiday season sales.
In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that sellers tried to fool Amazons automation system in various ways, which ranked about 500 million products in search results. These strategies include criticizing competitorsproduct lists with overly positive or negative comments and repeatedly clicking on product links they want to promote to deceive Amazons algorithms and rank them higher in search results, people familiar with the situation said.
According to sellers, Amazon has stepped up efforts to remove sites that may have suspicious comments. In recent months, several product lists have lost thousands of reviews in a single day, a number that may take years to rebuild. According to sellers and other people familiar with the situation, some of the comments were legitimate but were inadvertently deleted. In addition, some sellers have adopted a practice called brush in which false accounts use real addresses to place orders in order to leave positive comments.
Meanwhile, according to people familiar with the matter, intermediaries are selling what they call Amazons real sales data, which can give Sellers an advantage. In addition, Amazon is focusing its internal bribery investigation on India. India is said to be a disaster area where Amazon employees abuse data. Many Amazon employees in customer support positions say their ability to search for data such as product performance or trend keywords in internal databases is severely limited.
In October, Amazon informs some customers by e-mail that their e-mail addresses are shared with outside sellers, which violates Amazons policy. Amazon said it had fired those responsible. Amazon again notified customers in November that their e-mail address had been leaked, but the company said it was a technical error, not a violation, without giving details.
Fit Simplify, a fitness equipment company based in Pleasanton, California, said it believed it was the victim of a vendor-centric system attack. Previously, the companys fitness brand product photos were replaced with pictures. (small)
Source: Responsible Editor of Netease Science and Technology Report: Wang Fengzhi_NT2541