Amazon has long been suspected of using its local advantage to see which third-party products are popular with customers and then copying those products for its own-brand offerings.
Now a Reuters investigation jobs has uncovered a trove of documents from Amazon India that appear to confirm those allegations. They managed to get their hands on thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents, including emails, strategy documents and business plans, confirming that the company ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to promote its own product lines in India.
A 2016 strategy said knockoffs should be “in the top 2 or three search results” when customers shop on Amazon.in.The aim was to identify and target goods – described as “reference” or “benchmark” products – and “replicate” them.
Jeff Bezos has previously denied that Amazon uses this strategy, telling the US Congress in sworn testimony that Amazon prohibits its employees from using individual seller data to help its private label business.
However, the leaked documents show that two executives reviewed India’s strategy: Senior Vice Presidents Diego Piacentini, who has since left the company, and Russell Grandinetti, who currently runs Amazon’s international consumer business.
In a written response to questions for this report, Amazon said: “As Reuters hasn’t shared the documents or their provenance with us, we are unable to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the information and claims as stated. We believe these claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated.”