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Amazon investigating over cases of leaked data and bribery

Amazon

Amazon is understood to be investigating employees over leaked data and bribery, after it emerged that staff are profiting from the sale of confidential information to those who sell via the platform, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

An internal investigation was launched in May after a senior member of Amazon's staff was made aware that the practice was taking place in China, where the problem is understood to be most prevalent, due in part to the large - and increasing - number of sellers. The WSJ noted the relatively small salaries paid to Chinese Amazon workers, which may increase an employee's propensity to take the risk of receiving a bribe.

Staff and incidents in the US are also understood to be under investigation.  

Amazon uses a variety of automated techniques and measurements to rank products, including reviews, sales volumes and number of clicks per product. Sellers have long battled to feature on the first page of results and Amazon has fought back against seller scams, which can vary from sellers paying people people to repeatedly click on products to raise their profile, to the compilation of fake reviews to increase an item's appeal.

The new trend involves Amazon employees receiving money in exchange for the deletion of negative reviews; the provision of email addresses of customers who review goods after purchasing them; and for the provision of internal sales data. 

An Amazon spokeswoman said: “We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our Code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties.

On sellers, she said: “We have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them,” 

Fees for deleting reviews are understood to be in the region of $300 per review, typically with a five-review minimum.  

Customer emails are available for less money, and can be used to target customer who have left bad reviews and try to encourage them to change their review, or send them free or discounted products in exchange for a positive review.

Sales information is used to allow sellers to better understand consumer buying behaviour,  keywords and sales volumes statistics. The WSJ reported that at a recent seller conference which was not hosted by Amazon, an information broker explained that for $80, a seller could purchase sales and advertising data as well as search and click statistics.

Source : Insight DIY Team

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17 September 2018

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