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Amazon won't sell you a Chromecast, but they will sell a counterfeit (amazon.com)
639 points by bb88 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 267 comments



Amazon has a major issue with screening against knockoffs and counterfeits, and the severity of the issues surrounding this grows every day. For instance, my friend bought a camera that looked similar to the Arlo, but it contained a telnet backdoor. Another would ping a strange AliCloud VPS over UDP that appeared to contain data related to network configuration without any explanation or ability to be disabled, short of router firewall rules. As knockoff vendors get more clever at disguising their devices as the one's they're trying to copy, an increasing amount of less-technical users become ever-more at risk regarding their security and privacy.


Fundamentally, it reminds me of eBay without the feedback score. I (and probably many of you) know / knew that when buying from eBay, the seller is really some person in Milwaukee, or a warehouse in New Jersey. I checked feedback ratings, history, and so on for each purchase. My mother knows this too.

In Amazon, I know to try to do this, but I don’t quite trust that what I bought came from who it claims to be. My mother has no concept of a “third party seller.” She just knows “it’s on Prime!”

IMHO the Amazon user experience tries to explicitly bury the 3rd party “bazaar” inside the “store,” and (some time ago) successfully managed to mingle them both into a single “marketplace.”

When I’m shopping for a 1978 printing of a book, I want the bazaar. When I’m shopping for a Chromecast, I want a “store.”


The problem on Amazon is that it doesn't matter which vendor you buy from. If it's Amazon or 'fulfilled by Amazon', all the goods are intermingled. It's like going to the bazaar and paying your money to the trustworthy vendor but when it's time to get your item, a dog goes and grabs your item from any random vendor he sees that looks like the thing you bought.


Except that the dog is an exhausted human being wearing hand-tracking wristbands [ https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/31/amazon-patent-hand-track... ].


I've been working on tech inside the Amazon Fulfillment Centers got the last six years. I travel to different FCs every week in my current role. I have never heard of nor seen these wristbands.

Amazon has a tool to make it very easy for any idea anyone has to be patented. If I think it some crazy idea today, I can fill in a form describing it and lawyers will see if it's a valid patentable idea, then file the needed paperwork. Half the ideas may never be thought about again. That's where this came from, almost certainly.

Just because Amazon patents an idea doesn't mean it becomes real. It just means that if they ever decide to do it, they can't be sued by someone else who patented it.


On a side note IBM has a similar process for parenting things. We’ll obviously cover content that goes into a product, but we also allow more hypothetical ideas assuming they Pass a series of tests for value originality and some other points.


Fair enough, but there have been quite a number of stories about working conditions in Amazon warehouses, and it doesn't sound particularly pleasant, hand-tracking wristbands or no.


Exactly. My fiancé bought a board game from Amazon. Some of the die cuts for stuff weren’t quite lined up with the graphics. We contacted the creator and their answer was that it was counterfeit.

We left a bad review of the seller. I challenge you to find that - and even better - who’s to say it was that seller or another bad actor that polluted the stock?


Does Amazon do this in .de/.co.uk/.es/.fr presence, too, or is this only a .com thing?


Happens in .de too.


I've never heard of counterfeits (by 3rd party, fulfilled by amazon) being mixed with official products(sold by amazon) on .fr (yet). Any pointers on this being done for .de ?


.co.uk is the same.


You can request your products not be commingled, but by default, they are.


True, but that's useless to the customer, who has no idea of whether commingling happens or not.

The other day I found myself needing printer toner. Amazon has a much better price, even when they sell it themselves, than local stores. But then I see that along with the "sold and shipped by amazon", which is still quite cheap, there are dozens of even cheaper options, some of which are fulfilled by Amazon anyway. So how do I know I am buying a new, original cartridge, an honest, quality refurb, or something that might print badly, or even damage my printer? Even the sold by Amazon merchandise, which I'd hope is original, could be comingled with a refilled knock off that might be indistinguishable out of the box, but will be very different in operations.

For something like this, as a consumer, I absolutely need to know the provenance of what I am purchasing, and the chance that there is commingling means I cannot buy something like this from Amazon, as I won't even be able to tell for a while.


You should make it clear that this is on the merchant's side. Consumers are not allowed to choose where their purchases come from.


So interestingly - I’m an amazon shopper who’s unhappy occasionally. Where to I flee to? I want to buy a new cutting board. Where do I go? AliExpress? Walmart?


Local retail stores are always an option, plus you get to make your decision based on more than a grainy or staged picture and likely faked reviews.


More importantly, the customer can't tell if there is commingling.


There is very likely a person or group at Amazon that considers this a feature, at least when product commingling was introduced.

In an ideal world with no counterfeits, product commingling is an efficient thing to do, and if a product is commingled, there is no point in giving the 3rd-party seller top billing, the customer should feel like they're buying from Amazon.


There's also the mixing of reviews, even across models, which makes it much harder for the uneducated user to weed out the bad eggs. The entire Amazon user experience is designed to hide the mixed source nature of their inventory and instead make it appear like a unified storefront.


This phenomenon has ruined amazon reviews entirely.


Why does crap like this always happen? Can’t we not just keep the things that work well?


It's interesting looking at the reputation and practices of amazon and ebay over the past 20 years. Ebay started out with random individuals, and slowly became more reputable as it attracted large sellers of knock-off brands. Amazon started out with decent brands, then slowly became less reputable as they picked up large sellers of knock-off brands. At this point, they occupy essentially the same space, despite starting off with completely different bases.


>Amazon has a major issue with screening against knockoffs and counterfeits

Does it ever! I refuse to buy expensive electronics or equipment on Amazon after getting burned with a knockoff Bose headphones and SWISSGEAR luggage. You don't even get the benefit of cheap prices as those things were within reasonable range of their typical retail price (and with luggage the price fluctuation is always high). It's insane.


Apparently you can even be denied Global Entry for buying from Amazon: https://www.racked.com/2018/1/8/16849298/amazon-counterfeits...


That was a very interesting read, with a few points about sharing of listings pages I hadn’t previously considered, thanks for posting it! The main point though, around being flagged for importing counterfeits is particularly concerning to me as a frequent traveller...


I'm sure they're allowed to do this since the membership agreement is incredibly strict and allows for no room for mistakes, but that doesn't mean they should be. Generally speaking, laws take into account intent and treat cases differently (or not at all) based on what the intent of the action is.

It's pretty clear here that the person didn't intend to import a counterfeit bag (why pay full price for it?)


I use to buy my electronic from specialty shops. Cameras from B&H and audio from Sweetwater. I switched because my purchases were less frequent and as much. My day to day work is education and I do side work and small videos for work. I know that B&H has had problems with ethical treatment of their workers and were fined $3.4 million by the labor department. One I heard things have been corrected and that things are different there but they actually were the only place I could go to get everything I needed. If you make a Purchase Order you don't want to fill out multiple of ones from new vendors.

Fast forward to last week I was given a budget of about $6,000 to purchase company equipment and I looked at Amazon for 2 minutes and went right to B&H. After I submitted my order to my company I looked up everything on Amazon to see what I was missing. Well everything was bundles or weird price ranges with only 1 or 2 items left for sale. After 45 minutes I realized that it was a mess and I couldn't come up with a clear answer of how much anything was going to cost unless I had a credit card (We do purchase orders) and just looking things up it was a whole $50 less. Glad I went to a single seller.


The last expensive electronic item I got from amazon was a surround sound speaker. It can beat up as shit in a box. I ordered another of the same speaker off eBay, came in pristine condition.


well one issue is that the counterfeit gear is pushing out legit items. it is a bizarre day when I resort to buying from Ebay sellers to get what I want.

now I have not see the issue in food products, I tend to buy certain condiments and garnish type items via Amazon as they are not locally available but given time and Amazon's looking the other way with the marketplace I expect it


How did you see it was a knockoff? What gave it away, just curious.


For the Bose headphones, I went online and found some guides that pointed out things to look for.

For the SWISSGEAR luggage, I went to a retail location and inspected the same model ... also, couldn't register the serial number.

Both knockoffs were of pretty good quality, but not at the same level as the originals.


Don’t buy name brands from 3rd party sellers on Amazon. Pretty simple. Purchasing on amazon isn’t about getting a “deal”, it’s about getting something at or around retail price without having to go to the store. If you are looking for cheap name brand items, go to TJMax or something.


I consider myself a sophisticated internet user and even I can't really tell how to know if a seller is the "real brand" page or not.

I recently bought a Hario coffee grinder. I looked at what I thought was the official page for the item on Amazon (not a third party seller) yet 10-15% of the reviews all complained about receiving a counterfeit. That's when I gave up and bought it at Williams Sonoma.


That brings up another big Amazon issue. Reviews for related but not identical products hey thrown in together. It's supposedly the same product in this case, but different vendors. So the product reviews aren't the right place in this case. Sometimes these get grouped in the same listing and you can see vendor ratings under purchase options (clicking "new & used"). I feel I've seen this not frequently with books though. Talking about books. Here Amazon throws all versions together. Kindle version has typos from bad OCR? That review is now going to be for all versions. A foreign language book has multiple translations? All get the same review. I recently wanted to buy a particular translation of The Brothers Kamazorov. That was a incredibly frustrating experience. Several versions available didn't list the translator in the description. One I found the right one and clicked on Kindle version I'm surprised to see a totally different translation. On top of that the bulk of the reviews are talking about how a particular translation is bad. It's just a giant cluster fuck.


I get the sense that there’s something wrong with reviews, too. It’s as if it’s far too restrictive to be able to write a negative review or the seller has far too much freedom to prevent negative ones from posting.

My anecdotal case was buying a lamp for a DLP TV. The seller claimed to provide a 1 year warranty and mine burn out after 11 months. However, there was absolutely no means to contact the seller. I tried reached out to Amazon to get it, but to no avail. Finally, I resorted to leaving a negative review about the product and seller. Within a day I was sent an email saying my review violated some rules that state I’m not allowed to be critical of the seller, only the product. I was flabbergasted. So I rewrote it without any direct mention of the seller and the same thing happened. At that point, I just gave up. The seller is still there, selling non-existing one year warranties.


There are item reviews and seller reviews - they are entirely separate. In this situation I would definitely agree that it is too restrictive, because seller reviews are limited to 90 days after purchase.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=aw/...


I bet part of Amazon’s motive is the fact that people are more likely to buy something if the reviews are good, and there’s a lot of them.


Maybe. Funny enough though I looked into buying The Brothers Kamazorov a year ago or so and have up because I didn't know what translation to buy and the reviews all being mixed together just fed my confusion and I have up. I only came back to it because someone on a podcast recommended a particular translation.


Could you name the podcast and the translation?


As almost everything I talk about it happened on econtalk: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2018/02/jordan_peterson.htm...

The translation is by Constance Garnett. They only mention the book in passing. If I wouldn't have been wanting to read the book since years and called Russ Roberts highly the podcast wouldn't have made me want to read the book. It was in no way the topic of the episode or even close.


> Purchasing on amazon isn’t about getting a “deal”

No, it is, or at least it was. When online shopping got big, up until a few years ago, the prices were usually better than physical retail (but with higher latency due to shipping). It only got popular because you were getting a deal (if only dodging sales tax), and most people were conditioned to think that online shopping = good deal (compared to physical retail).

But you're right, in 2018 Amazon's for paying retail and gambling that you didn't get a counterfeit (the chance of which varys depending on the kind of product), and then waiting for it to arrive.

For me that doesn't make any sense, so I've stopped shopping there for anything I can find locally in a retail store.


For me that doesn't make any sense, so I've stopped shopping there for anything I can find locally in a retail store.

People often say that media like CDs and DVDs/Blu-rays are on the way out and it's all online downloads now, but at least here in the UK I still buy probably 90% of the films I watch at home and maybe half of the TV shows on disc, because the likes of Netflix simply don't have a big range of big name titles, or don't get them until several years after they come out.

Sadly, most of the good local stores where I used to buy discs have closed down, in large part thanks to online sellers undercutting them and driving them out of the market. The likes of Silver Screen, where you could go in and browse for almost any film or TV show you liked on disc and probably pick up something new to try on an offer while you were there, have gone the way of the dinosaur. All that's left is a few of the recent blockbusters in the big stores. I'm not convinced this is progress!

We do at least still have one decent bookshop in town, which is a blessing because Amazon's handling of books is apparently so careless that I was returning a crazy number of them just because they arrived marked, ripped or otherwise not in brand new condition. I've gone back to buying the majority of my books, and anything I possibly can if it will be a gift, in bricks and mortar stores so I can see it's in good condition before I buy it, and where I can also browse for related material that I might also like to pick up while I'm there.

Tech-wise, I wouldn't trust Amazon for anything more sophisticated than a network cable or USB hub. This is a merchant that ships hard drives in over-sized boxes with a bit of tissue paper for padding, and then seems to have trouble understanding why we decline the delivery. There are plenty of specialist tech merchants who will supply more serious gear packaged properly, from reputable sources, and typically at about the same price anyway.


> Don’t buy name brands from 3rd party sellers on Amazon

No, don't buy name brands from Fulfilled by Amazon sellers (including Amazon itself) on Amazon, only from known-good third-party non-FBA sellers (exception, Amazon is okay if there are no FBA sellers for a product), since Amazon commingles inventory from FBA sellers (including themselves), so you never know which seller actually sourced a good purchased from an FBA seller.


There’s something seriously wrong if this is the advice being doled out. It’s as if we’re ok with the haphazard shopping experience and there’s a set of guidelines on avoiding being scammed. It’s the kind of thing I never have to worry about with so many other retailers but we all stick with Amazon because Prime perks.


One last case, some manufacturers are the only sellers for their product (like Anker).


Amazon comingles goods in their warehouses between themselves and various sellers. You can buy something sold "by Amazon" and get sent an item sent to Amazon by a third party seller.


Right, meaning fulfilled by Amazon. But they have the brand registry indicating that something is “of a brand”. So you are saying that these products can be counterfeits? The item from the post says it’s “by wish power” not google(the logo is certainly alarming though). It’s a knockoff sure, but a pretty obvious one. I order everything from Amazon and I have never ever had a single problem with that. I am a pretty diligent shopper so maybe that helps?


Right, so when you buy things from Amazon you have several options:

1. Items sold by Amazon. 2. Items sold by 3rd parties and fulfilled by Amazon. 3. Items sold by 3rd parties and shipped by 3rd parties.

The problem is that items in their fulfillment centers, (1) and (2) are mixed together. Just because you buy something sold by Amazon doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be sent a counterfeit item that a 3rd party sent to amazon to use for fulfillment.


There is actually a new category of products sold and shipped by third parties that still count as prime shipping somehow.


we have Prime products that we mfg, sell and ship directly. basically you have to be very diligent about shipping by their cutoff times and use a service that guarantees the delivery date and must generate your shipping labels through amazon so they can track it all. we hooked up our existing ups account and dont have to purchase shipping through amazon. we ship out all orders same day (not just amazon) but it's easy to lose Prime status if you fall behind.


Is there a source confirming this?


https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId...

Everything except for topical/consumable items and items with an expiration date can be conmingled.


Thank you for finding that. It's hard to believe they haven't considered the potential issues that arise from this. Or they have considered the issues and found it financially viable to ignore them.


Was this not exactly the problem with eclipse glasses last summer? People who ordered the real thing were being shipped dangerous knock-offs.


This article [0] seems pretty comprehensive. I recall there being a thread here on this topic fairly recently but I can't seem to find it now.

[0] https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2017/12/13/how-to-p...


https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16498013

Just a few days ago this was on the front page, an article by a small business owner selling their product on Amazon complaining both in the article and the comments that even when a product is in the brand registry they are woefully ineffective about dealing with counterfeits.

This not-Chromecast is a really bad example because it's not actually claiming to be a Chromecast, but I have certainly ordered products on Amazon and received knockoffs before. Inventory comingling makes it basically impossible to ensure you're getting what you order because even if you order from a reputable seller it might come from somebody else entirely.


Unless they do commingled inventory, then you may be getting a counterfeit even when purchasing from the name brand store. The discussion about that comes up regularly enough on here, so it’s not hard to find references.


That explanation doesn't make sense in the current case though. I'd imagine, the usual difficulty in blocking counterfeits is telling them apart from the real product - which you do want people to sell. However, if you already make a point of blocking the real product, shouldn't blocking counterfeits be even easier?

(I could imagine you still have problems with products that just "happen" to look almost - but not quite - like the original, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. The link shows products that look exactly like a Chromecast, even though the actual Chromecast is blocked.)


So: amazon manages a fairly... unmanaged marketplace. There's a lot of cruft and some fraud. I get the impression it's not quite as bad here (amazon.de) as the reports make amazon.com sound, but deception is a huge problem; and quality in general is variable.

But having said all that - this is such a poor example to start complaining about. Nothing in the product description sounds like a counterfeit; it's simply yet-another possibly poor-quality competitor to the chrome cast. And sure, the supplier made the really dubious decision to include a chrome-logo-shape in the actual device. But the seller isn't amazon; and the description doesn't use anything to hint at it being a chromecast - so it's unlikely people looking for a chromecast will be mislead (or indeed even manage to find this thing).

All in all: this sounds like the seller is possibly counterfeiting, but it's not a great example of amazon tolerating counterfeiting, because it's easy to imagine a reasonable middleman might never have noticed.


Re: "All in all: this sounds like the seller is possibly counterfeiting, but it's not a great example of amazon tolerating counterfeiting,"

Less than ideal example? Possibly. But still valid.

Amazon. One of the few 800 lb tech terrors. And they're doing what to solve this problem? Tolerate is being too kind. When you're making the choices they're making you're an enabler.

All the revenue. All those resources and...that gets them a free pass? That's disturbing.


What should they do, exactly? Even they got sold a bunch of counterfit Apple chargers. The sellers are using OEM bar codes and the surface of the items match the OEM virtually perfectly.


Amazon is basically providing a goods laundering service for criminals. There's not much difference between what they're doing and what someone is doing who is fencing stolen goods.

If they're going to comingle goods, then they need to put their own tracking onto the goods so that it is possible to know who provided the goods to which buyers. Either that or require that each item has a unique rfid or other identifier. This would allow tracing of counterfeit goods back to the supplier.

As it is, when you buy something that turns out to not be legit, you have no real recourse, and often the wrong supplier gets dinged.


Pretty sure Amazon has the resources to:

1. Only stock counterfeit-prone items verifiably sourced from the real manufacturer, e.g. Apple, LV, Bose, etc.

2. Stop commingling inventory from multiple sources, which totally prevents any crowd-sourced detection of counterfeit sellers.

3. Increase manpower devoted counterfeit detection and enforcement. This could even include randomly pulling items from inventory and testing/inspecting them.

4. Detect obviously fake items, such as 1 TB microSD cards priced at $10. This can done through pre-listing manual reviews plus automation.

5. Give users obvious ways to signal the mothership about counterfeits, and take action on the signals.

6. etc.

In short there's all kinds of stuff a company with the resources of Amazon can do to solve this problem. The fact that they're doing nothing is telling.


What should they do?

Are you suggesting Jeff The Genius - who has aspirations to put a man on the moon - can't figure something out? Somehow?

The better question: Why are they doing nothing?

The answer is obvious.


The way Amazon handles disputes and poor quality goods is beyond frustrating. I bought a security camera with a motion sensor that was supposed to text me if there was movement (I was traveling through some less savoury countries and wanted to know if anyone was checking through my room) and the thing broke in the first day or two. Of course the buyer refunds me a token dollar and Amazon's refute process somehow doesn't work.

My new strategy with Amazon is simple: If it's a book, sure. Otherwise no way, I can't trust anything there. I'm surprised there hasn't been a class action suit against them by now for all the counterfeit / poor quality goods / spyware.


I've stopped buing books aswell. If only Netflix could buy over Jeremy Clarkson then all would be well.


Oddly enough, I've found that I can usually find better deals on books from other sites. And the one time when I needed a book to arrive quickly and so had planned to buy from Amazon (to get fast shipping), they didn't have the book in stock.



It's not like they seem to be facing any consequences for selling shoddy or even dangerous goods.


I used to only have a policy against ordering food items from amazon but after I ordered a couple bottles of Neutrogena face wash (standard stuff we've always used) and it made several people in my family break out immediately after using it I won't order any soaps or toiletry products either. If Amazon could guarantee there was no comingling I'd pay extra for some things for it.


They've actually been proactive in removing items that are reported as dangerous. I had my eye on a juicer, but a review had posted that they noticed some plastic shavings showing up in their juice.

The next day, the product was listed as no longer available.

N=1, but there does seem to be an effort.


That's reactive, not proactive.


I worry about when Amazon starts offering medicine, more than anything else. Fake drugs can and will kill people.


Amazon already sells OTC drugs, including allowing third party sellers. Fake OTC drugs are almost as dangerous as fake prescription drugs (fake prescription drugs are more likely to be dangerous just by not being a good drug, but either is equally dangerous as a bad drug.)


They already sell things that could get people killed. There are horror stories of children getting lead poisoning from Amazon toys.


For prescription drugs, no way will they co-mingle third party sellers.

It's reasonable to expect that they won't even allow other pharmacies on the platform.


It would help if vendors used serial registration. And perhaps they could include some signature item in the package that is difficult to copy. Electronic products would be perfect to hold a signature.


https://digiday.com/marketing/amazon-grows-transparency-prog...

Excerpt: "The way it works is roughly like a serialization or UPC code. The brand buys the codes from Amazon and puts a unique code on every unit it creates for sale on Marketplace. All the codes are serialized; Amazon will not accept items without codes."


Might this be a legit use case for a blockhain solution?


No. The source of truth is the manufacturer, so you don't need a "trustless" solution. You trust the manufacturer.


I wouldn't trust that they are who they say they are unless they can prove it. Also I don't trust anyone between them and me, including Amazon.

If they signed products with a cryptographic key, might actually be worth something as proof of who they are.


Sure, but that's just regular old cryptographic signatures + a web of trust. A blockchain doesn't help at all to prove who someone is.


Blockchain isn't the only cryptography

Manufacturer has a keypair. They include a QR code that's the digital signature of the combination of your name & the product's serial number. You use their public key to verify


This would effectively mean that every manufacturer were a retailer, because they would need a direct relationship with the ultimate buyer. Whether you like Amazon or not, that kind of retail model has proven incredibly valuable to shoppers by aggregating sellers that would be too hard to find individually and eliminating the need for a manufacturer-end-buyer relationship.

A solution like this would also limit alienability of property. I buy a DSLR and register it with the manufacturer. Two years later I want to resell it to someone else and discover my manufacturer either refuses to issue the new QR code to the buyer, or wants to charge a "reasonable" or "nominal" fee of 25% of the fair market value of the good to effect the transfer.

This is why a distributed-trust solution like blockchain actually might not be overkill, in spite of its buzzwordiness these days.

Or to return to your idea, instead of the person's name, transfer to an ID that's backed by another keypair. The buyer now has the authority to sign away full ownership without asking the manufacturer for cooperation. Of course, this means the manufacturer and each seller in the chain now has to have a tech-support department for people who lost their private keys or forgot the keychain password....


Why would the manufacturer bother instead of just telling you to not buy on Amazon and buy directly from them? On any expensive item that people research it seems like it'd be in their interest if Amazon got a reputation for selling fakes, to break the habit of people who only look on there.


Only if Amazon got that reputation in the broader market. Otherwise, manufacturers would potentially benefit from retailers having a more difficult time claiming ignorance about which items in their warehouses are fake.


The digital signature of the serial number would probably be sufficient. That’s not a bad idea.


Eh, what would a decentralized ledger hosted by multiple parties bring to the table here? Trying to see your reasoning on invoking blockchain.


An idle thought perhaps not well thought out. But I was envisioning more than the simple Manufacturer to Amazon handoff, something like a new type of individual-item-specific UPC where you could continue to track ownership even through hip-to-the-system OfferUp style apps. The privacy implications are scary, and I'm not suggesting there's a viable or good idea in here. Thus it was a question. :-)


Would that be a feasible B2B service between suppliers and Amazon?


Finally! A legitimate use for blockch...

Nope


Alibaba disagrees. Amazon should take a look.

https://medium.com/@alitech_2017/blockchain-based-qa-the-end...


Just because you can force a blockchain onto something, doesn't mean you need any of the features a blockchain gives you. It just means you really like to say "blockchain".


I tried to sell shoes on Amazon and they definitely demanded loads of documents from me before allowing me to do so.

Perhaps Google hasn’t registered their products with Amazon? It could even be intentional on their part.


Just buy an Alexa / GoogleHome / Nest / SamsungSmartTV and wave your privacy goodbye. It's a free-for-all out there for invading your privacy, and the big players are in the lead. No need for obscure knockoffs.


The elephant in the room is rather "why does Amazon not sell Chromecasts?" - The answer is rather obvious but it's an illegitimate business practice when you are in the business of selling pretty much everything else. The Amazon line of products should sell based on their merits only, not because its competitors' are not available.


> The elephant in the room is rather "why does Amazon not sell Chromecasts?"

> it's an illegitimate business practice when you are in the business of selling pretty much everything else.

Google is a predatory monopoly that is leveraging their existing power in search to move directly into consumer goods.

Amazon is also a predatory monopoly that is leveraging their existing power in shopping logistics to move directly into consumer goods.

This is tit for tat.

https://www.recode.net/2017/10/12/16464132/google-target-ret...

https://www.pcworld.com/article/2975731/software-games/youtu...

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/26/16371292/google-youtube-a...

These companies are moving into the same market, and if they don't fight as hard as possible, they're letting their shareholders down.

I don't know if it's illegal and the DOJ is asleep at the wheel, but Google isn't going to stop: They're not content with selling people's personal data and even that they're losing to ad blockers. They're getting desperate.

Amazon isn't going to stop either, fuelling consumerism is their bread and butter, so they need to be in the middle of every shopping transaction. No market is out of bounds, but they're really struggling with media and product. These were big investments and Amazon is simply not very good at either, so they too are desperate.

We consumers are surely the collateral damage in the meantime, but besides "voting with our wallet", what else could we do? Regulation would be likely required to even allow Google and Amazon to cooperate without violating their obligations their shareholders, but what shape would that take?


Then how come they sell pixel phones?

Edit: I did some googling and it appears that amazon pulled both Apple TV and Chromecast because they didn't offer Amazon Prime. Which is clearly abuse of their position in the market to me but I'm just a layperson.

Then int 2017 they were slated to come back but now in 2018 I can't find chromecasts anymore. Only peripherals for it and clones.

Edit: Lol I just noticed they're selling the "fire tv stick" instead. What a stupid name.


> it appears that amazon pulled both Apple TV and Chromecast because they didn't offer Amazon Prime.

Amazon pulled Prime Video off of Chromecast themselves to sell the Fire TV (stick). Google did not remove Amazon's apps.


Google first changed the Chromecast protocol a few times to prevent Amazon from using it.

There’s a lot of fuckery there, and those of us that tried to build open source chromecast clones got fucked by Google as well.

If you wish to argue against this, please offer me a way to implement the Chromecast protocol on a raspberry pi, reliably, without it constantly being broken by Google’s updates.


I'd be interested to see a citation for your claim that Google intentionally changed the Cast protocol to prevent Amazon from using it.

Your argument that Cast is hard on unsupported platforms is irrelevant. They are, by definition, unsupported, and Google is under no obligation to support them.

Google provides an SDK that people are free to use on the platforms Google chooses to support.

https://developers.google.com/cast/docs/developers


How do I receive a chromecast with that SDK, please?

The point is not about sending, but about receiving, as was possible with miracast, and which would have made the fire stick a killer product (by having immediate compatibility with all Google apps' casting feature)


Source? I couldn't find anything from a cursory search.


> Google first changed the Chromecast protocol a few times to prevent Amazon from using it.

How can they do that without also kicking out Netflix, Twitch, Hulu, etc.?


Simply by the fact that none of these attempted to build a chromecast receiver?

There were three groups working on such a receiver, Google with their Chromecast, Amazon wanted to support receiving chromecasts with the fire TV, and open source projects trying to receive chromecasts on the raspberry pi.

Google changed that protocol a few times, only Google's products can receive chromecast streams today.


Oh, on the receiver side. So Amazon pulled Chromecast support from their apps because they couldn't get reliable Cast protocol support on their FireTV. Thank you for clarifying.


Yes, that's basically it — they couldn't get reliable cast support to receive on the FireTV, and they couldn't reliably send from the Kindles due to Google's protocol changes.

And that was already after Google's anticompetitive actions against the Kindle Fire devices.


xoogler here, one of my teams implemented cast functionality in google photos. IIRC, this was definitely not the reason; the protocol was initially very limited and it was changed to make it more secure while also adding capabilities.


That's the sending protocol (and I've seen those changes, I reversed that, too), but I meant the changes to the receiving protocol.

There's a separate protocol app → Google and Google → Chromecast. Or at least, there was, after countless changes, I gave up attempting to build a raspberry pi with chromecast support.

And of course, Chromecast replaced the dlna protocols and Miracast support in Android. I lost the ability to stream the screen on my nexus devices to open source receivers back then, because Google had to go proprietary.


This is nonsense. You can cast with Plex from your home server of all things. I'm sure Amazon can figure out how to use an SDK.


Plex can receice chromecasts, as Amazon was planning to with the Fire Stick, and as open source projects did?


Google did pull YouTube app from Amazon devices. https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/05/google-blocking-youtube-...


That was in retaliation to Amazon nonsense. Get your timelines straight.


How is FireTV stupid, well more stupid than any product name? Amazon have a media receiver line called Fire, FireTV fits the brand and tells you what it does, same as Chromecast -- same format.


I got a bad impression from the product on amazon. The shape was square compared to round, the name sounded too much like fire stick and wasn't easy on the tongue. I know now that it's based on Fire (and they have another product called Kindle) but when I just saw the product image say "fire tv stick" with a square USB device in the background I was not impressed.


Fire TV is garbage. The only reason to buy one is to flash something else on to it. It doesn't support casting and good luck finding something good to watch.


Well I use it and have found we watch Netflix in preference to terrestrial UK TV to the point we watch so little BBC now we might go back to streaming only and forgo the license fee.

A chacun son gout.


Amazon was first to pull Google products. History here: https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/03/02/amazon-still-isnt-s...


The issue started long before that, with the Fire phone vs Android.


I think, taking everything and not releasing as open source ( only after a lot of negative feedback) did hurt some toes.

But that's normal, still, amazon tried a one-up on a shitty way.


I think distinguishing consumer and producer monopolies might be valuable here. Google and Amazon can only be monopolistic and predatory towards producers on their platforms - the sites they rank in search, the ads they sell, the videos uploaded, the sellers of things. Because they have all the audience, anyone trying to get views online, buy ads, upload videos, sell things etc are throwing out a huge majority of the market by not using these two. There can definitely be a case against them there.

But those are just because they made products consumers want to use. There is no opportunity cost to switching search engine or store website. It takes a line of text to move to duckduckgo, bing, startpage, etc from Google. It takes a moment to move over to walmart, target, ebay, overstock, newegg, etc from Amazon. Neither can be overtly predatory towards the consumers of their platforms because they have no way to lock them in without taking over the whole Internet (and yeah, Google is trying that with AMP, but I doubt they will ever have enough of the Internet under their control to start restricting / banning non-AMP sites in Chrome - if they ever did that its the most blatant monopoly abuse case since Comcast).

Speaking of Comcast, they are the other side of the coin. Comcast has sheer market dominance, uses their size to buy out and kill competition and bribe politicians, and leaves their "customers" with no alternatives while they abuse them. For about 95% of Comcasts market base your options are Comcast or move somewhere without Comcast. That is a blatant, consumer harming monopoly.

Online, Facebook is damn close to that. You cannot easily switch to Facebook competitors because social networking is defined by network effects - Facebook is infrastructure as much as search is, but one requires the people you want to be on it while the other just needs to index the sites you want to find. Anyone can index websites, only Facebook can have everyone in your extended family on it. And Facebook surely uses its monopoly position to exploit and abuse its consumers.

I just like making the distinction between the two. Both are dangerous, but for most of us the threat of Google and Amazon isn't direct, its to the businesses and services we want to use that we access through them. But it remains our choice to give Google and Amazon that power, choices you don't have with Comcast or even Facebook. As long as I can have a voice in the efficacy of their monopolies I simply feel less threatened by them.


Does Google actually sell our personal data? I know they use it to advertise more effectively but I see this claim thrown around a lot but I'm not sure I've ever seen evidence of it. I'm sure they have a treasure trove of data and use it liberally but selling it is something else entirely.


> Google is a predatory monopoly that is leveraging their existing power in search to move directly into consumer goods.

How is their search dominance coming into play here? I see leverage of youtube, and leverage of android. Plus plain-old mass media advertising campaigns. Not search.


Google have not even BEGUN to start selling your personal data.


[flagged]


I just searched for airplay and only got results for Apple's tech. /snifftest


I was being very heavily sarcastic (as I indicated). There's no such abuse of Google's "monopoly".


> No: Google actually has an illegal WalMart / AliBaba / Amazon competitor used ONLY by its voice assistant to get you stuff.

Could you possibly explain this a little further?? This is very interesting!


Google Express. A while ago they dropped all integration of Google’s voice assistant with other ways of maintaining a shopping list, and instead it adds those now to Google express, even if that’s not available in your country.


He was being sarcastic. Google Express is actually a partnership with many retailers. Kind of like an amazon for retailers


I'm quite sure he was being sarcastic


Yes, I thought I made this clear through the seven /sssssss's I included for those playing along.

Guess not! I'll spell it out. If you have a shed in your backyard, no, Google didn't install a toilet in it for you while charging your Google play account.


Sarcastic


We sell everything from A to Z, except maybe C.


>The elephant in the room is rather "why does Amazon not sell Chromecasts?"

Yep. This is how you get the attention of regulators. They should ask Microsoft how fun it was to be hounded by them for a decade.


> an illegitimate business practice

No vendor should be forced to sell the products of its direct competitor.


Yeah, this sounds ridiculous if you extend it into, say, grocery stores.

"Store X has come up with their own Macaroni and Cheese that market tests show to be extremely successful, so they stop carrying Kraft"

In that scenario, should Store X be forced to carry Kraft? Of course not, people who want craft will go to any other myriad of different stores. Amazon doesn't even close to resemble a monopoly on online shopping.


Google should remove all Amazon links from their search results. No website should be forced to link to their direct competitors.


I fail to see how Google is a competitor to an online Wallmart-like shopping portal.


> I fail to see how Google is a competitor to an online Wallmart-like shopping portal.

Because Google operated an online shopping portal, which is also Walmart-like (perhaps moreso than Amazon, since you can actually buy from Walmart on it.)


You have got to be joking me.

Amazon Fire Stick is a direct competitor to Google Chromecast.


That product yes. They are not a competitor for EVERYTHING else.


I though there are strict laws against counterfeiting? It isn't even slightly different, it has the chrome logo on it!

With all the mishaps lately like sending out stones and bricks [1] instead of cameras I am worried this will carry over into other Amazon owned companies like Whole Foods.

[1] https://fstoppers.com/gear/buyer-orders-6000-camera-amazon-s...


It's not straight-up counterfeiting, since they own up to not being Chromecast, but it may not survive legal action. It's a weak defense. Google may have already started legal action. The trademark infringement is certainly there.

A lot depends on where it's made. Does Google have patents on the form factor in that country, either by treaties or by actually registering in the country? It can shut down the reselling by American companies at least.

As for food, counterfeits are unnecessary. There are already store brands which offer mostly or entirely the same food stuffs but with a derivative name (like Miracast vs. Chromecast, or Crunchy Nuts vs. Grape Nuts) and knock-off packaging.

There's also the bit where 3rd-party sellers don't exist in grocery stores.


>"It's not straight-up counterfeiting, since they own up to not being Chromecast, [...]"

I'm certain it doesn't work that way in the UK.

Small suppliers get _all_ their product confiscated in raids by Trading Standards when they sell knock-off Nike, or whatever.

Everyone knows it's knock-off (counterfeit, branded sports wear, like trainers and tracksuits). The sellers don't get let off for admitting it's fake; sometimes they go to prison, always they have goods confiscated.

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/8034060.Counterfe...

This seems analogous to the Amazon situation.

By rule of law Amazon warehouses should be shut by the police until all inventory that's counterfeit can be removed by Trading Standards. Presumably they lack resources to effectively police traders larger than market stalls.


>By rule of law Amazon warehouses should be shut by the police until all inventory that's counterfeit can be removed by Trading Standards.

And harm the economy? Fat chance. Perhaps their size isn't as massive there, but in the US Amazon is certainly "too big to fail" at this point.


That of course is short-termism: the economy (sic) is harmed more by fake good of low quality. The problem is enough corporate financial profit benefits from it.

I think if it were up to me I'd issue an ultimatum. Remove all counterfeit goods from your marketplace/supply chain or your warehouse in South Yorkshire is shutdown until the 3 people working in the local Trading Standards office can process the full inventory and confiscate counterfeit goods; that would include all goods in transit, eg by post, with an Amazon label or biking performed through Amazon. That would be lenient compared to how small "businesses" are treated.

Then choose one warehouse to assess, do a raid, check compliance and act appropriately. Note, advertisement of counterfeits is non-compliance.

That will definitely never happen this side of the greens getting in to power.


Oh man, you removed the line about Whole Foods, bummer.


Most of the knock-offs come from China, and in China it's acceptable business to plagiarize, perhaps even encouraged if you're plagiarizing from non-Chinese companies. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9loDBwp5ST0

They can get away with selling internationally either by selling directly from China, or just playing whack-a-mole. Often companies in the west will pop up to sell the products to domestic markets, and by the time the law comes chasing after them they've already disappeared. Usually the law isn't interested in what they are selling, but only bothers to chase after them when they don't pay their sales taxes.


They say

> Special note:

> this isn't a Chromecast


It's still counterfeit, a fake Rolex is still unlawful even when the seller and buyer know it's fake.


Why is that? If both parties know what's going on, who is being harmed?


As the sibling said, trade dress and marks are used, as is copying of the appearance - so there's torts there.

There are usually wider issues of public safety that come along for the ride; tortuous malfeasants are prone to criminal actions - like goods that don't meet fire safety standards (or RF interference requirements, etc., but has the requisite marks), etc..


It's trademark infringement because it has the Chromecast logo on it. If it didn't, it probably wouldn't be a problem. That's a big reason (but not the only reason) that fashion brands have their logo all over their products.


I don't think that makes it legal, since they are still violating the trademark.


The power of a trademark is to prevent consumer confusion.

If that logo's not fooling anyone, well, it's definitely not black and white.


Looking at the first page of search results for "Chromecast" on Amazon:

Top result is a counterfeit with the Chrome logo on it.

Second result is Amazon's Fire TV stick.

Third result is Roku Express.

4-7 are counterfeits with logos on them that don't precisely match the Chrome logo, but are clearly designed to falsely evoke Google's brand.

8 is a generic with no Google-related logo on it.

9-11 are counterfeits with almost-but-not-quite Google logos on them. 12 is a counterfeit with the Chrome logo on it.

13-14 are accessories "for Chromecast.

15 is a counterfeit with the Chrome logo on it.

Amazon correctly identifies which product category Chromecast is, and puts an add for Fire TV above the search results, indicating that they exercised some amount of direct (non-algorithmic) control over that page. I'd say Google has a pretty open-and-shut case for trademark infringement here.


To be fair, a Miracast device is not a Chromecast counterfeit. Miracast is older than Chromecast, and while Google's Android phones dropped Miracast support around the time Chromecast came out, Chromecast is not compatible with Miracast.

In the larger picture, this whole affair is nasty and wouldn't have to have happened if everyone supported the standard: Miracast.


Miracast is a standard, not a product. There is nothing wrong with selling a Miracast device, however this particular device is blatant Chromecast rip-off, designwise.


Ah, I hadn't seen the visual of the product (Amazon requires JavaScript to load product images).


The product quite literally has the chrome logo slapped on the it.


It's close. The slants in the circle swirl thing point the opposite direction.


> Google's Android phones dropped Miracast support around the time Chromecast came out,

Miracast support was “dropped” only in that it, like Chromecast support, was provided by the Google Cast (now Google Home) app, not the base OS.


I was very excited about Miracast when I first came across it in 2012, but all the implementations were crap, and the Chromecast blew it out of the water when it came to ease of use.


Elevation Labs wrote a post about this a couple days ago: https://www.elevationlab.com/blogs/news/amazon-is-complicit-...


A megastore that doesnt allow a popular product in their store.

That's a weird business model


Amazon is super weird if you don't live in a country where they have an official site. Half to two-thirds of the products can't be shipped to where I live, for Reasons, but I can't filter out those unshippable items. It's to the point where I have given up using it for anything but books.


It's the same in Ireland (inexplicably, Amazon employs tons of people here). The solution is that several businesses have popped up to reship things from the UK. There's no legal reason you couldn't. One nice thing is that when I buy from Amazon I can compare all the EU Amazon sites for price and get the cheapest.


Refusing to ship EU-wide is a common UK e-commerce anti-pattern that bizarrely applies even to Amazon. Even before Brexit was a thing. It's really annoying.

Well, more money to German merchants (and amazon.de). Many German merchants even provide English UI for Nordic customers these days. (Amazon.de provides hit-and-miss machine translation to English.)


Yep, Amazon has a massive warehouse in Poland, but doesn't have a Polish website at all. The best you can do is purchase stuff off Amazon.de, but not everything ships to Poland, despite being dispatched from a warehouse in Wroclaw.


In (at least) European Amazons, you can avoid looking at unshippable products by:

- searching for something

- selecting the most applicable category on the left, next to the results

- selecting Amazon.(de|fr|it|es|co.uk) on the bottom left (under Seller)

What is sold by Amazon generally gets shipped anywhere (within Europe?).

As a company, before Amazon Business, this also made sure you'd be able to shop without VAT.


A lot of the products from German Amazon cannot be shipped to Switzerland. Not sure why.


Because it is not in EU.


But it is in the EEA. I would imagine the barrier here isn’t legal policy or trade customs but simply currency difference. Since the price-cap charade a few years ago, the Franc has probably lost trust with quite a few businesses.


Switzerland is not part of the EEA. It has a bunch of EEA-like bespoke deals with the EU.

The most obvious gap for a traveler is that the EEA mobile roaming price regulation doesn't apply if you are on an EEA operator and roam to Switzerland.


It's not that hard to ship a parcel across a border. Maybe having to pay tariffs would destroy the "Amazon experience" or something?


Apparently it isn't worth the effort.

Could be that Swiss customs takes ages to clear parcels. Could be that tax or import duties are complicated or simply just so high that it's not worth it. I knew a lot of people in Switzerland near the German border used to go shopping in Germany because was significantly cheaper, probably still the case today.


Not so much the case today that it is significantly cheaper because the Swiss Franc weak-end 7-8% in the last year to the Euro. Also, the German food is not comparable to Swiss food in quality. Example: Swiss meat is more expensive but then again it is from Switzerland and not form Poland (which can happen in Germany but not in Switzerland because of the tariffs on foreign meat).


Unlikely to be about Amazon experience. They currently offer Fire TV Basic to EU countries that don't have Amazon presence but they don't do so from within the EU from e.g. amazon.de but from amazon.com going through customs.


Amazon is doing a lot of this now, for example into India. They take a prepayment for duties, clear it for you and refund if it ended up costing less to clear.


Not really. Amazon charges you the import duty when you place the order. The only difference is that it takes a bit longer to get delivered.


It's also true for The Netherlands.


It's true for many countries. The biggest reason is because they are not in the EU. The logistics of getting stuck at some border control is something most sellers don't want to deal with.


Last time I checked the Netherlands we're in the EU and there was no Nexit. Switzerland is different, though. They are indeed outside the customs union. (Which is always interesting to watch, when travelling across the border in trains and passengers are confused by the radom customs control, since they are part of Schengen, where people, not goods, can travel freely)


Well, I don't understand what's there to check, I never said Netherlands wasn't in EU.

The most probable reason why you can't get packages from EU Amazon to Switzerland is because they are not in EU.

The same reason applies to why you can't get packages to EU if you're trying to get them from US.

Yes, some big sellers don't mind but small ones do, and EU Amazon does have a huge variety of sellers.

For example, I've lived in Croatia before and after EU membership. The Amazon situation changed completely and now I can get packages from any EU Amazon.


I live in Finland (which is in EU) and Amazon (or their European sellers) is the only major web store inside EU that does not ship most of the products here. German Amazon even regularly pushes ads for products that can not be shipped here.

In contrast, most non-EU stores (except Amazon again) happily ship here, even if the shipping fees may be extremely high and border control is left to buyer's problem.


I meant it's also true that Amazon won't ship many thing to The Netherlands, which is in the EU.


Then it shouldn't be any products and not just some products.


Generally, but there are exceptions.

I usually just search for "Amazon Prime" items, but sometimes those items can't be shipped or aren't even available with Amazon prime! It's a total mess.


You can also punch the ASIN from one amazon site into another. And since the URL already contains the ASIN you can just change .co.uk to .de for example.


That generally gets you FBA though - which is where the worst of the counterfeiting problems are.


Cost savings/shipping costs and Prime?


I was reading today Amazon is going to stop carrying Nest products. It does seem odd to not carry competitors products for a store that sells everything.

Walmart has its own phone cell phone service, yet it still sells other phone brands.

I guess maybe because Amazon is getting more into hardware is maybe why they are dropping certain products. Like I wouldn't expect Apple to sell me a Dell laptop. However I view Apple more of a electronics company than a general electronics store. I view Amazon more like the online version of Walmart.


Does Walmart sell Costco own- brand (Kirkland?). No. It chooses the brands it sells, as does Amazon.


Not sure if store brands is a fair comparison though...

Walmart has their own store brand - Great Value. Costco probably wouldn't sell that either. I'm not a expert on store brands but I suspect they are using a private labeler company that makes products with their logos or minor tweaks.

You can buy Great Value Ultra Strong Toilet Paper or Cottonelle Ultra Comfort Care Toilet Paper at Walmart. Just because Walmart sells their own brand of toilet paper, doesn't mean they can't carry the other brands too. I think of Walmart as a general shop and not a toilet paper only shop. Probably being a "toilet paper company" isn't their main focus either.

If the margin in toilet paper was high enough where they had dedicated toilet paper stores, then at the Cottonelle Stores, then I'd expect only Cottonelle products - sotra like the Apple Store example.

Actually kinda surprised Amazon carries Roku though, but some reason they don't like Chromecast...


FWIW Google are equally petty here. They blocked the YouTube app on my Android device because it's branded with an Amazon owned brand (FireTV).

Presumably if I had more control I could rewrite the UA and Google would not punish me because they're having a tantrum over Amazon.


This is the only way they have of responding to Amazon's petty behavior. Hard to blame them if the other party won't interact in good faith.



Amazon was first to pull Google products.

History here: https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/03/02/amazon-still-isnt-s...


And Google was the first to modify the Chromecast protocol to prevent Amazon (and open source projects) from using it.

This is why all the pi-cast projects died down, after all. Google constantly eradicating third-party implementations to hurt Amazon.

That’s what started this fight.

If you wish to argue against this, please offer me a way to implement the Chromecast protocol on a raspberry pi, reliably, without it constantly being broken by Google’s updates.


? I still use CastNow https://github.com/xat/castnow

It's core is chromecast-player https://github.com/thibauts/node-castv2-client

V2 suggests there was 1 revision over time...

The FAQ mentioned issues with Chromecast ultra and it seemed to be ipv6. Your reasoning ( Google changes a protocol to block Amazon), seems to be quite extreme.


That's for casting to a chromecast — not receiving a chromecast.


It's protocol isn't opensource also.

Yes, Google does opensource a lot. But that doesn't mean they should open source one of their "few" hardware projects.


No, but Google intentionally obfuscating their protocol when at that time several apps supported casting from the Kindle devices, and people worked on receiving streams, was annoying.

And continuing to repeatedly change the receiving protocol until everyone stopped trying to reverse it was very anticompetitive.

Amazon has spent years to get binary compatibility with almost every Google SDK and API, and Google has responded by continuing to obfuscating these even further, and preventing them entirely.

And that's in addition to Google's illegal threats (EU antitrust case is almost over) to OEMs to prevent them from building Kindle devices.

Amazon cloned an open source operating system, and used it. And attempted to achieve binary compatibility with Google's version. Google did all they could to prevent that from succeeding.

It's a very twisted view to see Amazon as having started that fight.

Personally, I dislike Google's proprietary Android versions as much as Amazon's, but it's been Google that's been fighting third party implementations all along the way here, and not Amazon. It was Google spending lots of effort to destroy open source implementations utterly and entirely.


They didn't tried to fk with open-source, they where avoiding Amazon's "1-up". Amazon also didn't release their binary drivers and they weren't even successfull/popular

They couldn't know that Amazon would fail miserably.. If I look at business tactics, that was a very mean move from Amazon and they earn everything that's coming ( the url's that were posted to "defend" them).

PS. I suppose you have Prime?


> They didn't tried to fk with open-source, they where avoiding Amazon's "1-up".

Trying to prevent competitors from providing compatibility with your products is anticompetitive.

In an ideal market, products are compatible, and you have multiple competitors to choose from. You could buy phones from multiple manufacturers, with different operating systems, that would be able to run the same apps. And you could stream YouTube to FireTV and Chromecast, and your FireTV could receive streams from Kindle and Google Android devices.

Amazon actively works towards providing intercompatibility whenever they can. Amazon added the same APIs to their Android version that Google closed off in Android.

Google, on the other hand, has in the past years every time they had a chance to, actively worked to prevent intercompatibility, kill standards, and limit the usefulness of open source.

I’m not sure there’s any way to see Google’s actions as a positive.


Google was making sure Android wasn't getting taken over by Amazon, I think it's more about business.

Amazon also didn't open-source anything of their changes, something Google did.

Their compatibility was a requirement for getting apps in their Amazon app store ( business decision)

Where is Google killing standards? If it is what I think you mean, they are changing the whole Android system slowly to adjust app/system updates. Balancing between open source and proprietary source is difficult and it's probably a business decision to close it more. If Amazon was successfull in taking over Android, they would have lost a lot.


Google has a website full of garbage, knockoffs, fraud and spam too, that they make ludicrous amounts of money advertising and shield with fake customer support and email loops. It's an anomaly that these companies are allowed to keep the profit without tax or liability.


Google makes a lot of money from its keyword protection racket.

Many users will type, for example, "facebook" into their address bar. The browser searches Google, and whoever bought the ads will be on top.

Facebook can't allow any other company to come up first, and so they pay.

Many, many ad clicks work this way, and I consider it to be a dark pattern at best, but similar to fraud at worst.


Isn't the same reason Google was fined in India lately?

http://indianexpress.com/article/business/companies/abuse-of...


Would you ban all ads related to brand names?

I think facebook feeling the "need" to buy those ad slots is their own problem.


OK, try a company other than Facebook. What about a company with many competitors buying ads against their name? Or a small company fighting ads from counterfeiters?

I'm not suggesting a solution to this. The core issue is that most ads are bad for users, and an ad business can never be truly harmless to its "product" -- the users.


> OK, try a company other than Facebook.

Not much difference in my mind.

> The core issue is that most ads are bad for users

That's true even if the ad is for "potato", though.

I'm not ready to call the very concept of ads a racket, even if it's generally negative.


Google does this too for their own products, I'm just wondering what the CPC would be internally


Are there public numbers for this?


No, but individual sites have sometimes published their own data about, so we know it happens and is expensive, but not the aggregate numbers.


On top of that the legitimacy of some good reviews is very suspicious

But yeah I can't believe how much of a crapshow buying this kind of equipment is on Amazon

Try to buy a Firestick if you're not on their "approved country" list and you can't

Now this, I hope Amzn enjoys all the returns and bad publicity


Amazon reviews are so easy to cheat, it's not even funny. eBay's system is still better, and they actually do more about "fake" accounts and/with counterfeit goods.


Pasting the link into https://www.fakespot.com has become standard practice for me before buying anything off Amazon.


Check out the box it comes in. It's hilariously knocked-off. https://i.imgur.com/YQRFwdf.jpg


That is hilarious. It is somewhat strange the have the correct order of colours for the logo, but have used the google font from around 4 years ago.

That, and the rest of the fonts are not the typical Chinese Times Roman(tm)

The bit that caught my eye was the Just Dance channel (I assume its a twitch stream)


Having read a good number of (at this point) 150+ comnents this gist so far seems ro be:

- Lots of assorted complaints about Amazon

- Very few "I'll never shop there again..."

Seems to me that even when Amazon is wrong things still work out for them. Why should they change?


I still shop there, I just wouldn’t consider buying food, electronics, toys, medical or cosmetic supplies, etc. from them at this point.

Perhaps it’s still a net positive for them, especially if most customers are oblivious to their counterfeiting problems.


I'll offer that I have already stopped shopping there for these very reasons. But you are right, unless you avoid it then they do have no reason to change


It's become the Wal-Mart of virtual retail, with all that implies. They've driven out most of their competition, because despite the fact that their review system has been gamed to the point of uselessness, as now has their inventory commingling system, and things like their self-publishing platform being used for laundering stolen credit cards - they are unquestionably still superb at logistics. Once it gets into their shipping system, you know where it is, and when it will get to you. This is the problem I have with buying direct from a lot of manufacturers, their fulfillment process is often not very good.

Ironically, Wal-Mart may finally provide Amazon with some serious competition, they seem serious about Jet. I don't know if having two mediocre retail platforms is that much better than one, but presumably they'll both try harder.


Amazon is going to stop selling nest products. http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-wont-sell-nest-product...


Back when I worked at LimeWire, Google refused to sell us search ads, presumably on the grounds of "promoting IP infringement". But plenty of people had taken our open source codebase, added malware, and had no problem running Google ads as "LimeWire". So when users searched for "LimeWire" the first thing they were presented with was counterfeit ad search results for malware and there was nothing we could do about it.


You gotta love the "Special Note" saying "This is not a Chromecast".


Yep, and the comments are hilarious - worth a look just for the comedy value.


Fakespot is so important if you continue to use the Amazon. If you're not buying name brand, you are likely buying a crappy product with gamed reviews. It is a nightmare on Amazon now and it pisses me off at Amazon refuses to address it.


In Amazon India, sellers are ripped through FBA and Amazon policies:

1. When abusive buyers damage and return product, Amazon releases refund. We had one instance where one buyer was buying and returning same product for 3 times (2 times received in "customer damaged" condition) and irrespective of us escalating the issue, Amazon kept issuing refund. Also, it didn't reimburse for "customer damaged" as product was not under reimbursement category.

2. We have a strong feeling that few abusive buyers use FBA to create counterfeit absolutely free of cost.

3. Another nightmare is with Amazon seller support. Seems they are allocating good people for buyers, but seems to keep completely juniors who don't have any idea about seller concerns.

4. Their system is full of bugs. For instance, system will charge wrong fee and getting reimbursement is a tedious process. They will ask for certain details that we can't pull from seller central.

5. Even hiring dedicated account management from Amazon wouldn't help as they will only pitch and nag for ads


No wonder Google keeps yanking access to their services.


I see what appear to be fewer AWS examples using Angular, not sure if due to the ongoing YouTube-FireTV "feud". For example the latest AWS Amplify and AppSync JS libraries have proper support for React since day one, but Angular is in future plan.


Seems to be a solid product, according to the reviews:

> So when i first received this product i thought it would be just another dongle like chrome cast. But oh boy was i wrong!!! This is such an amazing product and the video quality is extremely clear and work all around my house.


Does anybody know whether that device is compatible with the Chromecast app?

I purchased a similar (but cheaper) knockoff from China for the simple purpose of watching videos on an older TV:

https://www.banggood.com/AnyCast-M3-Plus-2_4G-Miracast-DLNA-...

On a side note, I'm still unsure about how well Micracast is supported in Linux - seems a lot of projects start and end up dying:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/318298/ubuntu-as-miracast-se...


I would argue that retail world has counterfeits in similar fashion as online. Also if not amazon, you will find as many other big name sites and stand alone sites selling these fake things. It’s an existential problem of selling goods that no one has much solutions yet. People think it’s easy to fix, but these guys will find cracks and th solution usually has side effects and other unintended side effects that these big retailers are not willing to take. I’m sure they have something in development but they are testing the heck out of it, which I think would involve AI. Just give it sometime


Amazon is doing these two competing things right now:

- opening up 3rd party marketplace to dodgy sellers from Asia shipping stuff to US (likely to counter Alibaba)

- increasing false positives rate in counterfeit detection beyond reasonable levels, kicking out legitimate sellers upon mere unfounded suspicion (e.g. you just list an item, you immediately get banned without any sale and they don't easily accept a certificate proving you could sell it)

So in order to counter the threat from Alibaba, they are making even the life of good but small-medium sellers a hell in sense of "guilty by default".


As much as Walmart and Jet.com have still a lot of work in front of them to make their e-commerce experience better, those two companies have a pretty involved process of approval for new (US only) sellers.

This approval process slows down Jet and Walmart in terms of growing their sellers' base, but it actually may be their strongest point in the war with Amazon.


This Amazon Google trade war is the best example of why Amazon will not be immune to monopoly talks in the near future.

I'm disappointed in them for choosing to not sell their competitors, it prevents me from wanting to use their services.


Its not labeled as a Chromecast, so as a consumer I wouldn't mistake it for one. Seems fair enough, not exactly counterfeiting.


It uses the Chromecast logo and design.


I'm glad that I have not come across this problem on the European Amazon stores.


Google needs to fight back against Amazon. The only way to stop a bully s bully them. Google has all the cards.

It is fine if Amazon does not want to sell but banning everyone else on their market place is anti competitive.


Google prevents Amazon from implementing Chromecast. That is why they pulled Chromecast devices in the first place isn’t it?


How is Amazon a bully in this scenario?


calling all google lawyercats


Apple's latest Magic Keyboard is an atrocious piece of garbage whose keys are so sensitive that they trigger when you breathe on them. Apparently Tim Cook thought it would be a good idea to make this the only keyboard you can buy from Apple and cancel the old model that humans could actually use. I bought one of the older ones from Amazon and now I get to worry that it's going to be a counterfeit that phones all my keystrokes home to China. Nice world we're building here.


If design counterfeit is the only complaint you have, every major android maker launched a iPhone X design knockoff at MWC Barcelona


How is it counterfeit? It's Miracast, not Chromecast. Using your logic, Chevy's are counterfeit Fords.


But Chevy don't put a Ford logo on front of it.


Its name is not apparent, and it's the first item shown when you search for chromecast.


Google's chrome logo.

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