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Amazon walks back vendor purge (digiday.com)
69 points by petra 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

I honestly think it's high time Amazon did this. I've been a big fan of purchasing products from them in the past but over the past couple of years, the entire experience has left me feeling very unsatisfied as it is blatantly obvious how their market is being gamed by unscrupulous sellers, low quality products and an epidemic of fake/paid reviews.

Trying to buy quality items in certain popular categories (eg: screw driver set, chargers, flashlights, etc.) is all but impossible as you have to wade through pages and pages of low quality Chinese made knockoffs with weird brand names and of course, 1000+ 5-star reviews.

It's gotten to the point that my wife and I have been purchasing more and more items through Walmart, Target and Home Depot. They've all upped their game to compete against Amazon, and I'm happy to wait an extra day or two to receive an item in lieu of having a product that is likely better quality and the option for a frictionless return at a local store if needed.

As an ML engineer, it's clear to me that Amazon really hasn't cared about their reviews being gamed, or that their marketplace is now just a flea market being drowned in a sea of crap. Hopefully that changes going forward.

Sounds a bit like what's happened to ebay.

But hey, when you get paid the per-item fees no matter what happens, why would you optimise for quality?

> why would you optimise for quality?

Because people will start buying their goods elsewhere.

Where? If Amazon almost monopoly.

No? Most vendors have gotten their online experience in reasonable order at this point. (In some ways, better than Amazon, because many aren't on the "marketplace" model and I don't have to sift a sea of crap).

That is: Free or very low cost shipping and a reasonable UI.

And for those with a brick + mortar presence, free in-store pickup with a pretty quick turnaround time on it.

how are they a monopoly? everything amazon offers can be sourced elsewhere.

They used to be my go to because they had good prices and convenience. I can no longer trust them to have competitive prices to my local brick and mortars and actually supply the product I am purchasing.

This statement can't be further from the truth. For example most things don't even deliver to Switzerland. Freakin' Switzerland. You want cheap gadgets for next to nothing, you go on ebay. You want quality, you shop in usual eshops.

Because customer trust is one of the most important things for many companies?

This has nothing to do with them cutting off vendors, who will now sell on marketplace instead.

They're just dictating different terms to suppliers.

I just bought a dash cam and it’s really bad there. Tons of cheap knockoffs with fake reviews.

Posting anonymously as an insider from their advertising org: this is probably a play to fill an enormous data gap they have. Due to historical reasons, there's actually no mapping between brands and who sells those brands--that database literally doesn't exist, and without that data, their advertising offerings suffer. This move will allow them to rectify a data gap, and expand their digital advertising program by allowing them to more accurately understand and measure the relationship between advertisers, products, and brands.

Can you explain more on how having this Data would help with Amazon's advertising business.

As a consumer, I only buy from the operator of the site (Amazon, Walmart, Newegg, etc). The only exception is certain specific vendors on the market place that are the company of the product itself (Anker). I've found it hard to get support/help otherwise.

Problem is that on Amazon this approach does not guarantee no fake goods because Amazon mixes the real product they bought with fake product for 3rd party sellers in the same bin.

Doesn't protect you. Google co-mingling of inventory.


A system to avoid fakes and etc seems like something Amazon should be doing. Not sure if this actually protects everyone or just a few...

Brand Registry enrollment will be good for consumers if it works.

I looked into Herman Miller chairs on Amazon.ca last year. The Amazon seller "Madison Seating" was some group selling refurbished HM chairs out of a warehouse, offering no warranty but selling at new prices.

Companies like that will find it harder to fool shoppers when they don't have an "authorized reseller" badge by their names.

For new products I have started just buying from the brands website, knowing I will probably pay more, but get the actual product. The exception is books.

More importantly, it pushed the vendor to sign up for Amazon’s Brand Registry enrollment, a program that lets brand owners and licensees submit proof that they are authorized sellers of a brand’s products, which then grants them protection from unauthorized sellers on Amazon. The vendor who received the email is not a brand owner.

This seems to support my earlier conjecture[1] that Amazon's efforts are due to their attempt to mitigate fraud and counterfeits on their site.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19392734

"To enroll, brands need to provide a government-registered trademark number."

I had heard some US sellers get a trademark from a foreign country since the process is often faster and they can then enroll in Brand Registry sooner. But does anyone know if you register with a non-US trademark, can you then still sell that brand in Amazon's US market ? Or is it only the region/country that issued the trademark ?

You can sell without brand registry, you just don't get all the features like special brand content, reporting, etc.

They have definitely purged vendors. Even very legit ones. but most have remained for now.

Walked back? They need 20 more purges. Even Ebay and Alibaba are less sketchy at this point.

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