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.
But hey, when you get paid the per-item fees no matter what happens, why would you optimise for quality?
Because people will start buying their goods elsewhere.
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.
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.
They're just dictating different terms to suppliers.
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.
This seems to support my earlier conjecture that Amazon's efforts are due to their attempt to mitigate fraud and counterfeits on their site.
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 ?