Obviously it's grossly unfair to their vendors, but from a strictly user-centric view it's an improvement.
Otherwise, Amazon feels like AliExpress with faster shipping and better English.
It literally is. All these products are cheap stuff that marketers find on aliexpress. They buy them in bulk, stamp a logo on it, import in the US/EU, stock in logistic centers and then sell on Amazon. It's the same stuff, but it comes from an English seller and a warehouse in US/EU.
It's exactly the same thing that Amazon does with its product lines though (like Amazon Basics), so not really rooting for their own name-brands either.
Amazon Basics must have had at least a couple of humans involved to agree getting it branded Amazon.
Maybe the algorithm seemed like a good idea at the time but later turned sour. If that's the case, why hasn't Amazon yanked the program? If they don't terminate this program when it performs poorly, I don't trust them to keep other programs in line either.
On the premise, sure. But on the individual items, I've always assumed "Amazon's Choice" meant "Best for Amazon", i.e. high margin, low number of returns (which would reduce margin).
Not necessarily what I would choose.
So assuming Bezos isn't a complete numpty, that's intentional. Maybe Amazon's brand is completely disposable to fund Blue Streak.
Today I got more trust in Poundshop and eBay that I will get the right product easily than I do in Amazon. The old department stores, many now failed, sank or swam on the strength of their brand being a real indicator of quality.
Maybe it's intentional, or maybe he's deluded. I don't know. But either way, I doubt it's going to get fixed any time soon.
Yea that was the gist of it—when you log in as Jeff you (unbeknownst) get a different frontend, with all his various special cases and bad ideas that the PMs wanted to keep out of the real Amazon. It does sound incredible so probably false, but amusing to think about. I admit to having wanted to do something like that a nonzero number of times.
Probably something more like: locks marginally aid in diverting lazy / opportunistic thieves.
Curiosity and children.
Like a safe - a lock buys you time, and hopefully the thief chooses a loud method of entry that attracts attention.
So basically Amazon's Choice locks are about the same as 95% of consumer locks on the market.
Isn't this just a property of most locks in general? I was under the impression that there are very few consumer locks that will stand up to someone with tools and a weekend of practice.
Everybody uses the same factories and Amazon doesn't have better quality control than anyone else.
Batteries are a different story because they're basically tiny plastic bombs. Somehow Samsung managed to deliver almost 15 years of Android phones before having their batteries catch fire, and that was almost certainly a result of skipping essential QA/Verification processes because they've never had a problem before.
I've also heard the opposite about Anker - that they always get the best quality.
So I no longer have any certainty. Are Anker merely badge engineering some random white label product, or are Amazon / Anker just not caring or able to do anything about dozens of clear counterfeits?
So maybe Anker are uniquely incompetent in selecting suppliers. Not specifying in the contract with factories not to copy whatever widget they produce for Anker, not registering any of their designs. Yet aside from a) products within the same group ostensibly from different brands and b) same idea but clearly made by someone else, few other companies seem affected. They'll have a few products counterfeited. Not most. It's the sort of thing that might encourage you to be very careful on third, fourth and subsequent products.
I suppose it makes a case to avoid Anker and the identical copies, as clearly inept. Few other companies appear to be quite so afflicted. I'm not convinced it's the answer though. Outside the purely generic: white T shirts, tungsten light bulbs and such, you see very few precisely identical products.
You keep using the word counterfeit when it does not apply. Copyright is also not applicable unless there's a work of art printed on the product (like cell phone cases).
Most brands making commodity products don't get protection for the design, because the design isn't that unique. Search for "fast chargers for Samsung" and you'll see tons of chargers identical to the Samsung charger except with a different name. Same for Apple.
Here's the EU's:
Which protects "the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation". It applies if they are novel and/or if they have unique character.
My assumption would be that the same factory that makes Anker products is also selling the same designs to competitors - it's also possible that a different factory just cloned it.
Note that even if it's the same factory, they could have different quality control for different clients. So quality can differ even on identical designs.
Unless Amazon is currently testing products for lead before recommending them, which somehow I doubt, then the potential of a lawsuit against Amazon isn't actually protecting your child.
If Amazon's batteries start exploding, it's not quite the same magnitude. People will still shop at Whole Foods.
Admittedly a phone that explodes is a bad phone, but Samsung can still sell its "good phone" brand the same way Apple can still sell its laptops.
Its really not though, its just that between insurance and the courts its currently cheaper to enter products into the stream of commerce that will catch fire x% of times and hurt Y people costing $z, than it is to manufacture/supply/distribute/retail a product that won't catch fire in 100% of cases.
Hell even when z exceeds the cost of proper manufacturing, these companies are significantly more likely to spend money lobbying for changes to insurance and/or products liability litigation than fix the products to make the current formula work rather than spend more money on the cost of the product(s).
However, knock off products are usually worse, at least if you are burned by an exploding Samsung or die in a defective Boeing...you and/or your family will be compensated as these companies are identifiable and insured. If you are burned by an exploding knock off, odds are: 1) you won't even be able to identify the manufacturer or seller; 2) you won't have jurisdiction to sue the manufacturer or seller; and 3) they probably aren't insured and will just fold up shop and start anew.
If the company writing the checks can write checks to people who are going to cut corners, people will die. Full stop.
There are a huge number of online retailers where you can purchase chinese counterfeit items in the US. If you're in Seattle I can take you down a few streets where you can openly buy counterfeits as well, and I experienced the same in LA and New York. It definitely isn't mostly restricted to China, there is a massive market for counterfeit goods from China in the US
And most of counterfeit items online are obviously from China or from Chinese sites. They aren't from the US.
And considering nearly all US clothing comes from China and is not considered fake and is largely the same with electronics and even toys, it isn't so much a quality issue when you get things from China. It more has to do with what company you get it from.
My only complaint is I charge at 65W instead of 87, but it seems to only be slightly slower in practice.
But, it's also the nylon braided stuff, so it's probably built to different quality standards and by different people than the vanilla USB cables.
haven't had much luck with their Amazon Basics keyboards... went through 2 and then gave up and bought an IBM one...
That's pretty much what Monoprice does too -- it contracts out to Chinese manufacturers for it's products (sometimes copying existing products ), but their stuff is generally pretty decent quality.
HN seems to have had an influx of incentivised accounts (via third-party services). They're putatively gaining some sort of credits. That's been discontinued at HN's request to at least some such services.
Best response is to flag the comments/posts, and if you see egregious abuse, email the mods: email@example.com
(I've emailed re: the earlier thread.)
It's an ancedote sure, but back in 2012, we shopped only at Amazon. Now they are no longer King.
I was attracted to Amazon only because of lower prices. That was it and now it is no longer the case. As soon as another big player steps up and offers lower prices and simple UI there won't be a need for me to shop on Amazon.
Living near a metro area, I can get items from Amazon items within 24-48 hours (with Prime). Sometimes it even arrives later the same day.
Plus the whole free shipping (as long as you're Prime) thing..
I do agree that fast shipping is a big part of amazon but I think another big player could match the processing speed.
The listing being offered to you father probably wasn't eligible for prime (not shipped by Amazon) so the price+shipping was lower than Amazon's price+non-free-shipping (and the third party was likely intentionally undercutting Amazon to be shown first). Once you signed it, it offered you the one with prime shipping because the total was cheaper.
I may be wrong. I will try to take some screenshots another time, as it seems like nobody else noticed, therefore, i may be in the wrong here.
Target was caught doing this. People with location services turned on using the target app would find pricing for an item jump up as they approached their local store.
search for "The Target app price switch: What you need to know"
I wanted to get a sweater shaver. Amazon had it for 22. I bought a NIB one from Ebay for $12.
As far as I am concerned, the only thing Amazon has going for it right now is that it is a a one stop shop. That's worth something… how much? I'm not sure, but I know I'm buying a hell of a lot less stuff from Amazon now than 2 years ago.
Also you knew it was Genuine. I'd love Amazon to do a "Guaranteed Genuine" label or something, but I can see why they don't. I used to buy everything on Amazon, now I only buy stuff that I'm willing to accept might be counterfeit.
Nevertheless, it remains questionable how this change would be a fair competition for Amazon sellers, not just the Alibaba private label sellers but also all the sellers with popular products.
Really the rule should simply be that if you operate a market place you can't sell on it. Full stop. Then we could simply be happy that amazon is finally improving it's search and/or the quality of its listings.
Last time I checked there was a ocean of e-commerce stores on the internet all selling the same stuff
- 96% of worldwide OS marketshare. Even Amazon doesn't come close to this level of domination in retail or cloud.
- Forcing OEMs to purchase Windows licenses for all PCs sold regardless of whether or not customers wanted a PC without Windows.
- Not only pre-installed IE, but provided IE with inaccessible and undocumented Windows OS APIs to give it functionality that just wasn't possible for Netscape to implement (like ActiveX).
Disclaimer: ex-Amazon employee.
 OT: I wondered why it is "commingling" instead of "comingling" (like "cohabitation"), or "colmingling" (like "collaboration"), "conmingling" (like "concur"), or "cormingling" (like "correlation"), so looked up the rule.
The com-, co-, col-, con-, and cor- prefixes all mean "together". Which is used generally follows this rule: "Com- is used before b, m, p, also occasionally before vowels and f. The following variant forms occur: co- especially before vowels, h, and gn; col- before l; cor- before r; and con- before other consonants". See https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/com-
word-forming element usually meaning "with, together," from Latin com, archaic form of classical Latin cum "together, together with, in combination," from PIE *kom- "beside, near, by, with" (compare Old English ge-, German ge-). The prefix in Latin sometimes was used as an intensive.
Before vowels and aspirates, it is reduced to co-; before -g-, it is assimilated to cog- or con-; before -l-, assimilated to col-; before -r-, assimilated to cor-; before -c-, -d-, -j-, -n-, -q-, -s-, -t-, and -v-, it is assimilated to con-, which was so frequent that it often was used as the normal form.
This was a review for their TV Cube. I was trying to buy something with good voice control to allow a paralyzed person to browse YouTube, and TV Cube could not do it (maybe it will be better in the future..).
I suspect the only reason I got the call is that TV Cube is in active development.
That said, I’m not sure a third party seller can get my contact info as easily as Amazon can, so that part seems a bit unfair.
Hope this helps.
The TV Cube is almost there, the problem was that the voice commands are not built into its OS, instead each app has to implement them and the YouTube app didn't. It means the voice commands only work well with the Amazon native apps.
Voice is really in an abysmal state on all platforms. Pretend you can't touch anything, then read this for the fun:
For appliances, you have the usual problem of not being able to accept terms to use institutional WiFi (lack of a good web browser).
Also for computers with a screen in front of your face, there already is a better solution: eye tracking.
But there is an annoying secondary problem with YouTube on a laptop: I can't lend my YouTube Red account (for an ad-free experience) to someone without also being fully logged into Google (they would have access to my email). With something like YouTube on Roku, this does not matter since you are only logged into only a single app. Google does have a family plan, but it's not cheap.
If you view vendors on the platform as existing to serve the users (as I do), the contradiction evaporates. If you view users as existing to serve the vendors, then it’s possible.
I get that US culture is heavy on "the customer is always right", etc. but two-sided markets don't exist without recognizing both sides.
 In reality, that ends up being more of an employee control mechanism than a dedication to customers, but that's a different topic.
Here in Australia AliExpress feels like Amazon with faster shipping and more honesty.
Although Amazon now has an Australian entity, though I’m not sure how popular it is, maybe as (non-) popular as Amazon...
I canceled prime some time ago, because I realized I was getting significantly lower quality products than Walmart. Its become a junk store.
Has anyone done any analysis on the HN posting dataset to see if that happens to be the case?
And if that is the case, does anyone have any insight into why that might be?
Now they're wavering on all three of those fronts, and I guess that fact really bothers most of us
They used to usually have the best prices on the products they had, and the widest selection of products. They didn't always have the best quality products (which were sometimes exclusive to non-Amazon channels), and outside of return policy (which was very generous, probably specifically to cover all the other glitches) their service was nothing special at its best.
Let's not view past Amazon through rose-colored glasses.
It is possibly that most HN users purchase a lot via Amazon?
Is it a small but vocal group of HN users that have a grudge because they had an unsuccessful drop shipping operation that was harmed via Amazon?
Is there some competitor(ie. Walmart) that is trying to push an agenda?
It just seems high compared to other services, so I'm curious into additional insight into why Amazon, specifically, has this pattern when other services with issues do not.
I personally feel like it may just be that most HN users are, or were, heavy purchasers from Amazon. But I'm just looking to see if maybe there is a more insightful take on things.
Chargers and chemicals that go on your face and inevitably get ingested are obviously some of the most dangerous things to be fake, and Amazon clearly doesn't give the tiniest shit.
I repeat the story around here in hopes of saving someone else (potentially quite a lot!) of grief.
-Prices used to be universally pretty good so I could pick an item and order without much outside research. Now the prices are universally bad to the point that I have to do lots of outside research before ordering which ruins the convenience that I previously enjoyed
-The review system is awful. Previously you could click a product and trust that the reviews were for that exact product, now sometimes reviews and products are bundled together under a single page (even if the products/manufacturer are not really the same) making reviews virtually useless. Again ruining the convenience and requiring more research
-Shipping used to be reliable. Towards the end probably half my prime shipments showed up a day later than the "guaranteed delivery date" and I live less than 30 minutes from their Seattle office
-I don't at all trust the people they use to ship. My last package some idiot in a complete junker filled entirely with boxes drove very quickly over the sidewalk and parked partially at an angle in my lawn and proceeded to throw the box onto my porch and then sit in the car for another 15 minutes on my lawn
-The product bundling has led to me getting items entirely different than what I actually ordered, which again ruins the convenience that I appreciated and forces me to make returns and wait even longer
-And on a personal note, based on what I've read and heard from amazon employees, I dislike bezos as a person and businessman and don't want to support his business
I mean, I prefer AmazonBasics products because I've been burned enough times (occasionally literally) by cheap off-brand "Chinesium" goods.
So putting them at the top of the search suits me.
I ask because I'm unclear if shared SKU is a physical thing, a logical implementation detail, or some mix.
Is there a bin full of white 3' USB cables of the same type, regardless of supplier?
I had the impression that fulfillment centers weren't organized by product. Everything is everywhere. The robots retrieve the bins of whatever from wherever for the pickers to grab from. If this is mostly true, I'm not clear how similar white 3' USB cables get commingled.
This is my understanding, yes. If something is "fulfilled by amazon" common stock has one bin/location and is not differentiated.
Example: Last week two symbol barcode scanners used in the erp system died. I look up the same model on newegg and see that sold and shipped by newegg it was about $120. Amazon had multiple listing in the $60 range and checking reviews I see things like "died in two weeks", FAKE, "died and returned to symbol only for them to say it was a fake and they were refused service or replacement". How do you build trust with shenanigans like that? No thanks, Newegg got my money.
Amazon seems to be playing oblivious to all this mainly because people are STILL using them. So as long as they are making money they can afford to lose a few "picky" customers here and there. The rest are happy to buy trash because they save a buck. Capitalism at its finest.
As soon as Newegg starts mingling stock like Amazon does, then we'll have to go back to big box retailers to ensure we're getting the item we're paying for.
Since around then Newegg has been garbage, and continues to become worse.
I think any seller like amazon or newegg that turns into a marketplace/platform is trading their reputation for the potential of a cut from a much larger market, and they probably do this knowingly.
I’ve to keep my guard up when ordering from Amazon. It’s no longer the easy convenient and cheap option.
(1) US market is largest "single-language * consumer spending" market, so almost everyone outside of US/UK market puts effort in US first.
(2) USPS/UPU offers nearly 0-cost shipping for China to US. Can you ship a 2oz packet from China to the UK for under $1?
Why the heck does the ordering window have 2 or 3 “Confirm” boxes that I have to press?
And if I haven’t, why can’t it just tell me what’s not confirmed when I hit “Submit Order”?
Amazon pushing its own products drive 3rd-party resellers out of business and eventually, no other choices for consumers.
Aliexpress - always been a Russian roulette.
Coincidentally, Amazon brand products are usually pretty good in my experience, so this might not be a terrible outcome for users who have already decided to come shop at Amazon's store.
There was a planet money episode about this exact comparison the other day. Basically it comes down to:
When a grocery store puts something on it's shelves, the store itself bought it from the manufacturer. They have already made their money. On Amazon, manufacturers don't make money when the item is listed, they make it only if and when a customer buys the product.
When a grocery store makes its own novel product and puts it on the shelf, it's taking a risk. If they make those products, but they don't sell, they just lost a bunch of money. Or, if their product is a competing one with an existing product, they know that products like that can sell, but now they have to focus on outselling the original product. When Amazon makes its own product, most of the risk has been removed. They pretty much already know it sells well on their platform, and they have enough money that knocking 5 dollars off the price, making it prime recommended, and putting it at the top of the list will cause it to beat the competition 9 times out of 10.
I'm not saying any of this is fair or unfair, because I'm not an economist so I don't believe I have a full understanding of the situation.
I tried to find the exact episode but it seems I can never find them when I need them.
It's way more complicated than that. Manufacturers pay stores to carry their products, feature their products in special places in stores, get forced to take buy back unsold product, get paid way later on invoices, etc etc.
Amazon is not leasing retail floor space, so to GP's point, any comparisons between Amazon's open platform and traditional physical retail spaces are moot.
People don't have an issue with Amazon default sorting to best selling either. The problem is that Amazon is slowly pushing out the competition on their platform to focus their own products and labels. If there's any analogy, it would be similar Google removing search result links to Bing or Yandex.
So, if Amazon marketplace was an invite-only, curated marketplace and not an "open" marketplace, this wouldn't be a problem?
That's not how it works for a some perishable products in grocery stores. For example, bread is stocked daily by the bakeries themselves. Same thing with potato chips.
If a grocery store has their in house bakery up front right when you walk in selling bread, and the vendors bread is all the way in the back, is that unfair to the vendor?
That would be for the vendor to decide when planning out where to sell their product I guess
The store still buys those items from them. Some bigger stores will force the vendor to offer a buyback guarantee, but while the product is on their shelves, the store owns them.
If it is shipped & sold by Amazon, Amazon already paid for it from their supplier. If it is shipped & sold by SomeOtherStore, generally they bought it already from someone. There are a lot of dropshippers also and that is a different story.
Amazon similarly protects itself with onerous contracts that can force suppliers to eat the cost of unsold products at times, and does whatever it can to avoid buying unproven products.
Grocery stores and other retailers in general can be protected by refund policies and buyback policies so they are not necessarily taking as much risk especially on packaged products with long expiry dates. They can also liquidate stuff that doesn't get purchased to recoup some money.
The grocery store's risk on store branded products is about the same as Amazon's risk for Amazon brand products. They have the data to know what sells and what doesn't, they have control of the store layout, and they also have pricing data. There's really no major differentiation besides the physical store front and how manufacturers "rent" space.
On Amazon there are as many shelves as there are product categories and the thing has much much more fluctuation.
What that means is, that a "promoted" product is sometimes the only one which stays at a fixed spot, while all all the others are to be found on the miscellaneous-pile.
A better analogy would be a walmart in a small town hosting a bunch of small business to showcase their products, then kicking out the top sellers and replacing them with a store brand version. You could argue that those producers should just open their own store but most people won't go out of their way to a different store to buy paper towels.
Except the analogy falls flat when you actually compare the implementation: Amazon's costs to host listings is negligible to negative (they may get more value from having extra listings than it costs to serve them), but that is far from true for grocery stores.
Grocery stores have a very small, finite, shelf space compared to Amazon; you can put a lot of items in the "..." after page 3, but grocery stores have to expend labor to count and organize each item at least once a month.
Yes stores may be able to return non-selling items for a refund, but do you think it cost them nothing while it was sitting on the shelf? What about the labor of stocking them, cleaning them, heck even packing them back up to return? On Amazon anything that doesn't sell well automagically gets shunted into the depths of page 10+, and they can keep them there indefinitely, at no cost.
Stores have a fixed cost associated with every item stocked, this gives them an inventive to sell every item they stock even if they prefer to sell some items over others. But they still want to sell it, even in they have to discount it by huge margins to get rid of it. By contrast Amazon doesn't give a piss about any one of your items in particular getting sold, it can stay there forever as far as they're concerned.
I like to say, a sufficiently large quantitative change manifests as a qualitative change. By that, I mean yes the only "real" difference between these scenarios is some of the costs are different, but how those costs become incentives when you have multiple parties actually matters.
Amazon is more like shopping mall that decides to start operating their own stores and competing with their tenants.
I think the problem is that they present the results on good faith that "these results are the best match for you based on your search", not the most profitable for them.
I just ran a search and the default search filter was "Featured", which is so ambiguous it could mean anything, so it seems like a classic bait and switch that played out over the course of a decade of consumers getting the best search results based on reviews and sales.
That’s not true though right? Don’t grocery stores buy the products that are on their shelves and they are reselling them? That’s fundamentally different from a marketplace.
No, not usually. Usually the seller pays the grocery to carry items, and the seller owns the items until sold.
For some products the seller even stocks the items on the shelves.
That said, what brands got that special treatment was very much decided by Publix, so they were still curating the selection, they just weren't paying up-front for the goods or responsible for keeping those shelves looking good.
They definitely owned the product, while it was on their shelves.
Even if a vendor has a buyback guarantee for expired product, if someone were to break in and steal all the product, its the store who is liable not the vendor.
That was the original point I was arguing against.
My point is that grocery store is not a good analogy because Amazon is not the same as a retail store, they are a combination store and marketplace.
To be fair, I think I would be more comfortable comparing Amazon to Sears in it's heyday.
I'm sure that exists, but it's not common. Grocery stores often charge slotting fees, but that's not the same as renting shelf space--the store still owns the product (even if there is an agreement to buy it back if it doesn't sell).
Also retail stores take on more product liability than marketplaces like flea markets do.
In the case of items actually run through the register, I'm not sure how that's dealt with from an accounting standpoint. I do know that the stores have the ability to return 100% of unsold goods in those cases.
I'm not trying to defend Amazon, but I don't think that comparison makes sense.
>Amazon gives you distribution, traffic, logistics, etc, with zero risk.
Not everyone uses the distribution, and a mall or flea market also provides traffic to tenants.
If amazon does charge a fee for simply listing a product, tell us. They don’t as far as I know.
A grocery store owns the goods in their possession even if they have agreements for sellers to buy some unsold product back. Amazon does not own the 3rd party goods in their possession.
Amazon isn’t a grocery store. The majority of their catalog isn’t even available at most grocery stores, maybe excluding WalMart.
My family owned several convenience stores growing up. Some products were bought and it was your problem to move them off shelves. Some were displayed on shelves and you only paid for what was actually sold. This was common with one of the distributors who gave us Frito Lay products. Other products had strict terms - for instance, Pepsi and Coke distributors wouldn’t give you competitive pricing unless you agreed to purchase Y in X quantity, place their mini coolers next to the refrigerator, place signage within x feet, clearly visible from the front entrance, etc. suddenly, you’re the only store in town who sells 16 oz soda for $1.59 just to break even while everyone else is selling the same soda for $1.09 or just 99 cents.
It’s a different model than Amazon and you’re taking liberties to simplify it
No I'm saying it has very important distinctions that make the grocery store analogy inappropriate and that the mall or flea market analogy is closer in some respects, but not all.
>Amazon isn’t a grocery store. The majority of their catalog isn’t even available at most grocery stores, maybe excluding WalMart.
Of course it's not. That's a big part of my original point.
> Some were displayed on shelves and you only paid for what was actually sold.
My dad worked for Lance (and frito lay for a while). I could be wrong and you could have had a very unusual distributor. But my guess is you misunderstood what was happening.
Companies do sometimes offer buyback guarantees and you might even be able to buy items on credit, so that it appears you're only paying for what sells, but that's not actually how it works. Those items are the property of the store while they are on the shelf.
Amazon is totally within their right imo, those sellers can go back to eBay if they dislike amazon.
more like a big box store that allows other stores to operate in them so long as they get a cut.
Amazon does all of these things. They have unlimited shelf space, which reduces constraints.
But vendors can have amazon handle returns, they can be kicked off the platform, and amazon decided how to present vendors.
That content can be uploaded to YouTube.
So it's fine they're shafting other vendors on their platform because their products are good?
I am frustrated by plenty of things that Amazon does, by the way...I just don't think that this is a particularly bad feature of theirs.
They own the store. Shopify is a thing.