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> They may have to restructure their pricing and penalties, to avoid the perception of bias.

They don't need to avoid the perception of bias because they're free to run their marketplace however they want. They have absolutely no obligation to look out for anybody's interest except for their own.

But, FWIW, it totally makes sense for them to have different rules when the third party merchant fulfills orders. Amazon and merchants selling on their platform have different incentives. Amazon cares a lot about their customer experience and has an extremely long-term perspective on customer satisfaction. Many third party sellers are either 1) incompetent, or 2) actively malicious. As a result, Amazon has to structure incentives accordingly whenever they let a third party seller handle part of the customer interaction.






I really enjoy the high level of comments here generally, unless there's an article that paints a tech company in a negative light. It's the one time I can always count on a large number of apologists showing up to defend them, and I think that bias is something everyone should look withing themselves and address.

When you get as big as Amazon is, along with the cushy tax breaks and cozy relationship with government that go along with that size, your decisions and business practices need to come under closer scrutiny, the end.

On a slightly different topic, the fact that the seller said he was held to binding arbitration made me very sad. I am super excited for these bullshit "binding" arbitration clauses to get shot down in court, they need to go.


> It's the one time I can always count on a large number of apologists showing up to defend them, and I think that bias is something everyone should look withing themselves and address.

Funnily enough, I notice the same for intellectually dishonest comments that are _critical_ of big tech companies, or at least certain ones. It seems like the fact that you only notice one side of this dynamic is a bias _you_ should examine within yourself.


Amazon is nowhere near a monopoly in retail. Walmart does almost double their sales.

? neither parent nor GP said they were.

GP says, "When you get as big as Amazon is". The only scenario in which the size of a company has a bearing on which laws apply to them is if the business is a monopoly.

> The only scenario in which the size of a company has a bearing on which laws apply to them is if the business is a monopoly.

I'm sorry but this is not true. There are tons of labor laws, just to give one example, that depend on how many employees a company has.


Aren't the labor laws discriminating at a scale that is several orders of magnitude smaller than Amazon, though? The implied context in the GP is that they're talking about Amazon's size as opposed to, say, Target or Walmart.

Sure, but I was using labor laws as an example to show that there exists precedent to discriminate based on company size.

Further, GP also claims that “being a monopoly” is the only scenario in which size matters, but monopoly power is not about overall company size — it’s about market dominance. You can be a (relatively) small company and still exert complete dominance in a market, and engage in anti-competitive behavior that will attract regulatory scrutiny.


This is false. Amazon doesn't have the same rules as most companies, they have cities paying them bribes to put a headquarters in them.

Many large companies try to extract concessions from cities in this manner. Sports franchises are notorious for this, despite being much smaller than Amazon.

This has been going on since the 80s in my first hand experience. Im sure longer than that as well.

"Need to come under closer scrutiny" is not based on the exact details of current legal enforcement.

Why consider brick and mortar retail and ecommerce to be the same space? They are quite different businesses.

> they're free to run their marketplace however they want.

That's only true if they don't wield monopoly power.

Personally, I think there's a very strong argument that they do.

It would be interesting to see to what extent courts agree.


In my view, there has never been a more diverse and vibrant marketplace than online shopping. Amazon offers decent services, but whether it's shoes, or TVs, or food, there are many, many, very viable alternatives. It's very interesting to me that some folks are able to define "monopoly" in their head in a manner that captures Amazon.

I think monopoly is a bit of a misnomer here. There's certain levels of market power at which you no longer need to cut corners to make a profit, and at that point the right thing to do is pay it forward. Start treating everyone better. Amazon obviously isn't doing this, and are instead taking a more parasitic route and I think monopoly or not, people are fucking tired of the whole "legally right but ethically wrong" thing.


In what world is Amazon a monopoly in retail? Walmart does almost double their sales.

It is possible to be a retailer, and a monopoly, without being a monopoly in retail. Indeed, most determinations of monopoly power use a much narrower definition of the field they hold that power in.

For instance, Amazon holds a significant percentage of online book sales—and, in fact, of online retail sales in general; see one of the sibling comments for references.


The context is selling physical goods, in general, on Amazon, not just books.

"They don't need to avoid the perception of bias because they're free to run their marketplace however they want."

See there's two points this comment can be coming from, the first one is as a legal statement, like they don't need to do it because legally speaking there is no way that they could be forced to run their marketplace any way but the way they want, and it seems like that is what you mean - but the fact that governments exist means that nobody is really free to run their market in any way they want. There are always restrictions. And if someone were to think otherwise I would wonder what led them to think that.

The second way is as a moral viewpoint, which is what your next sentence "They have absolutely no obligation to look out for anybody's interest except for their own." also implies (as obligations are often referred to in the context of morality, while in a legal context we requirements are more often referred to - at least in the vernacular).

So which is it? Do you believe there is no way they can be legally bound as to how they run their marketplace, or is it just that you believe there is no moral obligation as to how they should run it (or ethical obligation, I actually prefer the word ethical in this case).


Both. Amazon is not a monopoly, therefore they aren't subject to any legal restrictions other than the same ones any retailer faces. And Amazon has no moral obligation to bend over backwards for third party sellers. Amazon created and nurtured the customer relationship. They should guard it fiercely.

This lawsuit is the equivalent of a consumer goods brand bitching and moaning because a supermarket imposes conditions on them if they want to get valuable shelf real estate.


This is a common misconception. Anti-competitive practices are generally outlawed, even for those that have not already acquired monopoly power.

Trying to acquire a monopoly via these practices is also not allowed.


An example in the article was Kodak. You couldn’t call them a monopoly in copiers. But they ran afoul of anticompetitive tying and lost their case.



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