Amazon India engaged in a systematic campaign of copying items sold by third-party sellers and manipulated search results to favor its own products, according to a Reuters report published Wednesday.
In an internal document from 2016, which Reuters obtained, Amazon’s private label team in India detailed how it would review sales and customer review data to identify “reference brands” to replicate, according to the article.
In one example, Amazon employees noticed an uptick in returns of a shirt made by one of its private-label clothing brands due to sizing issues. The team allegedly found an outselling brand and revised the fit of its shirt to match that brand’s measurements.
Amazon India also worked to boost the company’s private label products in search results, using a technique called “search seeding” and “sparkles,” according to Reuters. “Search seeding” allowed Amazon to ensure that new products were the second or third result in search queries.
High-ranking Amazon executives, including Diego Piacentini, who led the company’s international business until recently, and Russell Grandinetti, senior VP of international consumer, were aware of the business practices in India, Reuters said.
Representatives from Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, the report concluded.