Back in September, Amazon began investigating employees after allegations emerged accusing employees of handing over user data in exchange for cash. The online retailer has since taken action against a number of staff expected to be involved in the distribution of insider information, dismissing them from the company.
Several workers in the United States and India have been fired for allegedly selling Amazon user email addresses, as well as services including the deletion of negative reviews and the restoration of banned Amazon accounts. Merchants on the receiving end subsequently used such data to manipulate customer perception and target advertisements.
In the weeks that the investigation was underway, Amazon deleted thousands of suspected reviews linked to the scams and began restricting access to customer data on the backend, according to The Wall Street Journal. The e-commerce website isn’t stopping there, as a spokesperson said it will continue its aggressive approach against those that wish to harm Amazon’s integrity.
“If bad actors abuse our systems, we take swift action, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, taking legal action and working with law enforcement,” Amazon explained.
Despite independently tackling much of the disturbance on its website, Amazon has some reliance on its flagging system. Merchants have since complained that competitors are abusing the feature in order to pass off legitimate products as counterfeit, claims which have resulted in a temporary ban while Amazon investigates.
The report also explains of sellers that are buying Amazon wholesaler accounts on the black market for up to $15,000 from Chinese groups. These accounts grant access to Amazon’s Vendor Central, a system designed for wholesalers to edit listings in order to maintain accuracy. Of course, illegitimate access to these accounts allows for abuse of the market via the manipulation of rival product pages.
Amazon has yet to comment on the findings of the report, but it doesn’t look like the marketplace is the friendliest of places right now.
KitGuru Says: Despite supposedly being “particularly pronounced” in China, the nation surprisingly wasn’t mentioned in the report of Amazon’s recent crackdown. Making the marketplace safer, particularly around the holiday period is certainly a thing to celebrate.