Bulletins

Amazon 'copied' goods in India then 'rigged' searches, report says

A Reuters investigation says the company often picked a "reference brand" to build its own offerings off of.

Amazon logo

Amazon logo

Image: Yender Gonzalez

Amazon engaged in "a formal, clandestine strategy" of copying other sellers' goods with its own brands in India and then ensured its offerings appeared near the top of searches on the ecommerce platform, according to a Reuters investigation.


The report, which was based on "thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents," detailed how Amazon would often take a popular offering by a seller on Amazon and treat it as a "reference brand." The ecommerce giant would then develop its own products to match the reference as closely as possible, in one case using the same measurements as another brand's shirt, down to fractions of an inch.

Although Amazon says its search rankings do not give preference to its own offerings and only reward measures like low prices, the company used techniques to give itself a leg up in results, the report concluded. The measures included ones usually reserved for raising of the profile of mostly new products "whose sales are so low that there's insufficient data for the company's technology to rank them" as well as banners above typical rankings.

Amazon told Reuters it believes the "claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated" without saying how.

Latest Bulletins

Tech industry groups NetChoice and CCIA have filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court, asking the court to stay the Fifth Circuit's ruling this week which enabled Texas’s so-called social media “censorship” law to go into effect.

Protocol first reported Thursday that NetChoice and CCIA, the plaintiffs in the case, would file their application on Friday. The two groups had warned other advocates of their intention to file and asked for their support in the form of amicus briefs.

Keep Reading Show less

On Nov. 17, the price of gyen, a crypto stablecoin, briefly spiked to $0.0234. The next day, the price fell back down to about $0.0087, approximately the worth of one Japanese yen — the fiat currency the stablecoin was supposed to be pegged to. Then, on Nov. 19, Coinbase froze trading, citing a “technical glitch.”

Some Coinbase users are still up in arms six months later, saying the marketplace misled them about the coin’s stability by listing it on the exchange. A group of California investors filed a lawsuit Thursday against Coinbase and gyen issuer GMO-Z Trust, saying they cost the plaintiffs “untold millions,” and are seeking to have it certified as a class action.

Keep Reading Show less

Peloton needs more people to buy its hardware and subscribe to its All-Access membership to turn its business around. Its next grand idea? Make a machine that people have been clamoring for for years.

Keep Reading Show less

Finally, Wall Street’s excited about Robinhood — thanks to Sam Bankman-Fried.

Robinhood shares rallied Friday after the FTX CEO disclosed in an SEC filing that he has acquired a 7.6% stake in the online brokerage. Robinhood’s stock was up about 20% in early trades, pushing the stock back up above $10.

Keep Reading Show less

It's been a busy week of updates for workplace productivity tools: Calendly will let you screen meeting invites, Figma has dark mode, Superhuman is on Outlook now. Google also announced a slate of forthcoming Workspace updates at its I/O developer conference, some powered by AI. Many of the new features are aimed at making you look a lot less exhausted than you really are in Google Meet.

Keep Reading Show less

Elon Musk paused his $44 billion Twitter takeover until he gets more information on the number of spam and fake accounts on the platform, he tweeted Friday.

Keep Reading Show less

Affirm's stock took a beating this week after shares of small-business lender Upstart crashed, spooking investors generally about the fintech sector as markets dove and rising interest rates hung over the business. The "buy now, pay later" company turned things around with stronger-than-expected quarterly results. Its share price soared 33% after markets closed on Thursday to nearly $24.

Keep Reading Show less

Tech groups fighting Texas’s social media “censorship” law may file an emergency application with the Supreme Court as early as Friday, according to two sources familiar with the case. The groups, NetChoice and CCIA, have said they plan to ask the justices to vacate the Fifth Circuit's Wednesday ruling, which lifted an injunction on the Texas law, allowing it to go into effect and prompting panic throughout the tech industry.

NetChoice and CCIA are now soliciting amicus briefs in their application to be filed by next week. NetChoice did not respond to Protocol's request for comment. CCIA wouldn't confirm its plans, but President Matt Schruers said in a statement, "We will take whatever steps are necessary to defend our constituents' First Amendment rights. These include the right not to be compelled by the government to carry dangerous content on their platforms."

Keep Reading Show less

Bitcoin peaked in November above $60,000. Then came the Super Bowl ads, Crypto.com Arena and a flood of TikTok influencers promoting the latest altcoin. It wasn’t going to end well, was it?

The crypto crash has hit nearly every token and knocked even some stablecoins off their peg. But the carnage hasn’t been even. The luna token associated with the Terra blockchain lost almost all its value amid a run on its paired UST stablecoin. Bitcoin, ether and even dogecoin proved hardier than newer coins. The question now is when the market will find its bottom.

New activity on the Terra blockchain was halted Thursday as the luna cryptocurrency tumbled sharply and its sister stablecoin, known as UST, sank nearly to zero.

Keep Reading Show less

David Marcus, until recently a top-ranking Meta executive, is back with a new crypto startup that will remind many of his recent work — but has some crucial differences.

Keep Reading Show less

Energy markets have been a mess due to the supply chain and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But in a weird twist, the chaos may actually be benefiting renewables.

Keep Reading Show less

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is severely cutting its planned startup investments through next March, Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said in a Thursday earnings call. With the announcement, Son joins a chorus of VCs who have been vocal about an economic downturn forcing them to tighten their belts.

Keep Reading Show less

In the wake of Elon Musk's deal to acquire Twitter, two pivotal company leaders are leaving and Twitter is hitting the brakes on hiring and some spending, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

Kayvon Beykpour, who oversees Twitter's consumer division, was fired from the company. Jay Sullivan, the company's current head of consumer product, will replace him. Bruce Falck, Twitter’s general manager for revenue, is also leaving. Twitter confirmed the departures to Protocol.

Keep Reading Show less

The supply chain is still hurting Rivian. But the electric vehicle maker thinks things can only go up from here. (Thanks for jinxing it, Rivian.)

Keep Reading Show less

Instacart confidentially filed documents for an IPO, the company announced Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

The SEC is investigating Elon Musk for the late disclosure of his stake in Twitter which allowed him to accumulate a large amount of shares at a lower price than he might otherwise have paid, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

Apple, move over. Saudi Aramco has overtaken the erstwhile consumer electronics company as the most valuable company on Earth on Wednesday. It's a reflection of both the vagaries of the market and the weird state of the world.

Keep Reading Show less

Microsoft is reportedly thinking about bumping many employees' pay, following similar moves from other tech giants, in a bid to stay competitive with its rivals.

Keep Reading Show less

After Netflix fell from grace and CNN+ died on the vine, all eyes were on Disney+ as an indicator of whether streaming services were in big trouble. The answer, at least for Disney, is no. The company reported subscriber growth in its earnings call on Wednesday that beat Wall Street's expectations.

Keep Reading Show less

It's not exactly a beloved gadget like the iPod, but a workhorse of social commerce is also getting put out to pasture. Stephane Kasriel, the leader of Meta's financial services operation, announced that the company's retiring the Facebook Pay name in favor of Meta Pay.

Keep Reading Show less

A three-person panel of federal appeals court judges is letting a Texas law aimed at punishing social media companies for alleged anti-conservative bias go into effect for now.

Keep Reading Show less

Coinbase caused a stir with a regulatory filing that contained a troubling message: Users could lose their crypto assets if the company goes bankrupt.

In a filing with the SEC, Coinbase said that “in the event of a bankruptcy” the crypto assets that the company holds in custody for its customers “could be subject to bankruptcy proceedings and such customers could be treated as our general unsecured creditors.”

Keep Reading Show less

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Alvaro Bedoya to serve in the remaining open seat on the Federal Trade Commission, teeing up tech's de facto federal regulator to begin work on the many big swings it has planned to take at the industry.

Keep Reading Show less

Google used its annual Google I/O developer conference Wednesday to tease a product that’s not scheduled to arrive for another year: a Pixel-branded Android tablet to complete Google's first-party hardware ecosystem and better compete with the iPad.

Keep Reading Show less
Bulletins