Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Amazon Displays Its Own Brands Ahead of Better-Rated Products

Adrianne Jeffries and Leon Yin, the Markup:

An investigation by The Markup found that Amazon places products from its house brands and products exclusive to the site ahead of those from competitors — even competitors with higher customer ratings and more sales, judging from the volume of reviews.

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By creating more than a hundred trademarked brands, most without an obvious connection to the company, Amazon can preserve its reputation if one of its homegrown products flops. This happened in 2015 when customer reviews for its newly launched Amazon Elements diapers included complaints about leaks and “sagginess.” Amazon pulled the products after just seven weeks to make “design improvements.”

Beyond the confusing language choices, Amazon seems to be doing its damndest to create a post-brand world. One where the company from which you bought a set of headphones or a refrigerator or a shirt simply did not exist the next day, like a Three-Card Monte dealer skipping town. Some companies still like to stand behind the quality of their products and thrive on that reputation, but that requires more effort.