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The Surprising Reason Your Amazon Searches Are Returning More Confusing Results than Ever

WSJ: “Jeff Bezos wanted to build the ‘everything store’—and now the company is drowning in China-based sellers hawking the same items under a dizzying array of brands…Thanks to China’s freewheeling approach to trade, counterfeiting and consumer protection standards, China-based sellers on Amazon have developed a reputation for issues with quality and customer service that Amazon seems constantly to be trying to stamp out. Of course, some U.S. sellers also have similar issues, and there are China-based brands on Amazon that have built reputations for good quality and service, like consumer-electronics company Anker. Through Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit, the company has significantly increased the number of counterfeiters it has sued or criminally referred this year, an Amazon spokeswoman says. The problems Amazon took on once it opened up its marketplace to sellers in China have become more evident in recent years. My Wall Street Journal colleagues in 2019 uncovered thousands of banned, unsafe or mislabeled products in Amazon’s catalog, most of which came from China-based sellers. It also became apparent that Amazon sellers were gaming Amazon’s algorithms to get goods listed as high in its search results as possible, and even going so far as to bribe Amazon employees in China to help boost items’ rank. Through all these evolutions of its marketplace, it’s become apparent that Amazon is locked in a kind of permanent arms race with sellers choosing to use banned and underhanded tactics, says Jason Boyce, chief executive of Avenue7Media, which consults for businesses that sell on Amazon…”

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