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In defense of Amazon (Trends)

#WSJ continues to report on #Amazon's shady practices. An earlier article said Amazon used sales data on third-party sellers to offer copycat, private-label products (like AmazonBasics). It was a coherent story but making hasty generalizations. Another piece showed how Amazon manipulates product search ads to favor its products. Both articles (linked within) underlined a data access problem: Amazon has access to the data on its rivals and exploits it for competitive advantage.

This latest article is not as coherent and a bit all over the place, but Amazon's response is not helping either. Amazon says "Offering products inspired by the trends to which customers are responding is a common practice across the retail industry." Amazon needs to nurture trust in its ecosystem but seems to be doing the opposite.

I don't actually see any rampant issues except for access to product search data. Amazon is the dominant leader of the product search market (above Google and others). As a sign of good faith in building trust, Amazon could make (aggregated, anonymous) search data available and offer "Amazon Trends" like Google Trends. Needless to say, third-party sellers may be offered a more in-depth access.

#data #analytics #datacentricity