How slimy is Amazon? Here’s a data point from this look at whether Amazon uses seller data for its own purposes.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told U.S. lawmakers last year that the company has a policy prohibiting employees from using data on specific sellers to help boost its own sales.
“I can’t guarantee you that that policy has never been violated,” he added.
Now it’s clear why he chose his words so carefully.
It usually is.
“There was an access control system that allowed people who had the motivation to be good at their job to take data they weren’t supposed to have,” said a person who worked in information security at Amazon after the report came out and spoke on a condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation.
Here’s the really big explosive issue.
The vendor manager singled out in the audit report used this tool — internally referred to as “spoofer access” — to conceal their identity and access the account as the seller, to view and edit the account profile, the inventory and the pricing of the products and to cancel orders.
According to industry standards, account access should be limited to certain people within the company. But the audit report said that Amazon left its spoofer access wide open to unauthorized access by employees across the world — including in China — to access and modify sensitive information.
Amazon’s Chinese business is mostly one-way with ChiCom sellers dumping substandard junk on America. As I noted last year,
Three years ago, third-party sellers topped Amazon’s own sales. They now make up 58%. Who are they? If, like most Americans, you shop at the giant dot com retail monopoly, you’ve already waded through a stream of random shop names, fake misspelled reviews, and counterfeit products while searching for just about anything. What happened? China happened.
Between 40% to 48% of top third-party sellers on Amazon are operating out of China. The massive growth in Chinese third-party sellers has been fairly recent and transformative.
Amazon employees in China getting access to seller data is potentially enabling Chinese sellers to even more aggressively wipe out US businesses.