Amazon employees used data on independent sellers on its platform to launch competing products, according to a Thursday report by The Wall Street Journal. The practice conflicts with statements by the e-commerce giant that it doesn’t use information collected from third-party sellers when developing its own products, the Journal said.
The information collected by Amazon can reportedly help the company determine pricing, which features to replicate or whether to get involved in a product category. The Journal said it spoke with more than 20 former employees of the company’s private-label business and accessed documents outlining the practice.
Examples of the practice reportedly include Amazon employees accessing data about a top selling trunk organizer from a third-party vendor, including total sales and the amount Amazon made on every sale. The company’s private-label business then rolled out its own trunk organizers.
An Amazon representative denied the assertions made in the Journal report but said the company “take[s] these allegations very seriously” and has launched an internal investigation.
“We strictly prohibit employees from using non-public, seller-specific data to determine which private label products to launch,” the representative said in a statement.