Amazon India accused of rigging search engine to promote 'own' brands

Occurred: October 2021

Amazon India was accused of running a 'systematic' programme of copying other companies' products and promoting them by manipulating its own search results. 

Reuters obtained thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents that appear to show Amazon India employees used 'search seeding', 'search sparkles' and other techniques so that the company’s own label product lines, such as AmazonBasics and Solimo, would appear 'in the first 2 or three … search results' on

The documents reveal how Amazon’s private-brands team in India secretly exploited internal data from to copy products sold by other companies, and then offered them on its platform. The employees also manipulated Amazon’s search results so that the company’s products would appear in the first 2 or three search results when customers were shopping on

A popular shirt brand in India, John Miller, was a victim of Amazon's strategy, with the company deciding to “follow the measurements of” John Miller shirts down to the neck circumference and sleeve length.

Amazon denied the accusations and stated that their policy strictly prohibits the use or sharing of non-public, seller-specific data for the benefit of any seller, including sellers of private brands.


Operator: Amazon
Developer: Amazon

Country: India

Sector: Retail

Purpose: Rank content/search results

Technology: Search engine algorithm

Issue: Ethics/values; Competition/price fixing; Copyright
Transparency: Governance; Complaints/appeals; Black box; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: October 2021
Last updated: March 2022