Discover the top Amazon news stories in February 2020 that caught our eye.

February 22-29

Amazon ‘tells sellers to stop hiking up the price of coronavirus masks’: Jasper Hamill at Metro reports that Amazon has reportedly stepped in to stop its sellers from using the coronavirus crisis to earn themselves a few extra quid. Greedy sellers have been hiking up the prices of masks in order to capitalise on people’s fears. This is alleged to have prompted a response from Amazon and it’s been claimed the retail giant has removed dodgy listings as well as sending cease and desist emails to opportunistic sellers. On Amazon’s marketplace forums, customers and sellers have been complaining about ‘price gouging’. Continue reading…

Clicking buy on Amazon? It’s trying to prevent a coronavirus caveat: The New York Times reports that Amazon has responded to the coronavirus by making larger and more frequent orders of Chinese-made products that had already been shipped to the United States. Some of its suppliers have cut back on advertising and promotions on the site so they don’t run out of products too quickly. Amazon also sent an urgent email to brands on Wednesday about Prime Day, indicating that it has begun worrying about inventory for the event. Continue reading…

Amazon is expanding its cashierless Go model into a full-blown grocery store: Nick Statt at The Verge reports that Amazon is getting more serious about its brick-and-mortar retail ambitions with its first-ever Amazon-branded grocery store. The store opened on Tuesday in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district, confirming reports from last year that Amazon was developing a more ambitious version of its cashier-less Go model. Continue reading…

Hunters on Amazon Prime slammed for ‘false’ Nazi human chess game: Russell Hope at Sky News reports that The Auschwitz Memorial has criticised Amazon for its depictions of the Holocaust in its new Prime series Hunters. A scene in the first episode, starring Al Pacino, shows a murderous game of human chess in which people are killed when they are taken off the board. The series has faced accusations of bad taste, particularly for depicting fictional atrocities such as the chess game. Continue reading…

Unsafe gadgets sold on Amazon and eBay: Andrew Ellson at The Times reports that Amazon, eBay and other online marketplaces have “failed to get a grip” on dangerous products, with two-thirds of potentially dangerous items purchased in a test failing safety standards, consumer groups warned yesterday. Consumer groups from the UK, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium bought 250 low-cost items across 18 categories from third-party sellers using the most popular marketplaces. Each product was tested to see if it met EU safety requirements. Continue reading…

February 15-21

How to lock down your Amazon account right now: Jason Cipriani at CNET reports that Securing your Amazon account is a simple task and one you absolutely should take the time to do. Your account is a treasure trove of personal information, from credit or debit cards to your address and those of friends and loved ones — all information that any hacker would love to access. Take a few minutes to audit your personal details, use a more secure password and enable an extra layer of protection for your account. Continue reading…

Amazon.nl require Netherlands bank account: Chris Dawson at Tamebay reports that unlike other Amazon Europe platforms where you can use a bank account located anywhere in the Eurozone to collect proceeds from sales, it turns out that on Amazon’s newest site, Amazon.nl, a Netherlands bank account is required in order to receive your payouts. When you go to add your bank account details, the only country in the drop-down list where your account can be based in is the Netherlands. Continue reading…

Amazon to donate to drug charity linked to Scientology: Simon Murphy at The Guardian reports that Amazon has agreed to channel funds to a controversial drug rehabilitation charity linked to the Church of Scientology. The web giant will make donations to Narconon – which runs programmes for drug addicts based on the teachings of the Scientology founder, L Ron Hubbard – when supporters buy products through the site, with shoppers able to pledge 0.5% of purchases to selected charities under Amazon’s “Smile” feature. Continue reading…

Why Amazon knows so much about you: Leo Kelion at BBC News describes himself as an Amazon super-user. He’s been a customer since 1999 and replies on Amazon for everything from grass seed to birthday gifts. He submitted a data subject access request asking Amazon to disclose everything it knows about him. Continue reading…

February 8-14

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos buys ‘most expensive home’ in Los Angeles: Sky News reports that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has bought a Beverly Hills mansion from media mogul David Geffen in a record-breaking transaction for Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal. The world’s richest man is said to have paid $165m (£126m) for the property – known as the Warner Estate – which would make it the most expensive home in the Los Angeles area. It beats the previous record set last year when Fox Corporation chief executive Lachlan Murdoch bought the Chartwell estate in the city’s Bel-Air neighbourhood for $150m (£115m). Continue reading…

Amazon wins injunction in US ‘Jedi’ contract fight: BBC News reports that in a win for Amazon, a judge has hit pause on a major US government contract. Amazon which had been favoured to win the cloud computing deal, sued last year after the US Defense Department gave the opportunity to arch-rival Microsoft instead. Amazon has accused officials of bowing to pressure from Donald Trump. The US president has often attacked Amazon and boss Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post newspaper. Continue reading…

Amazon can’t end fake reviews, but its new system might drown them out: Jason Del Rey at Recode reports that fake reviews still exist on Amazon, but the dominant online shopping platform recently made a big change that might help drown them out instead. The online retailer quietly introduced one-tap ratings for product reviews late last year, making it possible for shoppers to provide a star rating without needing to write a review to accompany it. The change has already led to an increase in overall customer feedback, a competitive advantage that Amazon has over many of its biggest brick-and-mortar competitors. Continue reading…

Jeff Bezos has sold nearly $4.1 billion worth of Amazon shares in the past 11 days: Annie Palmer at CNBC reports that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has sold nearly $4.1 billion shares in his company over the past 11 days, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The transactions were made as part of a prearranged trading plan. Representatives from Amazon weren’t immediately available to comment on the latest sale. Continue reading…

A first peek inside Amazon’s new grocery store concept in Los Angeles: Bloomberg reports that Amazon’s facility in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood looks remarkably similar to a conventional supermarket. The company has kept construction inside the store firmly under wraps, and, until now, no one has peeked in on Amazon’s latest plan to upend how food is sold. Continue reading…

February 1-7

Amazon plans to create 15,000 jobs in a suburb of Seattle, as tensions with its home city intensify: Typer Sonnemaker at Business Insider reports that Amazon is looking to drastically expand its presence in a suburb outside its hometown of Seattle. In a blog post on Thursday, the company announced plans to create 15,000 additional jobs in Bellevue, a city where it currently employs just over 2,000. The new jobs will be spread across several Amazon divisions, including operations, devices, Amazon Web Services, and Project Kuiper, the company’s internet satellite initiative, a spokesperson told Business Insider. Continue reading…

Amazon Choice label is being ‘gamed to promote poor products’: Alex Hern at The Guardian reports Amazon is promoting poor-quality products with an “Amazon’s Choice” badge as cunning sellers manipulate the algorithmic recommendation system behind the label, according to research from the consumer rights group Which?. Many of the most popular items sold on Amazon.co.uk are labelled Amazon’s Choice, a thin blue badge that renders a product more visible on the search results page. Despite the name, Amazon does not actively select the products it declares its choice: the company instead automatically bestows the commendation on products that match an undisclosed set of criteria including good reviews, low price and fast shipping. Continue reading…

Bezos’s sales on Amazon stock reach $3.45 billion in a week: Tom Metcalf and Sophie Alexander at Bloomberg report that Jeff Bezos is on a selling spree. Stock disposals by Amazon’s founder and chief executive officer over the past week have reached 1.7 million shares, or $3.45 billion, according to the latest round of regulatory filings. The stock has ticked higher regardless, gaining 9.6% since Jan. 30, the day before his sales began. The transactions are part of a pre-arranged trading plan. Continue reading…

Do you smell what Bezos is cooking? Amazon could buy the WWE: Jesse Pound at CNBC reports that Amazon could potentially tag-team with the world’s biggest wrestling brand to gain an advantage in the streaming wars, according to a Needham. Not only could the Jeff Bezos-led tech retail juggernaut buy the streaming rights to World Wrestling Entertainment content, but it also could potentially buy the whole company one day, Needham analyst Laura Martin said. WWE’s over-the-top streaming platform would be attractive to Amazon or other streaming services because it brings in a loyal fanbase, unlike new shows the companies are developing. Continue reading…

Bonus: Best Amazon Repricers: The Complete List (Updated for 2020)

Quote of the month:
“If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will.”

Bob Hooey

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