Amazon has quickly become the world's largest online marketplace and has set their eyes on taking over the world at this point. Whether it's clothes, food, electronics or makeup, Amazon has everything under the sun these days, but a company that big doesn't come without it's fair share of screw-ups.
Unfortunately for Amazon, their latest one is a doozy and it specifically concerns their employees and what they've been doing with private client information behind their own company's back.
The online American marketplace has been investigated by police as of late due to what they believe is a series of data leaks that boil down to their own employees being bribed. Bribed by who exactly? The retailers on their own site.
Due to the competitive nature of Amazon's site with hundreds of thousands of retailers vying for that front page search spot, come companies who are willing to do anything to get there. Including paying off employees to help them get their products there.
Employees have been accepting bribes falling in between the $80 to $2000 range where companies gain inside information on how to get their products to rank higher in the search. This includes offering Amazon user's email addresses so that companies can write fake 5-star reviews on their products.
The employees have also helped companies gain access to a software that helps delete negative reviews and bring back accounts that have been banned from the Amazon service for breaking their regulations.
The practice has been concentrated in China specifically, and it's assumed this is because these workers have lower wages meaning they're more likely to accept a bribe. While it's Chinese employees who are suspected to be the main culprits, the situation still affects Amazon employees around the globe, including Canada considering most companies in China on Amazon are looking to gain North American customers.
While Amazon has been compliant with police and has executed their own efforts to get rid of employees trying to help other companies hack the system, it's more of a game of "whac-a-mole" than anything else.
Not only do employees get more creative with their efforts so they can sneak under the radar, but every time one employee gets fired for such actions, another is bound to pop up.
Over the past few years, Amazon has implemented higher and higher restrictions when it comes to what certain employees can access information-wise in order to try and limit the number of people who could spread such information to companies. When contacted by the Toronto Star, Amazon's spokeswoman noted:
“We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our Code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties. We [also] have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them.”
Unfortunately, while Amazon continues to battle these internal issues, it's likely it will take a while before they are able to get a firm hold on their employees when it comes to sacrificing private intel for cash. With thousands of thousands of merchants on their site ever since they opened the marketplace to non-Amazon companies, the company has been playing catch up when it comes to facilitating an environment that is just too chaotic.
With the competitive nature of the platform, it's expected that companies will get to a point where they'll do anything to rank #1 to boost their sales. Though if there is any kind of company that would be able to figure out a solution to this problem, it's definitely Amazon.
Source: Toronto Star