It says it has applied stricter criteria for leaving verified purchase reviews. US reviewers must have a password-protected account and have made at least $50 in purchases on Amazon with a valid credit card.

Amazon, through lawsuits, human moderators, and algorithms, is trying to keep fake reviews off the site

Buzzfeed has an amazing tell-all article here.

The review mills that produce those dishonest reviews and skew ratings are always one step ahead of Amazon’s ability to moderate them.

And the Government is not happy either

Amazon is also currently facing multiple antitrust probes into its business practices. The European Commission announced last month that it was opening an investigation into whether Amazon engaged in ‘anti-competitive conduct.’

US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Bob Menendez sent a letter to Amazon about one of its opaque practices: Amazon’s Choice. This is the program that selects certain products on its marketplace and provides it with a special badge to encourage customers to buy it. Amazon’s recommendations have led consumers to shoddy products).

The US Justice Department recently announced its own anti-trust probe of tech giants that will include an investigation of Amazon.

Its not that Amazon is breaking the law – the laws have not been written yet for the digital age

eBay is also fed up with the standover tactics Amazon allegedly uses

It alleges Amazon managers engage in “conspiracy” to illegally solicit sellers from the eBay platform to Amazon using tactics that violate eBay’s terms of service. It’s eBay’s second lawsuit against Amazon over the seller poaching – the first is now in arbitration.

eBay says, “There are laws to protect against anti-competitive and illegal tactics, and we have every intention of holding Amazon and specific ringleaders accountable.”

Not to mention Gerry Harvey

Gerry was at the forefront of making Amazon pay GST on international sales in Australia. “Amazon are dreadful, dreadful people” he would repeatedly cry. But many would say that anything that can make Gerry throw tantrums is probably good!

It turns out he was right. Australia has collected $81 million from Amazon since GST now applies to low-value online items.

Gerry Harvey

But the increasing sentiment that Amazon is destroying traditional retail is encapsulated in the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin statement to CNBC.

“I think if you look at Amazon, although there are certain benefits to it, they’ve destroyed the retail industry across the United States, so there’s no question they’ve limited competition.”

GadgetGuy’s take – Amazon the disruptor is more like Vlad the Impaler

Amazon is out to win at any cost. It rightly is grouped in with FAANG – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

Twenty years ago, Amazon started as a cheap online bookseller – to win hearts and minds and establish brand credibility. But in following that model, it has reached a tipping point discovering that there is no money in cheap.

Amazon is now its third-party marketplace’s most significant competitor with Amazon’s own brands and access to marketing data that those merchants would kill for. It is also those merchant’s biggest cost overhead with fulfilment costs, advertising and more (Black Friday deals etc).

Amazon has reached that tipping point on the backs of those merchants.

It’s hard to keep growing rapidly in any market after a certain point. That point is where shipping low-cost goods isn’t economical. But it did that to get to a place where it can change direction.

Tipping point

Today Steve Bezos is the wealthiest person in the world at over $US155 ($222) billion, Amazon currently controls 42% ‘real’ book market, 88.9% of the eBook market, and over 50% of all online sales in the U.S.