Amazon 'changes algorithm to favour own products'

Josh Hall's picture

Amazon has begun prioritising items that turn the biggest profits in search results - including its own-brand offerings.

This is according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which says that the company has altered its search algorithm to show 'featured' products first, as opposed to the most relevant ones.

The WSJ says the change received pushback from Amazon's own lawyers, who said it could mean that the retailer falls foul of US antitrust laws.

Meanwhile the company's search team, known as A9, were concerned that the tweak meant that Amazon was doing what was right for its bottom line, but not for customers.

According to Amazon, sales of its own-brand products account for only around 1 per cent of total purchases.

In a statement to Gizmodo, Amazon contested the accuracy of the Wall Street Journal report. A spokesperson said: "The Wall Street Journal has it wrong. We explained at length that their ‘scoop’ from unnamed sources was not factually accurate, but they went ahead with the story anyway.

"The fact is that we have not changed the criteria we use to rank search results to include profitability. We feature the products customers will want, regardless of whether they are our own brands or products offered by our selling partners. As any store would do, we consider the profitability of the products we list and feature on the site, but it is just one metric and not in any way a key driver of what we show customers."

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