Everything we know so far about the Amazon poaching controversy


Now that the dust has somewhat settled on the recent controversy regarding an alleged scheme by Amazon to poach sellers from their rival eBay, let’s a take a look at everything we know so far and what the allegations actually entail.

Early last week, eBay’s lawyers sent Amazon a cease and desist letter, saying in a supporting statement that “We have uncovered an unlawful and troubling scheme on the part of Amazon to solicit eBay sellers to move to Amazon’s platform”. They had been initially alerted by an eBay seller who reported an approach via eBay’s own internal messaging system.

A subsequent piece from the Wall Street Journal added more fuel to fire, claiming that an eBay investigation had found evidence of approximately 50 Amazon representatives who between them had sent somewhere in the region of 1000 messages to  eBay sellers. These employees where based around the world, with messages coming from the U.S., U.K., Singapore, France and Australia.

Tamebay recently published some comments from their readership on this issue, with several of them stating they had, in the past, been approached about listing their products on Amazon.

shutterstock_376061674eBay has worked hard to grow its list of sellers and move away from its early incarnation as a place for second-hand sales.

If there is truth to the allegation, then Amazon would be in breach of California Law, specifically the Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.

Whilst Amazon’s own brands make them a tidy profit, the marketplace is still very much reliant on third-party sellers who, in 2017, outsold the retail giant itself.

Amazon was initially tight-lipped about things, but has since announced that it will be investigating the matter internally.

It is going to be fascinating to see how this plays out over the coming weeks and what the potential fallout might be..

At the very least it has yet again intensified the competition between these two mammoths of the online retail world.

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Gerard Adlum
Gerard Adlum
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