Alibaba was accused in February by Chinese regulators of accepting bribes from merchants to earn a better spot on the site, but has adamantly denied such claims.
Now, the eCommerce giant is turning those claims onto its merchants and shutting down shops they've found cases of bribery on. According to China Daily, the company has shut down 26 online shops on its Taobao marketplace for offering bribes to its staff to help drive growth on the platforms. Alibaba took this measure after it vowed to go after any merchant who was conducting unethical behavior on its sites.
One such practice involves a merchant or seller hiring people to make purchases through its sites in order to increase sales and give the merchant a better spot on the marketplaces, also known as “padding” its sales. Another practice, called brushing, works by the vendor finding “brushers” to buy products with its money, and the vendor then sends them fake packages. The so-called “brushers” are then expected to write positive reviews that in turn help that vendor get a higher ranking in the marketplaces’ search results.
Alibaba has also said in the past that it will ban any merchant who violates its conduct code and said they've allocated resources toward cracking down on sellers who use its marketplaces to go outside the commerce regulations.
"There are no so-called 'shortcuts' or 'unspoken rules' on Alibaba's platforms. Integrity is the only way to tomorrow," the company wrote in a letter to its vendors, China Daily reported. "Alibaba will spare no efforts to continue to improve its employee protocols and corporate rules, and to safeguard honesty and transparency"
Alibaba’s Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai said Alibaba has a “zero-tolerance policy” against fraudulent behavior — including measures in place to stop, flag down and block merchants that act outside the law. He also said Alibaba has always worked with regulators, and spends its time and money toward ensuring data technology and IP firms help catch counterfeit goods.