While many customers may assume that the “Amazon’s Choice” selection of products is a dependable nod of approval, a report from The Wall Street Journal claims that may not be the case.
While Amazon reportedly attaches the badge to many legitimate listings, it also appears with products that make false claims or that regulators have noted safety concerns about, as well as listings that have been manipulated by sellers to receive the endorsement.
The eCommerce giant does not make much known about the mechanics behind the badge, with algorithms reportedly making many of the determinations. According to a report, an Amazon spokesperson did not offer a comment on the algorithms, noting the company takes into account availability, popularity, pricing, shopper reviews and other considerations.
The eTailer reportedly sometimes gives the badge to products that go against its own policies. One such product was an energy supplement, Redline Microburst, that refers to itself as a “fat burner” and carried an “Amazon’s Choice” designation last week, although the company’s rules forbid sales of Redline-brand items.
The WSJ report, however, noted that Amazon updated its list of prohibited items to only include some supplements with the Redline brand, and Microburst is not among them any longer.
Sellers like the badge as it can bolster sales, and, when it comes to merchants marketing illicit items and low-price knockoffs, it provides a veneer of quality.
A spokesperson said, according to the WSJ report, Amazon doesn’t tolerate policy violations like counterfeits, unsafe items and fake reviews, while it will take down “Amazon’s Choice” badges for items “that may not meet our high bar.” The company noted it took a look at and addressed products WSJ identified, and it removed or updated some of them.
The news comes after it was reported in August that lawmakers want to know how Amazon decides which items receive its “Amazon’s Choice” badge. In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal expressed concern that the company could be leading consumers into buying “inferior” products.
“The badge may be misleading consumers into thinking the products that receive this distinction are the best available products, when in fact some of these products are of an inferior quality,” the senators said, per reports at the time.