You've started your own business, perhaps a company that makes cool bags. Let's call it Peak Design. But it's not just any bag company, yours are unique, top-quality, and selling like hotcakes. You have made it all without any outside help.
Your 'Slings' become the hottest selling bags on Amazon. Sales are through the roof, you consider expanding your business but suddenly you notice that your Amazon sales have gone down. And not just by a little, you suddenly have almost no sales at all.
You investigate and discover that AmazonBasics has launched a product that looks suspiciously like yours. And, lo and behold, it's priced much lower than yours! You got Amazoned!
"Amazon doesn't even bother with design changes, just sticks their smiley arrow logo on it, sells it for half the price, and kills off the competition."
Indeed, Amazon is known for its anti-competition practices. While they aggressively charge you for every sale you make, they also get to see all of your sales data; valuable information to have if you want to launch products. Even better if you plan on launching copycats! In more than one way, just by selling on their platform, they get you to pay them…to do their market research. Insulting, isn’t it?
See, the problematic issue here is that Amazon doesn't expose itself to any risk when launching a new product, nor do they go through the time and effort of researching consumer needs and likes; that’s your burden to carry if you want to succeed, and their success to steal if you do! Instead, Amazon simply accesses 'your' sales data that you generate when using their platform and use some AI to instantly know what products are selling best or will sell best in the future. Then, all that’s left for them to do is to hand the identified product (aka your product) over to a third-party manufacturer who will create a copycat out of it, with a few minor modifications so that they can avoid almost any patent. The end result? An AmazonBasics product (or one that is sold under any of their sub-brands) that’s much cheaper than the original, both in price…and quality.
It’s a cynically cost-effective strategy for an organization that has a near-infinite budget and customer reach. And it’s much more so when they control what is likely to be the world’s most popular online marketplace.
They copied you, but you’re still making more sales than they’d like? No problem, they’ll just move you to page 10! And while that may sound like a short-term win for consumers because it gets them cheaper products, it is really a net loss for all when nobody wants to innovate and come up with new products anymore out of fear of being screwed over.
Think of it. Imagine being the inventor of a copied product, who invested the intellectual and financial capital into its development, put in blood, sweat, and tears to get it to production, only to be screwed over right at the moment that he starts getting a tiny bit of success with his product. And Amazon, who were making a handsome (exorbitant) commission selling the original product in the first place, go on to brazenly become your direct competitor using an obvious copycat. Of course, to make things even worse, Amazon gets to sell their product without paying the exorbitant sales fees any other vendor would be forced to pay. And so, the consumer loses, the small and local businesses as well, the product inventors too, but Amazon gets to rake in billions of dollars. Sounds fair and ethical…not!
Opportunistic Behaviour, aka 'Screwing Partners Over'
Let's look at things from a different perspective.
Imagine you start a company that produces something that is 'better than sliced bread'. You’ve made it; your business has become successful, and Amazon's venture capital arm reaches out to you. Sounds exciting, right? Well, slow down a little and let's take a look at a couple of examples that might make you reconsider whether you would even want to talk to them.
A while ago, Amazon’s fund invested in Defined Crowd. As part of that investment, Amazon got access to the finances as well as the technology of Defined Crowd. Four years later, Daniela Braga, the founder and CEO of the company, accused Amazon of stealing their concept and launching it as A21, a service of Amazon Web Services (AWS) that is in direct competition with them. Dealing with Amazon can turn a supposedly helpful capital boost into your worst nightmare.
Ubi, who build smart speakers, met Amazon to discuss funding for their product. Amazon went through their entire pitch, the tech behind it, and shortly afterwards, launched Echo. Yes, the same Echo that powers Alexa. It was a concept imagined by someone who had a billion-dollar idea, but it more than likely ended up being stolen and developed by a company too big to drag through court.
Indeed, Amazon has so many more reports of unethical behaviours and unfair, anti-competitive practices. Want to hear more about it? Just take this example from India where Amazon was caught red-handing manipulating search results to benefit their own products and competing ones (and in many cases, original products that Amazon simply copied, as we mentioned above).
In the end, in all of those cases, someone or a business got AMAZONED!
Thankfully, Amazon is gradually being made more accountable and is having to answer to the US House Judiciary Committee for its immoral and unethical behaviours, but who knows what positive changes that will bring, if any. But really, there is a way for you to protect yourself from this toxic relationship. Imagine this...
Imagine taking Amazon out of your life. Even better, imagine taking any corporate-powered online marketplace like eBay, Alibaba, Etsy, or even payment processors like Paypal out of your life. Because after all, they all operate more or less the same predatory way.
Imagine getting a 5% to 60% (!!!) discount on products and services you buy. You know…what these corporations would typically charge you.
Imagine buying unique, more affordable, and more varied products that don’t usually end up on their platform. Maybe they come from countries that have no access to them, or maybe they simply don’t want these products around.
Imagine if you could directly support local businesses, not corporations, by trading directly with them without anybody in between.
Imagine buying or selling stuff online without sharing all your personal information and data to greedy corporations eager to abuse it for a cheap buck. Goodbye leaked credit cards and identify thefts.
Imagine buying "intimate gifts" for your girlfriend without your wife knowing about it or, huh, well, you know, buying anything without leaving a trace behind for whatever reason applies to you 😉 #PrivacyMatters
Imagine no More!
Stop imagining and start doing what’s best for you now because all of this is now possible thanks to decentralized eCommerce (“DeCommerce”).
DeCommerce has been steadily on the rise in recent years, letting anybody safely buy or sell anything online without any restriction and without going through any middleman. So imagine trading directly with other people, without paying any fee, and without any restriction or shady practices we too often see. The future is here!
DeCommerce is indeed the next logical step towards a world that is freer and a fairer. Towards a world where our right to privacy still exists. One where equal opportunities are available to all with no regards to where you come from or to who you are.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. The DeCommerce revolution is already well-underway here at Particl. All of the benefits you imagined above are already available at your fingertips.
If you, too, want to see a better world and get more out of your honest money, then come be a part of our global movement. And the world can now be as one.
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