Bribery in Tech companies is nothing new. There are numerous stories of factory workers taking pictures of unannounced products. This is how tech blogs get to a sneak peek of the upcoming products and come up with rumors about it. Apple took serious steps to ensure that the factory workers don’t get any picture of their upcoming iPhones.
Amazon told the Wall Street Journal that it is investigating employee reports in the US and China for leaking data to merchants on-site in exchange for bribes. Sellers are paying around $2,000 to get internal sales data email and addresses of the reviewers. This data convinces them to remove bad reviews. In some cases, merchants have even paid Amazon employees to delete the negative reviews from the website.
That’s not all, the bribery offers an illegal advantage to merchants by allowing them to know the buying habits of the customers, the most popular keywords and other details that would normally remain latent. They can then rewrite their product descriptions and ads to increase the chances of their products to make it to the top in search results.
Amazon reportedly took steps to counter this type of cheating, including recent changes of the executives in China to look into it.
Why accept bribes when you work for Amazon?
The growing numbers of third party internet merchants sell a wide range of products by keeping the prices down. This leads to cutthroat competition and companies who can’t beat are willing to break the law to get an edge. Another reason behind is also due to the fact that the salaries of workers in China are below average, which is why Amazon workers are tempted to take bribes that they will otherwise refuse. Amazon may not be able to solve the problem unless it addresses the incentives for data leaks and perpetrators behind.
Official words from Amazon
Amazon has provided the below statement to the Walls Street Journal, highlighting “zero tolerance” in this act. They also confirmed that they’ve limited the data access to minimize this type of incident. You can read the statement below.
We have strict policies and a Code of Business Conduct & Ethics in place for our employees. We implement sophisticated systems to restrict and audit access to information. We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our Code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties. In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action. We are conducting a thorough investigation of these claims.