Pricing Optimisation - Amazon vs eBay

Amazon's questionable tactics made it into the headlines when the Wall Street Journal published a report according to which the Amazon staff had repeatedly used eBay's messaging system to contact traders in an attempt to convince them to abandon eBay's auction site and use the retailer's platform to sell their products.

In order to protect itself from such unfair competition tactics, eBay sent Amazon a cease-and-desist letter and threatens to take legal actions if this 'unlawful activity' doesn't come to an end.

According to the investigation conducted by eBay, 50 Amazon employees from various locations over the globe have sent over 1,000 messages to eBay sellers. The whole situation came to eBay's attention when one of their sellers contacted the company to inform them that he had been approached by an Amazon employee for questionable reasons. According to the report, the Amazon employees used tricks – such as inserting dashes or full stops between the letters of the word Amazon - to avoid alerting eBay and evade their detection methods. Since eBay scans messages for key terms, the Amazon employees used "a-m-a-z-o-n" or "A.M.Z.N." in their messages to avoid detection.

According to eBay, the use of eBay member accounts by Amazon is illegal, as the sent messages had other purposes than buying and selling products. eBay claims that, under the California law, the inappropriate use of private computer systems is prohibited.

An Amazon spokeswoman replied that the company is conducting a thorough internal investigation of these claims.

The conflict between Amazon and eBay is the consequence of the fierce competition for third-party sellers. Following the continuous rise of e-commerce and the changes in customer buying habits. Both Amazon and eBay are looking more and more at catering to small and medium businesses that make most of their sales on or offline.

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