Bloomberg Businessweek September 28, 2020 pp19 “Amazon’s Secrets Are Up for Sale” “An alleged ring bribed workers to control the world’s biggest web store”
Photo Credit sourcingjournal.com
Federal prosecutors have indicted “a small ring of e-commerce consultants and former Amazon employees who [allegedly]…bribed Amazon workers for more than three years to gain access to the company’s most sensitive secrets.” In a pay for play scheme these individuals would for a “'few hundred dollars’ buy a competitors products and post negative reviews or for $5,000 an individual or business could buy a “’takedown’ in which company consultants conspired to eliminate a competitor from the site by buying its products and leaving negative feedback that they knew [from insider knowledge] would trigger a suspension of the product.” These scams reportedly cost $100,000,000 to Amazon and customers.
How did this work?
Amazon, unbeknownst to most of us, uses a “search engine that lets shoppers sift through millions of products to find what they want at the best price…” using an algorithm that “considers factors such as the reputation of the seller and customer reviews of a product.” These scammers bribed insiders to steal “terabytes of confidential company data and devised ways to game the system so some merchants would get more business while their competitors got shut down.”
Who are the indicted?
Apparently, the defendants are “a who’s who of the e-commerce consulting world…”
Ephraim Rosenberg (Brooklyn NY)-“used an Uber to send a cash-filled suitcase to accomplices as payment for confidential information.
Rohit Kadimisetty (Northridge CA)-bribed Amazon workers starting in 2017.
Nishad Kunju (Hyperbad, India)-bribed Amazon workers and consultants,
Joseph Nilsen-along with Kunju “allegedly plotted an attack on client who hadn’t paid for their services.”
More are likely to be charged but what are the next steps for Amazon in preventing future scams?