If you seee a brand on Amazon and you've never heard of it, there's a chance that it's just Amazon. The company operates a growing number of labels with names like "Arabella", "Lark & Ro" amd "NuPro" to market its own products—and they'll soon be augmented by a more brands "exclusive to Amazon, but not owned by it", absorbed into its Private Brand program. Quartz reports:
Amazon’s push into private labels could threaten the third-party sellers who do business on its website, and are important to the company’s own bottom line. Amazon generated $9.7 billion in revenue from commissions and services it provided to third-party sellers (e.g., fulfillment and shipping fees) in the latest quarter, ended July 26. Earlier this week, eBay sent Amazon a cease-and-desist accusing it of a shady, multiyear campaign to lure eBay sellers over to the Amazon marketplace.
It's posed here as a solution to problems caused by Amazon's current third-party seller platform, which it won't adequately police but also understands is rotting customers' trust in the site. Savvy shoppers already know not to buy certain types of product from Amazon because of couterfeits. As CNBC reports, though, Amazon is unable to avoid the temptation of promoting its own products in competitors' first-party listings too.
Another problem: what Amazon is doing here closely resembles the marketing habits of Chinese exporters who have flooded Amazon with legitimate but low-quality gear. If you search for headphones there, for example, you get some name brands, but most of the first page of results is for brands like "Mpow", "Alihen", "Redess", "Arrela." Which of these are real? How will Amazon distinguish its own brands from disposable fly-by-night ones? Or is this, more or less, the game Amazon is getting into?