In this case, FTC commissioners and staff rebutted the theory that Google abused its dominant market position in Internet search to favor its own products and services at rivals’ expense. The Google decision suggests it’s unlikely that a court would find Amazon guilty of taking advantage of its dominance in the e-commerce market to push its fulfillment service and quash the competition.
“Can they [Amazon] force people into something they don’t want to do? You have to prove there is no alternative,” said Koob. He speculated that this might be more of a consumer protection issue than an antitrust case.
Competing vendors in the fulfillment space certainly have an ax to grind. But perhaps more troubling is the information that Amazon keeps hidden from consumers and sellers. With negative reviews removed, they are kept in the dark about the FBA’s error rate.
When reviews are crossed out, an Amazon representative will leave behind a comment claiming to “take responsibility” for the inadequate fulfillment experience. But it also prevents anyone from finding out how many packages sold through its marketplace are fraudulent, corrupted, or delivered a few days late. An Amazon spokesperson I contacted was unaware of any such data.