Incident 251: Amazon Allegedly Tweaked Search Algorithm to Boost Its Own Products

Description: Amazon tweaked product-search algorithm to boost and guide customers towards more profitable in-house products instead of showing mainly most-relevant and best-selling listings, which its internal engineers and lawyers alleged to violate company’s best-for-customer principle.


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Alleged: Amazon developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed small businesses on Amazon and Amazon Customers.

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Khoa Lam
Amazon Says It Puts Customers First. But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn’t · 2016

One day recently, we visited Amazon’s website in search of the best deal on Loctite super glue, the essential home repair tool for fixing everything from broken eyeglass frames to shattered ceramics.

In an instant, Amazon’s software sifted …

Amazon Changed Search Algorithm in Ways That Boost Its Own Products · 2019

The e-commerce giant overcame internal dissent from engineers and lawyers, people familiar with the move say. Inc. AMZN 2.15% has adjusted its product-search system to more prominently feature listings that are more profitable fo…

Amazon reportedly changed its search results to boost more profitable products · 2019

Amazon began making changes to its search results last year to prioritize profitability over relevance, according to The Wall Street Journal. Those changes were reportedly spurred on by demands from Amazon's retail divisions and private lab…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.