Amazon.com has been all the rage for many years now. Notorious for burning through investor money and venture capital for a period of over ten years, Amazon.com have broken into most every market for consumer products there is, and have increasingly established themselves as The Number One in online shopping.
That this has been achieved largely by killing off everything that even remotely looks like “competition” to the still growing giant — and at a high cost to Main Street boutiques, employment, and small business in general — is not meant to be a matter of concern here. Though regrettable, it could also be argued that this is “a normal development” in the market (at least it has been done without government money and subsidies) and it has a limited amount of advantages for the average buyer too: convenience of shopping from home and saving the time and gas expense for a trip to the local mall or garden centre. Killing off those only slightly-frequented but still area-consuming unsuccessful branches of certain big-box stores may also seem advantageous both from an efficiency and environmental point of view. Let us some day re-forest these extra acres and make our urban, suburbian and even rural surroundings a bit greener again!
Still, there are huge drawbacks even for the presumably-prospering buyer when it comes to using Amazon.com.
In an attempt to grow and grow again their business even further, Amazon.com have discovered third-party sales and opening their platform to small and large outsiders. While this is a good thing from a selection point of view and combines lots of eBay-style attractions with hassle-free Amazon.com fulfillment, it also means eBay-style dishonesty and scammers have long entered the magnificent and apparently controlled Amazon.com environment.
Just as eBay is notorious for being susceptible to offering stolen goods or scrap of no value hyped up and presented as the latest must-have at some “bargain price”, Amazon.com’s marketplace is heavily contaminated with forgeries, low-quality copies and pirated brand items of all sorts. Amazon.com cannot, or will not, do anything to effectively police this situation in order to protect their unsuspecting customers. This is particularly despicable when it comes to food, nutritional, and general health items that can pose significant dangers of bodily harm to victims of these less-than-wonderful “marketplace” sellers. A current case is pending in the courts where certified organic foods meticulously checked for heavy-metal contamination and other toxins and then sold under a trusted label (if authentic), have been commercially re-produced by a New Jersey pirate company and sold under a forged version of that widely-respected label. The pirated items are diluted down using cheap glucose syrup fillers instead of the wild berries intended and paid for by the customer; or they are made of cheap imported raw materials from China, highly contaminated with cadmium and other heavy metals, instead of the laboratory-checked ones the buyer is willing to pay extra for.
As Amazon.com, obviously keen to not cut into their commission-generating business model, contend that these forged items are not illegal by themselves (because there are, curiously, no established USDA or FDA limits for heavy metals in those particular types of food), it is apparent that they don’t care about item quality the way a good merchant should. There are also other examples where it has become equally clear that Amazon.com do not care about what you and I might take for granted, but only look at their self-interest and revenue stream instead.
All this means that Amazon.com should not even be considered for sourcing certain kinds of goods, particularly not “important” ones or something you are going to put in your body, and that they might well be in the process of ruining their own revenue model after all, albeit in a different way.
It still pays to not blindly click through Amazon.com for those “other items” after ordering that book or computer parts, but use a trusted and proven smaller vendor instead.