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Reuters reports that Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) have sent a letter to Amazon founder-CEO Jeff Bezos asking him to explain “how the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ badge on certain products is determined and whether the mark deceives consumers into purchasing ‘products of inferior quality’.”

The letter added, “We are concerned the badge is assigned in an arbitrary manner, or worse, based on fraudulent product reviews.”

According to the story, “The senators said the lack of information on how Amazon determines which products receive the badge has led them to question whether Amazon is using it to ‘promote its own products over competitors’ products, potentially disadvantaging smaller sellers on the platform’.”

This is yet another example of how US government officials, ranging from members of the Congress to members of the federal regulatory apparatus, are looking at various components of Amazon’s business model to make sure that it is pro-consumer and not anti-competitive.

GeekWire reports that “how Amazon’s Choice is awarded has always been something of a mystery but the company began disclosing some criteria last year. On product pages for some ‘Amazon’s Choice’ selections, the company lists three specific reasons for conferring the status. The criteria vary by product, but based on GeekWire’s observations, the formula gives weight to average customer ratings of at least 4 stars, low return rates compared to similar products, popularity in Amazon search results, and eligibility for Amazon Prime delivery.”

Bloomberg reports that “ Inc.-backed food-delivery service Deliveroo announced an abrupt retreat from Germany after more than four years, a casualty of increasingly cut-throat competition tearing through the industry … Deliveroo’s German business is the latest victim in the European food-delivery industry, which has long suffered from expensive competition that has forced established players to consolidate or close shop.”

The story says that Deliveroo plans to “refocus its resources first to grow its business in other parts of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.”
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