Amazon: A Decision Imposed and A Practice Challenged

January 12, 2022

Alexa.com, purportedly named for legendary bastion of knowledge the Library at Alexandria, has been a go-to tool for traffic-based web rankings, APIs, and other website information for 25 years. Now, however, Amazon is pulling the plug on the subsidiary. Bleeping Computer announces, “Amazon Is Shutting Down Web Ranking Site Alexa.com.” Perhaps Alexa the AI assistant wanted the name all to itself. New subscriptions have been halted, but existing subscribers will have access to Amazon data and SEO tools until May 1, 2022. Amazon APIs will be retired on December 8, 2022. Writer Mayank Parmar reports:

“In addition to the global website ranking system, Amazon’s Alexa.com also offers a full suite of SEO and competitor analysis tools with its paid subscriptions. In a new support document, Amazon says that it will be discontinuing the Alexa.com platform in May 2022 and no new monthly stats will be released going forward. ‘Twenty-five years ago, we founded Alexa Internet. After two decades of helping you find, reach, and convert your digital audience, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire Alexa.com on May 1, 2022. Thank you for making us your go-to resource for content research, competitive analysis, keyword research, and so much more,’ the company stated.”

Meanwhile, Reuters tells us good old Italy is trying to fight back against the Amazon behemoth in, “Italy Fines Amazon Record €1.3 Bln for Abuse of Market Dominance.” Reporters Elvira Pollina and Maria Pia Quaglia write:

“Italy’s watchdog said in a statement that Amazon had leveraged its dominant position in the Italian market for intermediation services on marketplaces to favor the adoption of its own logistics service – Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) – by sellers active on Amazon.it. The authority said Amazon tied to the use of FBA access to a set of exclusive benefits, including the Prime label, that help increase visibility and boost sales on Amazon.it. … The antitrust authority also said it would impose corrective steps that will be subject to review by a monitoring trustee.”

This comes as the EU Commission is pursuing two of its own investigations into Amazon. One involves the use of sensitive data from independent retailers. The other considers whether the company elevated its own retail offers and those of sellers that use its logistics and delivery services over offers from other vendors. The €1.13 billion fine is one of the largest to be levied on a US tech company by a European entity, but will it be enough to give Amazon pause? Along with its compatriots/rivals Google and Facebook, the company has a history of shrugging off what seem to most like large fees and carrying on with business as usual.

Cynthia Murrell, January 12, 2022

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