Following exhaustive research, analysis, and reporting, Quartz has discovered at least 17 brands that are owned and distributed by Amazon — the all-consuming blackhole disguised as an online retailer — while bearing no indication of affiliation with the company.
As the story notes, Amazon has made its intentions to expand into “just about every business imaginable quite clear.” But what they don’t make clear is which brands they actually own.
Citing US Patent and Trademark Office data, Quartz found a litany of secretly-Amazon-owned brands that “sell products or have product pages” on the site, essentially fronting as independent entities. The imprints include clothing labels, shoe brands, a furniture line and more, and have been outfitted with names like “Franklin & Freeman” and “Strathwood” and (inexplicably) “NuPro.”
“It’s now gotten to the point where it’s quite easy to pay Amazon three times in one order: for shipping, which you get access to through Prime, and for a product that’s actually just an Amazon-made product,” the story says.
It might seem like the natural next step for a company as ambitious, integrated, and enormous as Amazon is to start producing versions of the goods they already ship and sell, and it probably is. But trying to hide that they’re the source of those goods seems a bit insidious.
Not only is the practice taking agency away from consumers, but, as the story notes, “by undertaking this strategy, it’s further attacking small brands that probably already suspected on some level that they had made a Faustian bargain by selling on the site.”
You can read more about it (and get the names of the secretly-Amazon-owned companies) at Quartz.