eBay has sent Amazon a legal letter known a cease and desist notice alleging that the latter’s staff have been contacting eBay merchants with the aim of getting them to defect. It is alleged that the Amazon staff have communicated with eBay sellers via the eBay My Messages internal communications system.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, eBay accuses Amazon of poaching sellers in a letter sent earlier this week requiring them to stop the alleged recruitment via eBay’s own systems. Apparently roughly 50 Amazon sales representatives across the world have sent more than 1,000 messages to eBay merchants. The WSJ has seen the letter but the full text isn’t currently available.
We can confirm that we have uncovered an unlawful and troubling scheme on the part of Amazon to solicit eBay sellers to move to Amazon’s platform. We have demanded that Amazon end its unlawful activity and will take the appropriate steps, as needed, to protect eBay.
– eBay spokeperson
If this does indeed turn out to be an accurate accusation, then it does seem like a rather low grade attempt at recruiting sellers. Not least because merchant business details are freely available on eBay item descriptions and it would be relatively easy to compile a prospects list using that public information rather than going through My Messages.
And it is slightly surprising that Amazon needs to actively recruit sellers at all when one would expect merchants to independently beat a path to their Seattle front door. Perhaps, the targets are in specific verticals or niches where Amazon seeks to expand the merchandise on offer to shoppers.
Amazon has yet to make a comment on the letter or the allegations.
Have you been approached in this way? If so, please do contact us (in complete confidence). It seems certain we shall write about this again.
Updated 04/10/18: “We are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations.” – Amazon spokesperson.