When you look on Amazon for a product, you might assume the item which appears at the top of the search results – in the “buy box” – is the best-priced deal. In fact, this isn’t always the case. So, how exactly does Amazon’s algorithm select the supposed best offer for its customers? In this article, ProPublica senior reporter Julia Angwin and contributing researcher Surya Mattu explore the factors which affect Amazon’s ranking algorithm, the effect of the algorithm on product sales, and the negative impact the algorithm can have for both customers and vendors who don’t join the company’s “pay-to-play” Fulfilled by Amazon program. getAbstract recommends this article to Amazon customers and vendors.
About the Authors
Julia Angwin is a senior reporter at ProPublica. During her time at The Wall Street Journal, she led a team that won a Gerald Loeb Award. Surya Mattu is a contributing researcher at ProPublica.