From The Wall Street Journal:
EBay, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com, accusing the company of illegally poaching sellers on its marketplace via eBay’s internal messaging system.
The lawsuit, filed in Santa Clara County in California, accuses Amazon of having “perpetrated a scheme to infiltrate and exploit eBay’s internal member email system” over the past few years. The alleged scheme was used by dozens of Amazon sales representatives in the U.S. and abroad to recruit high-value eBay sellers to Amazon, the lawsuit said.
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“For years, and unbeknownst to eBay, Amazon has been engaged in a systematic, coordinated effort to infiltrate and exploit eBay’s proprietary M2M system on eBay’s platform to lure top eBay sellers to Amazon,” eBay alleges in the lawsuit. “The scheme is startling in breadth—involving large numbers of Amazon representatives (“Amazon reps”), targeting many hundreds of eBay sellers, and spanning several countries overseas and many states in the United States (including California).”
In the complaint, eBay cites alleged evidence “that Amazon coordinated this scheme from its headquarters,” including that many of the messages sent to its sellers followed similar patterns or were even identical. Many of the accounts used to send the messages were accessed from devices linked to Amazon internet protocol addresses, the lawsuit adds.
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EBay’s lawsuit accuses Amazon of intentional interference with contractual relations and economic relations, as well as fraud and violation of the California penal and business and professions codes.
Amazon and eBay have been competing for both sellers and consumers for years. Both companies heavily rely on independent merchants to sell items on their sites. EBay is wholly reliant on such sellers to sell on its marketplace, while Amazon uses a hybrid model as a retailer with a platform for independent sellers, too.
Still, Amazon as of late has relied more heavily on independent merchants to fuel its sales. Typically, those transactions are more profitable because Amazon takes a cut of the revenue and charges for warehousing, advertising and other fees. More than 50% of all items sold on its site are now provided by outside sellers.
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal