The Amazon Marketplace is home to a collection of sellers that list an infinite number of derivatives and varieties of a basic product, using algorithms to create combinations in the hopes that one of them will attract a lone buyer looking for an obscure niche item. Juozas Kaziukėnas, founder of Marketplace Pulse, a company that analyzes e-commerce, told Cheddar that oftentimes, these sellers do not carry any inventory at all, instead creating the products only when they're ordered. The practice is common for items like mugs, T-shirts, PopSockets, and anything else printable.
"Since these products, in reality, do not exist. There can be an infinite amount of them," said Kaziukėnas.
"There's virtually no cost in hosting a product on Amazon," said Kaziukėnas. "It costs the same whether you have one product or 100 million products."
Kaziukėnas says the problem is unlikely to go away any time soon ー much to Amazon's chagrin. While Amazon also deploys its own algorithm designed to filter offensive images, it too lacks the contextual awareness needed to catch a product like that before it reaches the Marketplace. "These products were for sale on Amazon for months before anyone noticed, so it took an actual expert in the field, the Auschwitz Twitter account, to actually know the issue and point it out to Amazon," said Kaziukėnas.
"As much as Amazon is to blame, they're also [faced] with policing hundreds of millions of products created on Amazon every day," said Kaziukėnas. "These issues are inevitably going to happen again."