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WSJ: Amazon changed search results to boost profits despite internal dissent

Enlarge / Amazon boxes. (credit: Getty Images | Julie Clopper)

Amazon changed its search algorithm in ways that boost its own products despite concerns raised by employees who opposed the move, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

The change was made late last year and was “contested internally,” the WSJ reported. People who worked on the project told the WSJ that “Amazon optimized the secret algorithm that ranks listings so that instead of showing customers mainly the most-relevant and best-selling listings when they search—as it had for more than a decade—the site also gives a boost to items that are more profitable for the company.”

The goal was to favor Amazon-made products as well as third-party products that rank high in “what the company calls ‘contribution profit,’ considered a better measure of a product’s profitability because it factors in non-fixed expenses such as shipping and advertising, leaving the amount left over to cover Amazon’s fixed costs,” the WSJ said.

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