Whoops! Amazon served costly ads for products people couldn’t actually buy

It can be pretty annoying to click on an Amazon ad in your results only to find out that the product you want can’t be shipped to your location. Now imagine you’re a small business owner getting paid for those ads. (Forget the corporations and leave out the shippers, I know you all hate them.) At work, you think you’re going to kill for how much ad traffic you get. Except these ads don’t translate into sales because Amazon serves them to people who might not even buy your products. That’s apparently what happened to at least one seller Bloomberg He said he was charged between $200,000 and $300,000 for ads served to California residents, where he couldn’t sell advanced gaming computers.

The seller has stopped shipping to California because of the state’s personal computer power consumption regulations, which require it to obtain expensive lab reports for its products. But Amazon’s automated system apparently continued to advertise its products there, allegedly denying there was a problem when it flagged the problem and tracked it for several weeks. The retailer, which employs 80 people to assemble PCs in Virginia, reported zero profits in November, December and January, as tens of thousands were charged.

Amazon acknowledged the problem in a statement sent to Engadget. He told us that he looked into the issue and found that it only affected a “small number” of sellers. He also said that he apologized to the seller who had already spoken Bloomberg and that the company is in the process of refunding him the $15,000. That’s a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands the seller says it lost, but Amazon says it only made a “very small fraction” of its listings available to California residents. “We will contact and refund any sellers who were similarly affected, and we are updating our processes to ensure that such ads are not charged in the future,” the spokesperson said.

The company’s advertising system generally cannot geotarget ads like Google ads because it focuses on matching buyers to specific brands or products that may be of interest to them. It also cannot ensure that the product it advertises complies with state regulations. , so it can be sent to its residents. whom Bloomberg notes that this isn’t the first time Amazon has run into trouble with its ads. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company, and one of the regulator’s charges was that it “deliberately boosts unnecessary ads that degrade search quality.” A report that emerged after the lawsuit revealed that Amazon may have made deals with other companies to make sure their listings were free of unnecessary ads, so Apple’s official product pages look cleaner and less cluttered compared to its competitors.

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