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An Empirical Analysis of Algorithmic Pricing

on Amazon Marketplace

Le Chen Alan Mislove Christo Wilson
Northeastern University Northeastern University Northeastern University
Boston, MA USA Boston, MA USA Boston, MA USA
leonchen@ccs.neu.edu amislove@ccs.neu.edu cbw@ccs.neu.edu

ABSTRACT tings due to lack of data (e.g., competitors’ prices) and physical
The rise of e-commerce has unlocked practical applications for al- constraints (e.g., manually relabeling prices on products). In con-
gorithmic pricing (also called dynamic pricing algorithms), where trast, e-commerce is unconstrained by physical limitations, and col-
sellers set prices using computer algorithms. Travel websites and lecting real-time data on customers and competitors is straightfor-
large, well known e-retailers have already adopted algorithmic pric- ward. Travel websites are known to use personalized pricing [25],
ing strategies, but the tools and techniques are now available to while some e-retailers are known to automatically match competi-
small-scale sellers as well. tors prices [40, 17].
While algorithmic pricing can make merchants more competi- While algorithmic pricing can make merchants more compet-
tive, it also creates new challenges. Examples have emerged of itive and potentially increase revenue, it also creates new chal-
cases where competing pieces of algorithmic pricing software inter- lenges. First, poorly implemented pricing algorithms can inter-
acted in unexpected ways and produced unpredictable prices [37], act in unexpected ways and even produce unexpected results, es-
as well as cases where algorithms were intentionally designed to pecially in complex environments populated by other algorithms.
implement price fixing [5]. Unfortunately, the public currently lack For example, two competing dynamic pricing algorithms inadver-
comprehensive knowledge about the prevalence and behavior of al- tently raised the price of a used textbook to $23M on Amazon [37];
gorithmic pricing algorithms in-the-wild. reporters have noted that similar algorithmic pricing also exists in
In this study, we develop a methodology for detecting algorith- day-to-day commodities [9]. Second, dynamic pricing algorithms
mic pricing, and use it empirically to analyze their prevalence and can implement collusive strategies that harm consumers. For exam-
behavior on Amazon Marketplace. We gather four months of data ple, the US Justice Department successfully prosecuted several in-
covering all merchants selling any of 1,641 best-seller products. dividuals who implemented a price fixing scheme on Amazon using
Using this dataset, we are able to uncover the algorithmic pricing algorithms [5]. Unfortunately, regulators and the public currently
strategies adopted by over 500 sellers. We explore the characteris- lack comprehensive knowledge about the prevalence and behavior
tics of these sellers and characterize the impact of these strategies of algorithmic pricing algorithms in-the-wild.
on the dynamics of the marketplace. In this study, our goal is to empirically analyze deployed algo-
rithmic pricing strategies on Amazon Marketplace. Specifically,
we want to understand what algorithmic pricing strategies are used
1. INTRODUCTION by participants in the market, how prevalent these strategies are,
For the last several years, growth in e-commerce has massively and ultimately how they impact customer experience. We chose
outpaced growth among traditional retailers. For example, while to focus on Amazon for three reasons: first, Amazon is the largest
retail sales shrank 1.3% in the first quarter 2015 in the US, e- e-commerce destination in the US and Europe [16]. Second, Ama-
commerce grew 3.7% [21]. Although e-commerce only accounts zon is a true marketplace populated by third-party sellers, as well
for around 7.3% of the overall $22 trillion in global retail spending as Amazon itself. Third, Amazon’s platform provides APIs that are
projected for 2015, this percentage is projected to rise to 12.4% by specifically designed to facilitate algorithmic pricing [1].
2019 [27]. Furthermore, these overall figures mask the dispropor- To implement our study, we develop a novel methodology to col-
tionate gains of e-commerce in specific sectors, such as apparel, lect data and uncover sellers that are likely using algorithmic pric-
media, and office supplies. ing. We collect four months of data from 1,641 of the most popular
The rise of e-commerce has unlocked practical applications for products on Amazon. We gather information about the top-20 sell-
algorithmic pricing (sometimes referred to as dynamic pricing al- ers of each product every 25 minutes, including the sellers’ prices,
gorithms or Revenue/Yield Management). Algorithmic pricing ratings, and other attributes. We use this data to analyze changes
strategies are challenging to implement in traditional retail set- in price over time, as well as compare the attributes of sellers. We
focus on top selling products because they tend to have multiple
sellers, and thus are likely to exhibit more competitive dynamics.
We begin by analyzing the algorithm underlying Amazon’s Buy
Box. This algorithm determines, for a given product being sold by
many sellers, which of the sellers will be featured in the Buy Box on
Copyright is held by the International World Wide Web Conference Com- the product’s landing page (i.e., which seller is the “default” seller).
mittee (IW3C2). IW3C2 reserves the right to provide a hyperlink to the As shown in Figure 1, customers use the Buy Box to add products
author’s site if the Material is used in electronic media.
WWW 2016, April 11–15, 2016, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
to their cart; sellers not selected for the Buy Box are relegated to
ACM 978-1-4503-4143-1/16/04. a separate webpage. The precise features and weights used by the
http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2872427.2883089.

39 for ing. 2. ping. tablets. understanding the Buy Box algorithm is important because sellers may choose dynamic pricing strategies that maximize their chance of being selected by the algorithm. phones etc. rather than using search engines or 1. Amazon earned $89B in revenue in 2014. Because of these cus- In summary. § 5 ucts (books.34 We begin by briefly introducing Amazon Marketplace. they have much higher levels of feedback than other sellers. Ama- frequency of price changes.g. The Buy Box is shown on every product . we make our code and data available at uct sold.04-$10. 2. and do so through the Buy Box. low prices are the most impor. 4. The fee structure for 3P sellers is complicated.99/month. etc. yet the algorithm is of criti- cal importance since 82% of sales on Amazon go through the Buy Box [38].58 for extremely heavy. Although Amazon began as an on- line bookstore. these fees influence the dynamic pricing Amazon. we identify over 500 sellers who are very likely using algorithmic pricing. irregu- the APIs offered by Amazon Marketplace Web Services. among all claims to have 2M Third-Party (3P) sellers worldwide who sold the variables we can observe. 44% of online shoppers navigate directly to Amazon to make purchases. Further. as well as a wide range of When customers purchase products from Amazon. Overall. we also Prime membership program.. and finally small media items.0005 per active SKU. We focus packing fee per product depending on its size and type. sellers may become “Pro Merchants” for $39. but receive significantly higher amounts of feed- back (suggesting they have much higher sales volumes).) have a flat fee of $1. presents our algorithm for detecting sellers using algorithmic pric.10/lb for expedited shipping. in which case Amazon handles all logistics. § 2 covers background on Amazon and the Amazon Marketplace. We observe that algorithmic sellers appear Figure 1: An example Buy Box on Amazon. (FBA) program. Other products have a $0.g. Closing Fee: Amazon’s closing fees vary based on product and § 3 covers our data collection methodology. including the characteristics of sellers. we compare the characteristics of algorithmic and non- algorithmic sellers. The vast majority of cat- egories have a 15% referral fee. 2B items in 2014.1 Amazon Marketplace As we discuss in § 5. 3. algorithmic sellers “win” the Buy Box more frequently (even boasts 244M active customers [22].65 + $0. The fees vary between 6-45% of the total sale price. larly shaped items. Referral Fee: Amazon assesses a referral fee on each prod- To facilitate further study. § 4 explores the category. or $0. a seller-specified representation 2. and more.ccs. The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. DVDs. we examine the dynamic pricing strategies used by sellers in Amazon Marketplace.35/product. downloadable and streaming music. shipping method.neu. showing they are components [4. and product weight. customers towards Amazon’s shopping apps. These rapidly fluctuating prices digital devices (Kindle e-readers. or tured in the Buy Box.2 The Buy Box (even fresh food in select cities [15]). Seller Fee: “Individual” sellers must pay $0. zon Marketplace. zon also functions as a marketplace for third parties. etc. To identify pricing algorithms. which gives customers free 2-day observe that the lowest price and the Buy Box for products with shipping (or better) as well as unlimited access to digital streams for algorithmic sellers are significantly more volatile than for products $99/year. and § 6 explores the characteristics and impact of these sellers. We present a comprehensive overview of dynamics on Ama. founded in 1994. http://personalization. For our purposes. returns. and 3P Sellers and FBA.edu depending on the product category. this work makes the following contributions: tomer retention efforts. and are more likely to be fea. However. 3P sellers can opt to handle logistics (inventory. is the largest e-commerce website strategies used by 3P sellers. which push may lead to customer dissatisfaction [9]. Amazon also enforces min- Outline.Buy Box algorithm are unknown [13]. to be more successful than non-algorithmic sellers: they offer fewer products.) themselves. video. including Third-Party (3P) sellers. e-books). In addition to acting as a merchant. Amazon 2. We explore the properties of these sellers. in the US and Europe [27]. Listing Fee: High-volume sellers that list more than 2M Stock Keeping Units (SKUs. § 7 presents related work and § 8 concludes. 6]: strategic and successful. We develop a technique to detect sellers likely using algo. Amazon’s success is further bolstered by their branded without any algorithmic sellers. FBA Fee: Sellers that use FBA must pay a $1. BACKGROUND of an item) per month must pay $0. we determine that. plus on the features of the market that are salient to algorithmic pric- variable per pound shipping fees ranging from $0. Media prod- algorithm that Amazon uses to select the Buy Box winner. to $124. but that customer feedback and ratings are also used. Using Machine Learning (ML). they typically digital goods (e. which Amazon inspires fierce loyalty among customers through their may further contribute to their feedback scores. rithmic pricing. representing 40% of all items sold via the web- tant feature used by the Buy Box algorithm to select sellers. or they can join the Fulfilled By Amazon 3. visiting competing online retailers [35].. the Buy Box. Next. we treat the target price of each product (e. Overall. shipping. site [3]. and identify 543 such sellers. and use correlative analysis to identify specific sellers whose prices track the target price over time.99/item sold.45 + $0. and involves five 4. 5. 1. it now sells over 20 categories of physical products 2. Finally.).05/lb fee for standard ship- ing. the lowest advertised price or Amazon’s price) as a time series. imum referral fees of $1-$2/item. when they do not offer the lowest price for a given product).

which is a set of APIs for programatically interfacing with the marketplace. Appeagle. Specifically. In these cases. offers from other sellers are relegated to a separate again. As shown only adjusts the product’s price once: if the lowest price changes in Figure 1. shipping vices enable any merchant to easily become a 3P seller and leverage options and speed) [7]. shipping prices. MWS includes 3. Instead. we found that the API did not meet our requirements for two reasons: the API does not return the identity of 3P sellers (just their chosen price).47 Price CDF Seller Page 40 $6. including specific challenges uct inventory. this tool Box algorithm is a function B(P ) → pi . Amazon also has a web-based price match- seller’s offer is displayed in the Buy Box. with pi ∈ P . items are not covered. This has made visor. Formally. we crawled the New Offers page2 (the page that is linked to in Figure 1 if one clicks on “2 new”. and a button to purchase the receive near real-time price updates for specified products. We use the data from the product pages to analyze the Buy Box algorithm in § 4. and the API is heavily rate-limited. Figure 3: Examples of price jitter (highlighted with arrows) in the Buy Box on a product page. Unfortunately.46 Buybox Price 20 Buybox Seller $6. signed to facilitate dynamic pricing.g. describe our data collection process. managing inventory. Figure 4: An example New Offers page on Amazon. or what the weights of the features are. Although Amazon has released some information about ventory management with dynamic pricing capabilities. Each product. sellers may use dynamic pricing strategies that give them an advantage with respect to being chosen by the algorithm. Because “winning” the Buy Box is so critical for making sales on Amazon. Figure 1 shows an example Buy Box. pn }.44 1min 15mins 1hr 3hrs 1day 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 Interval Between Changes Timeline (Minutes) Figure 2: Frequency of page updates. used given product. many products on Amazon are sold by multiple sellers. we describe below how we handle cases where there are more than 10 3P sell- ers. This page lists all 3P sellers. and their reviews (number of reviews and average score). we used web scraping to obtain information on the ac- tive sellers and their prices. that allows sellers to information. DATA COLLECTION we use Machine Learning (ML) to examine the Buy Box algorithm The goal of our study is to analyze the dynamic pricing strate- in-depth in § 4. if there are fewer than 20 offers). Companies like Sellery. page on Amazon: it contains the price of the product. Seller Platforms. 3. RepriceIt. a proprietary Amazon algorithm determines which In addition to MWS. and we leave them to future work. the Buy uct’s price equal to the lowest competing offer. Feed- ing that 82% of sales on Amazon go through it [38]. listing all sellers for a 2 In this study. . we only focus sellers who offer new items.1 MWS also has a subscription API. In this section. their shipping costs.49 80 $6. Unfortunately. we require longitudinal data about sellers and their prices—ideally for 2. Thus. representative data.. The most sophisticated of these tools is the Ama. and RepricerExpress leverage MWS to the underlying algorithm the focus of much speculation by 3P sell. These ser- the features used by the Buy Box algorithm (e. for each product we ex- amine. offer subscription-based services for 3P sellers that combine in- ers [13]. if product is ing tool for 3P sellers [8]. strategies offered by these services in greater detail in § 5. offered for a product (or less. webpage (an example is shown in Figure 4). However. 100 $6. shown in Figure 4). we Amazon offers an array of tools to help 3P sellers manage prod. · · · . The capabilities of MWS are clearly de- Given the prominent placement of the Buy Box. In addition to scraping the New Offers pages for products. gies being used by sellers on Amazon.1 Obtaining Sellers and Prices functions for listing products. it is not surpris. the seller’s price is not automatically reduced as well. To achieve this goal. the name of the seller. it is unknown whether this feature list is sophisticated dynamic pricing strategies.3 Amazon Marketplace Web Service a large number of products—in the marketplace. that we needed to overcome to obtain useful. update includes aggregated information about the lowest 20 prices However. and changing We would ideally have liked to use the Amazon Marketplace Web Services (MWS) API to collect the seller and price informa- tion for products. 1 Amazon’s documentation stipulates that sellers may only update prices every 20 minutes [2]. prices. We discuss the types of complete.45 0 $6. this information is paginated into 10 3P sellers per page.48 60 $6. we also scraped the product pages themselves. This tool allows a 3P seller to set a prod- being offered by n sellers with prices P = {p1 . zon Marketplace Web Service (MWS). their prices.

Next. 2015. as the best-selling products change over time: there We observe that the price appears to change five times in this are 196 products in common between the two crawls.158 products changes happen either on very short timescales (< 1 minute. We conduct a second crawl between Specifically. 2014 and December 8. We plot the cumulative distri- prices). Calculating Prices.000 best- products3 and crawled their product page and the first 2 seller pages selling products to study. sellers per product. Altogether there are 1. product price and the number of sellers in Figures 5 and 6. as well as somewhat lower prices. and gift cards). -1 is anti-correlation). we randomly sampled 2. not all products are equally paper. It is important to note that the New Offers 3.com/Best-Sellers/zgbs. but not always.e. We found that when prices are in an inconsistent of our analysis and conclusions may not extend to Prime users. Electronics. download the product page (containing the Buy Box). Beauty. we observe that our best-sellers show many more sellers than random products. a customer cannot add the item to their shopping cart (i. We conduct products by price. rather than actual price changes by sellers. 2015 and September 21. such as Appliances. but do not include them due to It is important to note that the first and second crawls cover dif- space constraints). we set up an Amazon Individual Seller account. ferent products. when we refer to “price”. and changed their prices at products that are eligible for expedited Prime shipping.5 0 0. perfect correlation. This result is likely due to Amazon’s distributed in- are very similar between the two crawls despite the time difference frastructure. However. Our first crawl was conducted between 3. Best-seller not logged-in to Prime accounts. Second Crawl (Crawl2). the customer is 5 not able to add the product to their cart at the old price). the overall characteristics of prices and sellers price change. 2014. our dataset should accurately downloadable music. First Crawl (Crawl1). Although the exact number of products come from 23 departments from Amazon. Amazon 4 may alter pages for Prime users.4 3. the Buy Box price of an example product in Figure 3 (we observed similar behavior for other products. users cannot search or sort by base price alone.. 100 100 100 Crawl1 80 80 80 Crawl2 60 60 60 CDF CDF CDF Crawl1 Crawl1 40 Crawl2 40 Crawl2 40 20 Random 20 Random 20 0 0 0 $1 $10 $100 $1000 1 10 102 103 -1 -0. state. Thus. We select 1.790 Prime members is unknown. systems to converge to the new price. Thus. reflect what the majority of Amazon users see. we select a crawling frequency.e. crawl. likely from a public listing of all Amazon products. we downloaded all seller pages.4 Limitations Using these results. To cover more products at longer intervals. we are referring to the total price. some specific times. but did not To do so. typically to highlight sellers and To further verify these results. listed several products.amazon. most briefly quantify this bias. estimates place it at around 20–40% of best-seller products (we exclude digital goods such as e-books. pected.. luminate the tradeoff between crawling resolution and frequency. We select 837 best- Because 3P sellers (and Amazon) can change their price at any selling products that had at least two sellers at the beginning of the time. the Buy Box price. two separate crawls that have different characteristics. As a tradeoff There are two noteworthy limitations to our dataset. but that old prices sometimes briefly reappear after a in Figures 5 and 6. For this crawl. we create a high-resolution dataset that will help to il. bution of inter-update times for sellers. As shown in Figure 2. and downloaded both the product page (covering up to 20 sellers) once per minute for 3 days. we choose to dataset is biased (by design) towards best-selling products. Throughout the are aiming to study dynamic pricing. downloading only the first two pages massively previous price change. we crawled data from Amazon using browsers that were http://www. Thus. we plot a timeseries of most of the “interesting” behavior. we need to decide how frequently we will crawl each page.5 1 Product Price Number of Sellers per Product Spearman's ρ Figure 5: Cumulative distribution of product Figure 6: Cumulative distribution of number of Figure 7: Correlation between price and rank (1 is prices.2 Determining Crawling Frequency September 15. 3 Second. To explore reduces the amount of data we need to collect while still capturing the origins of this high level of dynamicity. Recall that we ing the lowest-cost shipping option) for each seller. even though a customer may see an outdated price. Amazon states that it can take up to 15 minutes for all (details of these Figures are discussed in the next section). likely to have such sellers. we randomly selected 5 products from the best-seller August 11. price includ. (containing the Buy Box) and the first two pages of 3P sellers (typ- We first examine how frequently sellers’ prices change and how ically. containing the 20 sellers with the lowest frequently the Buy Box is updated. as ex- We therefore choose a crawling frequency of every 25 minutes. with a long tail of update times. We observe that the updates are surpris- dynamic pricing algorithms) were within the first two pages 96% ingly dynamic: 40% of price changes occur within a minute of the of the time.5 We compare the Amazon inconsistencies) or very long timescales (> 30 minutes).3 Selecting Products page lists both the base price and the total price (i. all Amazon’s customers [23]. so we focus on best-selling products We do this as Amazon uses total price when users explicitly sort since they are likely to have many competing sellers. We choose to only download the first two pages of sellers. the very rapid price “jitters” are likely caused by transient inconsistencies in Amazon’s infrastructure. https://archive. and the as we found the sellers who change their prices often (suggesting Buy Box seller in Figure 2. First. we turn to selecting the products to study.org/details/asin_listing . our between number of products and crawling frequency. Thus. etc. As shown timeseries.

we demonstrated that the Buy Box algo- only factor that impacts ranking and selection for the Buy Box). since it offered by n sellers. Figure 9 shows the trees). as we ing with dynamics over time. suggesting that our data does capture the many dataset over the six weeks of observation. 3. culate Spearman’s Rank Correlation (ρ) between the ordered list of 4. Specifically. Second. We leverage a Random Forest (RF) clas- static Buy Box prices over the entire period. start. . for each product in our dataset. seller. ways sort sellers by price. each of which is characterized by a feature contains Buy Box winners and seller rankings. Contrary to our expectations. our task because it outputs interpretable measures of feature impor- Next. such as kernel-based SVM. we observe that Amazon 4. We immediately see that important seller features. we examine the relationship between seller rank (from the tance (calculated as the average of the Gini index among all splits in New Offers page) and the winner of the Buy Box. Thus. Taken together. even without these features we are able to achieve high to the price and seller in the Buy Box for all products in the Crawl2 prediction accuracy. and there is a long tail of sellers at higher ranks from customer surveys asking for a star rating (0–5 stars) and spe- that win. Is Amazon the Seller?: true if the seller is Amazon. quantify their impact on the Buy Box algorithm. RF is an ideal classifier for dreds of changes. are harder to interpret. Price Difference to the Lowest: difference between the ner is not necessarily the seller who is ranked the highest. To facilitate our analysis. the Buy Box as a prediction problem. Box algorithm is crucial. some products even experience hun- bagging samples [36]. 7]. However. 1. we cannot measure these features. as well as speculation Amazon’s systems take additional seller attributes into account (be. Understanding the Buy of the features and weights used by the Buy Box algorithm.3 Algorithm Features and Weights uses non-trivial strategies to evaluate sellers (i. vector. algorithm. Amazon does not al- 7. In contrast. Positive Feedback: positive feedback percentage for the sellers returned by Amazon. most products see a number of changes: only 13% of products have Classifier Selection. If the lists perfectly correspond 5. only 60% of the top-ranked sellers 6 Fully described in § 6. 4. for products with different numbers of sellers. Rank zero means they are the first seller in the list. and the current lowest price of the product. (i.e. Furthermore. Figure 8 plots the number of changes will show.2 Behavior of the Buy Box Algorithm Unfortunately. Surprisingly. for many products. As shown in Figure 7. price is not the In the previous section. THE BUY BOX rank sellers solely on prices (see Figure 7). we conduct an in-depth investigation of the features and In this section. response time to customer inquiries.1 Seller Ranking each seller containing the following seven features: As shown in Figure 4. or many more than one per day. Thus. 4. Recall that we have already shown that Amazon does not cific questions about the customer’s experience.e. Is the Product FBA?: true if the seller uses FBA. rithm uses features beyond just price to select the Buy Box winner. 100 100 100 Win Rate (%) 80 80 80 Accuracy 60 60 60 CDF 40 Price 40 40 Prediction 20 20 20 Baseline: Lowest Price Seller Baseline: Lowest Rank 0 0 0 0 1 10 100 1000 0 5 10 15 19 1 5 10 15 20 Number of Changes Rank Number of Sellers Figure 8: Cumulative distribution of changes to Figure 9: Probability of winning the Buy Box for Figure 10: Buy Box winner prediction accuracy the Buy Box price and winner. Feedback Count: total feedback count for the seller. the rating and feedback of a seller come win the Buy Box. the Buy Box win. our goal is to predict which seller will be chosen to occupy the Buy Box. However. we briefly examine Amazon’s seller ranking beyond price into account when evaluating sellers. we see fewer changes to the Box. seller’s price and the current lowest price for the product. i. Amazon explicitly ranks all sellers for each product on the New Offers page. Amazon returns sellers sorted by price). since it may influence how sellers choose Model and Features. these We begin our analysis by exploring how Amazon’s systems eval. RF is an ensemble classifier that achieves low bias and low Buy Box winner: the seller winning the Buy Box is constant for variance by aggregating the decisions from a large number of low- 31% of products. will equal 1. However. and follow up by characterizing the dynamics and be- havior of the Buy Box. This result gives us our first clue that According to Amazon’s documentation. and shipping times. while 50% of products sifier to predict whether a specific seller of a product wins the Buy have more than 14 changes. Average Rating: average customer rating6 of the seller. we use Machine Learning (ML) to try to infer some weights that drive the Buy Box algorithm. algorithm [13. Price Ratio to the Lowest: ratio between the seller’s price how Amazon chooses to weigh various seller features. we examine the empirical behavior of the Buy Box. we first examine the seller ranking algorithm as it offers clues as to 2. we only use data from Crawl2. First.. per product.. In both cases. This includes sales volume. Given our dataset. other features are possibly used by the Buy Box sides price) when making decisions. are chosen by the algorithm. rate of returns and refunds.1. sellers at different ranks. for a product Note that in this section.e. results show that Amazon’s systems take additional characteristics uate sellers. other classifiers. the fraction of sellers at different ranks that “win” the Buy Box. we model dynamic pricing strategies. and cal. We collect the rankings for all products in our dataset.. we construct a feature vector for 4. and thus cannot Next. from 3P sellers. around 20% of products have correlation <1. then Spearman’s ρ 6. and the list of sellers sorted by price. the Buy Box winner correlated decision trees with different feature combinations and and price is highly dynamic.

The final step in our methodology is to filter our candidates. DYNAMIC PRICING DETECTION tuitively. then LOWr will actually contain the second- ume [7]. since FBA confers free shipping for Prime users. as a function of the number rithm pricing. · · · . as external observers https://sellerengine. and AM ZNr (respectively) using Spearman’s Rank Correlation. (tm . we build a detection algorithm that tries of sellers for a given product. this strategy is neither likely to be useful for results are statistically significant. . the two price-based features are significantly more im. Feature Weight Threshold = 10 Threshold = 20 Strategy Price Difference to the Lowest 0. mented features and weights. We are able to gain some visibility into this algorithm. a seller who al- est price will win the Buy Box (if there are multiple sellers offering ways wants to offer the lowest on a specific product must set their the same lowest price. we see that the classi. · · · . Finally. 2N Dr . We note that doing so is non-trivial. amzn amzn AM ZNr = {(t0 .33 Lowest Price 726 544 426 408 Positive Feedback 0. lowest price for r. if s always offers the several features that we are unable to measure. pm )} Although we observe that “being Amazon” does confer some ad.10 2nd Lowest Price 721 494 425 370 Feedback Count 0. unless otherwise stated. we construct a time series feature is more predictive of who will win the Buy Box. sellers (and not their usage of the Amazon Marketplace API. We motivate our selection of target prices by examining popular ture used by the Buy Box algorithm. (tm . (t1 . However. This makes sense intuitively: for example. fier achieves 75–85% accuracy even in the most challenging cases with many sellers. As shown of the prices pi offered by the seller at time ti : in Table 1. it is trivial to achieve to locate sellers that behave like “bots”. p1 ). if a seller exhibiting high correlation with the target price We now turn to detecting algorithmic pricing on Amazon Mar. we other chooses the lowest ranked seller. Figure 10 shows the accuracy of our RF classi. to base their prices at least partially on the prices of other sell- One baseline classifier always predicts that the seller with the low. Therefore. with ρ ≥ 0. thus the age price. (t1 .e. we examine the weights calculated second lowest price. the 2nd lowest price p2nd i .9 for each feature by our RF classifier. 8 ketplace. Finally. etc). We use a change threshold of 20 Table 1: Relative importance of different features in winning the Buy Box. (t1 . they set and the timing of changes suggest algorithmic control. the “Amazon is the Seller” feature..7 get prices for each product: lowest price. r). pm )} member. pm )} portant than other features. Both baselines only achieve first define several target prices that the seller could match against. we observe that Amazon’s algorithm for choosing the Once we have constructed the time series corresponding to winner of the Buy Box is a combination of a number of undocu- (s. which reconfirms that price is not the sole fea.10 Amazon Price 297 277 176 183 Is Amazon the Seller? 0. Interestingly. Thus. repricing software for Amazon Marketplace. it is possible that FBA is an important factor in cases where the customer is an Amazon Prime LOWr = {(t0 .05 as algorithmic pricing candidates. It is possible that Amazon scores highly in these missing lowest price for r at each time ti . with the results indicating that price. and the Feature Weights. and Amazon’s which contradicts conventional wisdom about how the Buy Box price pamzn i for r at each time ti : algorithm functions [13].1 Methodology To put the accuracy results of our classifier in perspective. p2nd 2nd 2nd 0 ). For example. p1 ). Fig. Sellery provides one more option: matching to the aver- 7 Our dataset includes at least 1K samples at each rank. seller feed.7 (the empirical cutoff of a strong positive correlation) and p-value ≤ 0. (tm . based on two different change thresholds. we Amazon’s Buy Box documentation states that the algorithm uses exclude the prices offered by s. However. p0 ). (t1 . Recall that Note that when we construct the three target price time series. it means that the price changes contained in the pair of time series occur at the same moments. note that Amazon does not sell all products in our dataset. such as ourselves are only able to measure the prices offered by Evaluation. Amazon’s price. we calculate the similarity between Sr and LOWr . nor being competitive among the sellers. corresponding to Box. while the price relative to the competitor with the lowest price. sellers where the prices 100% accuracy in the 1-seller case. Higher weights mean that the For a given seller/product pair (s. the seller’s positive feedback and feedback count are also important metrics for winning the Buy We also construct three target price time series. 50–60% accuracy. Overall. it chooses the lowest ranked one). plow low low 0 ).03 Is the Product FBA? 0. back. we observe that using FBA has low importance. and also highlights the im.02 Table 2: Number of sellers and products with detected algorithmic pricing. p1 ).36 Sellers Products Sellers Products Price Ratio to the Lowest 0. Moreover. This exclusion rule also prevents features. p1 ).com/sellery/ 9 In fact. In- 5.06 Total 918 678 543 513 Average Rating 0. Obviously. Sr = {(t0 . we lack ground truth on which sellers are using algo- validation) for all products in Crawl2. (tm . such as sales vol. we caution that this does not necessarily mean that Ama- zon has tilted the Buy Box algorithm in their favor. We hypothesize that sellers using algorithmic pricing are likely ure 10 also depicts the accuracy of two naïve baseline classifiers. winning the Buy Box. ers. pamzn m )} vantage. which manifests in our classifier as additional weight in us from comparing Amazon’s prices against themselves. However. · · · . 5. the lowest price plow i . as determined by our RF classifier. r). thus only a subset of seller/product pairs include AM ZNr . and feedback count are all important features.8 and choose three tar- pressive predictive power of our RF classifier. i. 2N Dr = {(t0 . however. and that the mag- suggest that sellers who use algorithmic strategies to maintain low nitude of the price changes are relatively constant. These results When ρ is large. fier at predicting the winner of the Buy Box (using 10-fold cross. p0 ). We mark pairs prices relative to their competitors are likely to gain a large advan- tage in the struggle to win the Buy Box. · · · .

Fig- rapidly as we increase the change threshold. As described in their algorithmic pricing than Amazon’s price. the same wholesale cost for a product. we choose 20 as our change sellers’ prices and the corresponding target prices. this is 38% of all Figure 11 shows the number of sellers that we consider to be sellers that have ≥20 changes for at least one product they sell. However. Unless otherwise ure 12 examines the absolute difference between the algorithmic stated. $20 $10 $18 $9. we observe that the number of sellers decreases algorithmic sellers and the target prices. time. Figure 13: CDF of relative price differences be- with different change thresholds.. To determine the gap between the prices offered by the suspected olds. tween algorithmic sellers and target prices. and a seller matching to the dence that the seller is using algorithmic pricing. $10 $10 Algo Amazon Seller 2 Seller 1 Seller 3 $9 $9 Price Price $8 $8 $7 Algo Amazon Seller1 Seller 2 Seller 3 $7 $6 10/30 10/31 11/01 11/02 11/03 11/04 11/05 11/06 11/07 11/08 11/09 08/23 08/24 08/25 08/26 08/27 08/28 08/29 08/30 08/31 09/01 Timeline (Year 2014) Timeline (Year 2014) Figure 16: Example of Amazon (in red) setting a premium over the lowest Figure 17: Example of Amazon (in red) matching to the lowest price over price of all other sellers.2 Algorithmic Pricing Sellers the lowest). However. these fees in their prices. if a 3P seller and Amazon share We immediately observe that many more sellers appear to be us. However. it is im. lowest price are very close to the lowest price: 70% of these sellers ine the set of sellers that we find to be doing algorithmic pricing. We observe that algorithmic sellers who match to the Now that we have described our methodology. To see if we can observe algorithmic sellers that include exclusive. only 40% of Table 2 shows the number of algorithmic pricing sellers and the algorithmic sellers are within $1 of Amazon’s price. est when Amazon is the lowest price. Thus. We separate threshold since it represents a conservative threshold that is in the sellers matching to the lowest price and sellers matching Amazon’s “knee” of the distribution. Conversely. the 3P seller must charge a ing the overall lowest price (and 2nd lowest price) as the target for higher price to maintain the same profit margin. we define the change all unique numbers of sellers and products we detect. set their price within $1 of the lowest price.e. we briefly exam. a seller matches to both Amazon and low. number of products they sell that we detect with change thresholds The fact that algorithmic sellers matching to Amazon tend to of 10 and 20. doing algorithmic pricing when we apply different change thresh. then it is possi. that Amazon charges.1. we plot the relative difference between . if the lowest price is likely to often match (i. price in this plot (we ignore the second lowest price in this plot as matching to the second lowest price is very similar to matching to 5. we see that 2. As expected. Amazon’s commission fees are around 15% for most product portant to note the different strategies are not necessarily mutually categories. to the second-lowest price as well. our dataset use algorithmic pricing. tween algorithmic sellers and target prices. In this table. this provides more evi. prices offer by two other sellers. § 2. also makes a large number of price changes. 2500 100 100 To Amazon To Amazon Number of Sids 2000 Crawl1 80 To Lowest 80 To Lowest 1500 Crawl2 60 60 CDF CDF 1000 40 40 500 20 20 0 0 0 1 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 -$60 -$40 -$20 $0 $20 $40 $60 -200 -100 -50 0 50 100 200 Change Threshold Price Change Amount Price Change Percentage (%) Figure 11: Number of algorithmic sellers detected Figure 12: CDF of absolute price differences be.4% of all sellers in in a time series Sr for us to consider s as using algorithmic pricing. we merge the sellers and products from charge higher prices may be due to the required commission fees Crawl1 and Crawl2 and present the total unique numbers. The Total line shows the over- ble that the correlation is coincidental.5 $16 Price Price $14 $9 Algo Seller Seller 2 Seller 4 Seller 1 Seller 3 $12 Algo Seller Seller1 Seller 2 $8. correlate strongly with) number of price changes in the time series is small. in the remainder of the paper. we plot two figures. In the case threshold as the minimum number of price changes that must occur when the change threshold is 20. For example. For example.5 $10 11/12 11/13 11/14 11/15 11/16 11/17 11/18 11/19 11/20 11/22 11/24 11/26 11/28 11/30 12/02 12/04 12/06 12/08 12/10 Timeline (Year 2014) Timeline (Year 2014) Figure 14: Example of 3P seller (in red) matching the lowest price of all Figure 15: A second example of 3P seller (in red) matching the lowest other sellers.

gorithmic and non-algorithmic sellers. given this compressed value range. as shown in Figure 19. we examine the following four Figure 20 shows the cumulative distribution of positive feed- seller-level characteristics: lifespan of products. Surprisingly. almost all sellers have greater than we do not have access to several seller features such as return rate 80% positive feedback. Note that algorithmic sellers on the Buy Box? Amazon does not display these stats for sellers with insufficient feedback (typically new sellers). perhaps focusing on items that they can obtain in bulk at At this point. we can see four rithmic sellers are active in the marketplace for significantly longer other sellers that offer the lowest price over time. and ends the last time we observe that seller offering the product. As we show lowest price is able to sell the product well above their reserve momentarily. that they have a large amount of inventory. Note that the vertical rithmic seller is willing to sell the product for as low as $12. not just which they match the lowest price. we observe cases that Amazon adopts more complex collected the entire inventory for 100 randomly selected algorith- pricing strategies than simply matching lowest prices. periods of time than non-algorithmic sellers. Third. Amazon presents each seller’s av- non-algorithmic sellers? (2) What fraction of market dynamics are erage rating (0–5). our data suggests that algorithmic sellers have a high price. algorithmic sellers. 100 100 Algo 100 Algo Algo 80 80 Non-Algo 80 Non-Algo Non-Algo 60 60 60 CDF CDF CDF 40 40 40 20 20 20 0 0 0 25mins 1d 10d 2mon 0 1 10 102 103 104 105 0 20 40 60 80 100 Lifespan Number of Products Positive Feedback (%) Figure 18: Distribution of seller/product lifetimes Figure 19: Number of products sold by algorith. Figure 16 shows a case where Inventory. plete inventories. we observe many cases where Amazon itself appears to be employing algorithmic pricing. respectively. Note that the inven- in Fig 17. so the long lifespans of their products further suggest the lowest price from the other two sellers. algorithmic sellers sell fewer unique products by a large margin. We observe that algo- lowest price across all other sellers. and thus we ignore them in the 6. and ranking in the seller page.3. we are interested in answering the following questions: and also provide feedback about whether their experience with the (1) How do the business practices of algorithmic sellers compare to seller was positive or negative. Next. the are three other sellers that offer the lowest price at different points dataset may not contain all products sold by sellers. we conducted a separate crawl that exhaustively Fourth. In tomers. we see very different behavior between algorithmic role as a seller separately. while the We conclude this section by showing a few example products longest are 3 and 1 months for Crawl1 and Crawl2. In this section. we compare and contrast Next. the anomalies in Figure 18 around 1 month are artifacts caused by the majority of the time they sell at prices up to 40% higher. back percentage for all sellers in our dataset. . sellers matching Amazon’s price and the overall lowest price. In the figure. etc. where we detected algorithmic pricing. we observe several cases where the seller offering the while it is only 15 days for a non-algorithmic seller. first time we observe a seller offering that product. However. Given our crawling 5. we observe that there ers. the shortest possible lifespan is 25 minutes.3 Price Matching Examples methodology. In the figure. The lifespan of a pair begins the 15–30% above Amazon’s price. shipping time. the me- mic seller (in red) always quickly matches their price. Second. Although we the algo. and Rank. customers may rate sellers on a 0–5 scale particular. but below which they sell the specific products where we detect algorithmic pricing. we examine the feedback received by sellers from cus- the characteristics of algorithmic and non-algorithmic sellers. sellers and non-algorithmic sellers. above tory for algorithmic sellers includes all products they sell. As shown in Figure 15.1 Business Practices following analysis (this only filter out 5% and 15% of algorithmic To compare the general business practices between algorithmic and non-algorithmic sellers in our dataset. we compare the total Amazon (in red) chooses their price to be a premium above the number of products sold by algorithmic and non-algorithmic sell- lowest price of all other sellers. ing algorithmic pricing. dian seller/product lifetime for an algorithmic seller is 30 days. low wholesale prices. To obtain com- in time. Amazon appears to have a ceiling at around $9. On Amazon. product at a small premium relative to the lowest price. Since Crawl1 and Crawl2 focused on best selling products. role as a merchant and the host of the marketplace. we Product Lifespan. and the algorith. respectively. we examine its As expected. As shown mic and non-algorithmic sellers. Figure 20: Percentage of positive feedback for al- for algorithmic and non-algorithmic sellers. percentage of feedback that is positive (0–100). Figure 14 shows an Figure 18 shows the distribution of seller/product lifespans for example where a 3P seller has a clear strategy to always match the both algorithmic and non-algorithmic sellers. Since Amazon itself plays a dual rithmic sellers’ positive feedback advantage is more significant. We begin by examining the lifespan of can observe a number of sellers who choose a new price that is seller/product pairs in our dataset. inventory size. mic and non-algorithmic sellers. Note that this gorithmic sellers have slightly higher positive feedback than non- list of characteristics is not comprehensive: as mentioned in § 4. likely caused by algorithmic sellers? and (3) What is the impact of and total amount of feedback on the New Offers pages. but that Amazon is almost always slightly more expensive. For example. ANALYSIS products. This suggests that al- gorithmic sellers tend to specialize in a relatively small number of 6. the algorithmic seller always matches sales volume. algo- of products. First. We observe that al- feedback volume. we have identified the sellers who are likely us. the algorithmic sellers’ prices and the target prices in Figure 13. respectively). different lengths of Crawl1 and Crawl2. Feedback.

products that are sold by Amazon. in compete. significantly different characteristics than non-algorithmic sellers: we see a dramatic difference. while “Each gate changes. As we observed in Figure 7. which contrast: algorithmic sellers acquire significantly greater amounts shows the the rank of Amazon as a seller on the New Offers page of feedback. “Overall” means that Ama- This suggests that either there is no competitive pressure to insti- zon sold the product at some point during our crawls. Crawl” is the average percentage of products sold by Amazon dur- However. we move on to examining the dynamics of Amazon Mar- their respective inventories. rank in the presence/absence of algorithmic sellers. prices change 100 or even 1000 times.10 and there is a long tail of products whose ket. Unsurprisingly. algorithmic sellers are active. We observe that for non- a seller separately. and they acquire significantly larger amounts of positive feed. the first. our results show that algorithmic sellers exhibit sellers doing algorithmic pricing to products without such sellers. it makes sense to examine their role as of price changes per seller/product pair. algorithmic sellers could be more Overall. Amazon is also known rithmic and non-algorithmic sellers. . followed by price and product changes in the Buy Box. In products with algorithmic sellers. First. Given Amazon’s dual role as merchant Price Changes. if we examine the algorithmic sellers. but in the products where they do we see that Amazon ranks in the top 5 sellers 88% of the time. However. Amazon as a Seller. products with and without algorithmic sellers. the price never changes for 65% of the pairs. There are two reasons why this could be happening: for every product at each crawl. offering around 75% of all best-selling products over time. they participate in the marketplace for longer periods of products without such sellers. New Offers page for algo and non-algo sellers. Figure 21 examines the amount of feedback received by algo. even Amazon tends to be ranked lower for products where back (suggesting they may have higher sales volumes). In this case we observe a stark for their low prices. Figure 24 shows the distribution of number and host of the marketplace. algorithmic sellers could have much higher sales volume than list is roughly ordered from least-to-highest price. algorithmic sellers winning the Buy Box. non-algorithmic sellers. time. products they sell. Algorithmic Non-Algorithmic 10 Overall 72% 73% Readers may notice that the number of price changes for algo- rithmic sellers in Figure 24 goes below 20. Table 3 shows the percentage of best-selling algorithmic sellers. Figure 22: Cumulative distribution of rank on the Figure 23: Cumulative distribution of Amazon’s rithmic and non-algorithmic sellers. As shown in Figure 22. they sell fewer unique products. or the seller is unsophisticated. Second. which is the change Each Crawl 62% 63% threshold we set to detect those algorithmic sellers. some Table 3: Percentage of products with Amazon as one of the listed sellers. Pairs with at least one price change are sale does appear to change over time.2 Price and Buy Box Dynamics sellers. of which have <20 changes during our crawl. algorithmic sellers. Although Amazon’s inventory of products for- very different distribution. we observe that Amazon ranks highly for almost all aggressive about soliciting customer feedback. when comparing all the products in Next. 100 100 100 Non-Algo Algo Win Rate (%) 80 80 Price 80 60 60 Sid 60 Non-Algo CDF 40 Algo CDF 40 Sid 40 20 20 Price 20 Non-Algo Algo 0 0 0 0 1 10 100 1000 0 1 10 100 1000 0 5 10 15 19 Number of Price Changes Number of Changes Rank Figure 24: Number of price changes per Figure 25: Number of changes in the Buy Box for Figure 26: Probability of winning the Buy Box for seller/product pair. we compare the frequency of algorithmic and non- there are cases where sellers do not appear in the top 20 list. Thus. if we compare the products that have Taken together. algo and non-algo sellers at different ranks. we this percentage increases to 96%. Besides having an enormous inventory. algorithmic sellers are much more active in the marketplace. Note that neither CDF goes to 100% because Finally. this plot includes all the products sold by the algorithmic sellers. we plot Figure 23. However. The feedback and sales volume characteristics of algorithmic sellers put them at an advantage with respect to non-algorithmic 6. we observe a ing each snapshot. the rank of algorithmic sellers on the ketplace. To demonstrate this. they still dominate the mar- more common than not. we look into price changes for each seller/product New Offers page tends to be significantly higher than that of non- pair. 100 100 100 Algo 80 80 80 Non-Algo 60 60 60 CDF CDF CDF 40 40 Algo 40 Algo 20 20 Non-Algo 20 Non-Algo 0 0 0 1 102 104 106 0 5 10 15 19 0 5 10 15 19 Number of Ratings Rank Absolute Rank Figure 21: Amount of feedback received for algo.

although more quantitative and qualitative work is nec- However. With easy access to times per day. the presence of algorith- tion from public profiles in eBay’s feedback system with their so.neu. 29] We thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. especially smaller merchants who played by the sellers and study the properties of its equilibria as a lack a dedicated programming staff. Edelman et al. revealed the exis. them vulnerable to manipulation and fraud conducted by unscrupu. we observe cases where algorithmic sellers change prices tens or even hundreds of Theoretical Work on Price Competition. these services have made that have algorithmic sellers. Figure 25 compares the number of seller (labeled E-commerce marketplaces have changed many aspects of how as Sid) and price changes we observe in Buy Boxes for products goods are bought and sold.. this makes the shopping experience more complicated for are becoming increasingly ubiquitous on online marketplaces. Unfortunately. Second. [30] Finally. Our findings illustrate the power of algorithmic pricing in on- gorithmic sellers do not offer the lowest prices. it is challenging for non-algorithmic sellers to compete proposed by Bertrand [14] to combinatorial settings. pricing receive more feedback and win the Buy Box more fre- quently. increasing automation opens the door to intentional and lous parties. as previously noted.Buy Box. user-friendly automation platforms like Sellery pricing game in the marketplace. third-party price monitoring tools like CamelCamelCamel. However. Sellers we identified as using algorithmic the Buy Box anyway due to their feedback and sales volume. winning the Buy Box. ers. [39] conduct an empirical analysis on rithms pushing prices to unrealistic heights [37] and being used to the Seller Reputation Escalation (SRE) ecosystem that provides a implement price fixing [5]. major e-commerce sites. serves. of these issues in our data. it is not clear what the impact of dynamic pricing is on reveal that attackers can correlate the highly sensitive user informa. 10] extend the traditional price competition model ing. conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF. algorithmic sellers tend to set their prices greater than or such sellers in our data set. 20% of products with. and not always positive. Furthermore. in markets.com . In this paper. which suggests an arms race that may ter- price competition in marketplaces where equilibria rarely exist. Online marketplaces bring cus. algorithmic pricing (i. and products that do not. e-commerce sellers are over time—especially one attempting to manage many products able to adjust their prices automatically by setting algorithmic rules simultaneously—but is trivially automated. there are also caveats introduced by algorithmic pric- sellers. Recently. we examine whether algorithmic sellers are successful at tifying sellers using algorithmic pricing on Amazon Marketplace. As shown in Figure 26. confusing and undesirable [9]. mic sellers does not necessarily push item prices down to their re- cial network profiles on Facebook. this result is quite interesting: as shown in Figures 12 tecting using a target price time series. Furthermore. this exposes cus. places can cause privacy issues for consumers. 33] study insincere sellers that generate opin. likely suggesting higher sales volumes and thus more rev- 7. [19. algorithmic sellers.g. The Buy Box Issues in Online Marketplace. uncovered instances of price discrimination and price steering on This research was supported in part by NSF grants CNS-1054233. PayPal). CNS-1319019. Finally. we examine the impact of algorithmic sellers 8. 31. which gives rise to the need for merchants to payment providers (e. unintentional market distortions. First. [26. [20] studied Uber’s surge pric- ing algorithm and revealed that an implementation bug was caus. Given the importance of winning the search community.edu 12 http://camelcamelcamel. Similarly. the impact of algorithmic pricing on marketplaces out algorithmic sellers have zero price changes. 32. We view our efforts to detect dynamic shill-purchasing service for escalating business’ reputations on the pricing as the first step towards long-term monitoring of algorithms Taobao online marketplace. function of the dependencies among goods/services offered by the However. 18. this is indeed the We collected large-scale data on products and sellers on Amazon case: algorithmic sellers are more likely to win the Buy Box at all Marketplace. the anonymous nature of online marketplaces makes place where the Buy Box winner receives the vast majority of sales. they manage to win line marketplaces. understood. versus only 2% for and customers is not yet understood. and CHS-1408345. Automated algorithms guably. Minkus et al. with the ultimate goal of increasing transparency of Several empirical studies have also show that online market. minate with all serious sellers adopting automation. markets that include competing algorithmic and non-algorithmic tomers to a great deal of volatility. [34] discovered per. and we make our code and data available to the re- ranks except for the top one. there are documented cases of algo- tems on online marketplace. 14] model a pricing game and Feedvisor is a win for sellers. and a vast inventory of products.e. Next. customers. we took the first steps towards detecting and quan- Next.. [12] models with algorithmic sellers. low prices. [11. customers. and we identify over 500 and 13. As expected. CONCLUDING DISCUSSION on the Buy Box. Clearly. even though al. 11 Available at http://personalization. the existence against other competitors in the market.ccs. Although we do not observe any ion spam and artificial ratings to manipulate the reputation sys. Acknowledgements ing users to receive out-of-date pricing information.12 Ar- Auditing E-Commerce Algorithms. However. the impact of these algorithms on users are often poorly essary to truly understand how these factors impact customers. [25. 28. algorithm exacerbates the disparity between algorithmic and non- tomers convenience. algorithmic pricing can sonal information and detailed shopping habits leaking from online cause prices to fluctuate rapidly. which would be difficult for a human to maintain the Internet and computation technologies.11 We found that algorithmic sellers can be de- Buy Box. findings. these practices. As shown in Figures 14–17. Any opinions. especially in heterogeneous products with algorithmic sellers. equal to the lowest price for a product. and tence of systemic racial discrimination on AirBnB [24]. RELATED WORK enue than non-algorithmic sellers. These sellers are playing a of cost-effective. which they may perceive to be sellers. using computer algorithms to automati- products with algorithmic sellers experience many more price and cally price goods) a realistic possibility for even small-scale sell- seller changes in the Buy Box: for example. as it creates a largely winner-take-all market- However.

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