Stacy Mitchell and business journalist Rana Foroohar teamed up for an Intelligence Squared debate to argue how Amazon is bad for independent businesses. “I believe that anyone who wants to start a small business should be able to succeed on their own merit. Their ability to ply their trade should not be subject to the whims and dictates of a company with outsized market power,” Stacy explained.
Independent businesses are wholly subject to Amazon. The tech giant captures more than 70% of online transactions, compelling two thirds of Americans to search first for a product on Amazon rather than a search engine. Meanwhile, the risks for independent businesses to sell on Amazon are inestimable. One particular threat it has posed time and time again, according to Mitchell, “is that you will wake up one day and find that Amazon has copied your best selling product and put its own version at the top of the search results.”
Stacy also argued that the internet once opened vast new avenues for small businesses to succeed but, because of the failures of antitrust policy, those avenues have been cut off by Amazon’s stranglehold.
Mitchell and Rana Foroohar won the debate, showing how Amazon has exploited small businesses, the failure to enact antitrust policy, and how Amazon uses its strategic marketing mechanisms. As Stacy put it “If you sell on Amazon you will be handing the fate of your business and your livelihood over to your biggest, most aggressive enemy.”
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