Amazon's Holiday Gift Guide Under Fire for Undisclosed Paid Ads

By Shabana Arif on at

The 'curated' Amazon gift guides are just lists of products from whoever is paying them for a spot.

Bloomberg discovered that companies are paying up to $2 million to sponsor the gift guide lists, and the more they pay the more of their own products they can nominate for the list.

The biggest problem is that it's not appropriately disclosed what's a paid ad, and what isn't, as consumers could be under the impression that every entry has been thoughtfully added after much deliberating.

Amazon maintains that actually, this is what goes on, saying, "every product on our annual Holiday Toy List, which features family gift ideas from new releases to customer favorites, is independently curated by a team of in-house experts based on a high bar for quality, design, innovation and play experience. We source product ideas from many places, including our selling partners who have an opportunity to nominate their best toys for the season and increase visibility of those toys.”

Watchdog group Public Citizen filed a complaint with the FTC over the summer against Amazon's summer sale Prime Day, saying there wasn't enough information to let shoppers know what was a paid ad and what was an actual recommendation. So next time you're browsing the retailer's lists, don't assume every item on there is worthy of a place.

Feature image credit: Unsplash