Brands have long been able to bid for the premier slot at the top left of Amazon’s listings, but during the pandemic the online retailer has begun using this position for its private-label items, raising antitrust concerns.

Until recently, when Amazon customers typed “melatonin” into the site’s search bar, a variety of sleep supplements would appear in the most coveted real estate on the listings results — top left on the first page.

One of consultant Jason Boyce’s clients, a seller of natural supplements, often sought to outbid competitors for the best spots by promising Amazon about $6 each time someone clicked on the product. While the brand never attained the top left slot, it regularly landed in the top row. But in late March, Boyce noticed that Amazon’s own brand, Solimo, had taken over the top left, while his client’s product had been bumped to a lower row. Then Boyce typed “ground coffee” in the search bar, only to find AmazonFresh Colombia ground coffee in the top left, pushing down another client.

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