Welcome to 3PM Snacks, a mid-week (and mid-day!) rundown of what’s going on in the worlds of eCommerce, big data, and artificial intelligence. We hope you find it informative and easy to digest.

Let’s go…

Reviewjacking on Amazon

If you didn’t know by now, Amazon is filled with sketchy reviews. In fact, the problem is so bad that fake reviews fuel an entire economy. Amazon denies this, of course, touting its hefty ($400 million!) investments to “protect customers from reviews abuse, fraud, and other forms of misconduct” and highlighting all the fake-ness that it does catch: “Last year, we prevented more than 13 million attempts to leave an inauthentic review and we took action against more than five million bad actors attempting to manipulate reviews.”

The latest chapter in the Amazon fake reviews saga comes courtesy of Consumer Reports, which did a deep dive into the practices of “review reuse” and “review hijacking”:

This curious game of whack-a-mole is a particularly nettlesome problem for Amazon and its network of sellers. It’s known in the Amazon seller universe as “review reuse” or “review hijacking,” and it happens when unscrupulous sellers find ways to grab positive customer reviews from other products and integrate them into their own listings. It can provide even a shoddy product with thousands of 4- and 5-star reviews.

“Similar Item To Consider”

Amazon is drawing ire from its selling partners…again. This time, for ad placements of its own private-label brands right before check-out on competing products.

This is most likely an experiment (Amazon calls them “Weblabs”), but Amazon has nevertheless defended the practice, saying that such product promotion isn’t very different from the ways other stores hawk their private-label goods.

Experiment or not, for a company that LOVES to tell us how much it is helping small- and medium-sized businesses succeed on its marketplace, this isn’t a good look.

Avengers: Retail War

In its quest to defeat Thanos and his army of Chitauri Bezos and his army of Amazonians, Target just recruited a powerful hero to join its team: Disney. The retailer announced on Sunday that, starting in October, it will launch Disney-focused sections inside 25 of its stores, with another 40 to open by October 2020. The announcement comes on the heels of a strong quarterly earnings report last week, where Target revealed to investors that more people are coming to its stores, and that they’re opening up their wallets wider than ever when they get there.

Store-within-a-store retail experiences are not new, but they are certainly enjoying a renaissance as of late, as major retailers such as Nordstrom’s and Macy’s have announced store-within-a-store partnerships with Nike and Apple, respectively.

Target’s partnership with Disney will also seek to capitalize on the retail trend toward experiential activations in stores, with Target betting that its massive physical footprint (compared to Amazon) will be its Infinity Gauntlet, enabling it to snap Amazon’s market share into dust.