A new browser extension promises to show you which products in your Amazon search results are sold by brands that are either owned by or are exclusive to Amazon, giving you a better idea of who’s selling what you’re buying. The Verge reports: It’s called Amazon Brand Detector, and it uses a list of Amazon brands created by The Markup, along with filters and other techniques (detailed here) to detect and highlight products that are a part of Amazon’s Our Brands program. The Markup created this extension after its investigation into how Amazon ranks its in-house brands in search results and says the tool (available for Chrome-like browsers and Firefox) is designed to make searches more transparent. When we tested it, it obviously highlighted Amazon Basics and Essentials products, but it also drew attention to results that were otherwise indistinguishable from ones not affiliated with Amazon: a dog leash labeled as being made by Panykoo, socks by Teebulen, a sweater by Ofeefan.
While Amazon marked some of those results as “featured from our brands,” that wasn’t the case for all of them. That advisory text is also small and grey, making it easy to miss if you’re casually browsing (especially since there may not be any notice of the affiliation on the actual product page), and it didn’t show up on every result the tool highlighted. Amazon isn’t necessarily shadowy about these brands: it has a page that lists its “private and select exclusive brands,” many of which have legit-sounding names: Happy Belly, Wag, Nature’s Wonder. Some are private labels owned by Amazon, where some are “curated selections” sold exclusively on Amazon but not necessarily operated by the company. According to The Markup, the extension “does not collect any data” and should be compatible with other extensions.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.