Amazon has found itself in a messy mistake involving Black-owned businesses.
For about a year, the retail giant has been giving out small business badges under its “commitment to the success of small businesses.”
“This badge identifies products from US-based small business brands,” Amazon’s website states. “It’s designed to help customers who want to support small businesses while also enjoying the convenience and security of shopping in Amazon’s store. We follow Gartner’s definition of small business, which includes businesses that employ fewer than 100 people and have less than $50 million in annual revenues.”
However, there has been miscategorization for some businesses. According to The Information, Amazon has reportedly given Black-owned small business badges to companies that aren’t Black-owned.
The outlet details that Chomps — founded by Pete Maldonado and Rashid Ali — is one of the non-Black-owned companies that received the badge. Maldonado also shared that there wasn’t “much lift” in sales with the badge.
The miscategorization raises one to question how many actual Black-owned businesses have been overlooked.
Additionally, large companies — “multinational corporations with thousands of employees” — are also said to have received small business badges.
“If [Amazon is] not managing this program, they’re being negligent and they’re disadvantaging true small businesses,” Avenue7Media CEO Jason Boyce told the outlet. “And they’re giving companies that don’t need the help an unfair advantage.”
According to The Information, when it reached out to Amazon for a comment, the company removed some miscategorized badges. However, there are some that have yet to be taken down.
People including Stacey Mitchell, a co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, have posed the question of whether Amazon is genuinely dedicated to supporting Black-owned small businesses.
“It’s very much in Amazon’s interest to try to suggest that in fact they’re supporting small businesses rather than eating their lunch,” Mitchell said.