A Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that Amazon.com prevents certain rivals from buying advertisements on its site.  Normally this would not be a marketing problem since as Amazon’s spokesperson pointed out, major retailers, such as Walmart, follow the same practice.  But there is a challenge for the company.  It is already in regulators’ sights and contending with charges that it abuses its near-monopoly on online shopping.  This practice could tip the balance even though it is barely a problem for brick-and-mortar stores.  Amazon is in a tricky PR position.  It has trampled competitors with its obsessive focus on satisfying customers.  It was among the first online stores and it maintains a lead over all others.  It is the frequent recipient of complaints from businesses that use its site to sell their wares.  Even innocuous actions carry a taint of impropriety.  The company needs to explain itself more if it is to continue in its present strategies.  That means more lobbyists, a clear message and careful execution.  And, even that might not be enough.

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