Amazon’s influential annual “Holiday Toy List”, promoting the 100 top toys available on its platform, costs toy makers millions of dollars to be included.
The Holiday Toy List, “Amazon’s ultimate showcase for the newest and best-selling toys, games, and gifts for kids”, was released today.
According to documents reviewed by Bloomberg, Amazon charges toy makers millions of dollars in “sponsorships” to be considered for the list, hoping to raise $20 million this year alone.
Sponsorships were reportedly sold for as much as $2 million, and the more money a company pays determines how many products they can submit for consideration and where in the list they’ll be featured.
Its holiday gift guides reportedly generated revenues of more than $120 million in 2017, up 40 per cent compared to the previous year.
Amazon does not disclose the money it receives from the toy industry, and says the list “is thoughtfully curated to help shoppers”.
Though this is entirely legal, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen Robert Weissman thinks it is problematic.
“They don’t write ‘paid ad’ on it because it completely changes how consumers perceive the information,” he said.
“If the list is entirely or in part paid advertising, people have a right to know.”
In response Amazon told Bloomberg: “Every product on our annual Holiday Toy List, which features family gift ideas from new releases to customer favorites, is independently curated by a team of in-house experts based on a high bar for quality, design, innovation and play experience.
“We source product ideas from many places, including our selling partners who have an opportunity to nominate their best toys for the season and increase visibility of those toys.”