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Are Black Hat Sellers Winning the Battle on the Amazon Marketplace?

By Chris McCabe

Seller sabotage and abuse are running wild. Here’s what’s happening, and what both Amazon and sellers need to do to bring it under control.

Are Black Hat Sellers Winning the Battle on the Amazon Marketplace?

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Bina

I have a persistent hijacker who lists on my registered brand product listing.
He has no way of getting my brand as the goods are manufactured solely for me.
We have purchased products from him and complained to Amazon and opened A to Z’s against him.
All he does is apologise and say the wrong product was sent by mistake and sends a label for returns.
Amazon refuse to deal with the fact that he is selling “fake” products,
How do I get him off my listings? Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Chris McCabe

Replying to Bina

Hi Bina have you opened up tickets with Brand Registry and reported them that way for counterfeit? Also, have you filed any notice claims of infringement?

Bina

Replying to Chris McCabe

Hi Chris and thank you for responding. Yes I have opened tickets, spoken several times with Seller Support and filed an infringement claim. Amazon say that they cannot stop anyone selling a product that is brand registered, even if the brand owner tells them specifically that the products are not available to any other source. Further when we purchased the product (2 of the SKUs) from this vendor, we also complained that it was not the brand he was selling the goods under and also they were of inferior quality (and I was very angry to note that he was… Read more »

Bina

Replying to Chris McCabe

What angered me the most, is that he called me to have a laugh and say that he challenged me to see if I could get him off my listing!
He said he did this all the time and knew all the loopholes and Amazon did not have a way of getting him off people’s listings!
He seems to be right!

Tom Taylor

You cannot rely on Amazon to sort this mess out without external pressure.

Bad press can get some reaction from them, but government must get involved and force Amazon to take action.

For example, review manipulation is simply misleading buyers regarding the credentials of a product … surely this i enough for government to get involved.

James

There are three major problems for the small seller: 1) The obscene numbers of fake positive reviews; 2) The persistent negative fake reviews; 3) The new bizarre weighted formula for “averaging star ratings on a given product. The small seller loses in all three cases. Fake negative reviews, combined with an “averaging” metric that is skewed to the negative has rendered some of our product a three star rating, when the organic rating is actually three stars, e.g.. (and this always includes some fake negative reviews). After five years of steady sales growth, we have experienced a 40% drop in… Read more »

James

In the above, I meant to say that the new metrics for “averaging” star ratings turns our four star average into a three or 3.5 star rating.

Bill Badger

Black Hat techniques are rampant on Ebay too. The latest one I have noticed is this:

Sometime ago Ebay required all branded goods to be listed with EAN/UPC numbers so that buyers could compare the same product price from different sellers. But Ebay no longer enforce this rule so unscrupulous sellers can sell at a higher price without being compared to their lower priced competitors.

Something needs to be done.

Mike Michelini

There is the fear that Amazon doesn’t care because they are the last ones standing with their own generic brands

Chris McCabe

Replying to Mike Michelini

I think they will definitely care Mike if it gets to the point where buyers don’t trust reviews they see anymore, since that impacts most buying decisions and faith in the marketplace.

James

I think Amazon cares, but the problems are reified by all of their outsourced support services, which are now overwhelmed with complaints and problems stateside due to incompetency in the USA and ineptitude in cheap and largely untrained seller support in other countries. So much is lost in translation and sellers are losing their minds (not to mention a ton f time, and money) trying to get problems solved. Amazon’s classic corporate approach will not bend until the problems hit the bottom line hard enough to justify real action. sad.

Chris McCabe

Replying to James

these teams are still Amazon, by outsourced you mean finding employees of other companies to work the queues? PRA / product review abuse is not an outsourced team, that’s where you report fake reviews and abuse.

Cynthia Stine

I can’t reinforce strongly enough everything Chris said here. The problem is darker and deeper than mere words can convey…and a lot of this is caused by Amazon itself. We’re screaming for action from Amazon because it is Amazon’s own policies, procedures and algorithms that are being manipulated to take down honest sellers. Then when a seller tries to report, they are generally ignored. It is disheartening and discouraging. Amazon cares so little for its sellers that it just ignores them. I was happy to see the news about vendor central merging with brand registry. My hope is that this… Read more »

John

Replying to Cynthia Stine

Right on, Cynthia. Amazon, by not being part of the solution IS part of the problem. The more they do nothing to fish out the scammers and fake negative review writers, the more this behavior is supported/rewarded by financial gains by black hats.

John

Replying to Cynthia Stine

Right on! Now to get them to start getting to work on the fake negative reviews!

Lisa

All of THIS……..is exactly why I have been afraid to sell on Amazon, even eBay too! I’ve been selling items on other platforms for a while now because it’s pretty cut & dry compared to Amazon & Ebay! Funny thing is I’ve noticed a huge surge of scammers on these other platforms too over the last 2-3 yrs! Both bad/scam buyers & sellers! These people look for any way possible to manipulate & use the system! It’s so sad to me that ANY company cannot get behind its sellers & user base to offer them proper support that aligns w/THEIR… Read more »

Chris McCabe

you’re welcome, and yes, this discourages many sellers from doing Amazon. It’s sad to see so many private label brands that could sell on there, and sell well, go to another platform. We think this will become the norm as brand attacks continue, although it’ll take time for that to unfold fully. Years, really.

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