Category Archives: Opinion

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

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.

Hands out of the darkness

This post is by Chris McCabe, owner and founder of ecommerceChris, LLC, an Amazon seller account consultancy.

Black hat seller behavior continues unabated in 2019.

We’ve seen spikes of listing hijacks and seller sabotage, mostly via loopholes exploited within Vendor Central. We’ve seen sellers inflating their positive reviews, but no action taken by Amazon’s Product Review Abuse (PRA) teams after they were reported.

There have been overnight spikes in negative reviews for products that had gone months without a single negative, clearly due to malicious targeting. When the impacted sellers report these fake reviews, Amazon’s ability to understand and act is often lacking.

Unauthorized changes are made to private label listings, resulting in chaos and lost sales for legitimate sellers. Competitors with barely any track record have been able to boost their profiles overnight with piles of positive “verified” reviews.

Just how bad is seller abuse on Amazon now? What does Amazon need to do to address the problem? What can sellers do to get Amazon to take effective action?

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eBay vs Amazon: The World’s Top Marketplaces Go Head to Head

These online retail giants have millions of buyers and sellers, but in the battle of eBay vs Amazon, which is the best marketplace for you?

eBay vs Amazon

There is no doubt that eBay and Amazon dominate online retail, with hundreds of millions of customers worldwide. But they are very different creatures.

eBay has expanded from auctions and collectibles to a huge consumer marketplace, with gross merchandise volume (GMV) running at around $94 billion a year. eBay has been struggling for years to cast off its flea market image and find a new identity, but remains one of the largest ecommerce sites in the world.

Amazon, on the other hand, has grown from a humble bookstore to one of the largest companies in the world. Amazon’s GMV is estimated at over $250 billion, with marketplace sellers accounting for around half of those sales. Its image is businesslike and ruthless, constantly innovating and generating buzz around its products.

So, sellers, what are the main differences that you should know about before choosing your preferred platform? Which one is right for you? In this article we compare the two online retail giants in ten different categories to see if there is a clear winner.

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Skip McGrath on eBay Past & Present… a Seller’s Perspective

We spoke with long-time seller Skip McGrath about the changes that have had the biggest impact on eBay sellers over the years

Skip McGrath on eBay Past & Present

eBay has seen a huge number of changes since it opened for business in 1995. There’s been the introduction of a new search engine, big changes to feedback, increasing fees and more. Sellers have had to adapt to them all.

We caught up with Skip McGrath about how the eBay marketplace has changed over the last twenty years. Skip has been an eBay seller since 1999 and is also a trainer and author over at Online Seller’s Resource.

Here’s the changes which have had the biggest impact on sellers and what those changes mean for sellers today.

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eBay is the New Frontier for Private Label Sellers

As private labeling hits saturation point on Amazon, eBay’s new technology is making it attractive for private label sellers and brands

This post is by Anojan Abel, Founder of ShelfTrend, an inventory analytics tool that provides reporting and insight into live shopping activity on the eBay marketplace.

eBay is not traditionally the first venue that sellers think of when looking to develop and launch their own private label brands.

Amazon, however, has attracted hordes of private label sellers, thanks to its strong catalog-based model, effective marketing options, and hands-off order fulfillment using FBA – all features that eBay has lacked.

Now the Amazon marketplace has become a victim of its success, overrun with dozens of me-too listings in popular categories. Competition has become overwhelming for private label sellers, even downright dirty in some cases, and buyers have become wary of low-quality superficial brands.

But major changes are underway at eBay. Slowly but surely the marketplace is casting off its flea-market image and implementing big technology changes, that make it much more attractive to brands and private label sellers. Despite weak growth in recent years, it has retained a huge base of loyal buyers, with a different demographic to the typical Amazon Prime subscriber. Yet developing private label products for eBay is very much in its infancy.

In this post, I’ll explain what has changed at eBay to create this new opportunity for private label sellers and brands, and how businesses can get started early and capture the crucial first-mover advantage.

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Who’s Minding Amazon’s Store? Or Their Studio?

Amazon is famously proud of its Leadership Principles, but does the ongoing Studios scandal suggest they’re rather selective about when they apply them?

This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team and founder of ecommerceChris.com. ecommerceChris shows Amazon sellers how to keep their accounts healthy, or, if the worst should happen, how to get their account back from a suspension.

Recent news coverage and investigation of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged behavior has led to Amazon Studios and Roy Price, the studio’s head until he resigned three days ago. Two Weinstein Co. productions were in development with Amazon as recently as this week, and actress Rose McGowan publicly cited past complaints to Amazon Studios in regards to Weinstein.

As widely reported this week, Roy Price’s sexual harassment was originally reported by TV producer Isa Hackett in 2015 after an incident in San Diego. Amazon informed her of an investigation but did not inform her of the results. She did not receive an update, nor an apology, and as mentioned in the Bloomberg piece by Lucas Shaw and Spencer Soper, “Amazon hasn’t explained why it acted against Price now when Hackett first filed a complaint in 2015.”

The Wall Street Journal added: “Former Amazon employees said the only reprimand to Mr. Price was that he was told not to drink at company events anymore.” Amazon has not yet commented publicly on what other actions were taken in the aftermath of this event. Amazon has not presented any follow-up information on how management or executive behavior of this nature is evaluated, or monitored.

Much like Amazon’s recently canceled show, Z: The Beginning of Everything, it’s time to head back to the beginning, and review things from the top for potential improvements to Amazon’s management structure. I’ll take a look at one slice of how Amazon works internally, and see what lessons we can learn.

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