Last updated on August 1st, 2023
Written by Ken Zhou
Building and buying a house may seem like a purely aesthetic endeavor. We may primarily focus on fussing over the building's outline, design, and color and completely overlook deciding on other essential factors such as budget, payment plans, and insurance.
However, building a beautiful (and expensive) house without purchasing homeowners insurance will prove to be a risky, and even foolish, decision in the long run. After all, sheer optimism and aesthetics can’t protect your investment from inevitable disasters.
The same goes for Amazon. It is easy to get caught up in the goal of making your brand and product known and how your images and ads should appear. But while doing this, many people tend to forget Amazon Brand Protection, which is as essential as any other task on your plate. Brand registry in Amazon can even make or break your business.
If you haven't enrolled in the Amazon Brand Protection Program yet, 2023 is the perfect time to do so! Below are the Amazon Brand Protection services you need to get you ahead of the competition.
With the rise of Amazon comes the rise of sellers, and not all of them have the best intentions in mind. These are the following black hat tactics your Amazon Brand Protection team will consider red flags. With close monitoring, they can call out the bad actors and prevent further damage to your business.
As you conduct your weekly optimization of your listings, you notice something odd on your product detail page. Three new selling accounts are offering your private-label products. How can that be?
Sorry to break it to you but you may be a victim of Amazon listing hijacking.
Hijacked listings happen when another unauthorized seller steals your Buy Box by selling the same product that you have—only a counterfeit version. To unfamiliar sellers, the Buy Box is the small box to the right of the screen that makes the check-out process easy for Amazon's customers. The store with their products in the Buy Box usually has the best price and a larger amount of sales.
Every time a customer clicks the “Add to Cart” button, the one who owns the Buy Box will get the sale—unless the buyer specifies the seller. Usually, sellers of the same product have to compete for the spot, but hijackers will steal your listing and sell a similar or counterfeit product of your listing. This is possible by copying your product's Universal Product Code or UPC.
Hijackers can also sometimes change your product listings, images, and content so they don’t follow Amazon’s policies anymore. There are even some instances when they put unrealistic claims in the product descriptions (e.g., it can cure cancer, your hair will grow in one week, etc.), so Amazon’s bots detect them and remove your listings.
Similar to hijackers, numerous piggybackers are also present on the platform. Instead of fakes, piggybackers sell actual, authentic products. You may know them as resellers, but piggybackers aren’t authorized to sell these products.
Unfortunately, it's difficult to tell if someone is selling your exact product (complete with the brand and all). To check, you can purchase a suspicious product to see if it is actually yours.
Infringement is a broad term: in Amazon, it almost always happens because of the unauthorized use of brand elements. Registering your brand through the proper channels is important—this serves as proof in case of infringement. Below are the most common occurrences of infringement happening on Amazon.
Copyright usually refers to your brand's creatives, like your logo, product packaging designs, images, and more. These creative works belong to you, and using any of these without your permission violates the copyright. Laws around copyright can differ from country to country, so do your research about your local copyright laws.
A trademark deals more with the company itself, like your name and logo. It is possible to have a trademark without formally registering your brand. However, cases dealing with non-registered trademarks will be given very little assistance by Amazon. Registering a trademark will prevent others from using your name and logo and is concrete proof that what you claim to own is yours.
Unlike the infringements mentioned above that deal with creative and proprietary information, patents usually involve innovations or inventions.
These are the two main kinds of patents:
Besides the multiple types of infringement mentioned above, another seller can falsely claim and accuse you of committing IP infringement, a cunning way to destroy both your credibility and reputation in the Amazon marketplace.
How does it happen?
Another seller will file a claim that you breached their IP (intellectual property) using your ASIN to steal from you. Unfortunately, in Amazon's eyes, you are guilty until you prove you are innocent. This is how your legal battle with Amazon and the seller begins.
Amazon will send you an IP infringement notice for infringing someone's trademark, copyright, or patent. In the notice, there is an instruction to email the claimant to resolve the issue. However, since the claimant's mission is to bring you down, they will deliberately ignore your email. Thus, it can result in the suspension of your Seller Central account.
Competition is so fierce on Amazon that even customer reviews are used to sabotage other third-party sellers. Fake reviews don’t have the verified badge, so tracking these is relatively easy. However, the problem is highly rampant on Amazon.
Fake negative comments and reviews can affect your product listing ranking because customer reviews count as social proof and contribute to seller authority—a crucial factor that Amazon’s A10 algorithm considers in determining a product listing’s rank in the search results.
Black hat third-party sellers will post numerous fake one-star or five-star reviews on your listing. A slew of one-star reviews may contribute to the suspension of your account because Amazon doesn’t like poorly performing listings.
On the other hand, if your product listings are flooded with unverified and fake five-star reviews, Amazon may find this suspicious, which will eventually result in account suspension.
As you can see, dire practices abound on Amazon. These bad actors have found a way to use Amazon's rules and regulations to get legitimate sellers suspended instead of protected.
When detected by Amazon bots, these activities will garner an Amazon suspension, so dealing with the wrongdoers as soon as you catch them is vital to ensure that your business stays operational.
How does an Amazon seller deal with them? Simple: by registering your account early and closely monitoring your product listings. Doing so may seem simple enough, but these activities can quickly turn difficult and time-consuming, especially if you’re monitoring multiple products.
Amazon Brand Protection teams can offer support and relieve you of these tiresome yet necessary tasks.
While you're busy perfecting your products and ensuring you live up to your customers' expectations, an Amazon Brand Protection team will begin enrolling your account. Once you have your trademark, copyright, and intellectual property certification from the Intellectual Property Office, your partner agency will handle the next stretch of the process for you.
After registration, your Amazon Brand Protection team will maximize the services provided by Amazon. Along with these resources, agencies also have tools to check for hijackers and counterfeits.
A dedicated Amazon Brand Protection team is available 24/7 to screen the ins and outs of the Amazon marketplace to spot hijackers. This enables them to act immediately should they spot an unusually similar listing to yours.
Through different tools and thorough research, the moment a hijacker is identified, Amazon policy measures are immediately taken. This can take down the disruptive listing before any bot finds it, causing more significant damage.
With a team of Amazon experts doing the surveillance for you, you can focus on growing your business without the agony of being subject to fraud listings. You will have more time to focus on more critical tasks, like product development, research, and marketing.
Getting Brand Protection for your products must be any Amazon seller’s utmost priority, especially those who sell high-value products.
High-value items require an extra layer of protection because there are higher chances of competitors using this information to design similar products. Enrolling in the Brand Protection Program will ensure all your trade secrets remain confidential.
Besides protecting high-value products, Amazon seller protection provides coverage across all its marketplaces, including the US, UK, Japan, Germany, France, and Canada, among others. It covers individual products sold by authorized sellers even when they use other sales channels to sell them.
Three primary Amazon Brand Protection services become available once you register to the Amazon Brand Protection Program.
Securing copyright, trademark, and intellectual property certifications can take ages. Hence, Amazon offers IP Accelerator, which allows you to partner with law firms and get access to lawyers who can focus on getting your certificates immediately.
Nonetheless, Amazon allows sellers to register their accounts to the Amazon Brand Protection Program even if they have yet to receive proof of copyright, trademark, and intellectual property. To do this, you can upload documents proving that you are in the process of procuring your certifications.
The Amazon Brand Registry is one of the Amazon Brand Protection services that grants you control over your product listings and prevents a third-party seller from vandalizing them. Registering gives you the following benefits:
Being on the Brand Registry also allows you to use a self-service tool that removes counterfeit listings without contacting Amazon. While you’re using this self-service tool, you’re helping strengthen the automated protections that protect all brand owners from counterfeiters.
To be eligible for Amazon Brand Registry, you must have the following:
You must pass two stages for Amazon to verify and approve your Brand Registry application. First, Amazon will provide you with a code via email. Enter this code in your Amazon Seller Central account. Then, after one to two days, you will receive a unique identifier.
Once you are registered, first among the Amazon Brand Protection services you can enjoy is the opportunity to build your brand extensively. You can do this through the different Sponsored Ads available.
Amazon allows registered accounts to use the Sponsored Brand. Here, sellers can enjoy the following benefits: logo features, creating catchy headlines, and even displaying as many as three products on top of the search results.
If you are going to use Sponsored Products for your individual and bundled products, you can freely use your logo. Your brand logo will serve as proof that you are the authentic seller of your product, making it easier for Amazon to catch hijackers and unauthorized sellers.
The lack of a logo, copyright, trademark, and intellectual property rights to the product they are selling allows you to take action against fraudulent sellers immediately.
Another advantage of Brand Registry on Amazon is getting transparency codes for all your products. Transparency codes are codes on your products that customers can scan for authenticity.
To use this process, sellers must enroll their products on Amazon Transparency and apply the transparency codes on their products.
These codes will set you apart from counterfeiters, and you can include this in your product descriptions. Let your customers know that products without the codes are counterfeits, and encourage them to report the fake items in the market.
Consider the Amazon Brand Protection services above as your business's defenses; these are preemptive features you build. But what happens when you're in the midst of a problem? We will now discuss the measures you and your Amazon Brand Protection team can take to stop hijackers and counterfeiters from destroying your account.
Once your Amazon Brand Protection team catches counterfeiters and hijackers, they will maximize Amazon Brand Protection's Project Zero.
Project Zero is an artificial intelligence tool that continuously scans stores and proactively removes suspected counterfeit listings based on the key data points that brand owners provide Amazon. It can scan over 5 billion listings daily, looking for suspected counterfeit products.
Besides removing counterfeit listings, Project Zero offers a product serialization service that detects and stops the delivery of fake products before reaching a customer.
This initiative from Amazon also allows sellers to contact Amazon wrongdoers directly through cease and desist emails.
The goal is to stop unauthorized sellers from operating, so your email should contain a strong message. Tell them that if they do not stop the counterfeit selling or the selling of fake products, you will be compelled to take legal action.
It is your Amazon Brand Protection team's job to create this email. Agencies usually have their templates, so it would take them no time at all to send the warning. With the powerful message of your email, counterfeiters and hijackers will hopefully stop their actions. If not, you and your team always have the choice of escalating the incident to Amazon for further investigation.
Besides the brand protection programs mentioned above, you can apply the following Amazon brand protection solutions to your account.
If you want additional protection in Amazon Marketplace, use Amazon FNSKU for your listings and not UPC. FNSKU represents your product's barcodes.
How is it different from a manufacturer's barcode or UPC? FNSKU is unique to you as a merchant. On the other hand, anyone can get the same UPC if they are selling a similar product to yours. This prevents you from being targeted by ruthless online criminals.
If you want hijackers to have difficulty figuring out your Amazon Seller Central credentials, turn on Amazon's Two-Step Verification feature. You can enable it by going to the Advanced Security Settings of your account. Besides a primary phone number, you must provide a backup phone number if you can't access your primary mobile phone.
As an Amazon seller, one of your top priorities should be creating high-quality product listings. It will not only help you attract customers, but it will also help you safeguard your brand on the platform. Top-quality product listings show your products and brand identity in the best light possible.
Here are some tips for creating high-quality product listings on Amazon:
However, if you don't have the luxury of time to optimize and monitor your listings regularly, you can automate this process by activating Amazon Listing Alerts. Get push notifications from Amazon about fraudsters who attempt to steal or copy your product images.
While this one is a no-brainer, it is sometimes overlooked or taken for granted, especially by first-time sellers. Placing a brand name or logo on your product and packaging gives you a sense of ownership and prevents counterfeiters from copying your product.
Brand protection involves more hands-on monitoring and answering your customer reviews. It might be daunting and intimidating initially, especially if you're dealing with hot-tempered buyers who drop negative reviews about your product. Nonetheless, it is another way to track counterfeiters who want to steal your product.
By examining customer feedback, you can quickly identify and report questionable reviews from unverified users or possible third-party sellers who want to hurt your business. Besides, by monitoring your reviews, you can proactively address your customer's issues and show them that you genuinely care about them.
Here are a few tips for responding to customer reviews:
The number of Amazon sellers is forecasted to rise yearly, bringing tougher competition. Along with the increase of competitors is the addition of individuals who resort to dire practices to succeed. As you continue to make your products competitive in the market, ensure that no distractions happen by registering for Amazon’s Brand Protection programs.
Seller Interactive can be your partner Amazon Brand Protection team. We monitor our selling partners’ accounts, execute immediate measures to stop dishonest practices, and conduct highly effective proactive efforts to ensure that you make the most out of all the Amazon Brand Protection services there are.
Book a call with us today and find out more about how we can work together to protect your brand.
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