The Importance of Amazon Brand Protection in Avoiding Account Suspension

June 26, 2021
Written by Kevin Wong
Amazon Brand Protection

“Prevention is better than cure.” This adage couldn't be more accurate when you're selling on Amazon. If you let your guard down, you might fall victim to shady selling practices. 

Indirect assaults like product listing hijacking or counterfeiting could result in an unexpected account suspension that could topple down your business. No seller wants to receive such a verdict, especially if it is the ruthless cybercriminal’s fault. Luckily, there is a way to prevent this through Amazon brand protection.

Reasons for account suspension on Amazon

You must be aware of the reasons why Amazon bans sellers. It is not only to stop yourself from doing it but also to prevent a malicious third-party seller from doing it to you at your expense. Here are the top 10 causes of seller account suspension.

  1. Selling fake or counterfeit products
  2. Selling prohibited products
  3. Buying fake reviews and ratings
  4. Providing inaccurate information
  5. Grievous misconduct toward another seller
  6. Creating multiple seller accounts
  7. Poor logistics or late shipment
  8. Unsatisfactory seller performance
  9. Poor customer service
  10. Selling old items as new

These reasons boil down to the violation of Amazon's Seller Code of Conduct. If you haven't read it yet, better start now. 

However, in rare cases, you can still get suspended and kicked out of Amazon Marketplace even if you've never attempted any of the offenses above. How? It happens through the underhanded tactics of hijackers and counterfeiters.

How does being a victim of listing hijacking and counterfeiting get you suspended?

“It's not me; it's them!” Don't worry: we believe you. Nothing is more heartbreaking than receiving a suspension letter from Amazon. All your hard work goes to waste because of someone else's wrongdoing. Let's find out what Amazon listing hijacking is and how it is connected with counterfeiting. 

For example, you're a private label seller with your own inventory and packaging. However, the product itself comes from a manufacturer or a supplier. Then you put your label on the product and create an Amazon listing for it, hence the term private label. The fact that any third-party seller can also get their hands on your generic product makes it vulnerable to hijackers.

A hijacker will steal your listing and use it to sell the same product as yours (or a counterfeit version of it) at a lower price. Eventually, you might lose your Buy Box because the hijacker's price is lower than yours. Losing the Buy Box also means losing sales.

Bummer.

Now, recall the top 10 reasons for account suspension we listed above. The violations you might commit, thanks to the listing hijacker, are the following:

  • Selling fake products under your stolen listing
  • Selling supposedly “new” products, if ever the hijacker resorts to this option
  • Negative customer reviews under your listing due to the counterfeit products sold by the hijacker
  • False information spread by the hijacker who uses your listing without your consent

Amazon brand protection tools

You can avoid these unfortunate scenarios by protecting your brand from the get-go. Amazon continuously develops brand protection solutions such as Brand Registry, Project Zero, and Transparency because they're aware of how cutthroat the competition is on their platform. 

Let's discuss each Amazon brand protection service and how you can get started.

Amazon Brand Registry

According to a report, the purpose of this Amazon brand protection solution is to address the multiple lawsuits they receive from brands complaining about the prevalence of counterfeit goods on the site. 

Who can enroll?

Amazon Brand Registry is available to private label sellers; sellers who make their products or create branded, white-label products; traditional distributors; and manufacturers who own their brand's content with Amazon's permission.

Benefits

  • You can have sole ownership of the Buy Box.
  • You have more control over the details of your product listing, such as the title, description, and images.
  • Your brand and its associated product listings are accurately represented on Amazon.
  • You can monitor and report third-party sellers who misuse your brand's information and materials.
  • You can protect your brand from other sellers' shipping logistics.
  • You can market your products using sponsored ads.
  • You have access to A+ Content.

Requirements

  1. Trademarked brand name
  2. Intellectual Property Office-issued trademark registration number
  3. Product category list
  4. List of countries that manufacture and distribute your product
  5. Images of your brand logo
  6. Images of your products and packaging with a trademarked brand name on them

Typically, you need to wait for a year to get your trademark registered. Amazon has anticipated this problem; thus, they created a program called the IP Accelerator. 

In this program, Amazon connects sellers to trusted IP attorneys to quickly obtain IP rights or registered trademarks. Moreover, it offers proactive brand protection and brand-building tools while you wait for the trademark. It means that you can join the Brand Registry even if you don't have an active trademark yet.

Amazon Project Zero

This brand protection solution helps drive counterfeit products to zero, hence its name. It empowers brands using advanced technology such as automated protection, self-service counterfeit removal tools, and product serialization to kick counterfeiters out of Amazon Marketplace.

Who can enroll?

Amazon sellers enrolled in Brand Registry with an active registered trademark can join.

Benefits

As mentioned above, you can enjoy the following advanced tools designed against counterfeiters:

  • Automated protection powered by machine learning can scan over 5 billion listing updates daily to look for fake products.
  • Self-service counterfeit removal tools allow you to remove inauthentic listings without the need to contact Amazon.
  • Product serialization gives you a unique code on every manufactured item to validate each unit's authenticity.

Requirements

Here's what you need to join Project Zero:

  1. An active registered trademark
  2. Brand Registry membership
  3. In the last six months, you must have reported potential violations with an acceptance rate of at least 90%.

Amazon Transparency

It applies a code that helps prevent fake products from getting shipped out of an Amazon Fulfillment Center (FC). Before it lands on your customer's doorstep, Amazon will scan this code to check if it is genuine, thus removing the counterfeit product and saving you from negative customer reviews. 

Who can enroll?

Anyone can join as long as they can apply unique Transparency codes to their products.

Benefits

  • It proactively stops counterfeit products from reaching your customers.
  • It allows customers to scan the code themselves using the Transparency app.
  • Through the app, customers can report counterfeiting by clicking on the “Contact Us” button.

Requirements

  • You can provide proof that you're the owner of your products.
  • Your products have a Global Trade Item Number.
  • You can stamp Transparency codes on every unit you manufacture.
  • If you want your units to be pre-scanned in FCs, you should be a member of Fulfillment by Amazon.

Imagine the level of protection you can get by enrolling in these three Amazon protection services. But at what cost? 

Brand Registry and Project Zero are free to join and use. As for the IP Accelerator program, joining is free except when working with Amazon's vetted IP attorneys. IP Accelerator is available in three pre-negotiated packages. Meanwhile, Amazon makes no mention of any fee for Transparency. 

Key takeaways

As an Amazon seller, you must practice due diligence. Think of other strategies on how to protect your brand on Amazon, such as doing manual audits on your listing pages and browsing the review section to look for counterfeiting complaints. 

No one knows your brand better than you do. Even as Amazon brand protection services safeguard your brand and listings, keep in mind that counterfeiters and listing hijackers are innovative. They will do anything to thwart your progress and steal your hard work. 

If you want to know more about Amazon brand protection and how to deal with seller account suspension, Seller Interactive has a team of expert Amazon consultants willing to help and guide you. For inquiries, email [email protected].   

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