Protect Your Account Against Black Hat Vendors

Protect Your Account Against Black Hat Vendors

With $175 billion dollars in sales last year, Amazon Marketplace accounts for 31.3% of total e-commerce sales in the U.S. according to eMarketer estimates.

That’s almost TWICE the size of Amazon Retail.

That’s a lot of success to be had and a lot of competing on Amazon between the millions of sellers making up that number. And while many do so ethically, black hat Amazon methods have taken over.

Fake reviews. Clickfunnels. Account manipulation. Listing gamesmanship.

Amazon is cracking down on these and other policy violations to close loopholes. But don’t wait for the yet-to-be-universally-confirmed One Vendor account to protect you.

As a member of Amazon Vendor Central, log in and you are in a unique position to protect your account from black hat efforts.

Protect yourself from black hat tactics in the following ways:

KNOW THE POWER OF A VENDOR ACCOUNT

A Vendor Account is an all-powerful place to be.

With great power comes great responsibility, which black hat Vendor Central Accounts use maliciously. As a Vendor, you can change listing content for any ASIN, yours and others. This includes images, descriptions, bullet points and almost anything but EBC.

The good news is that as a vendor, you can change it back (Amazon Seller Central users can’t) without having to go through a reporting process that will take time, but if you have thousands of products, changing these back one at a time can be time-consuming.

Prevent hijacking in the future by doing the following things:

  1. If you are not brand registered, do not press GO, do not collect $200, sign up now. Your chances of effectively protecting your account are very slim without it.
  2. Directly report the problem to contact at Amazon. If you go through a customer service ticket, it could take weeks. If you used to have a Vendor seller contact, you may want to try them again. Reporting it in any way is better than inaction, so report it right away.
  3. If you can’t get a suspension or are continuously being hijacked, as the last resort, consider hiring a brushing company to purchase the hijacker’s product, which will likely either scare them away or allow you to get them suspended for poor performance.
  4. Get sound advice from Amazon experts with a background in Amazon account management services or Amazon vendor management with a successful track record.

WATCH OUT FOR FAKE REVIEWS 

Hiring or otherwise gathering fake reviews used to be the biggest threat to success on Amazon. 

Merging, the black hat practice of placing separate products as variations in order to profit off of unrelated positive reviews has been commonplace for a while. 

So black hat tactics have changed with the times. Fake positive reviews on your account are a bigger threat.

Here’s how: one morning you wake up to 16 new 5-Star reviews on your account. That’s way above the average and they do not accurately reflect your product.

You report it to Amazon and have the reviews removed.

Two weeks later you get an email from Amazon that your account has been suspended for ‘manipulating product reviews’. Sound like a horror story? It happened.

Here are a few ways to protect yourself:

  1. Monitor your reviews consistently.
  2. Report report report. Read the Amazon Terms of Service forward and backward.
  3. If you find yourself bombarded with black hat tactics you can’t get a handle on, hire Amazon Vendor Account Management services.

ALWAYS CLEAR OUT OLD PRODUCTS

Nope, you aren’t seeing things.

If you suddenly find new content in old listings for discontinued or underperforming products, you’ve been hijacked. Your old inactive listings have been given new life, and in a detrimental way to you!

Known as Zombie ASINs, black hat Vendors love to find these and immediately CHANGE the pictures and content and to duplicate listings. 

Why? To piggyback off of any positive reviews and momentum the original listing generated.

As a Vendor, you can change it, but we encourage a more proactive approach.

Always clear out old listings. If you have thousands of items, check out listings with ZERO in the inventory and consider deleting them in bulk. 

The more aware you are of your inventory, the better for your business, and the less likely it is that you’ll run into this unfortunately common problem.

CONSIDER SOURCING FROM OUTSIDE OF CHINA

With the sheer amount of goods sourced from China, it makes sense that Chinese Sellers have been able to duplicate products and sell them for 15% – 20% less!

The Transparency Program, meant to put an end to counterfeit items and the unauthorized sellers selling them, helps but has a few downfalls, including:

  1. The potential of getting hit with anti-counterfeit policies by mistake.
  2. Authorized retail partners not passing product scans reflects poorly on you.
  3. Accidentally using an already used code and getting removed from the program.

Especially in competitive categories, the danger of counterfeit items damaging your reputation is a pressing issue. Before you invest in Amazon listing management services or other optimization services, be sure your products are protected from fraud.

Exploring other sources for your goods, including Europe or South America, is one of many options you can safely explore with Amazon Vendor Central program experts.

Bottom line, you’re looking for someone who has your entire business’s picture in mind and will make sure you remain compliant with Amazon’s policies.

PROTECT AND VELOCIFY YOUR SUCCESS

If you’re tired of protecting your account from unknown black hat attackers, don’t give in to the overwhelm, get more determined and find a way to proactively focus on your success.

Schedule a free consultation session here for no-obligation account protection advice from professional Amazon specialists. Because you’re an ethical vendor who deserves success. Let’s reach your full potential on Amazon together.

To your success!

Jake