Amazon Hijacking: How to Protect Your Business
It goes without saying that Amazon is a huge and ever-changing marketplace that allows sellers to make use of many opportunities in terms of E-commerce. But everyone knows: opportunities arise only along with challenges. Or even problems. Have you ever heard the term “Amazon Hijacking”? Well, this is something that is currently happening to sellers when some individuals are willing to profit off the efforts of others. However, listing hijackers can only achieve their goal if the seller is unaware of their presence in the marketplace.
In this article, you will learn how to save your Amazon business from hijacking and what to do if you already faced this problem while selling on Amazon.
Okay, let’s start with the basics.
More into watching than reading? Learn what you can do to protect yourself from Amazon listing hijacking here:
What Is Amazon Listing Hijacking, and How Does It Work?
When another seller provides a counterfeit version of your product on your Amazon listing, it will reduce your sales and the number of favorable reviews you receive. In other words, when an Amazon listing gets hijacked, a third-party seller claims to have the same product as you and so claims the right to sell it through your listing. How shocking it is, right?!
How Exactly Do List Hijackers Work?
When it comes to Amazon hijacking, a hijacker makes fakes and then attaches them to your listings. He or she is unlikely to care about product quality; instead, they want to make as many sales as possible. To do so, they reduce the price of their goods in order to keep them in the BuyBox for as long as it is feasible. When a customer buys your goods, they’re actually purchasing a low-quality counterfeit from the hijacker.
As a result, the frustrated consumer will almost certainly post a poor review on your listing, which will dissuade potential customers from purchasing your product. The most painful part is that all of this happens without your involvement!
How to Prevent a Hijacker From Taking Over Your Amazon Listing
We hope that you will never have to deal with a problem such as Amazon hijacking, but being prepared never hurts. So, what should you do?
1. Keep a Tight Eye on Your Listing
You’ll want to see your listing from your customers’ perspective in addition to checking in on your Seller Central dashboard every day. Find out how many sellers are offering your Private Label product on your listing. If there is more than one (that one seller being you!), you may be dealing with a hijacking issue. Of course, this activity takes time but is worth doing so. You don’t have to do it every day, just check your listings once in a while.
2. Focus More on Branding
Branding is about minimizing the risk of getting hijacked as well as standing out from the crowd. From this perspective, your logo is the most significant aspect of your branding, but it’s better to take pictures with your company’s name on your products. Why? A hijacker is far less likely to steal a listing if the image clearly shows branding.
3. Create Your Own Online Store
You can fortify your company against Amazon hijacking if you can establish your own E-commerce site outside of Amazon. Being able to validate your business via your website gives customers confidence and trust. Moreover, you’ll always have a place to sell your products online outside of Amazon. So, consider your new website as a new sales channel, and, therefore, as a source of more opportunities.
As mentioned earlier, the main goal of this method is to establish trust and prove to Amazon that you are the real owner of your Amazon items.
4. Offer Bundled Products
Creating bundled product offerings is another method that works well for generic items and can prevent your business from Amazon hijacking. Because of their simplicity, such items are easy to copy and become excellent targets for hijackers. Bundling things together acts as a strong deterrent since it makes the task of a hijacker much more difficult.
Look at the “Frequently bought together” section of your competitors’ listings if you’re not sure how to put products together.
5. File a Trademark Application
For all sellers, obtaining a trademark and then filing for Brand Registry should be a top priority. The combination of these two features provides the best security against IP infringement and Amazon listing hijacking.
To put it another way, a trademark protects your brand image and prevents other vendors from impersonating you. There are two sorts of trademarks: text-based and image-based, and the clearance procedure in the United States can take anywhere from 9 to 18 months.
Each country’s trademark application procedure is unique. If you’re planning to sell on Amazon.com, go to uspto.gov to get started. Just remember to file a trademark application in the area where you’ll be selling.
6. Get Brand Registered on Amazon
One of the greatest methods to protect yourself and your business is to join Amazon’s Brand Registry. You’ll have more control over your listings, as well as access to tremendously effective marketing tools.
The Amazon Brand Registry program protects sellers from Amazon hijacking and intellectual property infringements. Enrolling in the program also gives you a lot of options to grow your brand and advertise it (including the ability to run Sponsored Brands and Display). To enroll in the program, you will need to provide the following information:
- Either your goods or their packaging must have an active picture or text-based trademark. Even applications with pending trademarks are accepted by Amazon.
- The number assigned to your trademark registration by the local Intellectual Property Office.
- The list of product categories where you intend to list your items.
You can send a complaint to the internal staff about IP infringements and hijackers who have taken over your listing once you’ve registered.
Brand Registry has a specialized internal staff for submitting and escalating IP infringement cases if you have an IP or counterfeit concern. Keep in mind that this won’t prevent hijackers from gaining access to your listings – you’ll still need to be watchful — but as a recognized brand, you’ll have greater security.
7. Use the Amazon Transparency and Project Zero programs to your advantage.
As the title suggests, businesses can be more ‘transparent’ about their products in order to increase client confidence. This is accomplished by incorporating information such as the production location, the date, and other unit-specific information.
The other — and more desirable — consequence of Amazon Transparency is that it prevents counterfeit items from being sold. Each product is given a unique code that is checked for authenticity before being dispatched to the client under this labeling method. If an object fails the test, it is subject to further inquiry.
But what if your business is already hijacked?
Post-Hacking Actions a Seller Can Take
In case you faced the problem of hijacked Amazon listing, make use of the following tactics:
Send a Letter of Cease and Desist
It’s tempting to send a profanity-laced letter, but it’s better to keep things professional. The first step is to send the hijacker a cease and desist letter, informing them of the legal ramifications of their acts. Many hijackers are afraid of being blacklisted from the site, so they back off.
Select “Ask a question” from the hijacker’s Seller profile to send this message. Keep in mind that it’s recommended to mention that the hijacker is violating Amazon’s Seller Code of Conduct as well as your trademark and intellectual property rights. The hijacker has to remove your product listing ASAP, but if this doesn’t happen, make sure you inform them regarding your further legal actions.
File a Complaint With Amazon
Report the situation to Amazon right away after delivering the Cease and Desist letter.
You can do this with this form. To compare your product to a counterfeit version, be as detailed as possible with as many photographs and details as you can get. Explain that the counterfeit item is illegal, and a low-quality product that will inevitably receive negative feedback and, as a result, negatively influence your sales.
Purchase Your Fake Item and Report It
It makes sense to buy such an item before sending a letter or filing a complaint because Amazon product hijacking sellers will probably not finalize your order if you desire to make this purchase later. So, buy a product, take pictures of it and compile a list of differences between them.
When your Amazon listing is taken over, you must act quickly to avoid sales losses and subsequent negative feedback from Amazon hijacking customers. It’s better to prevent such things from happening rather than fight with hijackers, but now you are well-prepared for both scenarios.
Don’t be alarmed if you notice offers in the “Other Sellers on Amazon” section of your ad. Amazon hijackers and Amazon resellers are not the same things.
Someone who buys your goods and then decides to resell it is a reseller, not a hijacker. The distinction between hijackers and resellers is that hijackers offer a counterfeit version of your goods rather than a legitimate one.
When a third-party seller “hijacks” your Amazon product listing by providing a counterfeit version of your product at a lower price and quality, this is known as Amazon listing hijacking.
Unfortunately, yes. Today’s marketplace has a serious problem with Amazon review hijacking. Amazon sellers can obtain phony product reviews in a variety of methods. Giving out free things in return for reviews is a common approach.
Image credits in order of appearance: ©madedee – stock.adobe.com / ©Feodora – stock.adobe.com