We’ve written about listing hijackers before, but they’re a perennial concern for every Amazon seller, so we thought it would be good idea to address them again.
To recap: a listing hijackers come in two varieties:
Listing hijackers are always extremely frustrating, especially because they make you feel powerless. There’s seemingly nothing you can do to change the negative reviews or counterfeit claims, and Amazon overwriting your listing content is very difficult to undo as well.
However, it is possible to get rid of these hijackers with focused effort. Like so many diseases, the key with listing hijackers is early detection. That’s why Efficient Era has recently launched a new feature called Listing Hijack Alerts.
Although Amazon already sends sellers ASIN Change Notification emails, many sellers (including us) have found their functionality lacking, since they don’t actually tell you what content changed. Our Listing Hijack Alerts include the fields that changed, as well as the old and new versions of the copy, so that you can easily see what changed and make a plan of action from there.
Of course, having alerts is all well and good, but that’s only half the battle — you also need a plan of action for getting these hijackers off your listings. Although our advice for dealing with listing hijackers can be found in the two articles linked above, it’s still worth repeating here.
Usually, this involves buying a single unit of the product and inspecting it. If you find that it is counterfeit (unbranded, made of cheaper materials, etc.), take lots of pictures. Any difference from your product is fair game; photographing the counterfeit item next to a legitimate one is even better.
Collecting this evidence is important to build up your case against the seller if you need to submit a claim to Amazon. Of course, checking out the product is also important in case it’s not actually counterfeit! For example, if you recently held a large promotional event, someone may have bought up a large supply of your product at low prices and started selling them against you. They may look like a hijacker, but since they’re selling you actual product, there’s no copyright infringement happening. In cases like these, there’s nothing to do but wait for them to run out of stock. Again, consult our previous post about listing hijackers for more detail on what sellers aren’t listing hijackers.
Usually, this is an informal cease and desist letter: you’re just testing the waters, seeing if they’ll back down before you have to using more drastic measures.
In the letter, you need to basically warn them that Amazon takes counterfeiting seriously, that they’re in violation of policy, and that you’ll submit a complaint to Amazon and send a formal cease & desist letter in 24–48 hours if they don’t take their offer down.
If they don’t comply within your set time frame, then it’s time to move on to step 3.
You should only resort to this step if you’ve collected evidence that the product is counterfeit, you’ve sent a cease & desist letter, and you haven’t received a response in 48 hours.
The page for filing an allegation of infringement with Amazon is here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/infringement. This is where the evidence that you collected earlier comes into play. Amazon won’t just remove any old seller from your listing — you need conclusive proof that they’re selling a counterfeit item that violates your trademark.
This step will likely require some back-and-forth with Amazon, and it will probably be slow and plodding, but you’ll have to grin and bear it if you want the hijacker off your page. If all goes well, after this process is complete, the hijacker should be off your listing (and suspended) for good.
Unlike counterfeiters, Amazon Retail or Warehouse Details hijacking your listing is less about them sullying your product’s name with low-quality items, and more about them mangling your listing content. Therefore, the strategy is not about kicking them off — you can’t, really — but more about re-adding your listing content.
There are two different strategies for going about this; unfortunately, both involve going through Amazon Support. Again, I recommend you check out our previous post on the subject if you want to know what to do in more detail, but here are your options:
Amazon Support is capable of overriding the edits of Amazon Retail or Warehouse Details, so this plan of action involves providing them with all the content you’d like for your listing, and having them perform the edits.
This option gets rid of the Amazon Retail content and puts your own content in its place, but it comes with a noticeable downside: you can no longer make any edits to your listing without first going through Amazon Support. Therefore, choosing this path might be useful for a more immediate solution, but isn’t sustainable over the long term.
Your other option is to have Amazon Support delete all of the content that Amazon Retail wrote over your listing, so that you can reapply your content as you wish.
In the long term, this solution is more desirable than the alternative, since you wouldn’t have to go through Amazon Support to make any edits.
Unfortunately, many sellers have run into problems trying to get Amazon Support to do as they wish. For one, some support agents might not be aware that they actually can delete the content (they can). Other times, sellers have lamented that while Amazon Support is willing to delete Amazon Retail’s listing content, they’ll only delete one field per ticket. In the worst case, you may have to contact Support dozens of times in order to clean up an entire listing.
So, the second option is definitely preferable in the long run, but the tradeoff is a lot more work up front, as well as an extended series of conversations with Amazon Support — every seller’s favorite.
Thanks to Listing Hijack Alerts, you’ll be able to catch hijackers earlier and deal with them before they flood you with negative reviews and counterfeit claims, or ruin your conversion rate with poor listing content. Unfortunately, the work doesn’t stop there, but the earlier you start the process of removing the hijacker, the less damage they’ll be able to do.
As a final note, if you aren’t already Brand Registered, you should seriously consider it — it will give you increased edit priority on your listings, to ensure that a random listing hijacker can’t edit your content. Unfortunately, Brand Registry won’t help against Amazon Retail or Amazon Warehouse Deals, but some defense is better than none. Read our post on Brand Registry for more details.