Amazon To Release Sellers Identities
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Amazon To Release Sellers Identities
Amazon just announced that they were going to make seller identities available in the United States. Is this good news or bad news? Watch this video and find out what this really means and how it will impact you.
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Amazon To Release Sellers Identities
Hey! So I’ve been getting a question a lot the last couple of days and I really wanted to just kind of slow down and and get some good solid facts and answers. You know in spite of a knee-jerk reaction, I know a lot of people are in a rush and a race to respond to this right now, as it is anytime some new breaking news developments happen on Amazon or on any of the major marketplaces. And right now there was a recent release a couple days ago about Amazon is going to make all the seller identities available on their seller profiles on September 1st.
Everyone’s asking “Matt what does this mean?”, “Does this mean that unauthorized sellers are finally going to go away forever?”, “This is amazing! 3P mitigation has finally had the biggest victory in the world”…. Honestly I don’t see any of those things happening. For one Amazon makes the majority of its global revenues out of every single thing the light touches that they own, off of 3P sellers. And having multiple sellers competing over a SKU does several major things that really are a part of their DNA. It enables virtually unlimited inventory, it enables strategic and multiple forms of shipping all over the place, and it also opens up the door for price competition so that they’re getting the lowest pricing on verified genuine products all over the place.
So what’s this for? This is to protect the public from counterfeiters. This is to make it more difficult for product counterfeiters to be able to list their products. And it’s actually a project Amazon’s been doing globally for years. And to give an example: Amazon Mexico MX, they’ve had data on hundreds of thousands of seller IDs that are North American Amazon US sellers for years. A lot of brand protection companies, monitoring companies, we’ve all had access to this data for a really really really long time and played off of that. But here’s something that we’ve learned: Locally in the U.S. a little over fifty percent of those, every time we do a trial batch proves to either be incomplete, inaccurate or out-of-date. Because remember this is information that they’re giving to you, Amazon seller businesses are some of the hottest commodities on the market right now so they’re sold, traded, merged all the cyber stuff and that information at least in the way it’s been done in the foreign markets, is not getting updated. Secondarily as you’re getting the information they want to give, just because it’s verified doesn’t mean that that’s the best way to get in touch with them. i.e. they put a P.O. box in the middle of the Nevada desert that they never check. Whoopty-doo! You sent some letters there, nobody is is going to comply with those in the first place right. You’re not getting it to the decision-makers in a manner to what you’re able to properly enforce your trademark in order to bring these guys into compliance.
So why does the ID matter? It’s really simple. For one it matters if you’re selling direct to the third-party sellers that are selling your product online. So for example a multi-level marketing company or a company that has a network of let’s say physicians or healthcare professionals, veterinarians, where they’re selling direct to these people and they’re allowed to sell in a store in a private website or under certain terms is governed in an agreement. But you don’t know who they are on Amazon because they’re hiding behind a fake screen name. Well now that game’s going to come to an end. But those companies in all fairness, you ought to have these types of things streamlined enough to where you should be able to prevent 99% of those situations and issues anyways. And the ones that you can’t are not going to be prevented by a seller-provided here’s-where-you-can-find-me-in-the-name-that-I’m-selling-under type of scenario because it may not be the name that they’re purchasing from you under.
The majority of the brands that are having real issues on Amazon with unauthorized 3P sellers have retail and distribution as the core of their business model. In that these parties are there buying third party from your distributors or from other parts of your supply chain that are really hard to track. We’ve done projects with Fortune 100 companies where we’ve done hundreds of IDs for them. Pulled them out of Amazon’s databases and other places and done some physically ourselves so that we can verify that these were true, current, accurate, real time and complete. And what we found is that that wasn’t enough to ensure full compliance with a lot of these sellers in the marketplace. If you don’t have the ability to cut them off because they’re purchasing from you directly or have agreements in place that they’ve signed with you and you’ve now found out this is one of your authorized retailers or distributors doing this, then what you’re really left with and the only other way to make these unauthorized sellers go away is to properly enforce your trademark, and in order to do that one it has to be legally structured with the right policies and the right… everything properly framed underneath the Lanham Act, which is the federal state statute that governs that. And that’s something that you really need to talk with a knowledgeable IP attorney about. Secondarily is that we don’t know what this does for foreign sellers. There’s a lot of sellers based outside the US that are selling in the US markets. One thing that we found on recent tests is that over ninety five percent of the foreign seller identities that were acquired through Amazon, that they provide on the marketplaces that they display their quote information, over ninety five percent of them have been incorrect in the test that we’ve done.
Now does that mean that ninety five percent across the board are done? No but whenever we’ve had a brand has had foreign sellers that we’ve gone and pulled that information and tested we’ve been able to validate it to approximately 95 percent across the board. I don’t know how those numbers are going to sway or shift when it’s listed in the US, but do understand that foreign sellers are not obligated in any way, shape or form to comply with US civil trademark demands. These are things that you really have to have properly structured within your supply chain in order to make sure that you’re bringing full compliance into this.
And guys understand that US sellers, a lot of them are willing to fight to keep selling your product specially if they’re making real money. If you don’t have the right legal structuring and standing to be able to go head-to-head with them, having their ID is really not going to make a difference. This is a….it’s a foundational ingredient that you have to have to be able to enforce your trademark because you have to able to determine who your violator is and initiate the appropriate proceedings against them to be able to enforce your trademark. But it’s not the end-all be-all, but to be honest it’s going to be a huge step and it’s gonna do a lot to protect the public from illegal products counterfeiters which are a tremendous harm and risk to both the end-user and the brands that they’re knocking off and I’m really personally very excited to see those types of changes being made from Amazon and excited to see what next comes down the pipe