How to Deal With Listing Hijackers on Amazon
Many Amazon sellers create private label listings to avoid the stress of competing for the Buy Box, but private label sellers have another big problem to deal with—listing hijackers. Unscrupulous merchants who sell a counterfeit or similar version of a private label product.
A listing hijacker can have a huge effect on your sales and reputation if they’re not dealt with. This post is going to explain why a hijacking is bad for your business and provide you with valuable tips for dealing with Amazon listing hijackers.
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What Does a Listing Hijack Look Like?
Selling a private label product means you’re the default seller of a product and you win the Buy Box—that white box on the right side with the “Add to Cart” button. Sellers of the same product usually have to compete for that spot (there’s a rotation), so getting it by default is a tremendous sales advantage.
Let’s take a look at how another seller can hijack your spot on the Buy Box. We found a random example of a table lamp that has two sellers, but it should only have one because it’s obviously a private label product.
When you click to see who are the two sellers of this product and compare them, it’s quite obvious that Aukey Direct is the original seller. They have 82,676 ratings and the table lamp is literally branded with the word “Aukey.” But they are competing against FD US, who only has two ratings.
Now let’s take a look at the listing by FD US:
FD US copied everything from Aukey Direct’s listing. The only difference is that they’re selling the lamp for $27.99 instead of $26.99.
FD US is probably hijacking Aukey Direct’s listing. Maybe they’re buying lamps from Aukey Direct and then reselling them on Amazon for $1 more, or perhaps they’re manufacturing cheap knockoff lamps and passing them off as originals. Either way, this can become a serious problem for Aukey Direct.
After spending time perfecting their private label listing, Aukey Direct is now losing sales to FD US, who is on rotation for the Buy Box. A customer may end up buying their knockoff lamps and if they’re not happy with the purchase, they may unwittingly leave a negative review on Aukey Direct’s listing. If left unchecked, a hijacking can easily end up ruining a successful product.
How to Deal With Amazon Listing Hijackers
Register Your Brand With Amazon
The first step to protecting your brand against hijackers is to register it on Amazon’s Brand Registry. A registered brand gets automated protection. Amazon will use the information you provide about your brand to proactively remove:
- Unaffiliated product listings that use your trademarked terms in their titles.
- Images that use your logo to sell products that don’t carry your brand name.
- Sellers shipping products from countries where you don’t manufacture or distribute your brand.
- Product listings created using your brand name when you already listed your full product catalog on Amazon.
The registration process is pretty straightforward. You’ll need an active registered trademark, the ability to verify yourself as the owner or authorized agent for the trademark, and an Amazon account. Your existing Vendor or Seller Central account will do.
Note that Amazon currently only accepts trademarks issued in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico, India, Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the EU. You’ll also need a company website or landing page.
Registering your brand doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get hijacked, but it will give you more control over your listing and make it less likely for anyone to change it without your consent. It’ll also give you more authority when you report a hijacker (with sufficient evidence) and have Amazon remove their listing.
Clearly Brand Your Products
Prominently display your logo and trademark on your product and its packaging. Make sure you clearly distinguish your private label product from sellers that may be selling similar products. This will make it harder for hijackers to counterfeit your product and easier for your buyers to notice the difference between the real deal and a knockoff.
Closely Monitor Your Listings
In addition to monitoring your listings on Seller Central, try to look at your listings from your customers point of view. You don’t have to do it every day, but you should do it periodically. Make sure you’re the only seller with your particular private label product in Amazon search results and be vigilant for any unexpected dips in sales. A hijacker might be the culprit.
Send the Hijacker a Cease and Desist Letter
Contacting a hijacker directly and asking them to remove the listing is a good idea. Send them a cease and desist letter (all sellers can be contacted through their seller profile) requesting they remove the offending listing. Keep it brief and polite. If they don’t respond in a timely manner or act accordingly, then contact Amazon directly.
File a Complaint With Amazon
Filing an infringement complaint is not ideal because it may take some back and forth before Amazon takes any action. We recommend doing it as a last resort if the hijacker fails to respond to your cease and desist letter.
You can report infringement to Amazon by filling out this form. But first gather enough evidence to convince Amazon that the hijacker is in the wrong. Buy a test sample from them and thoroughly document all the details that prove it’s a knockoff of your product. Amazon requires the following information to investigate an infringement claim:
- The ASIN/ISBN of the product’s detail page and the product title.
- The store or business name of the seller you are reporting.
- An order ID of the test buy that confirms the violation.
- Pictures of the item you received in the test buy.
- A concise explanation of the violation.
Your product doesn’t need to be registered in Amazon’s Brand Registry for you to take these steps, but it will help. Once you’ve filed a report, you can request a refund for the test buy and get your money back. This will hurt the hijacker’s metrics. If they refuse to give you a refund, file an A-to-Z guarantee claim to further damage their performance metrics.
Dealing with shady merchants that are trying to piggyback off your hard work is an unfortunate side of selling on Amazon. You might think they’re not worth the trouble, but hijackers can set off a negative chain reaction that ends with Amazon suspending your account for poor performance. Be vigilant and follow the steps outlined in this post to quickly deal with Amazon hijackers.