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I've been running into his problem personally. About 25% of our business now is done via Amazon. We sell to Amazon retail directly and also use Amazon FBA internationally.

The problem is that "other sellers" keep beating us to the buy box for certain SKUs. Amazon keeps asking us to sell to them for a lower price. The funny thing is, Amazon already gets the lowest price, by far, compared to all other distributors. I know, we are the manufacturer. Some of the SKUs we don't even sell to anyone else anymore but Amazon, yet still these random businesses seem to be selling our products. Some are fake, some are watered down. Some are… I don't even know. I have a lot of trouble figuring out who these people are and how they are getting our products or look-a-likes at prices low enough to resell, since we don't sell them to anyone at these prices!

Amazon needs to double down on the vetting they do for new sellers.

Starting in 2018 I'm going to re-SKU/UPC every product we sell to Amazon and start closing the listings on old corrupt ones. It's going to be a pain in the ass, but I see no other choice. We have about 300 SKUs and trying to manage them all and fend off all these shitty sellers is becoming a huge burden on me and our brand.

And ideally, actually, I'd like Amazon to offer a feature that essentially "bans" third parties from listing a SKU at the manufacturers request. I'd gladly pay to few thousand a year to ensure that the only one that can sell our products is Amazon themselves.




They do a lot of brand gating, but not on demand like you'd want.

I don't think you'll gain much from re-skuing products. You'll lose all your reviews and ranking, and at best will get a few months until the counterfeiters find the new listings.

Also, you can't fully close the old ones, so people will still sell on them, there will be multiple search results, bad customer experience, etc.

The better approach is to go after the sellers through Amazon, send infringement notices, etc. Might take some time, but once done they'll be gone forever.

If you'd be interested in having a conversation with me about these issues, we can set something up, email's in my profile. I'm heading back from the ASD show right now and I'll be swamped for a few days but email and we can work something out.


> Might take some time, but once done they'll be gone forever.

Won't they just open a new account? I doubt a new identity and bank account are major obstacles to counterfeiters.


It takes a few months before a new account can get the buy box. You can get a seller shut down quicker than that.

And it may be possible to get new identity and accounts, but they aren't easy or unlimited. Scammers will go after the lowest hanging fruit.


I run a few Amazon stores with about 10,000 SKUs -- don't re-SKU, what you want to do is brand gating... IF you are the brand owner and/or manufacturer. I can give you a few tips if you just need some advice. I'm guessing you don't have a vendorcentral account manager, but if you do, they can VERY effectively start banhammering the 3P knockoff companies.

Also, check out sellercentral forums for a community of folks there too. It's not HN but it's pretty active.


If even very large, legitimate brands like Apple, Energizer, Sandisk, Huggies, etc can't seem to get control of counterfeits sold on amzn, than it seems the solution might be a bit more complex.

Apparently even worse at alibaba:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/business/alibaba-fake-mer...


Apple earbuds are probably the best case example. Look at the reviews. The volume of fakes is enormous and it's impossible to spot (as Amazon).

You would think hat Amazon would just tell everyone who isn't Apple who is trying to list that SKU to get lost.


Currently using Vendor Express for retail. Not sure we are big enough to get a vendor central AM.


Hey, you don't have contact info on your profile, so I'm trying this. Any chance you have time to talk about your experience, tomorrow? My email is smann@inc.com

(If the answer is no, you don't want to talk about it or don't have time, that's obviously totally okay!)


>Some of the SKUs we don't even sell to anyone else anymore but Amazon.

It seems crazy to me that they don't have an easy process to support this. Amazon must have as much to gain by being the sole reseller as you do from them blocking other suppliers. I don't see why they don't offer a one-click agreement that a manufacturer can sign saying essentially "we won't sell this through any other channels if you won't accept any other sellers"


No: Antitrust.

There's no excuse for Amazon selling and profiting from counterfeits though. Buck stops with them.


It wouldn't be antitrust if YOU are the manufacturer. Amazon does this for some products already, particularly their own. They don't let 3rd parties list AmazonBasics products or Kindles.

Other retailers do this all the time. In fact, that used to be the status quo—signing an exclusive with a retailer.


Consider the possibility that your factory is manufacturing your product for their own account. This is a common problem where I live. Unauthorized, nighttime manufacturing runs are often the source of these problems.


Not happening in our case. We are much smaller than people realize in that respect.


>And ideally, actually, I'd like Amazon to offer a feature that essentially "bans" third parties from listing a SKU at the manufacturers request. I'd gladly pay to few thousand a year to ensure that the only one that can sell our products is Amazon themselves.

Isn't this what owning a trademark is for? Can people advertise that they have M&M's for sale without the permission of Mars Candy Inc?


>Can people advertise that they have M&M's for sale without the permission of Mars Candy Inc?

Yes.

Lets say I buy a box of M&Ms. I didn't get around to eating them. Next month I decide to change my diet and get rid of the M&Ms. Copyright and trademark does not (and should not) prevent me from advertising "1 box M&Ms, $10" and then a buyer giving me $10 for my M&Ms.

The first sale doctrine gives me this right. Retail would be totally and completely non-functional otherwise.

Amazon, however, is free to disallow someone from selling something if they want to.


In the OP case copyright laws are sufficient.

So yeah is it to much to ask from amazon to respect trademark and/or copyright. Specially considering they are the dominant online book sellers.

I think people should start considering that when the DOJ hitted hard on Apple last year as they proposed an altenative to the near monopoly of Amazon maybe they hit the wrong target.


No. Neither copyright nor trademark prevents someone else from selling or listing your stuff. It does prevent people from making knock offs, but you have to PROVE that.

It's a massive burden to hunt these people down. You have to buy product from them and inspect it. They often hide behind a series of LLCs. You have to work with the site listing it to get it taken down and prove you are the manufacturer. It becomes a full time job very quickly.

Rode, the microphone company, has taken an approach I like which is that they don't sell on Amazon FBA at all. Even still, they have problems. I'd like to get big enough that we can just eliminate Amazon and go direct, but we aren't there yet.




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